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Douglas K

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Everything posted by Douglas K

  1. 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 wh
  2. 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.
  3. @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
  4. 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.
  5. @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?
  6. @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
  7. @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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. So, I don’t have an EZ Temper, but this seemed to be the best place to ask this since it’s the same process. I’m making silk in a sous vide bath. An EZ Temper is out of the question right now for me since I’m not a professional, and will not ever be one. If I were, it would definitely be a high priority item since I like the method of tempering, and the EZ temper way is such an easy way to do it with instant results. My failures with tempering has been not being patient with my stirring in of the grated solid “silk”. I’ll never have a chocolate business, so my emphasis is buying equipment to d
  12. What are people using for a wrap for bars. I’m new to this, and the one business I know that does bean to bar wraps in plastic sleeves, which I don’t want to do. I see foil wraps, and various paper lined wraps. I’m looking at Alufoil foil on 15# tissue. Is this a normal inner wrap for bars?
  13. This weekend I made my largest batch of chocolate so far. 2500 grams. A mix of nibs I had left over from other batches, but the predominant is from Fiji. A 56% milk chocolate which I tweaked my previous recipe on to make it a bit darker. The idea is to use it for shells for bonbons, but man it tastes pretty good on it’s own. I decided to practice decorating the bars for the first time. I’ve not done this before, so I piped some white chocolate I made last weekend into a couple of the molds, and this is the result. Definitely a learning experience because the other mold didn’t turn out so well.
  14. Those are all interesting answers. I realize it was a somewhat generic question, but my specific examples kind of shocked me. @teonzo I worked in California winemaking (winemaking and beer brewing were my formal education), and I am certainly aware of differing tastes between Europe and the USA 😉. A major part of winemaking is having a good idea of what a wine is going to do so you can get it where you want at bottling, so I was curious how chocolatiers looked it. So many different permutations to be aware of! @Jim D. My lavender flowers were freshly purchased from a local and rel
  15. That’s amazing! Is the frame edible too???
  16. I am very new to the world of chocolate. I do have goals, but I honestly don’t want to have a business. I’m old, and ready to retire, so I don’t want any of that stress. Mainly I’m about making chocolate from beans, but I’ve started making bonbons as an aside to use what I make. So here’s something interesting I’ve found. One of my early efforts was a lavender ganache made from Greweling’s recipe in his book. When I made it, the ganache punched me in the mouth with the lavender flavor. I got worried at the strength and lack of sweetness, and added a small layer of a soft caramel to the fillin
  17. So finally something I know a little bit about. I work in instrumentation and controls in a large food processing plant, well more in the information side of things now, but that’s my history. Yes, it’s definitely a good idea to drain your compressor on a regular basis. So one, yes it can cause rust in the tank and weaken it. If it gets weak enough, it will explode, though more likely it will tear and leak horribly, but explode is a good way to scare you into maintenance. And two, even if you have a filter and a separator (I’m sure no one really has a true drier here, but it’s possible) then t
  18. I am thinking I found the culprit, somewhat embarrassingly enough. When cleaning it the other day, I pulled off the grinding wheels, and was trying to clean inside the shaft area when I moved one of the bushings out. I didn’t realize they would come out so easily. Normally when I work with something pressed in like that it’s much tighter. Anyhow, I took them all out, and sure enough there was still some chocolate as well as water from washing. I will definitely be adding that step to my cleaning regimen. I’m somewhat obsessive with cleaning have worked in the wine and beer industries, and bein
  19. My recipe was 27% nibs, 18% cocoa butter, 18% whole dry milk powder, and 26% sugar. By my calculations that between 35 and 36% fat, but it’s possible the nibs were lower in fat and could be the cause of the issue. Nothing fell apart, and no chunks of anything in the chocolate, but I was definitely worried.
  20. @jedovaty I’ve definitely given in to the mess. It’s funny where I will find a smear of chocolate, but as you say it cleans up easily with water. @Jim D. and @Kerry Beal I appreciate the tips. I have used parchment paper for catching drips when resting the molds, but never thought of just dumping the chocolate onto it. I never saw myself really getting into making confections a lot, but rather found it a good way to use chocolate as I learn to make it. I like to cook so it combines my interests, and I’m really finding it a lot of fun, and so I see myself doing it a lot more.
  21. @Kerry Beal It was polycarbonate. I did not have a good scraper yet then, but I do now! Amazing how much easier it is with a proper tool. This was only my second batch, so I’m learning as I go along. There’s so many things to keep track of, and I tend to rush things when I haven’t done them before. Plus figuring out how to hold things etc. while trying to get the chocolate mostly back in the bowl... it’s quite a choreography. The last batch was much better.
  22. I made my fifth ever batch of chocolate over the weekend, a 45% milk chocolate. I did the usual warming of everything, and the batch started off without a hitch. After running 24 hours I got ready to cool the chocolate to temper, and the stone seemed awfully hot. Sure enough the chocolate was 147 degrees F. Normally it comes out at around 120. The chocolate seemed kind of thick, but this is my first batch as low as 45%, so not sure if that’s normal. The chocolate tempered just fine, and tastes fine for have gotten so hot. I’m wondering if I got a minuscule amount of water in the batch? I’m not
  23. Thank you Kerry, you’re one of my heroes here so much appreciated. I think he’s there to take care of our fruit flies as well. We’re having our first snow as I type this (101 F in Denver on Saturday and today is Tuesday) so much less to worry about them now. They never seem to hang out in the winter, the fruit flies that is, not sure where spiders go.
  24. I am new to chocolate, but have been a home cook all my life. I have been reading here for awhile as I go on my chocolate journey. I learn a lot from the things I read here, but I really don’t have a lot to contribute since I am such a novice, especially with chocolate, so I thought I’d share something light with the community to hopefully give you something fun to take your mind off of some of our intensity these days. Sunday I made my second batch ever of bonbons, and they’re made with my own chocolate, a lavender ganache filling with a little taste of salted caramel. I saw this little guy o
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