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all purpose baking chocolate


shaloop
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I'm looking for a good all-purpose chocolate to use in baking. Around here you can only get Hershey's or Nestles. I'll have to order online. I'm looking for a semi-sweet to use in cakes, brownies, frostings and ganache. Not too expensive as I'm not ready to raise prices right now. Mind you, my customers don't seem to mind the Hershey's and Nestles and there is only one other pastry shop that actually sells quality cakes and pastries within probably a 50 mile radius. I'd just like to step up my game, lol. :cool:

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I'm looking for a good all-purpose chocolate to use in baking.  Around here you can only get Hershey's or Nestles.  I'll have to order online.  I'm looking for a semi-sweet to use in cakes, brownies, frostings and ganache.  Not too expensive as I'm not ready to raise prices right now.  Mind you, my customers don't seem to mind the Hershey's and Nestles and there is only one other pastry shop that actually sells quality cakes and pastries within probably a 50 mile radius.  I'd just like to step up my game, lol.  :cool:

Ghiradelli is a nice all-purpose baking chocolate. If you want to buy in larger bulk and have the room to store it, go with a 5.5kg block of Callebaut or Guittard. I find good prices at Chocosphere.com.

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i would have to say for price and flavor go for guittard's signature line: e. guittard. if your customers aren't overly sophisticated (this is not a disparagement) i would go for their 55%. if they can handle a little more then use their 61% which is still pretty sweet.

i would put ghirardelli in the same category as nestles and hersheys

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I agree with Ruth about Ghirardelli. Their baking bars are excellent (I mostly use their semi-sweet and bittersweet 60%). They're way above Hershey's and Nestle's, both in taste and texture, and I've had 100% great results in all my baking, plus ganaches, etc. Callebaut is a good all-purpose chocolate, but I prefer the taste of Ghirardelli. Have never liked E. Guittard.

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Whenever I bring any Callebaut into the house, I eat it before I can get around to baking. I'm not a real fan of Ghirardelli, myself.

Any opinions about Lindt? There's been a huge influx of all varieties of Lindt chocolates around the grocery stores here lately.

Edited by devlin (log)
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I used to like Ghirardelli’s but now I can’t really stand the stuff. Sure the texture is better than Hershey’s or Nestlé’s but they substitute some cocoa fats for milk fats and it really comes through in their chocolates, especially the darks, as kind of a rancid flavor.

I haven’t played around too much with semi-sweets yet, but of the 60% range I like the E. Guittard and the Michel Cluizel. And the 70% range I really like the Valrhona (and the Scharffen Berger depending on the application).

The E. Guittard can be bought, with shipping included, from chocolateman.com for a little over $6 a pound.

Edited by merlicky (log)
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Chocolate is prettty personal! I'd suggest ordering a few different kinds and making something basic, just to see what works out for you.

Some things to consider:

-Price, obviously. You may decide on a compromise between greatness and affordability if you're really looking for a single do-everything chocolate

-Cocoa solids content. I think something in the 64% to 70% range is most versatile

-Ease of melting and tempering. Most of the chocolates I've used were easy, but some can be a pain. And if you're doing any couverture, you'll definitely want to try out any chocolate before commiting.

-Flavor balance. This is the most subjective. Some recipes call for a deep, powerful chocolate taste, others do better with something bright and fruity or floral. If you're going for a single chocolate, something in the middle might be best.

I'd offer suggestions of specific types, but I have more experience using and blending chocolates closer to the ends of the spectrum. None of them strikes me as a perfect do-everything chocolate.

Notes from the underbelly

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You know, it's funny about Ghirardelli - I'm don't like eating their chocolates out of hand (I much prefer several others, such as Chocovic Guaranda 71%, Santander Columbian 70%, Fiori Sera 65%, etc), but when they're baked or used in a ganache, the weak properties disappear and the strong properties come through, yielding a good, deep, dark taste and a smooth texture.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Chocolate is prettty personal! I'd suggest ordering a few different kinds and making something basic, just to see what works out for you.

Some things to consider:

-Price, obviously. You may decide on a compromise between greatness and affordability if you're really looking for a single do-everything chocolate

-Cocoa solids content. I think something in the 64% to 70% range is most versatile

-Ease of melting and tempering. Most of the chocolates I've used were easy, but some can be a pain. And if you're doing any couverture, you'll definitely want to try out any chocolate before commiting.

-Flavor balance. This is the most subjective. Some recipes call for a deep, powerful chocolate taste, others do better with something bright and fruity or floral. If you're going for a single chocolate, something in the middle might be best.

I'd offer suggestions of specific types, but I have more experience using and blending chocolates closer to the ends of the spectrum. None of them strikes me as a perfect do-everything chocolate.

Good advice.

Which chocolates do you usually blend together?

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Any opinions about Lindt? There's been a huge influx of all varieties of Lindt chocolates around the grocery stores here lately.

I've tried their 70% in both baking and ganaches, and found the taste to be a little flat and one-dimensional, in spite of a very strong bittersweet taste.

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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I use Callebaut 811. I like the taste and it's widely available and reasonably priced. I can't justify using higher priced chocolates in my shop. Unfortunately, my supplier doesn't carry other varieties by Callebaut and won't special order them due to the hassle factor. :hmmm:

Ilene

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I can buy dark or milk Callebaut at our local (very large) grocery store for $1.08/100 grams or $4.90/lb. That's a really hard price to beat so that's what I use. It works well and I enjoy the flavour. Most people use baker's chocolate at home so it's not hard to beat.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Good advice.

Which chocolates do you usually blend together?

I usually use some combination of Valrhona Guanaja (very deep, complex flavor profile, but not much aroma), Manjari (brighter, fruitier, strong aroma), and whatever unsweetened chocolate I have around (usually Callebaut or Valrhona).

This is for desserts that I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks on. For lesser occasions I've just been using Callebaut or El Rey bittersweet chocolates. I'm not completely happy with them because I find them to be all low notes ... I don't get the interesting fruity or wine-like overtones I get from the Valrhona. One of these days I'll try some of the others that are being suggested here.

Notes from the underbelly

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I always used Callebaut in my bakery, and everyone loved it. We dipped baked goods in their D835NV and their 60/40. It has an amazingly smooth texture and a very good flavor.

Since I sold my bakery I still buy Callebaut, but I also buy Trader Joe's belgian chocolate - both the semisweet and the bittersweet. The price is excellent, and the quality is the closest I've found to Callebaut. (In fact, it may even be Callebaut for all we know!)

But I agree with the previous advice about buying several kinds that you have access to and try them yourself. It's a very personal thing - really depends on your own body chemistry.

Good luck!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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To echo alanamoana's theme, I think the audience is important.

In blind taste tests, I've found that Joe and Joanna Schmoe may not like the extra flavor that Valrhona or other high-end chocolate has. So to less "sophisticated" eaters, Callebaut may be the best choice.

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I always used Callebaut in my bakery, and everyone loved it. We dipped baked goods in their D835NV and their 60/40. It has an amazingly smooth texture and a very good flavor.

Since I sold my bakery I still buy Callebaut, but I also buy Trader Joe's belgian chocolate - both the semisweet and the bittersweet. The price is excellent, and the quality is the closest I've found to Callebaut. (In fact, it may even be Callebaut for all we know!)

But I agree with the previous advice about buying several kinds that you have access to and try them yourself. It's a very personal thing - really depends on your own body chemistry.

Good luck!

Eileen

I haven't verified it but I heard it is Callebaut.

Luis

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Hello,

I would have to agree with a few chocolates mentioned. I also agree that you will have to taste yourself to see what flavor you are going for. There a few good chocolate manufacturers in this world and each one has its own distinct flavors that accompany their chocolate. For baking I would not suggest Scharffen Berger. I think their sour taste does not go as well with baked goods. I use E. Guittard 72% in most of my baking items. I also like the aroma uniqueness of El Rey. If you like your chocolate on the smokey/burnt flavor side then Valrhona might be a good choice for you. French chocolate makers always take their chocolate to a higher roast so you will notice burnt flavors usually.

I prefer E. Guittard 72% but their are a few nice choices so hopefully you will find a nice chocolate to use...

Have a great day...

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Whenever I bring any Callebaut into the house, I eat it before I can get around to baking.  I'm not a real fan of Ghirardelli, myself.

Any opinions about Lindt? There's been a huge influx of all varieties of Lindt chocolates around the grocery stores here lately.

I like Lindt's 72% special bittersweet, but it's not really an all-purpose chocolate (at least, not in my kitchen!).

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Would anybody be able to suggest a store similar to Chocosphere in the UK or Europe? I'm in Manchester at the moment.

I use Valrhona at home (Singapore), and I'm not liking the taste of baking chocolate in my baked goods. Yes, I know, I'm spoilt.

This is a great UK site, but unfortunately, I don't think they sell in bulk:

Homepage:

http://www.seventypercent.com/home.asp

Shop:

http://www.seventypercent.com/shop/

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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