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So I've been experiencing cracks on the foot of my bonbons that I've been unable to find the cause of, hoping to reach out to the community to get to the bottom of this costly problem.
I work for a small chocolate company that makes our own bean to bar couverture. We use a continuous tempering machine with enrobing belt attachment.
The process: ganache is made and then piped into round silicone molds, which are then footed with tempered chocolate before being placed in the freezer until frozen enough to pop out of the molds. They are then set up right and left to thaw and dry out overnight on a equipped with fans aimed at the bonbons. The next day we send the bonbons through the enrober, and then they are transferred to a speed rack to set up, either at room temp (generally around 68-70 degrees F) or in a homemade cooling cabinet (an insulated box equipped with an air conditioner + dehumidifier + fans) that generally fluctuates between 50-56 degrees F (I know, large range).
Problems occur with both milk and dark couverture, with bonbons kept at room temp or in cabinet, thickness of foot doesn't seem to make a difference (we've tried thicker and thinner). Crack doesn't immediately appear; it usually takes a couple of minutes after being completely set before showing. It looks as though the foot is popping out, cause a hairline crack between the shell and the foot. I've attached pictures. You'll notice in the photos, that when the bonbon is cut in half, the foot separates from the shell pretty significantly.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Similar experiences?
I'm a small-scale hobbyist candymaker (making things for myself and friends, not for sale), and I'm interested in learning more about sugar panning (mostly soft sugar panning, but also interested in hard panning). I recently made myself a panning machine, and understand the very basics of the process, but I'm finding it difficult to find thorough information on the process that is useful for home candymaking - most of the information I have found so far has been of the sort "here is how to use this product that you can only buy in 100-lb quantities", or "this $200 industry manual has a section on panning techniques that may or may not be useful, but you can't tell until after you buy it". Is there a good book/website/other source that thoroughly explains all parts of the panning process with enough detail to figure out how to do things with the materials at hand, and more importantly how to know at each step if things are going right? I have access to the book "Confectionary Science and Technology", which has been a HUGE help, but there's still quite a bit that it doesn't talk about.
I also have a couple of specific questions, and would appreciate any info:
1. How do I add color? Adding gel food color to the syrup only provides slight coloration, and I have food color powder but am not sure if I should add it to the syrup, to the sugar, or just it to replace the sugar.
2. I have some carnauba wax to use for polishing, but I can't find any info on how to use it - do I just pour a small quantity of melted wax to the centers in the pan? Do I need to mix it with anything?
Huge thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
This probably sounds like a strange subject to bring up when most of you, as @CantCookStillTry would say, are up to your knickers in snow and ice but some of us right now are in a heat wave. Although Costa Rica is in the northern hemisphere, Central America only has two seasons. Wet and dry. Wet season is from sometime in April to sometime in November so that puts us in the dry season right now and our two hottest months are March and April. CCST is in Australia and going through a real hot time. We'd like to know what you do to beat the heat. What are your favorite hot weather recipes? How do you cook in the hot weather to keep from heating up your kitchen? Any and all suggestions and anecdotes are welcome.
I like to make roasted eggplant/aubergine for baba gahanouj, bharta (etc.) on coals that impart a wonderful smoky flavour. I've had good success doing it in a barbecue (actually a Big Green Egg). So, now that it's winter, I thought "why not try it in the fireplace, after the fire has burnt down to glowing coals?" I cut a few slits in the eggplant so that it wouldn't explode, did NOT wrap it in foil, thinking that would just seal out the smoky flavour, and popped it into the fireplace (with glass doors) for 15 min. It came out looking good, perhaps a little under-cooked, but basically OK. The taste was TERRIBLE - very strong flavour of fire place ash. I only had a couple of bites, despite my Methodist ancestors looking disapprovingly over my shoulder, because it really was bad. So has anyone else tried this? I'd like to make it work. Should the eggplant be wrapped in foil? Should I wait until the coals have died down further? Does it depend on the type of wood? This was mainly aspen - crappy firewood at best, but it was free (Methodist ancestors won this time.).
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