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Chocolate making: Things I learned in my early months

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45 minutes ago, keychris said:

 

heh, my technique. Except I don't have the snow 😂

 

Do you have any problem with the plastic melting?

 

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More thoughts on mold filling:

 

I found something on the Brunner site that I had read before, from the instructions for using spinning molds:  "One mould half is completely filled with chocolate."  Indeed the production video shows mold cavities being almost completely filled with chocolate.  However the figures produced by these molds cover a wide range of sizes.  The surface area of a sphere is proportional to the square of the radius, however the volume is proportional to the cube of the radius.

 

This tells me that as the size of the piece increases, shell thickness will increase.  Naively I had thought shell thickness should remain about the same.  If I completely fill "one mould half" of my SE-0110-G-L this will require 2,138 ml of molten chocolate.  But we know the much larger SE-0166-G-B requires only 2400 g of chocolate.  (And if I knew the chocolate density I could at least convert.)

 

But because I hope to have dinner sometime tonight I gave up and wrote Brunner to ask what weight of chocolate to use.

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

More thoughts on mold filling:

 

I found something on the Brunner site that I had read before, from the instructions for using spinning molds:  "One mould half is completely filled with chocolate."  Indeed the production video shows mold cavities being almost completely filled with chocolate.  However the figures produced by these molds cover a wide range of sizes.  The surface area of a sphere is proportional to the square of the radius, however the volume is proportional to the cube of the radius.

 

This tells me that as the size of the piece increases, shell thickness will increase.  Naively I had thought shell thickness should remain about the same.  If I completely fill "one mould half" of my SE-0110-G-L this will require 2,138 ml of molten chocolate.  But we know the much larger SE-0166-G-B requires only 2400 g of chocolate.  (And if I knew the chocolate density I could at least convert.)

 

But because I hope to have dinner sometime tonight I gave up and wrote Brunner to ask what weight of chocolate to use.

 

Contacting Brunner was a very sensible choice! If you don't get an answer I'll chat with my friends at Walker's chocolate here in Burlington who do a lot of spinner molds and see how much they fill it.

 

IMG_3644.thumb.jpg.bf23cee2f06084fabf2285b3985a4450.jpg

 

Here is a gratuitous picture of one of their spinners.

 


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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5 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Contacting Brunner was a very sensible choice! If you don't get an answer I'll chat with my friends at Walker's chocolate here in Burlington who do a lot of spinner molds and see how much they fill it.

 

 

Damn, the name is taken!

 

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Well, Brunner says to start with I should fill one side of the mold with chocolate (eg. 2,138 ml of chocolate).  Afterwards I could also try with less.  Which may or may not work.  Be it known 2,138 ml is not going to happen in my PHMB.  At least I don't think so.  2,138 ml is a lot of chocolate for one piece.

 

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It is a lot! It's actually really useful information, as some of the pieces I do for Easter always ended up with super thin walls, I guess I was underestimating the amount of chocolate I needed by a looooong way

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I don't have the tables here at home and my memory is faulty (I haven't been on Easter egg duty in the last years), but if I'm right those dimensions are for a 600 g egg. For sure the weight range is between 500 g and 800 g. If you pour 2400 g of chocolate in that mold then you get a brick, not a hollow Easter egg.

I don't know what method you are planning to use to make your Easter eggs. Since you are working in small quantities then the best thing is pouring the desired amount of chocolate (around 600 g for that size) into one half egg mold, put the other half egg mold on top (to get the full egg) and use a couple of clips/clamps/whatever to close it securely. Then pick the molds in your hands and start spinning to distribute the tempered chocolate on all the egg surface. Keep spinning for a couple of minutes, it depends on your room temperature. I assume you are not going to do dozens of eggs, so it's better to avoid going in the snow: better spinning by hand for 30 seconds more than risking to get a badly formed egg (with really uneven width).

If you need to insert a surprise then be careful. You need to open the egg molds (just to divide the egg in 2) when the chocolate is making the transition from fluid state to crystallized state. Since it's the first time you have no experience, so better erring on the fluid side than on the crystallized side. Try opening the molds after 1 minute, you just need to open on one side (the base) for 1 cm to see if the chocolate is still flowing. If it's so, then close immediately and keep spinning for other 30 seconds, then repeat. If the chocolate is semi-fluid (it's not set, but it's not flowing neither) then open the egg, insert the surprise, close the egg and put it to rest.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 Be it known 2,138 ml is not going to happen in my PHMB.  At least I don't think so.  2,138 ml is a lot of chocolate for one piece.

 

 

2 liters won’t fit in the bowl?  I know it’s smaller capacity than a regular 5 qt KA bowl, but if it holds at least 3 qts, that’s more than 2.1 liters. (1000 ml is about 4.25 US cups)

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I found something on the Brunner site that I had read before, from the instructions for using spinning molds:  "One mould half is completely filled with chocolate."  Indeed the production video shows mold cavities being almost completely filled with chocolate.

 

(I missed page 7 of this thread, my previous answer was related to this post)

 

There are various methods to make Easter eggs. Method 1 is the old classic method, the one I described in my previous answer. This way you get the eggs with the exact weight you wanted.

 

Method 2 is making half eggs, then unmoulding them and composing an egg attaching 2 halves. To do so you need to fill completely half a mould with chocolate, wait a bit, turn it upside down, empty it, then scrape the half egg to have a flat section. When the halves are solid and unmoulded, you heat a metal pan (warm, not hot), lay half egg (section side down) on the metal pan just enough to warm the chocolate (you move the half egg around, when you see it's leaving a trace then it's done), then attach it to another half to recompose the whole egg. This way you don't get the exact weight you wanted, you need great skills to err between a 10% margin. Not much sense in using this method without a tempering machine, since you need high amounts of tempered chocolate and the exceeding chocolate that flows out of the mold is starting to crystallize (you need to work it to be able to re-use it).

 

Method 3 is filling a half mould with chocolate, waiting a bit then emptying it (similar to method 2). Before the chocolate crystallizes you run a palette knife (with light touch) along the egg section, keeping the palette knife at a 45° angle towards the egg center: you are not aiming for a flat section, you are aiming for a negative sloping section. Then you pick a second half mould, fill it with chocolate, wait a bit then empty it (usual as above). When the chocolate stopped flowing but there is still some protruding from the section, you put this half over the other half you previously made. The first half must be on the bottom, the second half must be on the top. In this way the protruding chocolate will go over the 45° sloping section of the bottom half, attaching to it and sealing the egg. Of course the surprise must be inserted before closing the egg, you just need to lay it on the bottom half. Same weight troubles as for method 2.

 

Your best choice is method 1.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Edited by teonzo (log)
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5 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

2 liters won’t fit in the bowl?  I know it’s smaller capacity than a regular 5 qt KA bowl, but if it holds at least 3 qts, that’s more than 2.1 liters. (1000 ml is about 4.25 US cups)

 

This gives me a thought.  The bowl has a fill line, but that may apply more to mixing than to heating.  Since I'm not mixing maybe I can get by with adding more?  ...One way to find out.

 

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5 hours ago, teonzo said:

I don't have the tables here at home and my memory is faulty (I haven't been on Easter egg duty in the last years), but if I'm right those dimensions are for a 600 g egg. For sure the weight range is between 500 g and 800 g. If you pour 2400 g of chocolate in that mold then you get a brick, not a hollow Easter egg.

I don't know what method you are planning to use to make your Easter eggs. Since you are working in small quantities then the best thing is pouring the desired amount of chocolate (around 600 g for that size) into one half egg mold, put the other half egg mold on top (to get the full egg) and use a couple of clips/clamps/whatever to close it securely. Then pick the molds in your hands and start spinning to distribute the tempered chocolate on all the egg surface. Keep spinning for a couple of minutes, it depends on your room temperature. I assume you are not going to do dozens of eggs, so it's better to avoid going in the snow: better spinning by hand for 30 seconds more than risking to get a badly formed egg (with really uneven width).

If you need to insert a surprise then be careful. You need to open the egg molds (just to divide the egg in 2) when the chocolate is making the transition from fluid state to crystallized state. Since it's the first time you have no experience, so better erring on the fluid side than on the crystallized side. Try opening the molds after 1 minute, you just need to open on one side (the base) for 1 cm to see if the chocolate is still flowing. If it's so, then close immediately and keep spinning for other 30 seconds, then repeat. If the chocolate is semi-fluid (it's not set, but it's not flowing neither) then open the egg, insert the surprise, close the egg and put it to rest.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

Teo, I think a football* sized egg will be quite enough of a surprise.

 

As a future project I would to fill the hollow with chocolate espuma but not worrying about that now.  Interesting though that I was reading in Beckett's The Science of Chocolate that taste panels prefer nitrous oxide to nitrogen or CO2.

 

What company's molds were you using to require so little chocolate?  Brunner's video is pretty clear about filling the mold half almost completely.  Though the figure in the video was only about six inches.

 

 

*American

 

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9 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Teo, I think a football* sized egg will be quite enough of a surprise.

 

Maybe it's a matter of traditions. Here in Italy the recipient of an Easter egg would be really disappointed if the egg was empty without a surprise. If surprises are not mandatory in the USA, then much better for you, less hassles in making them.

Weirdest surprise I was asked to put in was a piece of camembert cheese, the customer collected the egg 3 days before Easter (I assume it was for someone he really hated).

 

 

 

13 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

What company's molds were you using to require so little chocolate?  Brunner's video is pretty clear about filling the mold half almost completely.  Though the figure in the video was only about six inches.

 

I used molds from various producers (Martellato, Pavoni, a handful of others, there are many policarbonate mold producers here), it depended on the workplace and the size. In few words I used what the boss had in the laboratory. Each producer gives a table that says the aimed chocolate content for each mold. You have the egg height on one column, the corresponding chocolate weight on the other column. This way when you want to make a 1000 g egg (or whatever) you know which mold you need without relying on your memory. Unfortunately I don't have any of those tables at home (never made eggs at home).

The desired chocolate width varies from about 3 mm for the small eggs (100 mm height) to about 10 mm for the really big ones (1000 mm or more). The desired width for a 265 mm egg is about 4 mm. Maybe this is another difference on what happens in Italy and what happens in the USA, maybe you are accustomed to Easter eggs with really thick walls.

 

Just checked on Amazon IT:

https://www.amazon.it/Stampo-POLICARBONATO-CAVITA-Policarbonato-Trasparente/dp/B00JC2TCIS/

this mold is for a 500 g egg (full egg, not half), the height is 260 mm (egg height, not mold height). Dimensions are almost identical to your mold.

I suppose the chocolate weight given by your mold producer is the one for completely filling a half egg cavity, not for the finished egg. If you make an egg which height is 265 mm and weight is 2400 g, then the walls are going to be more than 30 mm thick, I'd say way too much unless you really want to play football with it.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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1 hour ago, teonzo said:

 

Maybe it's a matter of traditions. Here in Italy the recipient of an Easter egg would be really disappointed if the egg was empty without a surprise. If surprises are not mandatory in the USA, then much better for you, less hassles in making them.

Weirdest surprise I was asked to put in was a piece of camembert cheese, the customer collected the egg 3 days before Easter (I assume it was for someone he really hated).

Teo

 

In the United States, I believe 'Limburger' is reserved for the "I really hate you" jobs.  LOL

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John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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It would be a nice battle between the two! I don't know what the molds on the camembert rind can do after 3 days at room temperature inside the egg and I prefer to remain ignorant.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo, Brunner does not specify a weight for the mold I have.  They say to fill the mold half completely.  As reported above I measured the mold half to be 2,138 ml.  Brunner is of course German, not American.  I can't recall seeing an egg like this in the flesh.  When I was growing up the eggs in shops were pretty obviously made as halves and filled with vile coconut cream.  Interesting if there is such a difference in the German and Italian traditions.

 

At the moment I have 1400 g of Felchlin melting.  Unmelted the chocolate is above the PHMB fill line but will probably be below once melted.

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7 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Teo, Brunner does not specify a weight for the mold I have.  They say to fill the mold half completely.

 

So they are implying people use the method 2 I wrote in this post.

 

Since you are not interested in putting anything inside the egg then I suggest you to use method 1. If you go with method 2 there is a good risk to end up with a "defective" egg (some little holes along the seaming line, which are not nice to see), plus it's much easier to leave fingerprint marks on the chocolate surface. The less you touch the finished egg the better (I'm talking about shiny undecorated eggs), always wear disposable gloves when you need to touch them when wrapping/packing. Touch the egg for the less time possible, since the body temperature will tend to melt the chocolate surface.

 

Resuming:

- pour 600 g of chocolate inside one half mold (I say 600 g and not 500 g just to get a bit thicker egg, so it's less probable to break it before time);

- put the other half mold over the first to compose the full egg mold, if possible use a couple of clips/clamps to keep them together to be sure;

- pick up the mold with your hands and spin it slowly to distribute the chocolate on all the egg surface (mold is transparent so you see where the chocolate is going and if there is a hole remaining), it should take around 10-20 seconds;

- keep spinning the mold in all directions (a couple seconds in one direction, a couple seconds in another, so on) as you did in the previous passage, this is because after covering the whole egg surface the chocolate is still fluid, so if you stop spinning then you end up with thin walls and a huge pool of chocolate on the bottom of the egg (the part where it lays while crystallizing), so be patient and spin for at least 3 minutes, no need to spin quick, just keep spinning slowly in all directions until the chocolate stops being fluid, better spinning 30 seconds more than less since you are not producing dozens of units;

- put the mold to rest until the chocolate is completely crystallized, it does not matter in which position you put it to lay since if you did things correctly then the chocolate won't move from where it is at this point;

- unmould the egg when the chocolate is completely crystallized and completely detached from the mold (it's really easy to see, the egg matte changes from "smooth" to "fuzzy").

Since it's better to be safe than sorry, then I would suggest to break the first egg you make, just to see if what you made is really what you want (if the chocolate width is good for your tastes, if you distributed the chocolate regularly on all surface and so on). You are not forced to eat this broken egg, you can re-use the chocolate, but eating it is fine, it helps to keep a happy egg producer. Mai Tais are suggested for moral reasons, but only after finishing.

Be really careful when using these molds, it's really easy to scratch them.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Update of work in progress:  I decided to melt more chocolate.  My final batch weight was 1800 g and I could have worked with more.  I underestimated the little PHMB.  It did take longer to temper this amount than my usual 500 g batch.  Typically I wouldn't bother to take a temper test but it's a good thing that I did.  Took three tries till I was happy.  Even so not all of the last addition of cocoa butter fully melted.

 

I used close to 2% cocoa butter before I got good temper.  Wish Kerry would stop gallivanting around the globe and design a home size EZtemper with Alexa built in to tell me when my chocolate's done.

 

Anyhow I made a foil mask for the mold.  Not necessary as I did not spill any chocolate but a good precaution:

 

Foil03052019.png

 

 

 

The filled half mold:

 

Filled03052019.png

 

 

Forgive the reflections and the shadow...I was in a hurry.  Note the level is not all that near the top.  And this was 1800 g.  I spun until my hands were numb.  Fortunately the mold fits in the refrigerator.  Last I checked all of the chocolate had separated except for a band along the widest part.  I'm trying to stay up until I can unmold the egg.

 

 

 

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The egg is beautiful.  No marks, no obvious seam:

 

Egg03052019.png

 

 

The egg is now resting, just barely, in my 17C cooling cabinet.

 

I am quite relieved and happy.  If I didn't have a doctor's appointment in a couple hours I would have another mai tai.

 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

The egg is beautiful.  No marks, no obvious seam:

 

Egg03052019.png

 

 

The egg is now resting, just barely, in my 17C cooling cabinet.

 

I am quite relieved and happy.  If I didn't have a doctor's appointment in a couple hours I would have another mai tai.

 

Gorgeous! Look at that shine!

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13 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Teo, unless I am misunderstanding Brunner is not using your method 2.  Please, if you would, take a look at their short video and let me know how it differs from your procedures.

 

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

 

https://youtu.be/oc-I3UXl-zc

 

My apologies, I did not watch their video when I wrote my previous replies. Now I did.

The technique is correct. The chocolate amount poured in the molds... not so much, with all that chocolate you get THICK walls: you don't get a hollow figure, you get a full figure with a small hole inside. If I poured that much chocolate inside a mold then I would be fired (with a blowtorch) on the spot.

 

You made a beautiful egg, compliments!

But I'm sorry to ruin the party and keep suggesting you to break it to check if you are happy with that thickness. Use a hammer to break it, if you go the traditional way (with a fist) you'll get hurt.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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15 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

My apologies, I did not watch their video when I wrote my previous replies. Now I did.

The technique is correct. The chocolate amount poured in the molds... not so much, with all that chocolate you get THICK walls: you don't get a hollow figure, you get a full figure with a small hole inside. If I poured that much chocolate inside a mold then I would be fired (with a blowtorch) on the spot.

 

You made a beautiful egg, compliments!

But I'm sorry to ruin the party and keep suggesting you to break it to check if you are happy with that thickness. Use a hammer to break it, if you go the traditional way (with a fist) you'll get hurt.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

I have exacted a promise of an interior photograph.  You will be among the first to know.  I can say the center of mass feels like geometric center.  And since we can roughly calculate the surface area and we know the mass of chocolate, we can approximate the shell thickness.  But not me, not tonight.

 

Anyhow, my egg pictures were good but my son's egg picture was better*:

 

Eggs03052019.jpg

 

 

Again I can't express how pleased I am with the result.  Thank you, everyone, for your help and encouragement.  I regret I did not get a picture of the bagged up egg.  I thought it was truly beautiful.  Taking Kerry's suggestion I spent half a day perusing cello bags.  I found some really thick ones made in the US for wrapping gift baskets.  They turned out to be just right for the application.

 

 

*and, yes, both of us have double jointed thumbs.

 

 

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The Dark Force is strong with you, young JoSkyWalker. Now you can ask @Kerry Beal to thermoform a lightsaber mold for you.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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On 3/5/2019 at 1:49 AM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

The egg is beautiful.  No marks, no obvious seam:

 

Egg03052019.png

 

 

The egg is now resting, just barely, in my 17C cooling cabinet.

 

I am quite relieved and happy.  If I didn't have a doctor's appointment in a couple hours I would have another mai tai.

 


That looks amazing.. Awesome job!


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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