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Douglas K

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    Denver, Colorado and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

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  1. Interesting. We will be moving to Puerto Rico in a couple of years, and I was wondering this same thing. Here in Colorado during the summer I can get the house cool enough in the mornings to be able to work until 11 AM or so depending on the day. I do use the fridge, and our basement pretty much keeps below 75 so I can put my molds down there.
  2. These are definitely like the Tomric molds, but more bendy as you say because there’s no rim around the mold to stiffen up the whole thing. The letters themselves don’t seem to flex too much. Piping the chocolate is definitely a good idea. We’ll see how it goes!
  3. Thank you Kerry. All I’ve used are the heavy polycarbonate ones, well except for the one Tomric bar mold that is lighter weight. Here’s hoping this works, and it’s what my family member wants!
  4. I have a one-off project needing chocolate letters. I’m not really finding a lot that fits my needs, and I really don’t want to spend a lot for a one time deal. I’m also not a professional, and I’m doing the project for family. I did come across these Cake Girl letters that are about perfect in terms of size. I was wondering I anyone had experience with these, and if they made a decently finished product.
  5. I would also add the Cocktail Codex by the same folks who did Death and Co.
  6. So, as a former winemaker, I can tell you that malic acid is just another organic acid. If you’re making chocolate, then I can’t see that because the fruit base contained more malic acid, that it would create any flavor issues for you. Malic acid is a less strong tasting acid, so it won’t be cutting through the chocolate as much. In winemaking we’d do malolactic fermentation for two reasons. First for stability in reds, so it happens in barrel or tank rather than in bottle, second mainly for Chardonnays to get the buttery flavor (which I hate) from diacetyl which is a byproduct depending on what bacteria you used. Long term it isn’t an issue in reds since it breaks down over time in the acid environment. Likely too much information, but there you go. Make on and don’t worry.
  7. Haven’t seen the slofoodsgroup website. Looks good. I’ve been buying my Vanilla beans and Saffron from Vanilla Saffron Imports saffron.com. Originally it was because of saffron (which is great, and I am pretty particular about saffron), but they used to offer a chefs quality vanilla beans which were shorter and not as even in length as first quality, but just as good. I used to use more vanilla beans when I did more home brewing, and had a popular vanilla porter. Now it’s just a few beans here and there, and I was also surprised at the price increase after my last large (for me) order ran out. Anyhow, I’d be interested in trying out their Uganda vanilla beans with the Ugandan nibs I’ve bought to make chocolate. Little known fact about me. My avatar as I guess you’d call it, or my profile picture is of my dog whose name is Saffron. It’s an important spice to me, and she is more precious than the most expensive spice. She’s over 13 years old now and still totally spunky. I’ll never regret giving her that name, nor adopting her as a pound puppy. She’s the best dog, beautiful, sweet, incredibly smart, and just an all around great friend. I wish she could live forever!
  8. @curls I will never discourage anyone from doing something like tabling chocolate to temper it. Full bore ahead if you want to learn it. For many of us it is impractical to say the least. I’m definitely a novice, and I have no desire to be a professional, so doing the easiest possible thing for what is possibly the most daunting task in chocolate is what I’m about. Seeding chocolate, especially since I am taking it from the melanger is the simplest most foolproof (me being the fool) method I’ve done. I realize that there is some honor and tradition in learning the old method, but for me if the end product is the same, I’m all for easy and slightly skilled. This is coming from someone who is generally more of a traditionalist. Ultimately I’m not about screwing up a bunch of batches to learn when I get it right every time with little skill. I guess I’m a bit of an idiot, but proud of it this time.
  9. I find these issues common with the books. They just don’t edit or proofread these well. Like for example using sorbitol should it be powder or liquid? Same with other ingredients. At least with Wybauw he will say Boiron purée, which is not universal. There’s too much assumption about what the reader knows.
  10. @Chuck Avalon I guess I am going to find out since I just bought a lifetime’s worth (for me) of paper lined foil from Alufoil. I do appreciate you confirming that the plastic sleeves just aren’t right. To my mind they just don’t give the impression of a quality product. I am not a pro, and won’t ever be one (unless it’s on a hobby basis out of Puerto Rico) so the margins aren’t an issue. It’s more how what I make looks. What other suppliers are there out there for foil for bars?
  11. @Jim D. Yes, that’s the actual term! The other possibility from the chemistry world is a stainless steel weighing spatula. Anything with the lab name of course is expensive, but there are possibilities like this: https://www.amazon.com/Scoop-Reagent-Stainless-Sampling-Spatulas/dp/B06ZXW9467/ref=pd_lpo_328_img_2/137-3182723-2384069?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B06ZXW9467&pd_rd_r=a996aaae-194e-4cdd-911a-71c795187296&pd_rd_w=ZW9UN&pd_rd_wg=fUmXN&pf_rd_p=7b36d496-f366-4631-94d3-61b87b52511b&pf_rd_r=55C6PFF0MMKXNBNYD623&psc=1&refRID=55C6PFF0MMKXNBNYD623 I’m a big fan of repurposing things for other uses.
  12. @Jim D. If you are thinking of metal, perhaps there’s an artists palette knife in stainless steel that might work. Dick Blick or Jerry’s Artarama are good sources online. I also remember from my chemistry days we used a “rubber policeman” which fit on the end of a stirring rod. They were of varying stiffness depending on the material.
  13. In my defense, I don’t think I’ve used the term “silk” for the solid cocoa butter, it just doesn’t seem right to me. If I have, then it was an honest mistake. However, I am making “silk” in the sous vide. I’ve only timed it right once where I could use it right out of the jar for tempering. My original question still remains which is still about slightly too warm of “silk” in what I’ll call a “milk” phase. If I just lower the temperature a bit would it go back to the “silk” phase? I’ll experiment this weekend and see since I have the same cocoa butter, and my notes on the temperatures. I guess we’ve just defined new phases of matter: solid, silk, milk, liquid, gas. 🤪 Now to make the confectioner’s periodic table.
  14. Thanks @GRiker. I should have been more clear. I do exactly what you do with micro planing, and dumping it all in at once. My first batches everything was moving so fast for me that I just didn’t wait long enough for it to melt completely and do its job. I re-tempered that batch with the more traditional lower and raise temperature method, which taught me some patience. I did completely melt the cocoa butter this time and let it solidify. When I let this batch which was over melted, and yet still milky, solidify, it made a nice uniform solid in the jar. Lowering the temperature .4 degrees F the second time around made a perfect batch.
  15. Funny that this became a thing. 8 years ago I went with my wife to Europe, and we spent a week in Amsterdam so she could learn where my family came from. One day we stopped in a bar/cafe and my wife wanted hot chocolate, and they came out with a hot cup of milk with a solid chocolate on a stick to stir in it. It was great, so I made hot chocolate on a stick for Christmas gifts that year for family, and it was amazingly well received. Fast forward to now, and it’s all about bombs. Go figure. The neat thing with the stick is you made it as strong as you wanted.
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