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Stephanie Wallace

Confectionery Frames

57 posts in this topic

I realize that I am coming to this thread very late but am just getting to the point where I want to try slabbed ganache and other items for which a frame is required. So I hope someone will reply to my questions about frames.

There are significant differences among authors on the size of the frame required: Greweling's recipes call for a 144 sq. in. frame, Notter's are for 112.5 sq, in., and Shotts's are for 64 sq. in. Fixed-size frames that I saw online vary significantly in size: J.B. Prince's are 90.25 sq. in., Tomric's are 225 sq. in. So unless I am willing to do some rather complex calculations and adjusting of recipes to match a fixed-sized frame, it seems that movable bars are the way to go. On the thread to which I am replying Chris Hennes and David J. use this method. I found some stainless steel bars for a reasonable price online and have a few questions about them:

1. If I pour the chocolate "foot" first (the method Notter and many others use) and put the bars in place before the chocolate hardens, they should stay put while I am pouring and leveling ganache. And it would seem the bond between the chocolate and the bars would contain the ganache without leakage. But what about occasions when I am making something more liquid, such as pâté de fruit, when there is no chocolate? How could I keep the bars in place, and how could I keep the liquid from leaking under the bars?

2. What about recipes that call for adding a second layer to a ganache? How would keep I the four upper bars in place?

I will be grateful for any thoughts on these issues.

Jim

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I realize that I am coming to this thread very late but am just getting to the point where I want to try slabbed ganache and other items for which a frame is required. So I hope someone will reply to my questions about frames.

There are significant differences among authors on the size of the frame required: Greweling's recipes call for a 144 sq. in. frame, Notter's are for 112.5 sq, in., and Shotts's are for 64 sq. in. Fixed-size frames that I saw online vary significantly in size: J.B. Prince's are 90.25 sq. in., Tomric's are 225 sq. in. So unless I am willing to do some rather complex calculations and adjusting of recipes to match a fixed-sized frame, it seems that movable bars are the way to go. On the thread to which I am replying Chris Hennes and David J. use this method. I found some stainless steel bars for a reasonable price online and have a few questions about them:

1. If I pour the chocolate "foot" first (the method Notter and many others use) and put the bars in place before the chocolate hardens, they should stay put while I am pouring and leveling ganache. And it would seem the bond between the chocolate and the bars would contain the ganache without leakage. But what about occasions when I am making something more liquid, such as pâté de fruit, when there is no chocolate? How could I keep the bars in place, and how could I keep the liquid from leaking under the bars?

2. What about recipes that call for adding a second layer to a ganache? How would keep I the four upper bars in place?

I will be grateful for any thoughts on these issues.

Jim

PDF firms up rapidly. Haven't had a lot of trouble with the bars moving or leakage. I often put my bars on a piece of silicone - it also keeps the bars in place and aids in removal of the PDF later.

With two layers I often change the 1/4 bars and replace them with half inch bars for the second layer.

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Hello, I think most of us are using metal frames form different sources.I bought mine froma a metal shop ( I got some heavy alluminum bars that I put together) and I got one fram ( set frame ) from Tomric, plastic http://www.tomric.co...=12&sec=31&cmd=

I have seen Chris here that made his own frames and it looked like a pretty smart idea ( he is a brainy guy biggrin.gif ), we might have to ask him how to make our own , probably cheaper.

I've had "custom" aluminum bars cut to specific lengths. Check out Online Metals.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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I use a variety of techniques for slabbing

The first method I use is a 12 x 10 wood frame that is 1/2" high. This I made from maple with half-lap joints that are pegged. I lay the frame on a cutting board, lay a sheet of cling film on top, pour in my ganache, and smooth flat. When set I remove the frame which comes away clean, brush couverture on the surface, pick up the whole slab and flip over, remove the cling film, and brush couverture on the newly exposed side.

I also bought a set of frames from D+R in Montreal. These are S/S and quite nice, but expensive. However they come with a "movable wall", a bar of s/s that you can move within the frame to make any size you want. I lay a sheet of parchment on a large cutting board, then the frame, then fill. When cold, I run a torch along the frame to remove it.

I also have a set of s/s bars in 1/4" and 3/8" widths that I got made a metal shop for quite cheap. Very flexible and usefull. I toyed with the idea of cutting grooves in a cheap nylon cutting board so the bars can sit in and not move about, but that means I have to custom-cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. I prefer the other methods

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I use a variety of techniques for slabbing

The first method I use is a 12 x 10 wood frame that is 1/2" high. This I made from maple with half-lap joints that are pegged. I lay the frame on a cutting board, lay a sheet of cling film on top, pour in my ganache, and smooth flat. When set I remove the frame which comes away clean, brush couverture on the surface, pick up the whole slab and flip over, remove the cling film, and brush couverture on the newly exposed side.

I also bought a set of frames from D+R in Montreal. These are S/S and quite nice, but expensive. However they come with a "movable wall", a bar of s/s that you can move within the frame to make any size you want. I lay a sheet of parchment on a large cutting board, then the frame, then fill. When cold, I run a torch along the frame to remove it.

I also have a set of s/s bars in 1/4" and 3/8" widths that I got made a metal shop for quite cheap. Very flexible and usefull. I toyed with the idea of cutting grooves in a cheap nylon cutting board so the bars can sit in and not move about, but that means I have to custom-cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. I prefer the other methods

Thanks very much for those ideas. I have ordered stainless bars. My concern remains how stable they will be when I am smoothing the ganache, but I will soon find out. Someone mentioned taping them down if necessary. I will have to do something like taping when making a two-layer ganache.

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I use a variety of techniques for slabbing

The first method I use is a 12 x 10 wood frame that is 1/2" high. This I made from maple with half-lap joints that are pegged. I lay the frame on a cutting board, lay a sheet of cling film on top, pour in my ganache, and smooth flat. When set I remove the frame which comes away clean, brush couverture on the surface, pick up the whole slab and flip over, remove the cling film, and brush couverture on the newly exposed side.

I also bought a set of frames from D+R in Montreal. These are S/S and quite nice, but expensive. However they come with a "movable wall", a bar of s/s that you can move within the frame to make any size you want. I lay a sheet of parchment on a large cutting board, then the frame, then fill. When cold, I run a torch along the frame to remove it.

I also have a set of s/s bars in 1/4" and 3/8" widths that I got made a metal shop for quite cheap. Very flexible and usefull. I toyed with the idea of cutting grooves in a cheap nylon cutting board so the bars can sit in and not move about, but that means I have to custom-cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. I prefer the other methods

Thanks very much for those ideas. I have ordered stainless bars. My concern remains how stable they will be when I am smoothing the ganache, but I will soon find out. Someone mentioned taping them down if necessary. I will have to do something like taping when making a two-layer ganache.

If you happen to have melted, tempered chocolate on hand, it makes a handy "glue" for the bars to the "table" and between the first set of bars and the 2nd set on top. You don't need much, and it cleans off rather easily with warm water and soap! :smile:


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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I use a variety of techniques for slabbing

The first method I use is a 12 x 10 wood frame that is 1/2" high. This I made from maple with half-lap joints that are pegged. I lay the frame on a cutting board, lay a sheet of cling film on top, pour in my ganache, and smooth flat. When set I remove the frame which comes away clean, brush couverture on the surface, pick up the whole slab and flip over, remove the cling film, and brush couverture on the newly exposed side.

I also bought a set of frames from D+R in Montreal. These are S/S and quite nice, but expensive. However they come with a "movable wall", a bar of s/s that you can move within the frame to make any size you want. I lay a sheet of parchment on a large cutting board, then the frame, then fill. When cold, I run a torch along the frame to remove it.

I also have a set of s/s bars in 1/4" and 3/8" widths that I got made a metal shop for quite cheap. Very flexible and usefull. I toyed with the idea of cutting grooves in a cheap nylon cutting board so the bars can sit in and not move about, but that means I have to custom-cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. I prefer the other methods

Thanks very much for those ideas. I have ordered stainless bars. My concern remains how stable they will be when I am smoothing the ganache, but I will soon find out. Someone mentioned taping them down if necessary. I will have to do something like taping when making a two-layer ganache.

If you happen to have melted, tempered chocolate on hand, it makes a handy "glue" for the bars to the "table" and between the first set of bars and the 2nd set on top. You don't need much, and it cleans off rather easily with warm water and soap! :smile:

Thanks very much for that idea. I will definitely give it a try.

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I just received my stainless steel bars to be used for a frame. Although they are nice and heavy, they are very rough in looks and touch. Obviously nothing was done in the factory to polish them. I guess I was naively expecting something like a nice SS pot and would not feel comfortable putting these bars in direct contact with ganache. Does anyone have suggestions? The only thing I can think of is to wrap them in foil or plastic wrap. But this would be a nuisance--would have to be repeated each time I use them. So even if I found a place to polish them, would they be considered food safe? I have never given food safety a consideration with SS pots and pans, but these bars are a different story.

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Might be cheaper to just grab some aluminum ones - I've got stainless ones that only serve to weigh down the drawer they are in.

I have both aluminum and stainless steel bars that were cut to order. The SS bars definitely have that "rough" look to them but I simply clean them with soap and water. I may have any extraneous metal ground off. After using both, I think I prefer the aluminum bars as well.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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Might be cheaper to just grab some aluminum ones - I've got stainless ones that only serve to weigh down the drawer they are in.

I have both aluminum and stainless steel bars that were cut to order. The SS bars definitely have that "rough" look to them but I simply clean them with soap and water. I may have any extraneous metal ground off. After using both, I think I prefer the aluminum bars as well.

Could you tell me why you prefer aluminum? After having completed my first batch using the bars, I have a better perspective on what I am doing. First, wrapping the bars in foil does not work. It made me feel better, but when I started to cut the ganache free from the bars, little bits of foil were embedded in the ganache. So today I took some steel wool to the bars (not that it smoothed them off, but my theory was that it was getting off any dirt), then washed them thoroughly, and used them bare for the second batch. If any of my friends die from SS poisoning, I'll let you know.

I used your idea of gluing the bars to the base and to each other with chocolate. Worked quite well. I do like the heft of the SS because it doesn't move around. I am using Kerry's idea of putting the foot down first, then I lay the bars in place on top of the chocolate, then add the ganache, but I ran into the problem of knowing how much space the foot needs to cover (the area of the finished product inside the frame plus the width of the bars). The first time I thought I was being clever in drawing guide marks on the back of the parchment, never realizing that the chocolate would cover up the guide lines. Today I found some tape that will stick to parchment and so will outline the area with that before laying down the foot.

I'm hoping I will learn what I am doing as time passes. Good thing I am just doing this for my own satisfaction.

.

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Might be cheaper to just grab some aluminum ones - I've got stainless ones that only serve to weigh down the drawer they are in.

I have both aluminum and stainless steel bars that were cut to order. The SS bars definitely have that "rough" look to them but I simply clean them with soap and water. I may have any extraneous metal ground off. After using both, I think I prefer the aluminum bars as well.

Could you tell me why you prefer aluminum? After having completed my first batch using the bars, I have a better perspective on what I am doing. First, wrapping the bars in foil does not work. It made me feel better, but when I started to cut the ganache free from the bars, little bits of foil were embedded in the ganache. So today I took some steel wool to the bars (not that it smoothed them off, but my theory was that it was getting off any dirt), then washed them thoroughly, and used them bare for the second batch. If any of my friends die from SS poisoning, I'll let you know.

.

When I got both sets of bars initially, I ran them through the dishwasher so I could clean off any residual oils or other cruft. I don't wrap them when I use them, and after use, I wash with hot water and dish soap.

I prefer the aluminum bars frankly just for the lighter weight. The SS bars can be heavy if you stack 8 pieces (2 layers x 4 bars) on a board. The positive side of the SS bars is that they tend to move less on the board when I'm working on slabbing something.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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Public Service Announcement:

I'm amazed to see some of the action on this thread after so many years, and impressed by posters' ingenuity. I've also crafted ganache frames from any number of materials since I wrote the first post, but feel obligated to mention that the frames I initially mentioned are available from Kereke's as Frames for Biscuit Batter--and they're cheap.

I feel guilty for not sharing this earlier. :/


Formerly known as "Melange"

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http://www.maudlinproducts.com/products/search.xml

The key stock is what Greweling uses for all his 12 inch frames. 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch. They also have a rectangle stock so you can turn it on its side for different sizes. It doesn't matter if you get over or under size, as it is so slight a difference that for our purposes, it doesn't matter. You can also order them from places like Fastenal. I checked local Lowe's and Home Depot and they didn't have it, but yours might. I ordered several sets of each size. You might need extra if you are going to do two layers.


Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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This actually has been a very interesting thread to read. I like the idea of the biscuit frames. Has anyone every purchased plexiglass from Home Depot? I want to check the next time I'm in, but recently I had an idea of buying a piece of plexiglass and cutting a square center out to make my own stackable frame, has anyone every done that? I've never worked with the stuff, it was just a thought.

It seems like more here have frames for layered chocolate centers. My frames arent as specific, but heres what I use. Sorry its not the greatest picture, but its an example, here specifically I was making the 'rind' of orange jellie slices. I find my bars at Home Depot, they are aluminum angle stock, they come in 4ft pieces. My first set for a frame was a 3/4 angle piece, I cut the segment into 4 1ft pieces, cleaned up the burrs, and polished the outer part of the angle where the candy would be touching, just so theres not a coarse surface for anything to really stick to them. I mostly use my bars for boiled confections, so my 3/4 inch set I use for jellies and caramels that would get poured into a slab. I'll just just two of the 3/4 bars for nougat since that doesnt flow, and flatten the top with a rolling pin. I'll do the same for marshmallow, but also have 2 2ft 1inch angle pieces for larger marshmallow. Then I do have 2 2ft 1/4 angles for fudge. And if I need to make larger frames for big batches, I'm able to use a combo of the long 2ft segments and 1ft pieces as seen in the picture. Anyways, hopefully that made sense!

2013-01-24 15.46.58.jpg

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I had P&A plastics cut me some plexiglass stacking frames - unfortunately the inside corners were rounded - not ideal. I should take them back to them and ask them to cut them square - but apparently it adds considerable additional expense due to breakage when they do that.

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How about a sign company?

If they have a laser cuter they can do any size/detail you want.

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I'm not a big fan of alumimum bars, they oxidize in the dishwasher. I've never heard of anyone dying from "S/s poisoning" maybe with fine ground s/s filings, but not with bars. Polishing or surface grinding the s/s bars would involve a great deal of labour and money.



Plexi-glass.... Is not ideal. It chips easy, cracks easy, and will warp or melt if too warm. It does cut well on a tablesaw with a carbide tipped triple tooth pattern blade, but you have to "feed" it at the right speed, too slow will melt the plastic and clog up the blade, too fast will result in a very rough cut. Even so, it will still need to be "polished" with a propane torch and fine grits of sandpaper. The thicker sheets can be very expensive, and it can be glued with a very special glue. Best left to the plexiglass people, and they will charge.



One option that might be workable is nylon cutting boards sliced up into strips. The boards are quite cheap, and can be cut easily (no special blade needed) with a tablesaw, and can be smoothed to a very slick surface with handplanes.


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I'm not a big fan of alumimum bars, they oxidize in the dishwasher. I've never heard of anyone dying from "S/s poisoning" maybe with fine ground s/s filings, but not with bars. Polishing or surface grinding the s/s bars would involve a great deal of labour and money.

Plexi-glass.... Is not ideal. It chips easy, cracks easy, and will warp or melt if too warm. It does cut well on a tablesaw with a carbide tipped triple tooth pattern blade, but you have to "feed" it at the right speed, too slow will melt the plastic and clog up the blade, too fast will result in a very rough cut. Even so, it will still need to be "polished" with a propane torch and fine grits of sandpaper. The thicker sheets can be very expensive, and it can be glued with a very special glue. Best left to the plexiglass people, and they will charge.

One option that might be workable is nylon cutting boards sliced up into strips. The boards are quite cheap, and can be cut easily (no special blade needed) with a tablesaw, and can be smoothed to a very slick surface with handplanes.

I have both aluminum and stainless steel bars. I wash all my bars by hand which effectively cuts the corrosion (for the aluminum) to zero. Stainless steel is rather heavy, but it also stays in place. I hold aluminum bars in place by using a bit of tempered chocolate to "glue" them down to my "board" which is also an aluminum sheet cut to size with either parchment or an acetate guitar sheet on top. I also "glue" bars to each other to stack them so they don't move.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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This thread has been really helpful - I'm hoping it's to too late to get some more advice on this topic. In the Bouchon Bakery cookbook they advise: "Professional confectionery rulers can be very costly, so we use plastic ones that are cut 22 inches long by 1/4 or 1/2 inch square. Plastic fabricators (such as Tap Plastics) are a great source for buying inexpensive food-safe plastic guides cut to your specifications." They also recommend taping confectionery rulers to the work surface to prevent shifting.

Has anyone purchased plastic bars like this? I looked at the Tap Plastics website http://www.tapplastics.com but wasn't sure what type of plastic is food-safe and best for this application - thought I'd check if anyone has already done this and can recommend the exact product they had cut to order? Thanks!


Edited by Letta (log)

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I am looking for assistance in successfully leveling ganache in a confectionery frame.  I use the method I have seen in many videos of sweeping a long spatula across the slab, wiping it off, then repeating.   This technique works fairly well when the ganache is almost totally liquid, but not at all when (as is more often the case) the ganache has thickened somewhat.  Even when I rest the spatula directly on the bars of the frame, the sweeping action pulls some of the ganache along with it, resulting in an uneven slab.  I think I have seen images of people (probably on eGullet) using a roller of some sort.  Anyone have a method that works reliably?  Thanks.

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I have a long ruler like tool that i got at Harbor Freight. My contractor watched me one day and told me it was like working with cement. the more you mess with it, the more bubbles you get. Also, he told me to zig zag across the ganache and that keeps it from dragging along, like cement. I zig and zag about 4 inches and close together.

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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4 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I am looking for assistance in successfully leveling ganache in a confectionery frame.  I use the method I have seen in many videos of sweeping a long spatula across the slab, wiping it off, then repeating.   This technique works fairly well when the ganache is almost totally liquid, but not at all when (as is more often the case) the ganache has thickened somewhat.  Even when I rest the spatula directly on the bars of the frame, the sweeping action pulls some of the ganache along with it, resulting in an uneven slab. 

 

I try to work quickly and not mess with it too much.  I put my frames on silpats on top of parchment - the parchment is so I can grab the silpat and gently shake the frame to help level it.

 

I will have to try @Chocolot's zigzag method, I am intrigued!

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I will also try the zigzag technique.  I had to go ahead and do a couple of slabs before your replies came.  The dark chocolate butter ganache didn't go well.  It's difficult to follow the advice not to "mess with it too much" when you see that it has peaks and valleys.  Fortunately there was a second layer, so they sort of even themselves out--as long as people don't bite into two pieces and see the differences.  The second slab, a lemon-mint ganache, went much better--not sure why (maybe the shiny dark chocolate in the first slab shows too many imperfections).

 

Who was it who used a roller?  I'm thinking it was Kerry (is there any gadget she doesn't have?), but can't remember the post.

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