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Kerry Beal

Report: eG Chocolate and Confectionery Conference 2011

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First and Foremost, Kerry merely affirmed what a truly amazing person she is this past weekend. She did an AMAZING job at organizing an outstanding weekend, there was a direct correlation to the amount of work and effort she put into the weekend and what people were able to take away.

Made it to Niagara-on-the-Lake late Thursday and spent some wonderful quality time over a cup of tea with Kerry in the lobby, discussing the upcoming events and had the opportunity to meet Chocolot. I'm not sure what it is about Chocolate, but it just seemed like instantaneous friendships were going to be developed.

Friday, we headed back across the Border to Buffalo to meet Larry from Landies Candies. Some confusion occurred, but, what's life or a conference without a little confusion? (Note to self, when the owner tells you to park around the back in the parking lot, follow the advice and don't walk all around the dang building) We made it to Landies, met up with Josh, Connie, Gene, Plus One and Chocoera and introduced ourselves to Larry, who proved to be a wonderful host and very willing to share his knowledge and experiences. Luckily I asked if we could take photographs, instead of just plowing ahead and starting to photograph everything in sight. We were nicely informed that no photography was allowed to occur in the factory and we all gladly kept our camera's pocketed.

Because May isn't their busy season, there was one line working, which Larry gave us a detailed tour of, a whole-nut cluster line that he designed and built/had built out of non-traditional methodologies, letting us all know that the answer to a confectionery problem may not rest in the hands of the "experts". The design and functionality of a system often depends on the inherent creativity of the person with the need. (Necessity is the Mother of Invention). And, creativity is not a sole function of the product, but sometimes the production of the product.

Larry showed us a video of a one-shot machine and his wrapping/packaging processes. We also toured the kitchen area where Landies produces some of the best Sponge Candy in the country. Large Savage Stoves and larger copper kettles filling huge "tubs" with the sponge to allow it to set and await cutting and packaging. Landies cuts their Sponge candy in a special room, devoted solely for that purpose. The room is equipped with a healthy faucet system that allows for easy clean-up of the sticky mess left over from the cutting process. Landies cut's their Sponge by hand - labor intensive? Increased time for production? Yes, but also a much better end product -

Thank you Larry for hosting us and allowing us the opportunity to share your business.

As you've read, the Anchor Bar was not open, so, after a few wrong turns and a phone call later, we all ended up at Duff's (see photo's above) for Wings, Beef on Weck, salads, fries and more.

Running late, we dashed off to Tomric to meet Brian and do some shopping. The folks at Tomric also proved to be fantastic hosts, welcoming us with open arms and the offer to purchase some stuff at a decent discount (Selmi's not included.)

Tomric and Brian allowed photo's, so out came the camera's, and the questions flew faster than the photographs were being taken.

Brian first did a panning demo using some everyday products (puff cereal)in the Selmi Comfit to show that literally, almost anything can be panned. We discussed raisins, nuts, and of course things like cereal. Requirements for cold air, keeping the product to be enrobed tumbling to allow for a proper coating of chocolate on the product itself. We were told that it would be noisy, but all in all, it wasn't that bad and discussions did occur throughout the demo.

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The Selmi Comfit

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Brian working his magic

Then, while Brian was putting the Selmi enrober together the lovely folks at Tomric put out some wine, cheese and deli meat platters - (which I failed to photograph)

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I brought something I've been working on and Brian was gracious enough to use those pieces in the demo as well as provide his invaluable assistance in a few other production issues I had

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after being enrobed

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Brian was stupendous and more than willing to share his insights, knowledge, thoughts and skills. Now, if I can just get Santa to make an early delivery of a Selmi this year and arrange to have Brian over for a week or two to teach me how to use it....

My mind was sufficiently overwhelmed by this point and that point I forgot about the camera for the remainder of the night -

We dashed back to go to Casa Mia where we were treated to a wonderful meal (see above), excellent wines and topped off with the chocolates that we all made to bring and share with the other confectioners -

When I returned to the hotel for the evening, both mind and body over-filled I got a message from the Front Desk that there was a package for me. ????? Confusion reigned and much to my surprise

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Lior sent us some lovely gifts to let us know she was thinking of us - how awesome, that because of a little thing like Chocolate, we have discovered friends from around the world who are SO kind that they do wonderfully amazing things like this?

I'm still trying to shake the cobwebs out of my mind from driving half the night last night and little to no sleep

I hope Friday made sense, I'll post my report on Saturday when I've had additional time to re-coup

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I can only agree with everything said above. Kerry is the most hard-working, creative, thoughtful person I have ever met. She put this whole thing together, took a week off from work, worked all weekend (creating nothing herself) just so we all could have a great experience. The facility was fantastic (could have had the AC turned down a little:-)

One of the things I learned this weekend is that you don't all have to do things the same way. Each of us, including Brian at Tomric and Derrick from Callebaut, did things differently and had opposing opinions of things, but both make wonderful confections. We all develop our own style and that doesn't make it right or wrong, it just makes it ours.

It was so great to meet like-minded people. We all had an instant bond. Bob helped with the organizing and was a great chauffeur, even with his harem at the border. He also makes a mean caramel. The food was amazing. Kerry had everything planned out. We had breakfast and lunch laid out for us and then the two fantastic dinners and wing lunch. I got to put faces with names--I was so wrong about Curls. I thought it would be a bald man, not a curly haired young woman!

On Saturday most of the day was taken by Derrick. He showed us several ganaches and talked about chocolate tempering or pre-crystallization. He also showed what not to do in the Thermomix. It was a treat to have him there to help and answer questions. The rest of the day and Sunday was play time in the kitchen. Kerry showed us some of the magic the Thermomix can do and she made a ganache with the ice wine syrup Lior had sent. She also caramelized sugar and made a caramel that David Hardy turned into a wonderful Creme Brulee bon bon. Matt made an apricot-ginger PDF that was really good. We cut the ganaches Derrick had made and everyone got to practice dipping and decorations. Some were more successful than others. That was one of the real treats--trying it out with others input. Curls had molded a flop-eared bunny and Bob suggested freezing and making it a velvet bunny. It turned out sooo cute. Kerry brought her Fuji gun--actually, I think Kerry brought everything she owns!! It is amazing. I am trying to keep up with Kerry on toys, but I have come to the realization that it isn't going to happen. Bob made a couple of batches of caramel in a $40 electric Presto cook pot. Never would I have thought of that, but it works great.

Gene brought his Little Dipper to learn how to operate. He was turning out some nice bon bons on Sunday, as was everyone else.

I should have known I would need a larger suitcase than the one I came with! Kerry and Bob worked with suppliers to bring us samples of chocolate, colors, flavors and more.

A huge Thank You to Kerry and Bob and everyone who helped make this a fun weekend.

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I love the pictures, and I am in agony I couldn't make it... Now about that caramel in the presto pot...I think I read somewhere on a thread on how someone did caramel in a small electric deep fryer pot and I scored one on a trip to a second hand store just for that reason! I have never had the nerve to try it out though..

Robert, can you share your technique and recipe? Is the presto pot on the small side? My little electric fryer is, I think it is called a frybuddy, probably because it is only big enough to cook up a few frys, but I got it to try out caramel.

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My biggest wow factor was the difference in taste between a tabled and non tabled ganache. I was so surprised at the better taste of the tabled ganache.

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Beth-

I'm sad you couldn't make it to the conference, but, here is a link to Amazon for a Presto 06006 Kitchen Kettle Electric Multi-Cooker and Fryer, it's on sale (went down from when I looked on Saturday) -

http://www.amazon.com/Presto-06006-Kitchen-Electric-Multi-Cooker/dp/B002JM202I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1305584760&sr=8-3

I used Grewlings caramel from his Confections at Home book, and then Gene and I did the Fresh Dairy Caramel from his Confections and Chocolates book - If you don't have those, please let me know and I'll work on getting you a formula. I don't use the "fresh" dairy formulations, as there is so much water in the milk that it takes forever to boil off the water and then actually make a caramel -

I seem to recall my mother had something called a "fry daddy" - I'm not sure I would use something like that for caramel, but, you may be as successful as I have been with the Kitchen Kettle - and you can demo the frydaddy (uncle/cousin/whatever) at next year's conference...

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Here are some video's on YouTube that show Derrick tabeling the ganache and the proper method for dipping

I took these with my small camera - sorry if they are a tad jerky

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Wow - what a great time we had in Niagara on the Lake. Met lots of new people and the food was fantastic. Casa Mia was wonderful and Dave and his folks at the College were outstanding with their meal for us. Also, the pastries for breakfast and the fresh bread, meats and salads for our lunches were great.

I have to had my kudos to Kerry for putting on such a fine event and to Bob as well for all his help.

I've added some pics - ipod doesn't take the clearest snaps but they show some of the group enjoying their chocolate experience.IMG_0709.jpgIMG_0710.jpgIMG_0713.jpgIMG_0715.jpgIMG_0721.jpgIMG_0730.jpgIMG_0727.jpgIMG_0722.jpg

There are different ways and methods for doing things as we all learned. It's nice to know that more than one way is acceptable.

Enjoyed making a transfer sheet with the fabulous colored cocoa butters. Rather primitive in my artistic talents but it gives me something to work on :)IMG_0733.jpg

Here are some samples of other chocolates created by the group.IMG_0693.jpgIMG_0694.jpgIMG_0695.jpgIMG_0696.jpgIMG_0712.jpgIMG_0728.jpg

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I was in Chicago at the French Pastry School for a three day Macaron class through Thursday so I missed the Friday trip across the border. Instead I drove though the day and headed to meet the group at Mia Casa for dinner. I arrived a bit before they opened at 5pm, so I had the place to myself when I wandered in. The owner and staff were extremely friendly and chatted with me as I sat at the bar and waited for everyone to arrive. I talked with the cheff about "Modernist Cuisine" and watched the owner swap bottles out of his "wine by the ounce" machine. He was extremely gratious and offered me the last ounce of a 2007 Tignanello. I'm not a wine expert by any means, but it was quite delicious!

I want to thank Kerry for once again puting a lot of time and energy into this gathering. The dinner was fantastic and everyone's chocolates were the perfect finish to the meal. I hadn't gotten the memo that the chocolate venue had changed to the restaurant from the hotel, so I brought my class macarons for a lunch desert the next day.

Others have done a great job reporting on the days events, so I'll just hit a couple things that were new to me. In the category of obvious once you see it, Derrick suggested you use two swipes to clear the capping chocolate from your mold. The first time you start at the middle of the mold, then from the end for the second. That prevents the chocolate from bunching up and running down the side. You then have only to clear one short end of the mold. Nice. Bob gave us a tip to use Soy Lethicin to better emulisfy all the fats when making caramel to prevent the "oil slick" from forming on top of your slab. Finally, Kerry found this nifty little breath powered air brush:

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Looking at it you would guess that it's a pretty poor atomizer, and you would be right. In fact it's a great "splatter" painter for colored cocoa butter. I can tell this is going to be a whole lot easier and less messy than using a tooth brush or my badger. Not only did she share her find with us, but she was nice enough to purchase several for resale so I could take one home!


Edited by David J. (log)

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Phew, finally got home, after spending all day waiting in standby lines after my first flight was cancelled. As always it was a pleasure meeting you all in person. Now to process and disseminate...

Another video of Derrick showing the dipping technique:

And one of his molding technique:

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Great weekend and many thanks to Kerry for all her hard work and dedication. Would also like to mention a special thanks to our friends at Chef Rubber for donating the really cool take home kits. They are well stocked with everything necessary for a beginner to stretch there creative muscle. Or for the more experienced who now have a great travel kit to work with. thanks to all who shared there secrets, ideas and comments.

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Hoping someone took a picture of the Chef Rubber kits - I was totally disorganized this weekend re picture taking. I know the kits were broken into by several people and I heard nothing but wonderful feedback. Anyone else want to comment on what they tried with theirs? I know at least one of the magnetic molds I saw made contained the results.

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I took the goodies out of the tube and packed them. Sorry-no photo. They contained 8? small jars of colored cocoa butter, a brush, several transfer sheets, literature, plastic thingy like a popsicle stick. Anything else I forgot? I think it would be a good idea for us to send a thank you email to those who provided stuff for us. Kerry, can you tell us who to contact? I know that paul@chefrubber.com will get to Paul.

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I have finished my side trips and made it home safe and sound. Will sort through my photos in the next day or two and see if I can add to the photo documentary. I think can add to the photos of our Saturday night dinner extravaganza.

Kerry, thank you for organizing this event! It was great seeing everyone that I met last year and meeting so many wonderful new people too! I learned something everyday and had a great time. I will echo dhardy123's comment that it was amazing that tabling the ganache made such a difference in flavor. I would not have believed it if I had not had the chance to taste the difference.

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I took the goodies out of the tube and packed them. Sorry-no photo. They contained 8? small jars of colored cocoa butter, a brush, several transfer sheets, literature, plastic thingy like a popsicle stick. Anything else I forgot? I think it would be a good idea for us to send a thank you email to those who provided stuff for us. Kerry, can you tell us who to contact? I know that paul@chefrubber.com will get to Paul.

Trisha at Chef Rubber is the one who sorted everything for us. She was very patient with my repeated requests.

I'm just trying to put together a list of everyone to thank. Hope to work on that tomorrow.

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does tabling the ganache affect texture? Graininess? And does using tempered chocolate into lukewarm cream achieve the same effects as tabling-does anyone know or has anyone done an experiment?

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Tabeling a ganache does not effect the texture/grain of the finished product, it has to do with how the fats crystalize, and specifically the cocoa butter which "traps" the flavors within the ganache. This allows greater flavor "explosion" in the mouth. (there was a huge discussion about cocoa butter and the crystal structure and how/why cocoa butter absorbs flavor. This led to a discussion of Mycryo and the use of Mycryo in cooking, not just confectionery).

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Just want to do a quick thank you to all the companies/people who made this possible due to their help and donations to the cause. We could simply not have done it without them.

First and foremost I'd like to thank Derrick Tu Tan Pho - educator extraordinaire for Barry Callebaut - for coming and teaching us - our little DIY conference has grown!

Lotte Andersson - who is the Regional Gourmet Sales Manager covering Ontario and Manitoba for Barry Callebaut - acted as wrangler for Derrick and brought us all sorts of chocolate and other products to taste and use for the weekend. Thanks to Lotte's hard work - Callebaut was very generous to us. And I have to add - Lotte is an absolute delight! I had a few chances to talk with her during my running around and found her a pleasure to gab with.

Trisha at Chef Rubber for her kindness and patience when my single order to go along with the bottle ends turned in to a second order full of all sorts of molecular gastronomy stuff that sounded foreign. We lucked in at the time the Chef Rubber wanted to try out the new kits - so that is why we received the fabulous 'Chef Rubber University - Color Me Transfer Sheet Kits'. For anyone who already has played with their kit and for those who didn't start playing with them yet at the conference - when you do - could you drop a line to Trisha (support@chefrubber.com) at Chef Rubber and give her feedback. Also post on this thread your results.

Renee at Chocolat-Chocolat for the catalogues with the dipping forks and the 3 fabulous prizes for our draw. Chocolat-chocolat has always been helpful to me and very gracious when I ask for favours!

Miguel Morelli at Chocolat Central Cj Inc for providing the 1 kg bags of single origin Belcolade product. Puratos has turned over the distribution of Belcolade to Chocolat Central so this was my first experience with this company. Miguel could not have been more accommodating - he came over to my chocolate lab when he was in the area and we had a great chat - shared some ideas - ate some chocolate!

Qzina in Toronto for providing their Matisse purees for us to use in our fillings and to make the Pates de Fruit. I was certainly impressed with the quality of these purees - and will likely start using them when the Boiron I have runs out. They also provided some of their own branded Chocoa Chocolate.

Pocantico Resources for providing us with the big bag o' apple pectin for our Pates de Fruit. I first met these guys at the PMCA a few years back and got freeze dried fruit from them. Wonderful stuff. When I realized this year that they supplied pectin as well, I asked if they would send some for our conference. Couldn't believe the size of the bag that showed up!

And of course the individuals who helped us out - Peter Storm, chef/pattiserie instructor from Niagara College - who did so much in the back ground. He and Derrick have worked together in the past - so it was his idea that we ask Derrick to come - and he made the initial contact for us. He baked us all those wonderful goodies for breakfast, made the bread for our lunches and our Saturday dinner - cut up fruit, laid out all the food in an extremely attractive pattern. He was a bit horrified that I would have just opened the packages, stuffed in a fork and said "have at it".

Dave Gibson, also chef instructor at the college - who made us our fabulous Saturday dinner again this time. Dave just loves to do this - a chance to show off his skills. Mike and Rebecca who helped him completed the team. Thank you guys for all your hard work (and I loved the leftovers). We did share the leftovers - I didn't take them all home!

Brittany - our student 'volunteered' by Peter Storm - was such a delight. What a hard working young lady she is. She stayed scrubbing the table tops until the last dog was hung. I truly hope she got the opportunity to learn and didn't just find herself cleaning up stuff and feeding us. Brittany just won Skills Ontario for her chocolate work and is heading to compete again in June. Bet she does well there too.

Ruth - also a big winner in competitions (she's heading to Belgium in July for the prize she won at Decadence a couple of months ago) - was a great help feeding us, keeping us organized and cleaning behind us. Thanks Ruthie!

Of course I want to thank everyone who attended - cause really it's all about us teaching ourselves when we start to play. I know when I organized this two years ago I didn't really delegate as well as I could have - and I was much more exhausted when it was over. This year it was a simple matter to say 'you're molding - can you demo it to others who want to learn', 'transfer sheets - Theresa's making them over there - go get her to show you'. Excellent!!!!

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And of course, Kerry is failing to mention the number one individual who made this possible: Kerry Beal! She seems to have more energy than any ten of us combined, and the event came off without a hitch. Thanks, Kerry!

I thought that this year's knowledge-sharing format worked very well, giving people the opportunity to share their skills with others. I tend to prefer the more "workshop"-oriented format, as opposed to a "conference." Stick us all in a big kitchen with a bunch of ingredients and let's have at it!

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I also commend Kerry Beal, who truly IS the Chocolate Doctor. Kerry did such an amazing, wonderful job and because of her "running" on both Saturday and Sunday, the rest of us were able to interact, learn and perfect our techniques.

I would also like to extend a thank you to Larry and Landies Candies, who gave us a great tour of his factory on Friday morning, showing us some exciting equipment, his entrepreneurial spirit in showing us that even the larger companies can be creative (in that he and his co-workers actually created a whole-nut cluster machine). Truly, the spirit of ingenuity at it's finest. Several people on the tour also commented on the sponge candy that was still awaiting the saw. I overheard a few of the tour asking Larry if his "sponge always falls in the middle" and his comment, plain and simple: "yes". He emphasized there is a lot of waste in sponge candy.

Also a huge thank you to Brian Donaghy (Criollo Group) and Tomric for hosting the afternoon session, the snacks, wine, shopping spree's in the $10.00 mold area (which I lost out on as I was picking Brian's brain, which seems to me a good deal - ton's of information from Brian, and I left with some cash in my pocket!). Brian and Tomric were awesome to us and I hope we get the opportunity to go back again someday. I first met Brian years ago at one of the Philly Shows. Of course, he doesn't remember that, but I do. Every time I've had the opportunity to talk to him, I've learned something else I didn't know before. His depth of knowledge and his willingness to share it always amazes me.

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Thanks Bob. I still wonder if it is different to using tempered choc to make the ganache. I will have to conduct some experiments I guess! Is this tabled ganached used more for cutting and dipping ganache or also for filling shells-which is usually more fluid... What did Derrick do with his white ganache after he tabled it?

Thanks

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Thanks Bob. I still wonder if it is different to using tempered choc to make the ganache. I will have to conduct some experiments I guess! Is this tabled ganached used more for cutting and dipping ganache or also for filling shells-which is usually more fluid... What did Derrick do with his white ganache after he tabled it?

Thanks

Lior - Derrick suggested that the ganache could be used for either, slab or shells. Derrick made the same formula ganache twice, he tabled one and did not table the other. He placed them both in bowls so we could taste the difference, and it's truly amazing the flavor of the one over the other. With that said, he also freely stated that tabeling a ganache is not viable for companies that are in production because of the time factor's required.

Derrick made a couple of ganache's that we used for shell moulding and he also brought some with him that he did as slabs.

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      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 :-)
       
       
    • By danielle_j
      Hello and Happy Holidays!  I own an ice cream company and am looking for some information about equipment to use for scaling large batches of caramel.  Right now, we cook sugar over electric heat in an approx. 6 qt. stainless steel pot.  Once the caramel is at the correct color and temp (more on that below), we add our dairy to the hot mixture.  Obviously, this is not a viable option for producing large batches.
       
      I'm familiar with confectionary equipment from Savage, but don't have the budget for an automated piece.  Does anyone have experience with using just one of their copper or stainless steel kettles over a regular sized burner on electric heat? We've tried to use a single larger flat bottom pot sitting in the middle of all 4 burners on the stove to make a large batch of caramel, but it doesn't heat evenly.  I'm wondering if the rounded bottom of the kettle helps the entire pot cook evenly -- would we be able to set the kettle right on the burner; or, have to use it in a double boiler setting?
       
      Additionally, any recommendations for thermometers that work well with caramel would be welcomed.  We've used digital probes and candy thermometers, but on numerous occasions, the color and smell of the caramel that we associate with "doneness" is a dramatically different temperature for each batch.
       
      I came across a similar post on this topic from 2016, but aside from a recommendation for a large piece of equipment from Savage, there wasn't any other feedback.  Hoping to get some good input that will bridge the gap between extremely small batches and mass production.
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