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Wybauw Buttercream


lebowits
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For some time I've been wanting to make a "creme" center that I can flavor. From my research I've found that there isn't much written on the subject. One friend gave me a formula/method for making a fondant based center, but I'm not yet satisfied with my results.

Continuing my research, I went back and found a formula/method in "Fine Chocolates 2" by JP Wybauw. On p. 182, he has a formula labeled "Butter cream" which is as follows:

500g butter

500g fondant sugar

100g condensed milk (or cream)

Beat the butter in the processor until foamy.

Add the fondant sugar little by little while stirring thoroughly.

Add the condensed milk and blend into an attractive smooth cream.

On the next page, he has a product called "Rum Cream in Ganache Cuvettes" in which he states:

"Flavor the butter cream (see recipe page 182) with rum."

Several things I'd like to open for discussion here:

  1. I used sweetened condensed milk in another product, but went searching for another perhaps "unsweetend" milk just in case. Unable to find one, I decided to use what I had.
  2. After making the basic product, I flavored it with seedless raspberry jam. First 100g, and deciding that the result didn't have enough raspberry flavor, added another 100g. The result had good, but not "hit you over the head" raspberry flavor, decided to call it a success. I may add more since my taste buds are now blown and need to taste it again later.
  3. The resulting product is smooth, somewhat stiff, but should be able to be piped into shells. I may thin it just a bit with a bit of alcohol. Since I don't have shells prepared yet, I've covered and refrigerated the bowl and will let it come to room temp tomorrow. Since it looks quite a bit like other butter cream products, I'll also likely whip it up to get it back into shape. That's when I expect I'll add the alcohol.
  4. Wybauw lists the water activity (aW) at 0.812 which is lower than many of the "standard" method ganaches in his books.

Has anyone worked with anything like this? Any thoughts on the shelf life? I figure it can't be any worse than my other cream based ganache products and I plan to seal it in a shell. So as long as I don't trap air I would expect to get about 6 - 8 weeks.

Comments, suggestions, warnings?

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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Has anyone worked with anything like this? Any thoughts on the shelf life? I figure it can't be any worse than my other cream based ganache products and I plan to seal it in a shell. So as long as I don't trap air I would expect to get about 6 - 8 weeks.

Steve, sorry I don't have an answer, but a question related to what you wrote above. You were saying that for your cream ganaches you expect a 6-8 week shelf-life.

I am usually building my recipes based on Greweling's recommendation of 1:2 ratio of cream+liquour to (dark) chocolate, and my understanding is that this ratio gives a 3-week shelf life to chocolates, even if glucose or invert is added to extend the shelf life.

So my question is: what is the liquefier-to-chocolate ratio in your ganaches, so that they may last for 8 weeks?

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Has anyone worked with anything like this? Any thoughts on the shelf life? I figure it can't be any worse than my other cream based ganache products and I plan to seal it in a shell. So as long as I don't trap air I would expect to get about 6 - 8 weeks.

Steve, sorry I don't have an answer, but a question related to what you wrote above. You were saying that for your cream ganaches you expect a 6-8 week shelf-life.

I am usually building my recipes based on Greweling's recommendation of 1:2 ratio of cream+liquour to (dark) chocolate, and my understanding is that this ratio gives a 3-week shelf life to chocolates, even if glucose or invert is added to extend the shelf life.

So my question is: what is the liquefier-to-chocolate ratio in your ganaches, so that they may last for 8 weeks?

I use a number of ganache formulas, some of them from Greweling. Many of the products include some form of alcohol which in addition to providing flavor, also inhibits microbial activity and extends the shelf life quite a bit. I'll have to check my notes, but Wybauw suggests that adding a alcohol (I'll have to check my notes on how much, but it's a few % of the total batch weight) can give you a shelf life of up to 6 months. Your mileage may vary. In my own case, I've done extensive testing by holding batches and cutting open pieces every week to check the status of the center. I've found that as long as I don't trap air, I avoid anything nasty for at least that long. Usually, I don't have things that long, but I want to make sure that customers have some time after the buy something to consume at their leisure.

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've made lots of different buttercreams over time - used to be my go to center when I was trying to make something fruit flavoured. Most were butter, fondant, chocolate (most often white), fruit puree, booze and maybe some additional flavouring of some sort. They seemed to have a pretty decent shelf life - probably in the 8 week range. Some were based on Wybauw, some on Geerts. None had sweetened condensed milk in them.

Seem to recall that Wybauw says that if 18% of the liquid is pure alcohol the shelf life is almost indefinite.

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If your Aw is below 0.85 then you can generally (assuming good technique and stable formulation) assume a maximum shelf life of 3 months.

Using a 2:1 ratio for a ganache with at least 25% humuctant (eg. glucose, invert, corn syrup etc) to cream amount you can get mostly under 0.85 Aw. With addition of other things such as Sorbitol you can improve shelf life.

I would recommend that you get Wybauw's 3rd book on extending shelf life if you want to further understand alcohol's contribution. It all will come down to the % alcohol content you end up with - because remember, alcohol is usually water based and so adding water also reduces (dramatically) shelf life of a ganache/product in general, and so this has to be balanced with the overal alcoholic content that the dilution will give.

By the way - if you are looking for a real raspberry punch then IMO the best way to do this is to add crushed (i.e. powdered) freeze-dried raspberries. My buttercreams for raspberry flavour that clients have asked for (wedding cakes) I always make with butter icing sugar (1:1) with some vanilla, then raspberry puree with white chocolate (tempered thin ganache) incorporated and a tbsp or 2 of powdered freeze-dried raspberry. That gives it a very intense powerful raspberry flavour and also helps keep it firm and extend shelf life (as less water).

Good luck!

TCD

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Thank you all for the information! (And sorry Steve for hijacking your thread! :blush:)

I normally do add liqueurs (Grand M, Frangelico, etc), but these are not pure alcohol. Adding 18% alcohol might impact the flavour too much, not sure I want to compromise on that.

I have to dig up a shelf life thread on here, and read through, I'm sure that will help a lot.

Thanks again!

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Even as a hobbyist I find all this quite interesting, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me.

A 1:2 ratio produces a pretty firm ganache, doesn't it? I feel that for moulded pieces especially, the textural contrast and smooth creamy fillings is one of the most appealing factors... and I would think that 1:2 would be slabbably (hehe) firm.

Similarly, 25% invert sugar sounds like it would make incredibly sweet fillings (especially if you're starting with milk or white chocolate).

I recently ate a few chocolates from a local place, and they had great textures and no noticeable alcohol taste, but I presume they'd still be shooting for 3 to 6 week shelf life...?

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A 1:2 ratio produces a pretty firm ganache, doesn't it? I feel that for moulded pieces especially, the textural contrast and smooth creamy fillings is one of the most appealing factors... and I would think that 1:2 would be slabbably (hehe) firm.

Yes, it is pretty firm (slabbably so :smile:), but it's the ratio Greweling advocates on p. 83, in his ganache formulation guidelines (this both for slabbed AND piped pieces). He says this ratio is flexible, of course, depending on what result you want to achieve. However, he writes "in all cases, cream-based ganache centers stored at room temperature have a shelf life of approximately three weeks, unless a water activity meter is employed to ensure the safety of longer storage." (Greweling, Chocolates and Confections, p. 84. Also in water activity table on p. 38). I think what Steve does is equally safe - holding them, then cutting open to check for spoilage weekly.

This discussion actually has got me to check the ratios in all of Greweling's cream ganache formulas. Next I am pulling out Wybauw (only got vol. 2), Curley (no shelf life info for his ganaches though) and Notter to see what their cream ganache ratios look like, I'm curious now. I am making butter ganaches in the meantime, 3 months shelf life, woo-hoo!!

Similarly, 25% invert sugar sounds like it would make incredibly sweet fillings (especially if you're starting with milk or white chocolate).

I agree. So far I have only used glucose, and it sparingly despite its mild flavour. Never more than 10% of the cream, and for milk and whites usually around 5%. Clearly this is not helping with shelf life, I just can't bring myself to add more than that to milk and white.

I will try invert when I try Curley's formulas, really looking forward to that experiment.

Sorry to drag this on, this just shows how much I have to learn still.

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A 1:2 ratio produces a pretty firm ganache, doesn't it? I feel that for moulded pieces especially, the textural contrast and smooth creamy fillings is one of the most appealing factors... and I would think that 1:2 would be slabbably (hehe) firm.

Yes, it is pretty firm (slabbably so :smile:), but it's the ratio Greweling advocates on p. 83, in his ganache formulation guidelines (this both for slabbed AND piped pieces). He says this ratio is flexible, of course, depending on what result you want to achieve. However, he writes "in all cases, cream-based ganache centers stored at room temperature have a shelf life of approximately three weeks, unless a water activity meter is employed to ensure the safety of longer storage." (Greweling, Chocolates and Confections, p. 84. Also in water activity table on p. 38). I think what Steve does is equally safe - holding them, then cutting open to check for spoilage weekly.

This discussion actually has got me to check the ratios in all of Greweling's cream ganache formulas. Next I am pulling out Wybauw (only got vol. 2), Curley (no shelf life info for his ganaches though) and Notter to see what their cream ganache ratios look like, I'm curious now. I am making butter ganaches in the meantime, 3 months shelf life, woo-hoo!!

Similarly, 25% invert sugar sounds like it would make incredibly sweet fillings (especially if you're starting with milk or white chocolate).

I agree. So far I have only used glucose, and it sparingly despite its mild flavour. Never more than 10% of the cream, and for milk and whites usually around 5%. Clearly this is not helping with shelf life, I just can't bring myself to add more than that to milk and white.

I will try invert when I try Curley's formulas, really looking forward to that experiment.

Sorry to drag this on, this just shows how much I have to learn still.

Diane - when I get back down from up north - come on over and we'll do the aW testing on your recipes.

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Even as a hobbyist I find all this quite interesting, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me.

A 1:2 ratio produces a pretty firm ganache, doesn't it? I feel that for moulded pieces especially, the textural contrast and smooth creamy fillings is one of the most appealing factors... and I would think that 1:2 would be slabbably (hehe) firm.

Similarly, 25% invert sugar sounds like it would make incredibly sweet fillings (especially if you're starting with milk or white chocolate).

I recently ate a few chocolates from a local place, and they had great textures and no noticeable alcohol taste, but I presume they'd still be shooting for 3 to 6 week shelf life...?

Invert is quite sweet, so you can opt for other humectants such as glucose syrup which will be less so, but most chocolatiers seem to go for the higher percentage syrups.

Eg. Greweling recommends between 25-30% weight of cream as glucose syrup. Eg with 2:1 you would have say 200g cream, 400g dark chocolate, 50-60g glucose syrup.

If you look at William Curley's truffle recipes they are more like 14% invert of cream, HOWEVER the cream is almost at a 1:1 ratio with the chocolate (and whipping not heavy/double cream so more water yet to dilute the cacao). So if you were to take his standard truffle ganache it is 435ml/g whipping:500g choc:60g invert (+75g butter) so you have to account for a very different cream volume diluting the chocolate more than Greweling's.

If you look at Paul Young it is even more sweet (by the way he just won several GOLDS at the International/World chocolate awards which they only give one out per category, so must be doing something right!). His receipe for basic truffle ganache is 250g choc, 250g cream, 100g muscavado sugar. That is 20% sugar of entire combo weight of cream & choc!!

Then look at Michael Recchiuti - his Earl Grey recipe has 8oz heavy cream - 4oz invert sugar - 9 oz chocolate (65%).

Others still will advocate no humectant and just cream and chocolate.

The point is really even among the top professionals there is huge variation. It will also depend if you are doing a standard ganache or a flavoured one (eg. the earl grey may need more sweetness however even to me 50% weight of cream being invert seem excessive personally!). You can often be surprised how little sweetness is translated from increasing the invert/glucose from 10 to say 20% - when working with dark chocolate in particular this isn't as dramatic as it sounds to most people in terms of taste in my personal opinion.

You must also consider if you go down the Greweling et al route of a milk becomes more like 1:2.5 then automatically the overall percentage of sugar is reduced as you have a lower amount of cream and so the humectant also reduces (eg. to compare to above recipe with 400g chocolate it becomes 160g cream and 40g humectant for 25%).

With shelf life I think it is often forgotten that this should not only reflect the microbial aspect (i.e. safety to eat and no spoilage), but additionally the taste/flavour aspect of shelf life. For example, in my personal experience I find a lot of tea ganaches have a shortened shelf life as the flavour fades much more rapidly than say my rosemary ganache. I even switched to having my tea ganaches kept in an airtight box with a muslin inside that had the tea leaves within it, as so to create a microenvironment that inhibited the loss of the tea flavour from the ganache (despite being dipped in tempered chocolate properly!). However my tea ganache lasts a good 2+ months no problems, but I would say from 3 weeks onwards the taste is significantly less superior than at the 1-2 week stage.

Finally, with regards to ratios and how much cream etc etc relating to Aw, I think often people like Greweling have to assume a level of responsibility in that many people who try to make these may not have the best sterile-like conditions combined with good understanding of tempering the ganache for stability (and shelf life), not just tempering the chocolate. Thus it is often the case to err on the side of caution about shelf life. If you look at Wybauw and many of his recipes, and the correlating Aw you can see that often the Aw can be quite decent even with a considerable amount of cream. Eg:

80g Black tea

2500g whipping cream

600g invert

600g butter

60g orange blossom water

3000g milk chocolate (for moulded - 4000g if slabbed)

That puts you at about a 24% weight of cream for the invert, but the cream is at over 83% of the chocolate weight!! There is a fair amount of butter to make up the fat to a high amount however the main point is despite the high amounts of cream compared to the milk chocolate, the Aw stated is 0.808 which would give it up to 3 month shelf life (as < 0.85).

I've made this recipe (slabbed version) and modified it for my own needs however the original recipe does hold well for at least 8-10 weeks in terms of spoilage if you work with good technique (clean/aseptic as possible) and follow the tempering of the ganache well. It does however suffer from a loss of flavour over time though that for me, would put it at the 4 week shelf life purely on taste.

The curley's and young's of the world though like the higher cream:chocolate ratio's generally end up with 2-3 week shelf life max, ESPECIALLY because people like Curley do not advocate tempering their ganache, and furthermore in his recipes, Curley will advocate boiling the cream with invert, which is a no-no as invert should not go above 70degC for shelf life and taste reasons.

Unless you have access to a hygrometer to determine Aw, you either have to follow recipes well that have established Aw values or do what has already been mentioned and to testings. The only hard thing about this is saving 1 of your chocolates to taste test every week and not eating them all up in 2-3 weeks! :)

TCD

Edited by The Choc Doc (log)
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With shelf life I think it is often forgotten that this should not only reflect the microbial aspect (i.e. safety to eat and no spoilage), but additionally the taste/flavour aspect of shelf life. For example, in my personal experience I find a lot of tea ganaches have a shortened shelf life as the flavour fades much more rapidly than say my rosemary ganache. I even switched to having my tea ganaches kept in an airtight box with a muslin inside that had the tea leaves within it, as so to create a microenvironment that inhibited the loss of the tea flavour from the ganache (despite being dipped in tempered chocolate properly!). However my tea ganache lasts a good 2+ months no problems, but I would say from 3 weeks onwards the taste is significantly less superior than at the 1-2 week stage.

I agree with TCD about the flavor fading over time. It really depends on the flavoring agent used. However, I have a number of pieces in which the flavor declines far sooner than the shelf life of the product. For those, I recommend simply making smaller batches more often. This also has the benefit of reducing the time you hold the product before sale and/or consumption.

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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We have had this discussion before about overheating invert sugar - which seems to have originated with something Wybauw said. Is there any evidence that overheating invert sugar really does change it's chemical structure in a way that negatively impacts shelf life and taste?

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With shelf life I think it is often forgotten that this should not only reflect the microbial aspect (i.e. safety to eat and no spoilage), but additionally the taste/flavour aspect of shelf life. For example, in my personal experience I find a lot of tea ganaches have a shortened shelf life as the flavour fades much more rapidly than say my rosemary ganache. I even switched to having my tea ganaches kept in an airtight box with a muslin inside that had the tea leaves within it, as so to create a microenvironment that inhibited the loss of the tea flavour from the ganache (despite being dipped in tempered chocolate properly!). However my tea ganache lasts a good 2+ months no problems, but I would say from 3 weeks onwards the taste is significantly less superior than at the 1-2 week stage.

I agree with TCD about the flavor fading over time. It really depends on the flavoring agent used. However, I have a number of pieces in which the flavor declines far sooner than the shelf life of the product. For those, I recommend simply making smaller batches more often. This also has the benefit of reducing the time you hold the product before sale and/or consumption.

Or freezing them and starting the shelf life from the time they come out of the freezer.

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We have had this discussion before about overheating invert sugar - which seems to have originated with something Wybauw said. Is there any evidence that overheating invert sugar really does change it's chemical structure in a way that negatively impacts shelf life and taste?

I think because you have a pure invert sugar you will use, it is very different to heating sucrose to caramel, which will form caramel obviously (and long enough become very bitter and burnt). Fructose+Glucose in pure 50/50 form (invert) will become more bitter easily and no longer (due to degradation and reactions) have their beneficial properites of keeping water around to stop crystallisation and keep a smooth, soft centre so you lose those beneficial properties. I guess you could try yourself and boil up some invert and taste it and see!

TCD

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We have had this discussion before about overheating invert sugar - which seems to have originated with something Wybauw said. Is there any evidence that overheating invert sugar really does change it's chemical structure in a way that negatively impacts shelf life and taste?

I asked him about that in the course I took with him-

He said that he found that to be true only for one type of inverted sugar he had worked with that had been inverted with some sort of chemical, (that is not really available to purchase), instead of the traditional way (which is what confectioners usually buy). I don't remember the details of the whole explanation, or the differences between the sugars, but at the end he explained that there is no problem boiling the invert sugar that we usually buy, and the one we used in the course.

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For some time I've been wanting to make a "creme" center that I can flavor. From my research I've found that there isn't much written on the subject. One friend gave me a formula/method for making a fondant based center, but I'm not yet satisfied with my results.

Continuing my research, I went back and found a formula/method in "Fine Chocolates 2" by JP Wybauw. On p. 182, he has a formula labeled "Butter cream" which is as follows:

500g butter

500g fondant sugar

100g condensed milk (or cream)

Beat the butter in the processor until foamy.

Add the fondant sugar little by little while stirring thoroughly.

Add the condensed milk and blend into an attractive smooth cream.

On the next page, he has a product called "Rum Cream in Ganache Cuvettes" in which he states:

"Flavor the butter cream (see recipe page 182) with rum."

Several things I'd like to open for discussion here:

  1. I used sweetened condensed milk in another product, but went searching for another perhaps "unsweetend" milk just in case. Unable to find one, I decided to use what I had.
  2. After making the basic product, I flavored it with seedless raspberry jam. First 100g, and deciding that the result didn't have enough raspberry flavor, added another 100g. The result had good, but not "hit you over the head" raspberry flavor, decided to call it a success. I may add more since my taste buds are now blown and need to taste it again later.
  3. The resulting product is smooth, somewhat stiff, but should be able to be piped into shells. I may thin it just a bit with a bit of alcohol. Since I don't have shells prepared yet, I've covered and refrigerated the bowl and will let it come to room temp tomorrow. Since it looks quite a bit like other butter cream products, I'll also likely whip it up to get it back into shape. That's when I expect I'll add the alcohol.
  4. Wybauw lists the water activity (aW) at 0.812 which is lower than many of the "standard" method ganaches in his books.

Has anyone worked with anything like this? Any thoughts on the shelf life? I figure it can't be any worse than my other cream based ganache products and I plan to seal it in a shell. So as long as I don't trap air I would expect to get about 6 - 8 weeks.

Comments, suggestions, warnings?

Steve- if you want I can send you the apple/calvados buttercream recipe we got in my course in lenotre- I loved its texture, and it lasted for quite a while (no condensed milk in it)

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We have had this discussion before about overheating invert sugar - which seems to have originated with something Wybauw said. Is there any evidence that overheating invert sugar really does change it's chemical structure in a way that negatively impacts shelf life and taste?

I think because you have a pure invert sugar you will use, it is very different to heating sucrose to caramel, which will form caramel obviously (and long enough become very bitter and burnt). Fructose+Glucose in pure 50/50 form (invert) will become more bitter easily and no longer (due to degradation and reactions) have their beneficial properites of keeping water around to stop crystallisation and keep a smooth, soft centre so you lose those beneficial properties. I guess you could try yourself and boil up some invert and taste it and see!

TCD

Perhaps when I get home from up north I can make a couple of ganache samples - one with cream and invert that has not been heated above 70º C and the other that has - I assume that if the invert becomes chemically changed then the aW will become higher in the boiled sample. I'll need a reminder or I'll forget to try it though.

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Diane - when I get back down from up north - come on over and we'll do the aW testing on your recipes.

Perhaps when I get home from up north I can make a couple of ganache samples - one with cream and invert that has not been heated above 70º C and the other that has - I assume that if the invert becomes chemically changed then the aW will become higher in the boiled sample. I'll need a reminder or I'll forget to try it though.

Kerry, thank you! I'll have some ganaches ready when you return, so that we can measure aW. I can remind you of the boiling experiment with invert, and maybe we can do that as well.

TCD: thank you for your explanation. The often contradictory indications in chocolatiers' books are definitely an issue for me, mainly when it comes to the tempered vs. non-tempered ganache issue.

Of course the point you are bringing up about flavour loss is right on. When you evaluate for taste, do you also have a fresh bonbon for comparison?

The muslin tea bag idea is elegant, but only useful when you are packaging a single kind. If you have a "tea collection" with 5-6 different flavours, things get complicated, non? :huh:

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We have had this discussion before about overheating invert sugar - which seems to have originated with something Wybauw said. Is there any evidence that overheating invert sugar really does change it's chemical structure in a way that negatively impacts shelf life and taste?

I asked him about that in the course I took with him-

He said that he found that to be true only for one type of inverted sugar he had worked with that had been inverted with some sort of chemical, (that is not really available to purchase), instead of the traditional way (which is what confectioners usually buy). I don't remember the details of the whole explanation, or the differences between the sugars, but at the end he explained that there is no problem boiling the invert sugar that we usually buy, and the one we used in the course.

Thank you, thank you Liron, for this! I've long been confused about why heating invert might be a problem. Now I can stop worrying about this.

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  • 2 years later...

Kerry, what aW meter do you have and where did you get it? Want to figure out best place to get one and the estimated cost for business plan purposes.  Not essential obviously, but pretty "peace of mind" handy...

 

So far the current contenders are the Pawkit and the Rotronic HP23AW, the Pawkit seems to be more economically priced, but most places you have to request for a quote which annoys me.

Edited by YetiChocolates (log)
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It's a decagon paWkit - bought it refurbished from the company for $500. They go for a more new. Contact the company to see when they might have one again.

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It's a decagon paWkit - bought it refurbished from the company for $500. They go for a more new. Contact the company to see when they might have one again.

 

Thanks Kerry, I just requested a quote asking about a refurbished unit, and just noticed that they are based in Pullman, WA, which is a short 3-4 hour drive from me...crazy!

Edited by YetiChocolates (log)
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