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Found 1,170 results

  1. [Manager note: Follow this conversation from the begining at Chocolates with that showroom finish, 2004 - 2011] heard somewhere that the higher the % of cocoa in a chocolate then the thicker it is when in temper? is this true? it might explain things a little when im trying to temper the chocolate at work. Also, whats a good precise thermometer to use for tempering thanks
  2. Hi guys. Came across these amazing bon bons on Instagram. How would you say I could replicate the design? thabks.
  3. Ok, so we tend to show off the jewels of the production, but certainly in my kitchen, there is a lot of stuff produced that is less than picture perfect. Let's bring them out into the light - as long as they taste good, the looks are bonus. I'll open by demonstrating how not to make a beautiful cocoa butter swirl. It was beautiful, but the swirl stayed firmly in the mould. It is salty caramel and almond. Tasty!
  4. Has anyone taken one of Andrey's classes. I know they've been mentioned in the How Do They Do That thread, but I can't remember if anyone has taken a course. I'm curious because he continues to do methods that are groundbreaking. Not cheap for an online course, but I'm interested in taking his praline course. I just watched his free tempering class and it was good, nothing special but good enough to allay my fears that the Russian to English translation or camerawork might make the class not worthwhile. Thnx.
  5. I've heard several folks say that, in their opinion, Askinosie is turning out the best chocolate in the country right now, so I ordered some of their single origin cocoa powder: Davao Philippines I get that to make ice cream, you're supposed to use "Dutch process" cocoa powder, which this isn't, but was hoping it would work anyway. The taste was terrific, as anticipated, but the texture was not. It was gritty. I got in touch with Askinosie about this and they told me that there are quite a few artisanal ice cream makers that use their powder, so there must be a way to do it, although they didn't know what it was. Do any of you?
  6. Has anyone successfully made this at home before? The recipe from their cookbook isn't descriptive enough and I've had moderate success with it but the sabayon texture just looks much more aerated in the ambroisie version
  7. As a lot of you already know, Kerry Beal has been working on a device to help the artisan chocolate maker – the EZtemper. I got a chance to see the EZtemper in action this weekend at the eGullet Chocolate and Confection 2015 workshop and it was nothing short of amazing. Dead simple to operate, you basically just load a container with cocoa butter and turn it on. Allow it to work overnight (about 12 hours, I think) and the EZtemper will produce cocoa butter silk i.e. Form V Beta crystals. The cocoa butter is transformed into a mayonnaise-like consistency which can then be used to instantly temper any melted chocolate or ganache. Like Mycryo, you add 1% by weight to melted chocolate at the proper temperature; however, the chocolate silk produced by the EZtemper is superior, in my opinion, because you don’t have to worry about melting out the Mycryo cocoa butter crystals and incorporating it into the melted chocolate. You just have to stir the silk in – much more easy. Not only that, but you can use it to temper your ganaches which we all know produces a product with longer shelf life and better mouthfeel. As if that weren’t enough, it also causes your ganache to set up much much faster. So you can pour out a slab of tempered ganache and move to cutting and enrobing a short while later. I think this device is going to revolutionize the chocolate industry. You should consider it for your confectionery business if you want to save a lot of time and produce a superior product. Take a look at the web site here: http://www.eztemper.com
  8. Hoping for some help. I accidentally melted an old mould that is very important to us and I've had no luck searching around for a replacement. If anyone knows where I could buy one - or even has one to spare they would be willing to sell - please send me a message. The mould (label attached below) was originally labelled as "Easy as ABC gelatin mould", although we just call it the alphabet mould. Yes there are lots of alphabet moulds around, including new silicone ones, but we need the specific designs on this one to replace the one I damaged. Depending on the cost, I would consider paying for postage internationally (to Australia). Thanks in advance!
  9. I have Volumes 1 ,2 and 4 of Jean-Pierre Wybauw's Great Chocolate books are for sale. The books are in great shape! There is some tape on the corner of the front of volume 1 that I used to keep it together after a drop. Volume 1 is also autographed by the author (See pics below). I'm asking $150 for the lot OBO. Let me know if interested or if you have questions
  10. Has anyone ever worked with or made buttercream candies? As far as I can tell they appear to be simply fondant sugar with the addition of butter. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  11. Hello everyone, I am in the process of locating a commercial kitchen space to rent in order to produce my chocolates on a larger scale, for retail and wholesale. The challenge is that I have not been able to locate a space that has air conditioning or any kind of temperature control. Even if everything else in the facility is perfect, that's the one issue that keeps coming up. Can anyone provide guidance regarding the feasibility of working in a non temperature controlled space, and if there are any work arounds? I'd have full access to fridges, freezers, etc... Thanks in advance for any help or experiences you can share! Miriam
  12. Hello All, I am researching colorants for cacao butter with an eye toward 'natural' vegetal derived colorants. My local packaging inspector ( California ) has required me to list ALL FDA approved artificial dyes and pigments, FD&C, Lakes, on my labels. These are equivalent to EU approved artificial colors as E102 to E143, as I understand it. Is anyone else tackling this issue? Per labeling, this is a substantial amount of information as one multi-hued collection can have 6+ colors. Other chocolatiers I have noticed use blanket statements such as 'FDA approved colors' or 'Cocoa Butter with Colors'. I am hearing hints that the EU may impose stricter regulations on artificial colors. Some of these, Lakes for instance, seem very dodgy as they are based on metal (Aluminum) salts to disperse the dyes. Pur is one company that I have found that produces colorants from natural sources on an industrial scale. Their cacao butters include other additives so I am really interested in how well they spray and perform. Anyone have experience using these? Shelf life, color fastness, flavors in the colorants, all these are points of interest. Thank very much.
  13. SilverstoneBakehouse

    Coloured cocoa butter technique advice

    Hello, my name is Matthew and ever since university I've been working with racing cars but am now looking to start making filled bonbons to finally scratch an itch that has just never gone away since I first successfully tempered a batch of chocolate. I recently commissioned the creation of some custom moulds, shaped like racing helmets, with a view to supplying my filled bonbon creations to racing teams, as potential gifts for sponsors and hospitality guests. I plan to emulate some classic helmet designs (like Senna's helmet for my caramel) and also offer customisation, for any drivers who want the chocolates to resemble their own helmet designs. The custom moulds will be produced in 40 shore silicone (FDA approved), with each mould weighing 2KG, sized somewhere around 250mm square and including 20 helmet cavities. I have also purchased a Chocovision Rev2, tabletop vibrating platform, airbrush and loads of other odds and sods to assist in the process. I won't receive the moulds until later this week (hopefully) but have been doing loads of practicing and research into how I could utlilise coloured cocoa butter to create various effects on the finished product. Does anyone know of any books that are filled with graphical explanations of this, something along the lines of "by using X tool and Y technique, you can produce Z result"? My main concern is that the moulds will be difficult to decorate due to the limited accessibility of the cavity (my own fault I guess). Unlike a sphere mould where you can pipe straight lines easily, with helmet shaped cavities its a much more complex and time consuming process. I have included a couple of photos of a test helmet I cast last week. Please note that I gave little thought to the decoration of this piece, it was really just to test out whether 40 shore silicone would be too stiff for removal of the chocolate from the mould. I would appreciate any advice you are able and willing to provide, as I embark on this new adventure. Thanks Matthew
  14. Somehow I had missed that this existed until today. Anyone listening to The Slow Melt chocolate podcast?
  15. The basic formula for these cakes was developed by the wife of a mayonnaise salesman in an effort to help him out. I did a bit of research, and have found many variations. Early variants generally involve using less cocoa, which I cannot recommend. Later variants involve using cold water instead of boiling, adding salt, and additional leaveners. I personally do not feel that any additional salt is needed, as mayonnaise and that famous, tangy brand of salad dressing (sometimes the label just says 'Dressing') both contain a fair amount of salt. If you are using homemade mayonnaise or a low sodium product, an eighth teaspoon of salt may boost the flavor a bit. And, of course, somewhere along the way fans who prefer a certain salad dressing over mayonnaise started using it to make this cake. Nowadays, the Hellman's website has a different formula -one with added eggs and baking powder. I have not tried this newer formulation. Some versions of this recipe specify sifted cake flour. This will result in a very light cake with virtually no structural integrity, due to the paucity of eggs in this recipe compared to a regular cake. Cupcakes made this way give beautifully light results. However, every time I try to make a traditional 8" double layer cake with cake flour, I experience collapse. I recommend AP flour or at least a mix of cake and pastry flour. I have never made this with a gluten-free flour replacer. This recipe does not have very much structural integrity and as such does not make a good candidate for a gluten-free cake. I have made this cake many times, the type of sandwich spread you choose will affect the outcome. Made with mayonnaise, the cake has a good chocolate flavor and moistness. Made with that famous, tangy, off-white salad dressing that gets used as a sandwich spread, the cake has a subtle bit of extra brightness to the flavor. If one chooses to use a vegan mayonnaise, the result is tasty but lacking a little in structure; I would bake this in a square pan and frost and serve from the pan. The cocoa you use will also affect the flavor. For a classic, homey flavor use a supermarket brand of cocoa. To add a little sophistication, use better, artisan type cocoa and use chocolate extract instead of the vanilla extract. Supposedly, the traditional frosting for this cake should have a caramel flavor. Look for one where you actually caramelize some sugar first. Modern recipes for the icing seem like weak imitations to me; using brown sugar as the main flavor instead of true caramel. Chocolate Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing Cake makes enough for two 8" round pans, or a 9" square (about 7 cups of batter) 2 ounces/56g unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa 1 cup/236g boiling water 1 teaspoon/4g regular strength vanilla extract 3/4 cup/162g mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or salad dressing (the tangy, off-white, sandwich spread type dressing) 10.5ounces/300g all-purpose flour 7 ounces/200g sugar 0.35ounce/10g baking soda Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease or spray two 8" round pans or an equivalent volume square or rectangle. Place the cocoa in a medium (4-5 cup) bowl. Add the hot water and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Allow to cool down a little, then add the vanilla extract and the mayonnaise or salad dressing spread. Beat well to eliminate lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer or larger regular bowl if making by hand, sift in the flour and add the sugar and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients to distribute evenly. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter has an even color. Pour immediately into the pans. If making two 8" rounds, weigh them to ensure they contain equal amounts. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the center of the top springs back when touched lightly. (The toothpick test does NOT work well on this moist cake!) Allow the cake to cool a little and shrink from the sides of the pan before removing. Removal is easier while still a little warm. Good with or without frosting. Good beginner cake for kids to make.
  16. As a newbie here I thought, before piling in with my own questions, I'd pull together some of the things I've learned in my first months of chocolate making - in case this helps others who embark on the same path. Many of these learnings came from eGullet, some from elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for all the many sources of experience and insight. Cooking technique is quite personal so of course not everyone will agree with my idiosyncratic list of course. Most useful equipment so far Cooking isn't really about the equipment - you can make fine chocolates with hardly any equipment - but here are the things which have helped me the most. 1. Small tempering machine. This got me started on chocolate making with a superb easy path. The ChocoVision Rev 2B (with the "holey baffle" which increases its capacity) just gets the tempering perfect every time. Yes, I could temper in the microwave or on a slab, but it's great to take away any uncertainty about the final finish, by using this great machine. Downsides: continuously noisy, doesn't have the capacity for large batches. 2. Plenty of silicon baking mats (Silpat clones). I use these not just for ganache and inverting moulds onto, but also just to keep the kitchen clean! Working at home, I create a lot of mess and found I could reduce the risk of divorce by spreading large sheets (60x40cm size) across the work surface. So much easier to clean, and I can scrape unused chocolate back into the supply for next time. I get mine directly from China through AliExpress where they are about 1/3 of the local price. Then, for a further cost saving I ordered a couple of sheets of stainless steel at exactly the same 40x30 size, from a hobbyist place, and stuck some rubber feet underneath. The silicon mat + steel sheet can then easily be carried to the cool room. I got metal bars made up by another hobbyist place (an eGullet suggestion) which was a cheap alternative to caramel bars. 3. Scrapers. Life got better when I stopped trying to scrape moulds with a regular palette knife. I found we had two Japanese okomoniyaki spatulas from Japanese cooking which were perfect! 4. Polycarbonate moulds. Again in order to afford a bunch of these, I get them from China via AliExpress where they are £5-£7 each (including shipping) rather than £18 (+£10 shipping) locally. If I were starting again I'd buy little squares and half-spheres first, because these are easy to decorate with transfer sheets and cocoa butter respectively; plus a bar mould for quickly using up some extra chocolate or making a snack for the family. Magnetic moulds are not in my view essential for the beginner because you can just apply the transfers manually - but they are very easy to use. 5. Hot air gun - little Bosch paint stripper from Amazon. Always kept to hand to sort out anything which crystallises too quickly in the bowl or on my equipment. 6. Fancy packaging. We got some little boxes in bright colours with silver lining - great to turn your experiments into gifts. Quite expensive because you have to buy quantities, but worth it we felt. If I were working at scale I think my top 5 would also include a vibrating table, but that's beyond my means. Best sources of learning so far (apart from eGullet of course) 1. Callebaut website - fabulous range of videos showing how a master does the basic techniques. Also Keylink (harder to find on their website - look in "knowledge bank") which is refreshingly straightforward. 2. Several books recommended on this forum. Once I got past the basics, I delved into two masterpieces: Wybauw ("The Ultimate Fine Chocolates", a revised compilation of his previous books) and Greweling ("Chocolates and Confections"). These are just awe inspiring. Most useful ingredients so far 1. Callebaut couverture "callets" in 2.5kg bags - quick to measure, easy to re-seal. Everyone should start with 811 and 823, the "standards" ... but I soon moved to more exotic flavours. Current favourites are Cacao Barry Alunga (rich milk), Callebaut Velvet (white but not as cloying as the usual one; lovely mouthfeel), and half a dozen Cocoa Barry dark chocolates which go with particular ingredients. 2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing. I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these. The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer. Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer. And the range is fabulous. So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry. (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.) 3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration. Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had. 4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles. My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind. Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing. Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right) 1. Start learning in winter. There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room. Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!). 2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly. Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques. 3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on. These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work. 4. Don't rush. Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time. Give things time to crystallise properly. I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)
  17. Can you believe this is our 10th annual workshop? And here we are back in Niagara College in beautiful Niagara on the Lake where it all began in 2009. The view from my room - the pergola down there we will have access to for Show and Tell on Friday night. I had every intention of soaking in a nice warm bath after my arrival - alas not a tub to be seen - and while the shower is quite attractive - it doesn't invite soaking! Those who can't soak can at least drink if they have remembered to bring small specimen bottles of booze. I somehow pictured a nice glass tumbler for my negroni - but alas... Tomorrow morning the whirlwind will begin with a trip across the border to Tomric - hope everyone remembers their passport.
  18. Sue PEI

    Father's day

    I'm late to the game - anyone have any ideas for Father's Day? And I refuse to make to make chocolate golf balls.
  19. What’s currently your favorite type of chocolate (for primarily consuming, not so much for cooking with) and please say why, be it something that’s commercially mass produced, or a more expensive gourmet variety you love, despite it costing more, or something you might even make yourself. Of course if you have more than one to name, no problem.
  20. I work at a small business with about 25 employees where we make chocolates, popcorn and caramels. In capacity as head chocolatier I have to work with our facilities supervisor to develop a food safety testing plan for the facility. Right now we are developing a plan to do the following: swab with ATP detectors to see if bacterial activity is present, test for Aerobic Plate Count bacteria (APC), and swabbing for the presence of nut proteins to verify our cleaning protocols are sufficient to eliminate nut allergens and test the floor drains for the presence of listeria. Does anyone have any experience with food safety testing in chocolate plants?? If so, is there anything else that you think we need to be testing for?
  21. Hi Folks: First time poster here! (Although I browse the content quite often). I've been making filled chocolates for a while, but have stuck with fairly simple ganache-like fillings. I'm trying to up my game a bit, but I'm having some trouble understanding at which temperature certain fillings should be piped in. I'm using Grewling's guide to the temperature at which to pipe in fillings and he refers to 'room temperature', 'warm' and 'hot'. What is 'warm' and what is 'hot'? I'm guessing 'hot' can't be hotter than 90F, as it will melt the shell? I'm currently making a jelly that i'd like to pipe in, layering with a ganache, but the jelly is still at 98F and setting pretty quickly, on the road to un-pipeable. Anyone's thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Jen
  22. JeanneCake

    Callebaut Gold chocolate

    Anyone have any info on this? Bake Magazine blurb
  23. Making 65% Dark Chocolate Required Materials: -Santha wet/dry grinder -Champion Juicer -Marble/granite/Silestone slab -Non-pourous cutting board -Pastry scraper -One-piece soft rubber spatula -Large plastic heat-proof/microwavable bowl -2-3 smaller glass/ceramic bowls -Tempering thermometer -Chocolate chipper -Parchment paper -Chocolate tablet moulds -Cotton batting -Medical grade 2oz/60cc plastic syringe with plastic nozzle -Microwave -Scale -Hair Blow Dryer Ingredients: -liquid lecithin -cocoa beans -cocoa butter -granulated cane sugar -vanilla bean Here is a photo of some of the materials. The Silestone slab that I’ll use for the tempering is underneath the table cloth…hiding. You’ll see that later. Before I begin it is important to point out one thing: Warning: Never get any water-based anything near chocolate. If even ONE drop falls into your chocolate, it will seize and be ruined. Keep this in mind for the entire chocolate making process. Day One: I ordered two pounds of Ghana Forastero beans from Mr. Nanci at Chocolate Alchemy. I decided not to start with criollo due to it being slightly trickier to roast. I have roasted beans twice before to make Mexican chocolate, and both times I was happy with the result. Both times I also used Forastero, so it felt like a good place to start. Because I haven’t wanted to invest in a cocoa bean cracker to break the beans down to nibs, I asked John to do that for me pre-roast. He winnowed them as well. The drawback to cracking and winnowing raw beans, however, is that the husk sticks to the bean a bit more and so one is left with a higher percentage of husk on the beans than if one were to do so after the roast. One expects to lose about 25% of the weight of the beans in husk, so from the two pounds of beans I bought, at the end of the winnowing process I should have had about 1 lb. 8 ounces. When my beans came I had about 1 lb. 12.5 ounces which told me that I needed to winnow a bit post roast. I’ll get to that in a moment. Roasting: For the roasting, I set the oven to 350 and placed the nibs in a ceramic baking dish. They were one inch deep and spread evenly. I placed the nibs in the oven when it was heated to 350, and took it out every 5 minutes to stir. Due to the constant opening of the oven, the heat was dropping from 350 down into the 200’s. When roasting in the oven, the idea is to start with a high heat to get the beans up to temperature as quickly as possible, and then lower it some to the roasting temperature. Due to the loss of heat every 5 minutes, and the fact that Forastero can take a pretty heavy roasting, I didn’t adjust the heat. At about minute 15 the kitchen began to fill with the smell of baking brownies. Actually the smell is better than baking brownies, but that is the closest smell I can compare it to. By minute 20 the beans were starting to become roasted enough to tell by looking (darker and glossier) and the smell had increased. By minute 25 when I stirred the beans, they seemed almost done as they had a strong brownie smell, with no hint of burnt odour and were quite a bit darker. I roasted them for two more minutes and then removed them. I tasted a couple nibs and the taste was a familiar deep cocoa flavour with its accompanying bitterness. I was happy with the roast and brought the beans out to cool, leaving them in the same dish they had roasted in. Here are the beans pre-roast, and then… Post-roast: Note the change in color of the beans. Winnowing: After the beans were cool, I winnowed them once more to remove most of the rest of the husk. To understand how I winnowed (with a blow dryer), and why it is not imperative to remove every last little bit of the husk with the setup I am using, I can do no better than to quote John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy from his winnowing page at which there are also photos of the process: Winnowing “A few notes: For winnowing, just use any old hair dryer, although a small shop vac works great. Come in high and stir with your hands…You will soon work out how close the blowing air needs to be to blow the husk away, but not the nibs. After a few minutes, you should have a nice bowl of nibs ready for the Champion Juicer. Don't fret too much about a few pieces of husk here and there. The screen in the Champion will remove those few bits, and actually make a very nice filter bed.” Here is a photo of the winnowed and roasted beans: Next is grinding of the beans with the Champion juicer. Day Two: I started today by laying out everything I would need. This included: 1) Cocoa beans 2) Cocoa butter (heated until just melted) 3) One Piece spatula 4) Two large plastic microwave safe bowls 5) 2-3 smaller glass/ceramic bowls 6) Sugar 7) Vanilla bean (dried) 8) Liquid Lecithin 9) Santha mixer 10) Champion 11) Food Processor 12) Scale Cocoa Bean grinding: First I melted the cocoa butter until it was just melted (not too hot), in the microwave. I used 6 ounces for the approximately 24 ounces of cocoa liquor I would end up with. I started with 27.5 ounces of beans in a bowl, which included about a couple ounces of husk that didn’t get removed in the winnowing phase. I set up my champion with the small screen, and put the requisite bowls underneath the screen and underneath the waste output (one each). I turned on the Champion and ran the beans through at a moderate speed. After running the beans through one time I took a photo to show how much liquor had been extracted and how much “waste” existed. Actually, as you can tell, there is quite a lot of liquor mixed in with the “waste” husks, so the idea is to run it through again and again until virtually all of the liquor is extracted. The grinding case of the Champion can hold 3-4 ounces of material, so with a small batch of chocolate like this, basically at the end, the compartment will be filled with a lot of husk and only a little liquor, with not much coming out of the waste spout. This is what I was looking for, so I ran it through two more times and here is a second photo to show the difference: Finally, to wash out the last little bit of liquor from inside the grinding case, I ran the melted cocoa butter through the Champion and here is the final photo after the cocoa butter and liquor have been mixed together: I weighed the resulting mixture and it came out to be 834 grams which is just a hair short of 30 ounces I anticipated (29.29 actually). Basically, then, most of what was left in the grinding cover was husk that had been filtered out, with a little bit of liquor. No big loss. Sugar and vanilla bean grinding: Next, I put the very dry 1/3 vanilla bean (1 gram) and the 16 ounces of pure cane granular sugar (455.52 grams) into a food processor and processed at high speed for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar was reduced to a fine powder. It is NOT possible to use powdered sugar from the store as it contains corn starch and will RUIN the chocolate. The sugar must be powdered at home from granular. I measured out the approx. 2.65 grams of liquid lecithin. I need a better scale, and will buy one before I make chocolate again (preferably a pocket scale that measures in increments of .1 of a gram like the JS-500 or a similar scale). Using my Philips scale, I got the measurement somewhere between 2 and 3 grams. The amount that I wanted to add for my chocolate was .2% of the total mass of all the other ingredients (which was 1290.52 grams), since .2% is a fairly common amount to add in dark chocolates. It is not that exciting, but here is a photo of the sugar and lecithin: Chocolate mixing, refining, conching: Finally, I heated the chocolate liquor/cocoa butter mixture up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit in a microwave safe plastic bowl so that when I added it to the Santha wet/dry grinder, which is much cooler (being made of granite), it would still be relatively warm when I added the sugar, which is a good idea to keep the Santha from bogging down too much at the outset. Here is a photo of the Santha pre-liquor. One can see its similarity to a large chocolate “melangeur”: So I added the liquor first. Here is a photo of the Santha after adding ONLY the liquor. It is somewhat smooth, but one can still see a fine grain: Then I added the sugar, vanilla, and lecithin. Here is a photo of the Santha after adding the sugar and lecithin to the liquor. It is no longer smooth, but rather is quite grainy, even after powdering the sugar, etc: I set the timer for 5 hours. Here is a photo of the mixture at 5 hours (still too grainy) 7 hours (grainy still): 9 hours (probably acceptable grain for grocery store chocolate): 11 hours (acceptable grain for many store bought chocolates): 13 hours (acceptable grain for many high-end chocolates, but I wanted to refine a bit further): Removed at 15 hours (extremely fine grain, practically not noticeable, but just short of what I consider the ultimate in mouthfeel—Domori Puertomar): The finished chocolate weighed in at: 2 lbs 7.25 ounces (1117.5 grams) after removing it from the Santha. Day Three: Today is the final active step of chocolate making, the tempering and moulding. Tempering I brought the chocolate (in a microwaveable bowl) up to 120 f in the microwave by heating it in 1 minute increments at a low power and stirring at each minute. After about 5 minutes it was at 120 f. I ladled about 1/3 of the mixture onto my Silestone workspace leaving the rest in the plastic bowl to cool. At this point I spread it out and drew it up over and over again for about 2-3 minutes until the chocolate became thick and almost unmanageable. I then added this chocolate back to the reserved melted chocolate and stirred slowly with a thermometer until it had melted. The resulting temperature was 89 degrees when I was done with about 7 minutes of stirring. Here are three photos showing three parts of the above process. I then moved the chocolate over to the kitchen table where my moulds were waiting. I had pre-coated them with a thin layer of cocoa butter as many do for their filled bon bons. ( I would come to find out later that I did not coat them 100% evenly) Filling the Moulds: I filled each four ounce mould with two plastic syringes (2 oz) full of chocolate. I tried to work as fast as possible as the chocolate viscosity was quickly increasing. After filling one entire mould, I wrapped it firmly on the table to even out the chocolate and release some bubbles. Unfortunately, the photo of that step is slightly blurred and so it isn’t that easy to see that the chocolate smoothes out very nicely. I then placed the moulds in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes until they set. De-moulding: After the chocolate had cooled in the fridge for 45 minutes I removed the moulds and de-moulded immediately. They had contracted, as I expected, and came right out of the moulds all in one piece and hard. Though the bars were quite shiny over all, I could tell that I didn’t apply the cocoa butter extremely skillfully in some areas, so there are places where the shine is a bit more matte. So, the lack of smoothness of the bars is due to two things. First, the cocoa butter issue, and secondly, that the moulds have a slight texture to them, which would have looked homogeneous, had I applied the cocoa butter more skilfully. Additionally, I slightly overfilled some of the bars. I should have added 3.9 ounces to each mould rather than the full 4 ounces in order to avoid this. I took a photo of all the bars together, and then the best looking single one. Finally, after about 15 hours of rest, here is a close up of one bar “snapped” in two so that you can see the texture. It had a very firm snap that I am really happy with, and the grain looks good too. This hints at a good temper, but I’ll keep everyone updated over the next few days if I notice any bloom at all. However, there are some air bubbles that I didn’t manage to get out of the chocolate. This impacts the “look” of the chocolate. I have decided that I will definitely invest in a chocolate vibrating table before I mould bars again. These bubbles would have been forced out of even this quite viscous chocolate with such vibration. Technically, the chocolate should now “age” for some time to reach its peak in texture and flavor. I have seen suggested that 3 months is an adequate amount of time, though I don’t imagine that these bars will be around by then. The best part of this experience is that the chocolate tastes absolutely fantastic, and the mouthfeel matches the flavor in quality. The grain of the chocolate is just barely recognizable (i.e., is a far finer grain than most chocolate bars…even many of the “artisanal” chocolates such as some of Amedei’s). I have never had a chocolate bar made with Forastero that is this good, and the bitterness that one would expect with a cocoa of this type is almost non-existent. Now, I can’t wait to buy some Ocumare (criollo) and experiment with that. At any rate, I hope that some of you have enjoyed this demo, however imperfect it may be. I tried to document as much as possible to give everyone the feeling that you were here making the chocolate with me. Of course I can’t convey the magnificent smell of the roasting beans with their rich house-filling cocoa aroma, and I you can’t taste the finished product that is completely worth every bit of the time and effort, but hopefully you now have some sense of how to make chocolate at home, and better yet, the knowledge that it IS possible. The 21st century is here, home chocolate making is no longer kitchen fiction, and I dare say, and only half joking: “Be on the lookout Domori, the Chocolate Alchemists are on the prowl.” (Just don’t tell him I’m the one who said it) Lastly, for all of you who are now interested in making your own chocolate, please come and visit the free Chocolate Alchemy Forum, where, in addition to eGullet, I have learned a lot of things that have helped me to finally make my own chocolate. Comments welcome. I’ll answer any questions that I can. Sincerely, Alan
  24. Does anyone have any experience using Knobel depositing machines? My one shot plate is leaking chocolate out of the top and I can't determine why. Any help would be appreciated
  25. ksaw29

    Chocolate Percentages

    I've always seen Chocolates with the percentage on them, but never knew what exactly they represented. Do they: - Show the amount of cocoa that is present in the bar? - If so, is the sweetness of the bar affected by the percentage of cocoa present? Just wanted to end my confusion. Thanks
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