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Chocolate making: Things I learned in my early months

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6 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.

Chocosphere  has many wonderful chocolates to choose from and they sell a lot of it in tasting sizes as well as chocolate making quantities. I sampled many brands and types from them before selecting the Valrhona chocolates that I use. I would recommend trying more selections from Cocoa Barry, Felchin, Valrhona, and eGuittard. There are, of course, many more but that should be a good start. Enjoy!  🙂

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5 hours ago, keychris said:

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 🤣

You'd have to build a spinner I think. I totally agree that by hand is not the best option. 

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3 hours ago, curls said:

Chocosphere  has many wonderful chocolates to choose from and they sell a lot of it in tasting sizes as well as chocolate making quantities. I sampled many brands and types from them before selecting the Valrhona chocolates that I use. I would recommend trying more selections from Cocoa Barry, Felchin, Valrhona, and eGuittard. There are, of course, many more but that should be a good start. Enjoy!  🙂

Excellent ideas. One chocolate I would strongly recommend, @JoNorvelleWalker, is Felchlin's Maracaibo Classificado. It has about the same percentage of cacao as the Cacao Barry one you used (but unfortunately costs twice as much), but I think you will find it really delicious.

 

All signs seem to indicate that you have been bitten, perhaps terminally, by the chocolate bug. 

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8 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

You'd have to build a spinner I think. I totally agree that by hand is not the best option. 

 

I'm thinking about my kenwood... hmm.

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On ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 3:02 AM, keychris said:

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 🤣

 

What problems result from hand spinning?  Other than possibly uneven shell thickness.

 

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

What problems result from hand spinning?  Other than possibly uneven shell thickness.

 

 

exactly that for me, I have a 3D mold for 6 chickens at once and I always lose a few because of wafer thin shells in one spot and thick'n'chunky on the other side

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1 minute ago, keychris said:

 

exactly that for me, I have a 3D mold for 6 chickens at once and I always lose a few because of wafer thin shells in one spot and thick'n'chunky on the other side

 

Could this have to do with the viscosity of the chocolate?  I can't help but think thinner chocolate would give better results in an enclosed 3D mold.  I could be wrong.

 

 

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My second day of chocolate making.  Same bars and hearts as shown before.  Things went more smoothly.  Still mess, but mess was less.

 

Some observations:

 

 

The KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl shuts off after about ten hours if no timer is set.

 

Only two quick checks with the thermometer -- I've learned that I can pretty much trust the bowl to do its thing.

 

A Zerostat works before unmolding to prevent finished pieces from attracting all the little chocolate fragments in the kitchen.

 

 

Edit:  since it was in a different thread, here's what *not* using the zerostat looked like...

 

Hearts09272018.png

 


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)

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More chocolate experiments.  Slight horror when I couldn't find my chocolate notes.  (Located them in a Time Life volume denoting the location of how to truss and spit a duck.)

 

Now that I have tempering down pretty well I can tackle other problems.  Melted 500 grams of chocolate overnight at 50C.  Next day dropped the PHMB to 33.  After a few minutes, quick temperature check.  Seeded and stirred a bit.  It's subtle but evident when the chocolate comes in temper.  Did a temper check anyway but it was redundant.

 

A vibrating table is one thing I don't yet have.  I was looking for a better way of ridding my bars of bubbles.  Glancing around the kitchen I fixed on the chamber vacuum sealer.  Set the filled mold in the chamber and pulled a vacuum.  Lots and lots of pretty bubbles!  Not quite what I'd expected.  This may be a promising technique for something.  Surprisingly the mold side of the bar was smooth and lovely.

 

Next I filled another mold.  I wanted to find out for myself what happens if you don't refrigerate your chocolate.  Stuffed the filled mold in my 17C cooling cabinet.  And then ran off to the store because I wanted to be home through the wetlands before dark.  (Made it just past the end of Civil Twilight.)  These bars were not bad but a couple squares exhibited fat bloom.  Not enough to melt down but not as perfect as I'd like.

 

One outstanding issue:  if I scrape a spatula that has hardened chocolate on it over my mold it looks like I took a rake to the surface.  How does one deal with this?

 

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You deal with it by not scraping a spatula with solid chocolate on it over the mold 😛

Use a large flat scraper, like an offset pallette knife or paint scraper to scrape the whole mold at once whilst it's all still fluid. Much easier to clean things up when it's all still liquid. If you're dragging a lot of chocolate out of the molds doing this and it looks messy, the chocolate may be too cool or overcrystallised.

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As @keychris says - scrape with a clean scraper (clean with your hairdryer) and I prefer that the chocolate for the backs be as warm as possible to minimize the marks. As few scrapes as possible as quickly as possible.

 

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Set the filled mold in the chamber and pulled a vacuum.  Lots and lots of pretty bubbles!  Not quite what I'd expected.  This may be a promising technique for something.  Surprisingly the mold side of the bar was smooth and lovely.


Heston Blumenthal does that with chocolate he sprays into the molds from a cream whipper with a couple charges shaken into the chocolate. Makes the aerated chocolate that can be found in Greweling's book but with much bigger bubbles. He leaves it under vacuum until the chocolate is set.

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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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6 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


Heston Blumenthal does that with chocolate he sprays into the molds from a cream whipper with a couple charges shaken into the chocolate. Makes the aerated chocolate that can be found in Greweling's book but with much bigger bubbles. He leaves it under vacuum until the chocolate is set.

 

I've now read much of Greweling but I forgot to look for that iSi technique.  When I wake up a bit I'll go look for it.  Is Blumenthal's vacuum method documented in a book someplace?

 

Still trying to figure out how to keep the spatula clean each time for scraping molds.  I suppose one could use a fresh spatula for each mold.  I'm not filling a lot of molds at one sitting.  Any other methods for insuring a beautiful smooth surface for the backside?

 

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7 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

As @keychris says - scrape with a clean scraper (clean with your hairdryer) and I prefer that the chocolate for the backs be as warm as possible to minimize the marks. As few scrapes as possible as quickly as possible.

 

 

Oops, didn't see this -- thanks!

 

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When you say "spatula" I am assuming you aren't using a regular 'ol spatula (offset or otherwise). I don't think that will give you good results. get yourself one of these scrapers (or something like it) that can do the whole mold in one go. And If my scraper gets dirty I simply wash it (hot water, then completely dry) before scraping. It's got to be clean if you want a smooth surface. And I second what others have said: press down firmly and evenly and try to do it one smooth, fast, hard swipe. going back and fussing over each one will lead to problems...

 

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, sbain said:

When you say "spatula" I am assuming you aren't using a regular 'ol spatula (offset or otherwise). I don't think that will give you good results. get yourself one of these scrapers (or something like it) that can do the whole mold in one go. And If my scraper gets dirty I simply wash it (hot water, then completely dry) before scraping. It's got to be clean if you want a smooth surface. And I second what others have said: press down firmly and evenly and try to do it one smooth, fast, hard swipe. going back and fussing over each one will lead to problems...

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks!  This is what I'm scraping with:

http://amzn.com/B00076R2R6

 

The width is just right for the molds.

 

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I have two scrapers similar to the one linked just above. When one

gets solidified chocolate build-up on the blade,  I scrape it off with the other one and carry on. 

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As you go along in a molding session, the chocolate starts setting sooner and sooner, so keeping the scraper clean becomes a challenge. I clean it with a silicone spatula, then wipe the edges of the scraper with a paper towel to get an absolutely clean surface (otherwise--as others have said--it will drag chocolate and filling along with it). To deal with the silicone spatulas getting unusable with hardened chocolate, I found a new technique today:  I keep a heating pad nearby, folded over with a sheet of foil in the middle. As soon as I clean off a spatula (scraping as much chocolate onto parchment as I can), I tuck it into the foil, then use another spatula for a while. Within a short time the first one is warm and ready to be cleaned off with ease.

 

I should add that I use a tempering machine, so cannot turn the molds completely upside down to empty them but have to turn them on their side and tap to get the chocolate out and back into the bowl. It makes more of a mess and requires some unusual techniques because I can't clean my scraper on the edge of the tempering machine bowl (it's rotating)--thus the use of spatulas.

 

I'm really impressed, @JoNorvelleWalker, with how far you can have come in such a short time. Have you thought of a name for your business-to-come? Or where to store all the dozens of molds you will collect over time?

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Any other methods for insuring a beautiful smooth surface for the backside?

 

 

applying guitar sheet over the chocolate you're coating the base with and then scraping over that to seal the mould is probably the only way to get perfect bases, but this is a real pain in the butt technique at times. I can't count how many times the plastic moves a bit, or gets a hole in it, or wrinkles, blargh. But it sure looks good when it's done right! I don't think I can describe how to do it properly, I'm sure someone here will have a video they can link to (I couldn't see one on youtube with a quick search). We had a whole thread talking about it few years back if I recall correctly.

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Is Blumenthal's vacuum method documented in a book someplace?


I'd have to check the Fat Duck book to be sure, I can't remember if it was in there or not. I originally saw him do it on his In Search of Perfection tv show.

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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, keychris said:

 

applying guitar sheet over the chocolate you're coating the base with and then scraping over that to seal the mould is probably the only way to get perfect bases, but this is a real pain in the butt technique at times. I can't count how many times the plastic moves a bit, or gets a hole in it, or wrinkles, blargh. But it sure looks good when it's done right! I don't think I can describe how to do it properly, I'm sure someone here will have a video they can link to (I couldn't see one on youtube with a quick search). We had a whole thread talking about it few years back if I recall correctly.

I'm sure there is a video of Melissa Coppel doing it perfectly that I've seen recently. 

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She’s doing it in a Savour video. Probably on instagram somewhere.

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