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Chocolate melters


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I'm waffling between the 6 and the 3 again. Any advice would be welcome...

It's for home use only, and I'll probably be doing mostly dipped chocolates (which makes me lean towards the 3), but I do have molds I'd like to use as well (which makes me lean towards the 6), though not as often as dipped.

Thanks everyone...

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I'm waffling between the 6 and the 3 again. Any advice would be welcome...

It's for home use only, and I'll probably be doing mostly dipped chocolates (which makes me lean towards the 3), but I do have molds I'd like to use as well (which makes me lean towards the 6), though not as often as dipped.

Thanks everyone...

I'd recommend the 3. It's really ideal for dipping, and you don't have temper so much chocolate to get a good pool to work from. I've made thousands of molded chocolates from my 3 - it's a little messy, but it works just fine.

If you change your mind, you can always sell it on eBay and get back most of the value. That's where I got mine!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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I have a 6. I estimate it's about about 12 molds worth that you have to do each time for an ideal amount of chocolate. This way, it's a good pool that stays tempered, you have enough chocolate left in the pan afterwards to melt and seed and do 12 more molds and repeat the cycle. As said before, if you do less, I don't think yo uhave an ideal pool of chocolate.

If you have a 3, you can still do molds, just dump the excess onto parchment or marble sheet. Or else dump the excess into a really big bowl. Then dump back into the melter being careful of overcrystallization. Or else just reserve the chocolate for later use. This is what I did when I used my ACMC table top temperer.

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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I have a 6.  I estimate it's about about 12 molds worth that you have to do each time for an ideal amount of chocolate.  This way, it's a good pool that stays tempered, you have enough chocolate left in the pan afterwards  to melt and seed and do 12 more molds and repeat the cycle.  As said before, if you do less, I don't think yo uhave an ideal pool of chocolate.

If you have a 3, you can still do molds, just dump the excess onto parchment or marble sheet.  Or else dump the excess into a really big bowl.  Then dump back into the melter being careful of overcrystallization.  Or else just reserve the chocolate for later use.  This is what I did when I used my ACMC table top temperer.

I dump my molds back into the 3. You just have to be careful about it. I work on an angle, then give a shake before putting it on a rack to finish setting. Works fine, and I don't get lopsided shells.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Thanks, both of you. That helps.

I've only done molded chocolates once, and I'd tempered the chocolate in the microwave, using a large bowl that's probably pretty close to the size of the 3kg. I found it pretty awkward and messy to empty the excess back into the bowl. But I also didn't want to just pour the molds out onto parchment – I thought that would get messy in its own way. But it didn't even occur to me to pour it into another container – like a baking pan! – and then pour that directly back into the bowl. That makes more sense to me. And I like the size and shape of the 3kg for dipping, which like I said, will be mostly what I do.

Thanks! :wub:

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,

I've been through the forum with a fine tooth comb (Love it! I have learnt so much!) and haven't found the answer to my question.

So, I thought I'd post here to find out.

I'm wondering what the minimum amount of chocolate needed for the 6kg tank?? I am in the proccess of gathering supplies, and the last thing I want to do is purchase too little chocolate.

Many thanks!

Danni

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just got my melter yesterday – thanks prairiegirl!

I haven't used it yet, but I've cleaned it up and gotten it ready for use tomorrow.

I've fiddled with the dial a bit though, and when I turn it on, I don't hear a "click" until the dial reads about 17-20°. Is that normal? Or does that mean my dial is off by about 20°?

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Emmalish if your room temperature is about 18-20C then I do not think the melter's heater will click in until you set the temp dial to above that temp?

Mine only clicks when the dial is set higher than the melter's current temperature.

When the melter is working above room temperature it clicks in very briefly every so often to maintain the higher temp but even when holding 30C in a room at 20C it does not come on to heat for very long at a time.

That is my experience anyway!

Edited by lapin d'or (log)
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I got my melter just a few days ago from prairiegirl. I was one of the people in the bulk order. I plan on trying it out tomorrow and see how it goes. I've never used a melter before, but having read all the posts on them I'm looking forward to putting all the helpful hints into use.

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I just got my melter yesterday – thanks prairiegirl!

I haven't used it yet, but I've cleaned it up and gotten it ready for use tomorrow.

I've fiddled with the dial a bit though, and when I turn it on, I don't hear a "click" until the dial reads about 17-20°. Is that normal? Or does that mean my dial is off by about 20°?

The other thing that JPW has mentioned in his classes (according to reports here) is that every machine is different. So the temperature isn't absolute, it's relative.

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I had a chance to use my new melter on the weekend. I would've posted sooner, but I've been battling a head cold this week. (guh)

Anyway, I meant to let the chocolate melt overnight, but forgot to set it up. So first thing in the morning, I put my chocolate in and turned the melter up to about 50° for 4 hours (as instructed on the Mol d'Art site). After that time, the chocolate was only about half melted, so I put the cover back on and let it go for a couple more hours. It still hadn't melted fully, and the temperature by thermometer was only about 35°. So at that point I poured the chocolate into a glass bowl, melted it fully, and returned it to the melter to seed and temper. It seemed great! I tested temper and it was perfect. And what a joy to not have to keep returning the bowl to the microwave to bring it back up to temperature.

However... I only got about half of my items dipped before I noticed the chocolate was getting thicker and thicker. I checked temperature and it was still good. I checked with another thermometer, just in case, and yes it was good. I had been stirring regularly as I dipped. And even with the thick chocolate, all the items I dipped set up nicely so I'm confident it hadn't gone out of temper.

Here's the thing. I'd made Peter Greweling's strawberry balsamic ganache. The recipe called for tempered white chocolate, but I'd read that while he always calls for tempered chocolate, a lot of people don't bother. Well, I was lazy and didn't bother tempering it. I just melted it and added it to the mix. It ended up a nice smooth creamy ganache... but it never really set up. It stayed quite soft and gooey. Could the chocolate have picked up enough moisture from this ganache that it would seize? Or is the problem that it was melted for such a long period of time?

Sadly, I didn't have any cocoa butter to try thinning it out, so I put the remaining ganache in the fridge and poured the leftover chocolate out on some parchment. Worst comes to worst, I'll use that chocolate in baking.

Any ideas?

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I make that recipe all the time and it will set up when the room is cool enough. I sometimes have to put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Even though my room is about 70, it still seems to like it cooler. I have piped it into shells when it is really soft, and it always firms up.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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Another question on melters. I have an 80# Hillliard that I have had for almost 30 years and I love it. I need/want another one. I have a chance to buy a used Savage 50# tempering melter for about half the price of a used Hilliard. Does anyone have any experience with a Savage?

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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If whatever you're dipping hasn't set-up, then contamination of the chocolate can be an issue. How did you dip it if the ganache hadn't set up?

When dipping, I expect that the chocolate will become thicker and thicker (due to an over abundance of beta crystals) as I work. I always keep a heat gun by the melter to hit the chocolate from time to time to keep it fluid. You just have to be careful not to overheat it and, therefore, move it out of temper. Stir well!

Also, if your chocolate hasn't melted after x hours you can just warm the top with your heat gun until it's soft enough to cut up into chunks.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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When dipping, I expect that the chocolate will become thicker and thicker (due to an over abundance of beta crystals) as I work.  I always keep a heat gun by the melter to hit the chocolate from time to time to keep it fluid.  You just have to be careful not to overheat it and, therefore, move it out of temper.  Stir well!

Hmmm. I need to buy a heat gun.

So before I had the melter, when I had to keep re-heating in the microwave to keep temperature, did that do the same thing as using a heat gun as far as keeping the chocolate liquid?

If whatever you're dipping hasn't set-up, then contamination of the chocolate can be an issue.  How did you dip it if the ganache hadn't set up?

The ganache wasn't completely liquidy, but it wouldn't hold its shape if it was touched or handled in any way. It was probably the texture of soft butter. I pre-bottomed with a layer of chocolate and that helped the pieces hold their shape and gave me something to hold onto while I dropped them into the chocolate.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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When dipping, I expect that the chocolate will become thicker and thicker (due to an over abundance of beta crystals) as I work.  I always keep a heat gun by the melter to hit the chocolate from time to time to keep it fluid.  You just have to be careful not to overheat it and, therefore, move it out of temper.  Stir well!

Hmmm. I need to buy a heat gun.

So before I had the melter, when I had to keep re-heating in the microwave to keep temperature, did that do the same thing as using a heat gun as far as keeping the chocolate liquid?

If whatever you're dipping hasn't set-up, then contamination of the chocolate can be an issue.  How did you dip it if the ganache hadn't set up?

The ganache wasn't completely liquidy, but it wouldn't hold its shape if it was touched or handled in any way. It was probably the texture of soft butter. I pre-bottomed with a layer of chocolate and that helped the pieces hold their shape and gave me something to hold onto while I dropped them into the chocolate.

emmalish, you can also just use the microwave as before. Reheat a small portion and mix it in, and then you don't need a heat gun.

In his book, JPW recommends not to use cocoa butter once it's thickened. slight heating is the way to go. Actually, JPW mentions something else- an alternative to the heat gun is to keep on raising the temperature slightly over time, up to 93.5 for dark chocolate. The bottom will be undertempered, the top will be overtempered, and when you mix them it will be perfect.

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When dipping, I expect that the chocolate will become thicker and thicker (due to an over abundance of beta crystals) as I work.  I always keep a heat gun by the melter to hit the chocolate from time to time to keep it fluid.  You just have to be careful not to overheat it and, therefore, move it out of temper.  Stir well!

Hmmm. I need to buy a heat gun.

So before I had the melter, when I had to keep re-heating in the microwave to keep temperature, did that do the same thing as using a heat gun as far as keeping the chocolate liquid?

If whatever you're dipping hasn't set-up, then contamination of the chocolate can be an issue.  How did you dip it if the ganache hadn't set up?

The ganache wasn't completely liquidy, but it wouldn't hold its shape if it was touched or handled in any way. It was probably the texture of soft butter. I pre-bottomed with a layer of chocolate and that helped the pieces hold their shape and gave me something to hold onto while I dropped them into the chocolate.

emmalish, you can also just use the microwave as before. Reheat a small portion and mix it in, and then you don't need a heat gun.

In his book, JPW recommends not to use cocoa butter once it's thickened. slight heating is the way to go. Actually, JPW mentions something else- an alternative to the heat gun is to keep on raising the temperature slightly over time, up to 93.5 for dark chocolate. The bottom will be undertempered, the top will be overtempered, and when you mix them it will be perfect.

And yet, a heat gun (or hair dryer) is an immensely helpful tool in the chocolate maker's arsenal.

Yes, adding some already melted chocolate to the thickening batch and/or raising the temperature will work, too.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Morning all.

Just got the go ahead to post, so this will be the first one. I am really looking forward to being part of these discussions.

Hairdryers work great, but what I use is a student-type lamp with a heat bulb. This is the red type of bulb you see in heting lights at carved beef stations and serving windows.

In the morning I will find a "crust" on my couveture when I take off the lid, so I just swing over the heat lamp, arrange the bulb about 8-10" from the surface of the couveture, give it a brief stir, and do something else for a few minutes, give it a stir, then turn off the lamp and do a sample dip on a spatula.

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It was a cool weekend here, so I decided to try this again. This time with a heat gun.

I made a couple batches of caramels this time. I wanted to try the chocolate I'd had a problem with last time to see whether it was contaminated or just overcrystallized. It melted and tempered perfectly, so it was just overcrystallized.

Having both the melter and the heat gun? Made this such a painless process! Thanks everyone who's helped me wrap my head around working with tempered chocolate! :wub:

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Has anyone heard of the CALORIBAC melter or temperer (Im not sure which, in some places Ive looked its listed as a melter and in others a temperer)?

Thanks in advance

It's a melter. I bought one recently, and perhaps its a problem with just this one unit, but the temperature is not stable. The temperature goes too high with no adjustment on the dial.

If it's a choice between this one and the Mol d'art - I'd go for the Mol d'art. A really nice thing about the Mol d'art is the removable bowl. The caloribac is all one piece so hard to keep clean.

Which reminds me - got to see if I'm too late to take it back!

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Thanks Kerry, I had a feeling it was a melter. In my case its this or nothing as its the only one Ive found here (israel) and its too expensive for me to order from abroad. Id rather get nothing than rubbish

If you purchase it and have the same problem, you could plug it in to an inexpensive PID controller and get good temperature control that way. It does mean having a wire over the side and a thermometer in the bottom, but it would control it well.

I haven't heard they are unreliable - I think mine might just be a lemon.

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