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anonymouse

Chocolate making: Things I learned in my early months

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Beautiful egg! What a beautiful shine.
I too am curious to see the interior.
On a side note, I wonder if it's possible to rig up some kind of clamp to spin a mold using the kitchenaid attachment point. 😂

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39 minutes ago, julie99nl said:

Beautiful egg! What a beautiful shine.
I too am curious to see the interior.
On a side note, I wonder if it's possible to rig up some kind of clamp to spin a mold using the kitchenaid attachment point. 😂

You need to invent that!

 

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7 hours ago, julie99nl said:

Beautiful egg! What a beautiful shine.
I too am curious to see the interior.
On a side note, I wonder if it's possible to rig up some kind of clamp to spin a mold using the kitchenaid attachment point. 😂

 

In seriousness I have I believe the largest KitchenAid and I don't think the KitchenAid is big enough for the application.  Though the spinner picture Kerry posted looked like the spinner was homemade.  And there probably is some reason for the mat underneath the unit.

 

 

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Now that I'm thinking of it someone who possibly could manufacture a small spinner product is Bhavani...

 

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On 3/7/2019 at 3:35 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Now that I'm thinking of it someone who possibly could manufacture a small spinner product is Bhavani...

 

Here's a home based one. Bet someone could riff off the design.

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23 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Here's a home based one. Bet someone could riff off the design.

 

But I'm sure Bhavani would include the battery.

 

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Brunner contacted me today to ask how I liked the egg.  Indeed I like it.  The interesting news is that policy has changed and Brunner will now ship to the United States.  I feel like giving the catalog another look!

 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Brunner contacted me today to ask how I liked the egg.  Indeed I like it.  The interesting news is that policy has changed and Brunner will now ship to the United States.  I feel like giving the catalog another look!

 

I just got a small order from them. A handful of open-bottom 3D hand molds for Easter, a bit over $300 worth. The order was shipped by DHL, with a $75 shipping fee on top. So not exactly cheap shipping for a few molds (about 2Kg / 3 pounds).

 

Quality is great. Only the tiniest amount of movement when the two sides come together. The molds I ordered weren’t magnetic, so they included clips.

 

Their ordering is a bit old fashioned. I placed the order with the shipping initially quoted as equal to the price of the molds (had me worried initially), with the only payment option being a quote. They sent me a quote via email and then I had to accept the offer. Once you accept you’re locked in (pages of legalese).

 

I had to email back the card details. No online payment options. I could have wired the payment, but the bank would have hit me up for more than the credit card’s foreign exchange fees.

 

Because not all the molds I ordered were in stock at the time I chose to wait instead of substituting. They gave me a week number when the order would be ready (week 13, March 25, in this case). The order was shipped last Thursday and arrived in San Francisco a few days later, on Monday just gone.

 

(Will post some images in the “what are we making” thread at some point.)

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9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

@jbates any US customs fees?

 

Not on mine, probably due to the smaller cost. I would have to do some research to figure out when it would apply.

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By popular demand --- pictures of the inside of the egg...

 

Egg204202019.jpg

 

Egg104202019.jpg

 

 

Comments welcome.  No reports of taste.

 

 

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... that would have needed a sledge hammer to get through 🤣

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Noticed that the chocolate pooled in one spot, I have that problem often as well 😊. I’m a fan of thicker shells, makes for less worry when transporting them.

 

What brand of chocolate did you use and how long did you spin it around?

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Comments welcome.

 

Way too thick, at least for the standards here. Besides that, a well done egg: almost no bubbles in the section, no visible defects (the pool is unavoidable with that much chocolate).

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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2 hours ago, jbates said:

Noticed that the chocolate pooled in one spot, I have that problem often as well 😊. I’m a fan of thicker shells, makes for less worry when transporting them.

 

The pool effect is unavoidable when you pour more chocolate than optimal. If you pour the correct amount of chocolate, then after the first spin (the one to cover all the mold surface) there is not much chocolate left fo flow around. If you pour much more chocolate than optimal, then you have a big amount of chocolate free to flow. As you keep spinning that chocolate will become less and less fluid, at the point that it will stop moving, ending up making a pool no matter how much you spin the mold.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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@jbates the chocolate is Felchlin Maracaibo Creole 49%.

https://www.felchlin.com/en/product/cacao-maracaibo

 

I spun it for as long as my old arms could stand, outside in the snow.  (Crass hyperbole -- I was outside under a covered breezeway.)  About 15 minutes.

 

 

@teonzo remember I was using less chocolate than Brunner recommends.  I double checked this with my contact at Brunner.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 remember I was using less chocolate than Brunner recommends.  I double checked this with my contact at Brunner.

 

I could exceed in all my pedantry and reply with something uber annoying like "so Yoda said". Politeness would suggest to delete what I just wrote, but I can't resist Star Wars jokes.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Yesterday I learned the method by which the egg was opened.  In an attempt to cut it, the egg rolled off the kitchen table.

 

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On 5/27/2018 at 8:50 AM, jbates said:

 

I’ve found that you have to be careful which AliExpress sellers you use. Some are just very slow to send their products and some actually misrepresent their products. The melting problem may have been due to receiving a low-density PE (polyethylene) mold instead of the PC (polycarbonate) type.

 

You also get better prices when using the mobile app instead of the website.

 

Most of the better PC molds seem to be made by Shunda, with a few stores offering rebranded boxes. I’ve ordered a bunch of molds from the “Dcrt pastry tools store” and they work well. The quality is quite good, but I have received the occasional one with a poor finish, especially on the edges (I used emery paper to cleanup excess plastic on the upper surface that would have been curled off using my scraper).

 

Searching for “polycarbonate chocolate mold” will avoid most of the silicon ones. “pc chocolate mold” is also a good filter. If you want dome molds add “2124B” to the search; these are the larger size (29mm, 11-13g/⅓ oz), similar to a CW2116/2295 but at a limited number of stores. The “2124” (no B) is available from more stores but is smaller (8g/¼ oz) size (I like these for liquid centers).

Very helpful post. I know I’m kate to the game, but for anyone trawling the egullet forums like i do..here’s my 2 cents: I have both the cheap pc moulds from China, and very good Chocolate World moulds. I buy via eBay and as mentioned, as long as you anticipate a long shipping time - the cheap moulds are perfectly serviceable. I think investing in a few cheap moulds in different shapes is a good way to begin an adventure in bonbon making. However, there IS a difference. So don’t go crazy and buy dozens of them - like i did. They are thinner,- (still very sturdy though) but most importantly your release rate is going to be much improved with the CW moulds - which is something to really consider , as we all know the heartbreak of even the tiniest sliver of coca butter sticking in the mould and ruining your hard work. Also, most of the cheap moulds have 21 or 24 cavities. Your average CW is 32 to 40 which evens out the cost a little bit. I will still buy a cheap mould here and there if it is an interesting shape, that i want to add to an assortment, or something i want to see if i can work with (crevices, sharp edges) - but my modus operandi nowadays is to wait for some great sales, or craigslist, or ebay  ( or if I'm buying myself a birthday present, Tomic😁😁) and spend a little extra up front for more consistent results. This is long, and a bit rambly - i apologise. Normally i would scroll back and edit myself, but it’s been a very long day. Hope this was helpful. Goodnight egullet - ❤️

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On 1/13/2018 at 1:40 PM, anonymouse said:

As a newbie here I thought, before piling in with my own questions, I'd pull together some of the things I've learned in my first months of chocolate making - in case this helps others who embark on the same path.  

 

Many of these learnings came from eGullet, some from elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for all the many sources of experience and insight.  Cooking technique is quite personal so of course not everyone will agree with my idiosyncratic list of course.

 

Most useful equipment so far

 

Cooking isn't really about the equipment - you can make fine chocolates with hardly any equipment - but here are the things which have helped me the most.

 

1. Small tempering machine.  This got me started on chocolate making with a superb easy path.  The ChocoVision Rev 2B (with the "holey baffle" which increases its capacity) just gets the tempering perfect every time.  Yes, I could temper in the microwave or on a slab, but it's great to take away any uncertainty about the final finish, by using this great machine.  Downsides: continuously noisy, doesn't have the capacity for large batches.

 

2. Plenty of silicon baking mats (Silpat clones).  I use these not just for ganache and inverting moulds onto, but also just to keep the kitchen clean!  Working at home, I create a lot of mess and found I could reduce the risk of divorce by spreading large sheets (60x40cm size) across the work surface.  So much easier to clean, and I can scrape unused chocolate back into the supply for next time.  
I get mine directly from China through AliExpress where they are about 1/3 of the local price.  Then, for a further cost saving I ordered a couple of sheets of stainless steel at exactly the same 40x30 size, from a hobbyist place, and stuck some rubber feet underneath. The silicon mat + steel sheet can then easily be carried to the cool room. I got metal bars made up by another hobbyist place (an eGullet suggestion) which was a cheap alternative to caramel bars.

 

3. Scrapers.  Life got better when I stopped trying to scrape moulds with a regular palette knife.  I found we had two Japanese okomoniyaki spatulas from Japanese cooking which were perfect!

 

4. Polycarbonate moulds.  Again in order to afford a bunch of these, I get them from China via AliExpress where they are £5-£7 each (including shipping) rather than £18 (+£10 shipping) locally.  If I were starting again I'd buy little squares and half-spheres first, because these are easy to decorate with transfer sheets and cocoa butter respectively; plus a bar mould for quickly using up some extra chocolate or making a snack for the family.  Magnetic moulds are not in my view essential for the beginner because you can just apply the transfers manually - but they are very easy to use.

 

5. Hot air gun - little Bosch paint stripper from Amazon.  Always kept to hand to sort out anything which crystallises too quickly in the bowl or on my equipment.

 

6. Fancy packaging.  We got some little boxes in bright colours with silver lining - great to turn your experiments into gifts. Quite expensive because you have to buy quantities, but worth it we felt.

 

If I were working at scale I think my top 5 would also include a vibrating table, but that's beyond my means.


Best sources of learning so far (apart from eGullet of course)

 

1. Callebaut website - fabulous range of videos showing how a master does the basic techniques.  Also Keylink (harder to find on their website - look in "knowledge bank") which is refreshingly straightforward.

 

2. Several books recommended on this forum.  Once I got past the basics, I delved into two masterpieces: Wybauw ("The Ultimate Fine Chocolates", a revised compilation of his previous books) and Greweling ("Chocolates and Confections"). These are just awe inspiring.


Most useful ingredients so far

 

1. Callebaut couverture "callets" in 2.5kg bags - quick to measure, easy to re-seal.  Everyone should start with 811 and 823, the "standards" ... but I soon moved to more exotic flavours.  Current favourites are Cacao Barry Alunga (rich milk), Callebaut Velvet (white but not as cloying as the usual one; lovely mouthfeel), and half a dozen Cocoa Barry dark chocolates which go with particular ingredients.

 

2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing.  I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these.  The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer.  Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer.  And the range is fabulous.  So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry.  (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.)

 

3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration.  Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had.

 

4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles.  My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind.  Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing.


Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right)

 

1. Start learning in winter.  There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room.  Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!).

 

2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly.  Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques.

 

3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on.  These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work.

 

4. Don't rush.  Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time.  Give things time to crystallise properly.  I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)

 

 

I agree with all of these tips - having learned them the hard way myself. My experience has also been to make a statement with decoration. It amazes me how many people will “like” a photo of one of my bonbons without ever asking what the flavour is! We eat with eyes!

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On 1/14/2018 at 9:55 PM, Kerry Beal said:

Chocolat-chocolat sells some of the Chinese molds - I find them quite on par in most cases. I've had more issues with some Italian molds being lower quality, thinner, providing poor release, etc.

I’m looking at you Martellato! 😂😂

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On 3/3/2019 at 8:46 PM, 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.

 

IMG_3644.thumb.jpg.bf23cee2f06084fabf2285b3985a4450.jpg

 

Here is a gratuitous picture of one of their spinners.

 

 

Thank you for posting. It’s beautiful!

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On 10/4/2018 at 5:08 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

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

 

I have quite a few closed bottom 3d moulds and i have had pretty good results hand “turning” them. Fill one side not quite to the top, clip on the other side and then just turn the mould in your hands making sire every surface is covered. If you have a particularly stubborn area just flick your wrist a few times until the movement pulls the chocolate where you want it. I use a medium sized roasting rack insert that i put in my fridge and stand them upright for about 10 mins, then i turn them upside down for another 10. Sometimes you can feel where there is a heavy pocket of chocolate and i just turn them to the opposite side.  This works really well for pieces up to 8” tall. A bit trickier on some of my 10 and 12 inch moulds. I just love the ease, and no mess of the closed bottom moulds. All of mine are from tomric and again, i’ve had good luck with most of them. Some have seams that i need to take a warm knife to, to smooth out. There is one bulldog in particular that ends up with a matte patch on his nose no matter what i do - thats when i whip out the coloured cocoa butter and make him an art piece 😁😁😁

BF8AC4CF-CBCA-40C1-B3F8-B80770464F16.jpeg

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