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Anthony C

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Everything posted by Anthony C

  1. You are not wrong there Jim. This is one of the reasons I weigh every mold after I shell it. I can see the masses increasing through my shelling run and reduce the standing time accordingly and also raise the working temperature of the chocolate in my melter slighly as the run progresses and the crystals keep forming. After a couple of hours though I tend to give up and will retemper the chocolate. I think the most molds I shell in one go is about 50 on a good day. Sometimes when I have maybe overtempered the chocolate a bit, I give up after about 15 molds πŸ™„
  2. As I am that fussy ex-Scientist, all my ganache recipes are optimised to make enough for 1 tray, then I just multiply up. I very rarely have more than about 20g of ganache left even if I make enough for 12 trays, so I don't tend to freeze any. Except when I mess up and make enough for 10 trays when I only have 6 or 7 trays to fill, which has happened more times than it should πŸ˜‚
  3. Up to about 3.5 kilos is OK for me to handle. Haven't really tried anything bigger than that yet. I have some huge piping bags that I can get about 2 kilos of ganache in, but if i fill them then I get serious arm ache by the time I finish the bag πŸ˜‚ I have an immersion blender that I use on a couple of ganaches... fig and banana... or i find they are a bit fibery (is fibery even a word?) Don't think it is that strong though, so maybe need to invest in a better one if I am going to be making big batches πŸ‘
  4. Cheers Jim, you have highlighted some of my concerns there. One of the ganaches is fig based and always thickens up pretty quickly so I think I will opt for the 2 preps with that one at least, rather than trying to do it all in one go... It's just more prep time of course. I am not usually one for reheating ganaches, though I know people do. Have never had one separate yet, but have probably only tried it 5 or 6 times. I tend to make what I need and use it all. One of my other concerns was homogeneity of the ganache. As I mix all mine by hand, it's easy to see and feel that they are well mixed when there is a small amount... The larger it gets the more difficult I find it. I suppose I could always use a blender πŸ€”
  5. Hi there, When making molded bonbons, I use about 220-240g of ganache for each mold of 32 bonbons. Normally I make between 3 and 12 molds of each type of bonbon in each production run, therefore I usually make between 650g and 2.8kg of ganache. I have just received an order that means I will be producing batches of 32 trays of each flavour of bonbon. This equates to about 7.5kg of ganache for each flavour. I am a bit concerned about making batches this large (mixing, handling, dosing etc), so will probably make 2 smaller batches per flavour, but was wondering if anyone out there made large volumes of ganache and if there are any issues. Maybe 7.5kg isn't really that large and it's not an issue. Any insights much appreciated
  6. Yes Jim, I basically shell them twice if they are too thin... but it doesn't happen too often as I have learnt to leave the chocolate in the mold longer for before inverting the mold and emptying the chocolate. The first mold of the day is a bit of guess work... why can't chocolate just behave the same every day πŸ˜†
  7. I mainly use Ponthier because it is the only one easily available where I am, and find they are pretty good. I have also used Capfruit and Ravifruit which are ok too. For things like guava, tuno indio (cactus fruit) and banana I make my own.... banana because it is easy and we have loads of bananas in the Canary Islands, and Guava and Tuno Indio because I can't buy it. The Tuno Indio is a pain in the posterior though πŸ™„
  8. Hi there... my tuppence worth.... I use the CW2295 dome molds as well. One other thing to maybe consider is the thickness of the shell. A thin shell will not release easily. Then again no-one wants a really thick shell. For added info, I also use a wine fridge to cool my shells (normally operating at between 11 and 15Β°C) I often use a dark chocolate with 5 droplets (Cacao Barry - Tanzanie) for molding, and it is so fluid that it sometimes results in shells that are too thin and won't release. A while ago it got to the point where I started to weigh each mold after shelling to ensure there is enough chocolate to contract and release. In a CW2295 mold, I aim for between 90 and 110 grams of chocolate in total for my shells, so each shell is between about 2.8g and 3.5g. Anything less than about 80g total and the release can become difficult/impossible and also some of my bonbons might crack depending on the fillings, as the shells are a bit thin (usually fruit based ones I find.. maybe they expand and crack the shell πŸ€”). Anything over the 110g and the shells are a bit thick for my liking though this is an individual choice I guess. I find that couvertures with 4 droplets are ideal for obtaining shells of my desired thickness. I still have days where I have to whack the mold to get some bonbons to release, and the occasional one that needs a few minutes in the freezer, but hardly any compared to where I was a year ago πŸ‘ I am probably too fussy in my production, with all the weighing etc. I guess it comes from being an analytical chemist in my days before chocolate. Standard procedures, accuracy, precision and all that 😝
  9. I usually work at 21Β°C with the aircon on, but on hotter days where even the aircon struggles, I will work up to 23Β°C. Like Rajala, I don't work above 23Β°C. I always have the humidity below 60% though.
  10. Hi EsaK, I considered this option but the long term running costs of keeping the entire room cool with correct humidity 24hrs per day, outweighed the initial cost benefits for me (I am in the Canary Islands though where temperature in Las Palmas rarely goes below 20Β°C even in winter) Also, I like my bonbons stored and displayed at around 16Β°C which the AC couldn't handle. I don't "put away" my bonbons into storage overnight, just leave them in the display cabinet with it running but the lights off. I guess everywhere is different though, and what works for me might not be ideal for everyone else.
  11. Hi Pastrygirl, Just for info, our case cost about 6200 euros (7300 dollars) and we have been very happy with it so far. It is designed specifically for chocolate with temperature and humidty control (40-60%). Only slight drawback is that it is quite loud. We got the 1200mm version. We find the humidity control very important as it keeps the bonbons nice and shiny. https://www.ifi.it/es/drop-in-delice.html
  12. Wow Jim... just took a look at your website... an amazing selection of fillings you have there. Don't think I could cope with that many. I struggle with my 18 standard flavours, 8 exclusive flavours for a customer, and 1 or 2 specials per month. You have over 100 delicious sounding fillings listed on your site... Bravo πŸ‘‹
  13. Nice breakdown on timings there pastrygirl.. I guess my times are a little slower than yours but not massively, though I do find that my shelling takes much longer than my capping. For my production I am working on both wholesale orders for some hotels I supply and then inventory for my shop. Like pastrygirl, I sometimes have problems "guessing" the numbers for inventory. Fortunately, I never seem to have bonbons that go beyond their "best before" date, but I still try to keep the turnover relatively rapid as for some bonbons the flavour seems to fade a bit even if they are still safe to eat. This does mean that sometimes I run out of a flavour or two before I can get them back on the shelf... that can be a good thing though as people see they are in demand and as long as I have a good selection on offer nobody seems to mind. I only box for my hotel orders and for boxes of the hotel chocolates that I sell in my shop. All my other bonbons are on display and people select what they want... it saves me loads of time in boxing, and the person who works in my shop prepares all the empty boxes before the shop opens in the mornings. Generally I find most people seem to enjoy the selecting flavours part of the purchase, though it can cause a queue to form on busy days especially at Christmas. Also, it means that people avoid the flavours they might not like. The display can look really cool and add a wow factor, so I would certainly recommend having one if you can. I think I work more like Jim in my production technique, not having a nice "all singing all dancing" tempering machine like pastrygirl. I also tend to shell a lot of molds at the same time and then leave some in my cooler until I get round to filling and capping a few days later. I also apply a similar process with spraying molds, so if I am using certain colours for some flavours, I might spray some molds for other flavours where the same colours are required, but not use them for a couple of days. Normally I have about 1000 bonbons ready for sale in my shop. The freezing idea was something that curls mentioned way back in this thread, which is something I really need to look at more closely. Not sure about repeated freezing though.. sounds a bit on the risky side to me 🀫 Not sure how it is for you guys, but in Spain I have to keep detailed records of the lot numbers and expiry dates of all the ingredients I use in each batch of bonbons, which takes me more time than I would like, and also assign lot numbers to the batches I make so that I can record production date and final sale/disposal date. Any boxes I sell to the hotels also have to be labelled up with their ingredients, allergens, lot number, best before date etc. Printing and applying stickers to every box seems to take up too much of my time. I have 18 standard flavours, where I might change 1 or 2 once or twice a year, but only when I run out of printed flavour guides. Then I might put out 2 or 3 special editions flavours each month to supplement and to keep regular customers interested. One shape is enough for me, but I do make the hearts at valentines and then some Christmas figures during the holidays... which are a pain in the proverbial. Oh, and retail price is a bit lower here at about 1.75 euros (about 2.10 dollars) per piece buy then I think my costs are generally lower too.
  14. Just checked my compressor.. 60 psi not 20 πŸ˜‚
  15. Ah yes, the joys of waiting for things to heat and cool πŸ™„ Not to mention the stirring and the stirring and the stirring.. I am impressed that you handle all the stages in such an efficient manner. 5.5 hours for 7 moulds, start to finish, with post office and lunch seems a lot. Then again, I am a man so multitasking is way beyond my skill level πŸ€” As for the airbrushing, my compressor runs at about 20psi I think.. will check later when I am at my workshop. Takes me about 2-3 minutes to spray a mould, including a couple of pauses to blast the airbrush with a hairdryer. Was thinking of getting an airgun instead of an airbrush, but I don't think my extraction would handle all the overspray... I am already a very messy airbrusher. I think its more the time heating the butters and swapping between colours that adds to my time airbrushing, and when a mold has several colours or a painted design along with airbrushing. Which Selmi did you get? All the ones I have seen are way out of my budget for now. Would be great to hear how it goes with that.
  16. I think we can see just from this small thread that everyone has a different method of cleaning or not cleaning their molds πŸ˜† I guess the thing is to find something that works for you, gives good results and doesn't give you too much stress πŸ‘
  17. No, I use a soft towel for drying. Then a towel for polishing glasses to do my final polish. I only dry the cavities though.. to make sure there is no moisture in them. I leave the molds overnight then so that the rest air dries. I think a hairdryer could result in the water evaporating and leaving any salts behind so I don't know if that is a good idea. Maybe others use this technique and I am just being over cautious.
  18. Hi there, From my experience I don't think not heating the molds would be a big issue. I don't heat any of my molds, they are at 21/22 degrees C (the temperature of my workshop) before filling and I normally don't have any issues. My workshop is also humidity controlled (less than 60%) The cleaning/polishing of molds is something that drives me crazy. I clean after each use as you do. Finally settled on a process of washing the molds in hot water then dry straight away to avoid any salts from the water getting left on the mold. I then polish before use. I used to have loads of issues with coloured cocoa butters getting left on the molds, and still get the occasional one or two bonbons that stick a bit and lose a bit of colour, but never had the sticking chocolate issue that you have there either with bonbons or tablets. Clean molds and well tempered chocolate should result in a clean release I'd have thought. Good luck!
  19. Hi there.. I make salted caramel using the dry method. I sometimes get a few bubbles in my caramel.. maybe it is my stirring technique too. I don't use a blender like Jim because my batches of caramel are relatively small (0.5 - 0.75kg), so I don't see the need, and because I don't want to clean it after, but I can't imagine it would cause an issue. I use a pastry bag to fill my bonbons and then leave them in my cooler for a few hours or overnight before sealing. Most bubbles seem to disappear during the piping stage and 99% of any others seem to have gone by the time I come to seal the bonbons. As Jim says, the AW of caramel is generally super low so any bonbons should last for ages without risk to children! I have tested mine after 8 weeks and they were fine, though my production batches never last this long as these are one of my top sellers. Enjoy your caramel.
  20. Hi Pastrygirl...thanks for your imput. I also use the CW2295 from Chocolate World, with the 32 cavities. Like yourself, typically it would be 3/4 molds per flavour, though sometimes I might just do 1 or 2 for an experimental batch. On occasion I do larger batches of 10-20 molds of a flavour when I am producing for events / bigger hotel orders, which definitely speeds things up on the filling side. I tend to spread my production over several days. I'll spend a day polishing and painting. The next day I might shell those and fill some others already shelled. Day after seal the ones I filled the day before etc. Do you produce whole batches in a day from start to finish, or have I misread your post? That seems pretty intense. To get my approx 5000 bonbons a month I need to turn out about 36 molds per week, which is manageable so long as there aren't any disasters. 8000 bonbons a month would be 58 molds a week (with no holidays) and I think that would be pushing my sanity especially as I really don't enjoy polishing molds πŸ€ͺ At the moment I use cocoa butter from chocolate world, but the range is a bit limited, so have just set up an international account with Chef Rubber. They are a bit more expensive, and I have no idea on shipping costs yet, but reviews seem good and the range of colours looks fantastic. Sometimes its quite dificut to find suppliers that will ship to us, due to our unique situation of being within the European Union but outside of it for VAT (sales tax) purposes. What brand do you use? Backing with white is a yes for certain colours e.g. yellow, orange, green and red that are very translucent and lose effect on dark/milk chocolate. Other colours such as the pink, light blue, copper, are more opaque and don't seem to require white backing. Also, sometimes not applying the white backing gives me an additional colour effect.. my mojito and matcha bonbons both have the same green, but the mojito has white backing that makes it light and bright, whereas the matcha tea has a dusting of silver first but no white backing to give a shiny, deep green effect. Have a great day!
  21. Thanks for your reply Curls, and the suggestions, To be honest, the Covid things has been a key issue for me, and it started about 3 months after I opened, having a pretty massive impact. For a few months I was completely shut and received very limited support from the government as the business had very limited history of earning anything. My production is in one place, outlet in the hotel is at another and I have to pay someone to be there. 2500 bonbons basically covers my costs (rents, salaries etc.) and 5000 gives me a pretty great month. With covid its been down at the 2500 level pretty much every month, except around Christmas, and sometimes it has been lower. My bottle necks are the polishing molds and spraying. The shelling, filling and sealing I could cope with more as an extra 10-15 molds each batch doesn't seem to have a major impact on that from my limited experience. Have considered additional molds, both for flexibility and increased volume, but the polishing/spraying would still be the issue. Thinking of having a part-timer in to do the polishing, though employing people in Spain is a major headache and the reason why I have been trying to avoid it. A wider range of products that are quicker/easier to produce could indeed help, but most people seem to prefer the colourful bonbons... eating with the eyes I guess. Here in the Islands the shiny/colourful bonbons are a relatively new thing, so people gravitate to them. It is something that I shall certainly consider again, though buying a guitar & enrober are relatively large investments for me right now, especially as everything here has to be imported and therefore gets hit by additional import duties... typically around 25% Freezing is something I keep considering, and have looked at many threads on this. I should really get around to trying it, as this could be a life saver, especially towards Christmas. Definitely considering buying a freezer for this. You are right about the long hours... a few days or weeks here and there is ok, but is not sustainable. Thanks again for your feedback.
  22. Thanks for the reply Jim.. glad you like the look of the bonbons, though obviously the taste is the most important think. Glad to hear that I am not the only one out here that struggles with big volumes πŸ˜„ What's this you say about a life beyond chocolate making? Does that exist? 😜
  23. Hi all, First post here so please bear with me... I have been running a small chocolate business in the Canary Islands for a couple of years, mainly making molded bonbons with various fillings, but also a few bars and other things when I have the time. With the pandemic things have been a bit slow as my outlet is based in a hotel, but I generally make between 2500 and 5000 bonbons a month. All the bonbons are are airbrushed, which seems to take way too long πŸ™„ At the moment it is just me doing production, so I have to do all the washing, polishing, spraying, filling, sealing and boxing myself, plus all the annoying paperwork that goes with it. Last Christmas I made about 12,000 bonbons in December but it nearly killed me πŸ˜‚ With my current setup, I have no automation... I use 2 melters (one 12kg and one 3kg) and temper by seeding. At the moment I am in discussions with a potential client who is talking about buying approx 2400 bonbons (600 boxes of 4) every 15 days. On the plus side, I might actually make some money... on the negative side, will it kill me making nearly 10,000 bonbons a month? 😢 I was wondering what other people think a reasonable number of bonbons to produce is? How many can you guys churn out in a month? Maybe I am just really slow and inefficient, but would love to know how many bonbons others can produce before I consider employing help. Any imput received would be greatly appreciated. I have attached a pic of my shop display so that you can see the type of things I am making πŸ‘ Thanks, Anthony
  24. Hi there... am a bit late adding to this, sorry. First, best of luck with your venture.. plenty of hard work ahead but hopefully enjoyable too. Agree with the posters above that say a temperature/humidity controlled case is the way to go. They can be expensive though... we were on a tight budget and still had to shell out 6.5k euros. When we were looking around it seems that most display cases in europe are made in Italy. Our case came from https://www.ifi.it/en though we had to order through a local distributor, and took about 6 weeks to arrive because of shipping. We have ours set to maintain the bonbons at 14-18Β°C and a humidty of 40-60%. P.S. Our case eats electricity nearly as fast as our customers eat our bonbons, so keep an eye on the power consumption numbers
  25. Hi to everyone out there. Have been browsing the forums here for a while and finally decided to sign up and get more involved. I run a small chocolate business in Gran Canaria, which was set up 4 months before Covid turned up... Perfect timing πŸ™„ Have just about managed to survive all the lockdowns and lack of tourist trade for the last year or so. On here to pick up tips and advice on growing a small business and happy to offer any back from my limited experience. Hope you all have a great day out there, Anthony
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