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  1. I've been digging around a it more (mostly to avoid doing actual work...) and it seems that..... When we temper chocolate properly; we should only have Type V crystals in there. However - as chocolate cools in various machines/bowls etc....it will likely cool/heat unevenly. This is what can lead to the formation of other crystal types. So basically...as we already know...stir stir stir stir....no really...stir it. I'm guessing even the best home tempering machine will be prone to uneven temperatures, at least under some conditions (ie: Jim D's situation above).
  2. I think there's more than one thing going on here - as Keychris said, if you use a heat gun then you are melting out all the crystals in a very localised area - so that thins the chocolate out, stirring melts more but the majority of the chocolate is still in temper/contains the desired crystals so overall it's in temper (as long as you stir well of course). But alongside that (and this probably explains the tempering machine better) - as I understand the science, even well tempered chocolate contains some of the other crystal forms. Remember, we can temper chocolate with just 1% b
  3. That's the traditional method of tabling I referred to.....that would be my choice if you're going to table (as opposed to cooling it all and then using a microwave).
  4. I'm slightly confused by the method - if you're going to table it then I wouldn't put it all on teh counter, tabling it and then reheating in a microwave sounds like a recipe for issues. Pouring about 3/4 to cool by tabling, then add it back to the molten chocolate in the bowl. Reheating to 29 would be fine in theory....
  5. Nope - compound "chocolate" doesn't require tempering at all. (Although calling it chocolate is debatable.....chocolate flavoured maybe...but that might just be me being a chocolate snob )
  6. The possible problem with using an IR thermometer, regardless of how accurate it is, is that it only measures surface temperature. With chocolate, that's fine if you have stirred it enough....but using a Thermapen (way more accurate than just about any IR) I've seen temperature differences of several degrees between the top and bottom of a bowl or the middle and sides. That difference could be a tipping point in some situations. None of that means you can't use an IR of course; it's just something to bear in mind
  7. I used MyCryo extensively (almost exclusively in fact), due to the small batches I was working with (and the tiny kitchen not lending itself to tabling). My procedure was as follows: 1. Melt to 45 c 2. Cool to around 34 c - I have heard that Mycryo needs the temp to be precisely 35 c but that hasn't been my experience at all. As long as it's 34-35 it seems fine. 3. Make sure it's well stirred and then add 1% mycryo by weight 4. Stir stir stir...as per any chocolate work... 5. Test temper - almost invariably fine. The only thing that ever threw it off was ambient
  8. WOW - that looks amazing...definitely going to try that idea! One question though....how did you get the clean stripes? Did you lay acetate in teh mould and then spray...or spray and then wipe the stripe in? Or option C...?
  9. As ever, I am stunned by the artistry of people here - just beautiful. So...figured it was time I put some of my semi-amateur (semi because I do have a chocolate business :)) efforts up! Large Valentines Hearts (double normal size) - Dark ones are a 65% shell filled with a little Orange & Balsamic caramel (William Curley recipe) and a firm dark chocolate ganache infused with a little orange zest and cinnamon. White ones are a Casa Luker white chocolate (yummy!) filled with a homemade hazelnut gianduja. The boxed chocolates are some of my Valentines select
  10. Hi all... I'm looking for a place to get small samples of my dipped/molded chocolates tested for aW and possibly shelf life and microbiological activity (depending on cost). Does anyone have any experience of sending off samples to such places? I had an issue with mold in some vegan chocs I made recently, I think I've identified the issue but I'd like to start testing batches if possible. I'm a very small producer at the moment though, so cost is a factor.I simply can't afford hundreds of pounds... Yet :)
  11. My pleasure CacaoC As noted above (somewhere!) the guar gum or other stabilisers made it impossible to work with....it stuck to both the mould and the piping bag and refused to let go of either. I had to use scissors to try and get it in the mould...wasn't worth the effort! Otherwise - that Aron-d looks perfect. You may want to use a little more cocoa butter as the milk I used was only 50% water...and the fats are important. It's a 'cleaner' tasting caramel when it's done because there's no dairy fats or proteins. But it works well enough and doesn't really taste of c
  12. Absolutely - happy to help....it drove me mad getting a vegan caramel to work! 1. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the sugar and stir it in with a fork to distribute it. 2. Get a large, heavy bottom pan on the hob and start heating it - when hot (but not stupidly hot!) add a third of the sugar. Shake it around and stir it on med-high heat until it's almost all melted. Continue adding sugar (I do it in thirds) and stirring until it's all melted and a nice dark amber colour. 3. Meanwhile - heat the coconut milk - you'll need to stir that as well because it'll be lumpy to s
  13. I use a vegan coconut milk powder from a company called Real Food source - it contains: coconut milk, maltodextrin (from corn), tapioca syrup (no idea why) and cyclodextrin (dietary fibre). Works beautifully
  14. For anyone who dips into this thread lookin for a recipe - it's here
  15. So.....just thought I'd report back on *finally* having a success with vegan caramel! Many thanks to all of you for your contributions..they were a HUGE help. Final working recipe: 190g Sugar (from sugar beet...not cane....cane sugar is refined with bone char and therefore not vegan) 97g Coconut Milk (plain full coconut milk, not just the cream. Finally found one with no additives at all) 40g Cocoa Butter No need to add salt as the coconut milk adds some saltiness anyway. I found it's REALLY important to watch the coconut milk as both heating
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