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Chocolate making: Things I learned in my early months

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Not a good picture with the glare but the Venezuela Sur del Lago 70% dark chocolate is out of the machine. In the interest of not wanting the machine to be bored, I immediately got a batch of 40% milk chocolate going using the same beans.

Sd_L70dark1.jpg

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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3 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:

In the interest of not wanting the machine to be bored, I immediately got a batch of 40% milk chocolate going using the same beans.

I think you’ve found your passion!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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45 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I think you’ve found your passion!


That remains to be seen... it still has to be tempered and molded. :D Molding the 50% milk this weekend so I'll know soon if I got that one right.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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So Bhavhani is making a smaller bowl and smaller set of stones that will fit on the tilting base (and the other base I assume). I thought of Jo immediately who mentioned she would like to be able to make smaller batches of stuff. I'm awaiting the arrival of mine.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

So Bhavhani is making a smaller bowl and smaller set of stones that will fit on the tilting base (and the other base I assume). I thought of Jo immediately who mentioned she would like to be able to make smaller batches of stuff. I'm awaiting the arrival of mine.

 

 


Interesting. Something to keep in mind for down the road for doing flavor and idea testing. Might be nice for small "what you need right now" batches of nut and praline pastes too.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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4 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


Interesting. Something to keep in mind for down the road for doing flavor and idea testing. Might be nice for small "what you need right now" batches of nut and praline pastes too.

My thought as well - I don't necessarily need a huge batch of something and less will be lost to the bowl.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

My thought as well - I don't necessarily need a huge batch of something and less will be lost to the bowl.

 

 


Doesn't look like it's made the website yet. Speaking of which, it's a small thing and I'll get used to it but my initial impression is that I'm not a big fan of their website redesign. It's not actually more difficult to navigate than it was before but it feels like it is. It's not as intuitive. But that could possibly just be due to me being used to the old site.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I tempered and molded the 50% milk I made with the no-origin-given nibs today after a couple weeks aging. The EZtemper made easy work of the tempering so it certainly is well named. Gonna have to be a little more violent with the molds next round, got a few bubble dimples in some of these, but they all popped right out of the molds with no banging or freezer assistance and, though it's not easy to see in the pictures thanks to my poor photography skills, they're quite shiny. I'm calling it a success for a first try.

50milkbar.jpg

Three of the fifteen 80 gram bars I molded. Not selected for best appearance. There were some without bubble dimples that I could have used but this is a learning process so... warts and all.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I’m impressed.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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This is really cool. I'm glad that I'm not in a situation where this would be plausible. I know I would get too nerdy about it.

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8 hours ago, Rajala said:

I'm glad that I'm not in a situation where this would be plausible. I know I would get too nerdy about it.


Is there any other way? 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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5 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


Is there any other way? 

 

Probably not. :D 

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I'll add some things I haven't seen mentioned as being useful to working with chocolate as a chocolatier.

 

Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. Not necessary, but I do create the silk that I can grate into chocolate to help temper it (mostly when I'm having difficulty due to humidity on location). I would prefer an EZ Temper for that, but I can't afford one yet. I also use the sous vide to caramelize white chocolate and I use it as a melter and to hold chocolate at temperature. 

 

Gelatin for mold making when I want to make a custom sculpture or item such as a wrench or mason jar. 

Another molding material I like is Mold Putty

 https://www.amazon.com/Alumilite-Amazing-Mold-Putty-0-66-Pound/dp/B0058VAG5A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1534952712&sr=8-3&keywords=molding+putty

 

Parchment paper, I use it to wrap caramels in the summer as the humidity makes it impossible to use cellophane (I'm in Michigan).  I use parchment paper for spreading out chocolate, for baking and for making small piping bags.

 

Packaging in different sizes for my chocolates, desserts, etc all in Tiffany blue that I purchase at brpboxshop.com They will send you samples in like 2 days if you want to check them out.

 

I've learned a lot looking through this forum and from following chocolatiers on Instagram and watching videos on Youtube. 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Artisanne said:

Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. Not necessary, but I do create the silk that I can grate into chocolate to help temper it (mostly when I'm having difficulty due to humidity on location). I would prefer an EZ Temper for that, but I can't afford one yet. I also use the sous vide to caramelize white chocolate and I use it as a melter and to hold chocolate at temperature. 

 

Good idea. What sort of containers do you use for the silk and molten chocolate? Have you had any problems with water leaks or condensation?

 

Have you got any photos of your setup that you can share?

 

Quote

I've learned a lot looking through this forum and from following chocolatiers on Instagram and watching videos on Youtube. 

That’s where I’ve got a lot of mine as well. I follow a bunch of pastry chefs as well since they also use a lot of chocolate for decorating, etc.


Edited by jbates (log)

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2 hours ago, jbates said:

Good idea. What sort of containers do you use for the silk and molten chocolate? Have you had any problems with water leaks or condensation?

 

Have you got any photos of your setup that you can share?

 

That’s where I’ve got a lot of mine as well. I follow a bunch of pastry chefs as well since they also use a lot of chocolate for decorating, etc.

 

I've used 4oz mason jars and also foodsaver bags, neither one has caused any condensation issues. I will try to get my sous vide set up photographed (I think I have it somewhere already in a picture). I had a friend take some acrylic and cut out a hole for the pan I use with clamps to keep it tight and not float when the chocolate gets low. Another hole for the sous vide and it keeps the water out, acts just like a melter. 

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I've been looking for a thread to share my ignorant noob questions:  where to begin?  Kerry talked me into trying the KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl for tempering chocolate.  After a couple false starts I anovaed up some silk and managed to achieve tempered chocolate that was still fluid enough to ladle.  Very pleased with the results.

 

Question 1:  What temperature is ideal for adding silk to the melted chocolate?  When I removed the silk from the water bath it hardened quickly.  Didn't seem to matter to the tempering but it made a powdery mess.  Can silk be made in bulk and cooled for later use?

 

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2 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Question 1:  What temperature is ideal for adding silk to the melted chocolate?  When I removed the silk from the water bath it hardened quickly.  Didn't seem to matter to the tempering but it made a powdery mess.  Can silk be made in bulk and cooled for later use?

 

 

I think 94ish? 

 

How did it get powdery?  Silk should be ... silky.  My silk was on the stiff side today, I added it at about 93 and had a few lumps of it that I was fishing out of my bars. 

 

If you cool the silk it will become a hard mass.  It'll be tempered, so you can use it as solid seed if you so desire.  Or you can leave it in the container and let it cool then re-silk-ify again.  I have an EZ Temper but have only done sporadic production recently, so I leave the CB in the canister and set up the machine the night before.  Soon I'll be able to leave the EZ Temper and melters on 24/7.  Unless the PHMB turns itself off after too long,  set both your chocolate and your silk up melting the night before and be ready to go the next day.

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1 minute ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I think 94ish? 

 

How did it get powdery?  Silk should be ... silky.  My silk was on the stiff side today, I added it at about 93 and had a few lumps of it that I was fishing out of my bars. 

 

If you cool the silk it will become a hard mass.  It'll be tempered, so you can use it as solid seed if you so desire.  Or you can leave it in the container and let it cool then re-silk-ify again.  I have an EZ Temper but have only done sporadic production recently, so I leave the CB in the canister and set up the machine the night before.  Soon I'll be able to leave the EZ Temper and melters on 24/7.  Unless the PHMB turns itself off after too long,  set both your chocolate and your silk up melting the night before and be ready to go the next day.

 

Silk had been silky in the bath.  I dried the bag and by that time the silk was cool and powdery.  PHMB runs for ten hours at a time.  Maybe continuously if you don't set a timer...have not tried.

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As I said the PHMB heats for at least ten hours.  Maybe continuously.  I had anovaed only twelve grams of silk and the silk cooled and solidified very rapidly after I removed the bag from the water bath.  My silk was definitely powdery but it seemed to work.  Or something worked, the chocolate was in perfect temper.  Are you preparing a larger quantity of silk at one time so that it stays silky longer?

 

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45 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 I had anovaed only twelve grams of silk and the silk cooled and solidified very rapidly after I removed the bag from the water bath.  My silk was definitely powdery but it seemed to work.  Or something worked, the chocolate was in perfect temper.  Are you preparing a larger quantity of silk at one time so that it stays silky longer?

 

 

Before silk there was mycryo, which is a powdery, fine granular form of cocoa butter. Sounds like you did fine with your silk. 

 

Yes, I prepare at least a cup of silk at a time. Yesterday and today I made a lot of product, tempered about 20 lbs of various couvertures. Still tiny batches by most measures, but more than a kitchen aid full. The ice cream maker with whom I share a kitchen shuts down for the season soon and  I’ll be able to bring in my bigger melter and really get chocolate all over the place. 


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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Question two:  Kerry kindly sent me some Cacao Barry

https://www.cacao-barry.com/en-OC/chocolate-couverture-cocoa/chd-p64exbg/extra-bitter-guayaquil

 

What's a good place to buy more?  Is there another chocolate markedly superior that I should consider?  As I was freezing* on some high school bleachers close to midnight night before last, it seemed this was in the running for the finest chocolate to have passed my lips.  Certainly better than the produce of our local chocolate shop.

 

 

*Technically at the same temperature as my chocolate storage cabinet.

 

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Question three:  my high school aged grandson (see above) munching on my bars, mused that a filled chocolate egg might be lovely.  I know from years in business one cannot ignore one's customers.

 

I suspect he had in mind something like a Cadbury Cream Egg.  I however envision a large hollow egg filled with, oh, say, chocolate espuma.  Any suggestions for quality egg molds?  Maybe it's just the photography but Tomric egg molds don't do it for me.  There appears to be a disconcerting seam in all of them.  (As much as I am pleased with the Tomric bar molds that I bought.)

 

Brunner makes some pretty 3D magnetic egg molds but they are pricey:

https://www.brunnershop.com/en/Spinning-Moulds/Eggs/

 

Does it seem reasonable that one could cast a hollow egg, say from one of these Brunner molds, then make a small hole and inject filling with the iSi needle attachments which I have?

 

 

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Following on from Jo above, does anyone have any ideas on easy ways to spin molds at home? Doing it by hand doesn't really give the results needed 🤣

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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Question two:  Kerry kindly sent me some Cacao Barry

https://www.cacao-barry.com/en-OC/chocolate-couverture-cocoa/chd-p64exbg/extra-bitter-guayaquil

 

What's a good place to buy more?  Is there another chocolate markedly superior that I should consider?  As I was freezing* on some high school bleachers close to midnight night before last, it seemed this was in the running for the finest chocolate to have passed my lips.  Certainly better than the produce of our local chocolate shop.

 

 

*Technically at the same temperature as my chocolate storage cabinet.

 

Try Chefs Warehouse or I think it’s Chocosphere 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Question three:  my high school aged grandson (see above) munching on my bars, mused that a filled chocolate egg might be lovely.  I know from years in business one cannot ignore one's customers.

 

I suspect he had in mind something like a Cadbury Cream Egg.  I however envision a large hollow egg filled with, oh, say, chocolate espuma.  Any suggestions for quality egg molds?  Maybe it's just the photography but Tomric egg molds don't do it for me.  There appears to be a disconcerting seam in all of them.  (As much as I am pleased with the Tomric bar molds that I bought.)

 

Brunner makes some pretty 3D magnetic egg molds but they are pricey:

https://www.brunnershop.com/en/Spinning-Moulds/Eggs/

 

Does it seem reasonable that one could cast a hollow egg, say from one of these Brunner molds, then make a small hole and inject filling with the iSi needle attachments which I have?

 

 

Hans Brunner makes lovely molds albeit not inexpensive. The minimal seams are definately a plus. Tomric does have some stock on better European 3D molds. I know I’ve seen them there.

 

As to filling them via a hole - for something the texture of a mousse - I guess it would work. Would be fun to try anyway.

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