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gfron1

Andrey Dubovic online classes

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4 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

I have the lesson open on a iPad next to the counter where I am working--an iPad now with chocolatey fingerprints all over it.

 

If you haven't thought of it already, wrap it in plastic wrap or stick it in a large ziploc bag.

 

I admire your dedication to tracking down ingredients and molds (that is a cool one, though).  I'd probably be making questionable substitutions from day 1 :D

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12 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 

If you haven't thought of it already, wrap it in plastic wrap or stick it in a large ziploc bag.

 

Good idea--though I'm not sure how many layers can come between the iPad and my fingers for it to work.

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8 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Good idea--though I'm not sure how many layers can come between the iPad and my fingers for it to work.

 

I just tried my iPhone through a freezer zipper bag and it was fine. 

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5 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Good idea--though I'm not sure how many layers can come between the iPad and my fingers for it to work.

I take my phone to the pool everyday in the summer in a ziplock sandwich bag—it works perfectly :) .

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Here are my first two assignments.

BlackChocoGems.thumb.jpg.ab580bdb233a953c19cac50d58caf0ad.jpg

This first one was very basic but reinforced the importance of proper temperatures. I've never had my workspace so cold!

GalaxyChoco.thumb.jpg.92f0d280c625fa9eb9147c1eb66d65a6.jpg

The second I wasn't as successful as I would have liked, but taught me about mixing my own colors and the use of opacity in cocoa butters.

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4 hours ago, gfron1 said:

Here are my first two assignments.

BlackChocoGems.thumb.jpg.ab580bdb233a953c19cac50d58caf0ad.jpg

This first one was very basic but reinforced the importance of proper temperatures. I've never had my workspace so cold!

GalaxyChoco.thumb.jpg.92f0d280c625fa9eb9147c1eb66d65a6.jpg

The second I wasn't as successful as I would have liked, but taught me about mixing my own colors and the use of opacity in cocoa butters.

These look great! How cold did your space need to be? 

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2 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

I've dropped my room to 20ºC and it could be a touch colder. I.AM.FRIGID!

I’ve had the best success at 20C, but I’m usually at 21. Colder than 20C, I feel like some things crystallize super quickly and I need to work really fast. But that’s probably my awkwardness and inefficiency showing ;) .

 

I hate being cold. Why did I choose chocolate?!?


Edited by Pastrypastmidnight Clarity (log)
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What Dubovik says about room temp is We should work at normal conditions of 18-20°C (64.4–68°F).

 

My airbrushing area has been the most difficult to manage for the course. With an air conditioner I got the temp down to the high range of what is listed above, but until today, the humidity has been a real issue (I don't think he mentions humidity anywhere--maybe they don't have that problem in Belarus, but I know from experience that can ruin chocolate as quickly as high temp can). The problem with airbrushing is that quick crystallization of the cocoa butter (which is always an issue) is even worse. Today I spent more time using the heat gun than I did airbrushing. I will be watching to see if a somewhat lower temp than usual (after all, it's only a couple of degrees) makes a difference in the results. Too soon to tell.

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7 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

And I run my dehumidifier non-stop in my space since its a basement.

I have a dehumidifier also, but it puts out so much heat that I can't have it in the airbrushing area. Doesn't yours give off heat?

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27 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

I've dropped my room to 20ºC and it could be a touch colder. I.AM.FRIGID!

 

You're frigid?  Funny, I thought chocolate was supposed to be an aphrodisiac ... xD

 

I think about 63-65F is ideal kitchen temp.  Don't get me wrong, I like being next to the oven when it gets any colder, and too cold for chocolate is a thing, but I stay pretty warm if I'm moving around, and I'm happier when the chocolate sets quickly so the cooler the better (within reason). 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

I have a dehumidifier also, but it puts out so much heat that I can't have it in the airbrushing area. Doesn't yours give off heat?

Apparently not like yours does. Mine is on the other end of the room next to the floor drain so the hose can let it drip. My dehydrator causes more heat but again the room seems to regulate it.

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9 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

You're frigid?  Funny, I thought chocolate was supposed to be an aphrodisiac ... xD

 

I think about 63-65F is ideal kitchen temp.  Don't get me wrong, I like being next to the oven when it gets any colder, and too cold for chocolate is a thing, but I stay pretty warm if I'm moving around, and I'm happier when the chocolate sets quickly so the cooler the better (within reason). 

 

 

 

My kitchen is usually 63-65, but now it's like >77 which makes chocolate work a pain. :( 

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68-71 works great for me...I find the humidity makes a big difference, I keep mine at around 35-40%....anything over 50% and things get weird with my chocolates...

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5 hours ago, Rajala said:

My kitchen is usually 63-65, but now it's like >77 which makes chocolate work a pain. :(

 

Yeah, above 75 I try to avoid tempering if possible.  I just moved to a new kitchen that stays at about 70 overnight then warms up if the sun comes out.  Trying to make it work for the summer and hoping fall/winter will be better.  The primary tenant makes ice cream and has 8 freezers plugged in and putting out heat but most won't be in use October-April.  I was really happy yesterday morning when it was gray and raining!  Otherwise, fans and the fridge are the way to go.

 

 

1 hour ago, Avachocolate said:

68-71 works great for me...I find the humidity makes a big difference, I keep mine at around 35-40%....anything over 50% and things get weird with my chocolates...

 

For those of you who struggle with humidity, what sort of weirdness or difficulty happens?  I don't monitor my indoor humidity, but I'd guess it rarely goes below 50% outside - Seattle lies between a lake and a bay, lots of water even when it's not raining!  Maybe I've adapted or don't know any different when it comes to chocolate - I did make French macaron despite the rain yesterday, let them dry in the warm spot where the walk-in compressor vents and they rose nicely :)  Or is humidity more of a problem as the temp gets higher?  Maybe at 60F humidity is less of a problem than at 70F.

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15 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

For those of you who struggle with humidity, what sort of weirdness or difficulty happens?  I don't monitor my indoor humidity, but I'd guess it rarely goes below 50% outside - Seattle lies between a lake and a bay, lots of water even when it's not raining!  Maybe I've adapted or don't know any different when it comes to chocolate - I did make French macaron despite the rain yesterday, let them dry in the warm spot where the walk-in compressor vents and they rose nicely :)  Or is humidity more of a problem as the temp gets higher?  Maybe at 60F humidity is less of a problem than at 70F.

I find that if the humidity is above 50%, chocolate tempering does not go well. Outcomes I have experienced:  The chocolate thickens more quickly than usual and thus becomes more difficult to work with. It can take longer to crystallize (while it's sitting on the counter, waiting to go in the fridge). And it can crystallize in undesirable ways: uneven color, blotches, matte rather than shiny look. Often it turns out OK to use, but it never (in my experience) has that snap and shine we look for. All of this is why I usually stop making chocolates for sale during the summer. This summer is different in that (1) I am taking the Dubovic course and for the next 9 weeks need to make chocolates with shine (that's his specialty)--fortunately he can't judge whether there is snap or not ¬¬. (2) I had a reception last Sunday (270 chocolates) and a wedding in August (800 pieces) and so have to move bravely forward. I dread my air conditioning bill for these months.

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8 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I find that if the humidity is above 50%, chocolate tempering does not go well. Outcomes I have experienced:  The chocolate thickens more quickly than usual and thus becomes more difficult to work with. It can take longer to crystallize (while it's sitting on the counter, waiting to go in the fridge). And it can crystallize in undesirable ways: uneven color, blotches, matte rather than shiny look. Often it turns out OK to use, but it never (in my experience) has that snap and shine we look for. All of this is why I usually stop making chocolates for sale during the summer. This summer is different in that (1) I am taking the Dubovic course and for the next 9 weeks need to make chocolates with shine (that's his specialty)--fortunately he can't judge whether there is snap or not ¬¬. (2) I had a reception last Sunday (270 chocolates) and a wedding in August (800 pieces) and so have to move bravely forward. I dread my air conditioning bill for these months.

Same here....high humidity usually means matte finish, bad snap, bad mold release, cocoa butter colors sticking to molds....pretty much all the bad stuff you dont want...

High temp = bad.....high temp + high humidity = really bad

Also I find it too tricky to work between 18-20 C...

Just my experience, your mileage may vary....

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7 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I find that if the humidity is above 50%, chocolate tempering does not go well. Outcomes I have experienced:  The chocolate thickens more quickly than usual and thus becomes more difficult to work with. It can take longer to crystallize (while it's sitting on the counter, waiting to go in the fridge). And it can crystallize in undesirable ways: uneven color, blotches, matte rather than shiny look. Often it turns out OK to use, but it never (in my experience) has that snap and shine we look for. All of this is why I usually stop making chocolates for sale during the summer.

 

I definitely have days when it sets too fast or too slow, or sets but is super streaky. I usually blame kitchen gremlins or assume it was user error, like leaving too much seed or not checking my temper diligently.  Maybe it is humidity and I haven't made the connection due to not monitoring it.  I made some bars a few weeks ago that were disturbingly streaky inside and set up slowly.  I think it was clear that day but warm.  Oh, and some bonbons that stuck like crazy - it was warm, I was tired and rushing, I didn't check my tempers well.  Don't know about the humidity, probably at least 50%.

 

On 6/4/2018 at 5:41 PM, Jim D. said:

What Dubovik says about room temp is We should work at normal conditions of 18-20°C (64.4–68°F).

 

 

My airbrushing area has been the most difficult to manage for the course. With an air conditioner I got the temp down to the high range of what is listed above,

 

If you usually work closer to 70, you're dealing with heat AND humidity.   Nice if you're an orchid, but ...

 

8 minutes ago, Avachocolate said:

 

High temp = bad.....high temp + high humidity = really bad

 

 

Yes!   So can we conclude that if it's particularly humid, it's even more important to get kitchen temp down?  I dislike being ruled by the weather :angry:

 

@Jim D. Good luck this summer, those big orders will surely be nerve-wracking.

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@pastrygirl ...with pastry you have a bit more leeway with temperatures (unless you do a lot of laminated doughs or need chocolate decorations).

But for chocolate work you really have to stick to some very specific parameters in regards to humidity / temperature.....if not then you will just waste a lot of time.

My chocolate lab is airconditioned & humidity controlled 24/7/365...even when I am on vacation....just no way around it if you want consistent results, but it is certainly murder on your electricity bill....

 

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20 minutes ago, Avachocolate said:

 

But for chocolate work you really have to stick to some very specific parameters in regards to humidity / temperature.....if not then you will just waste a lot of time.

My chocolate lab is airconditioned & humidity controlled 24/7/365...even when I am on vacation....just no way around it if you want consistent results, but it is certainly murder on your electricity bill....

 

 

Must be nice to have a dedicated “chocolate lab” and that sort of control!  Restaurants and other commercial kitchens like commissaries rarely have temp or humidity control. The pastry dept of a big hotel might have a temp controlled chocolate room, but every restaurant Kitchen I’ve worked in is freezing in the winter and sticky in the summer. You do what you can to make it work. 

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So I was curious enough to order a humidity meter, but I still think that for me temp alone is enough of a clue whether good tempering is likely because it's always humid here. 

 

 

 

 

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So getting back to the class....I'm wrapping up the 3rd and 4th assignments and I'm realizing how much I appreciate mixing my own cocoa butter colors - yes, to create what I want, but today I realized how many of my old Chef Rubber ones were rancid. I am sure they were fresh once, but it has become crystal clear the fresh new ones versus the old rancid ones. For the extra 5 minutes it adds to make my own, I'll just stick to new from here on out. The one challenge that i haven't rectified yet is how to strain the solids out after the initial mixing. Andrey goes through what looks like a paper towel. I tried that and it blew out when I squeezed it. Then I tried a coffee filter and had the same problem. Right now I'm straining through my nut milk bag which works but ruins the bag no matter how I try to clean it.

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8 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

So getting back to the class....I'm wrapping up the 3rd and 4th assignments and I'm realizing how much I appreciate mixing my own cocoa butter colors - yes, to create what I want, but today I realized how many of my old Chef Rubber ones were rancid. I am sure they were fresh once, but it has become crystal clear the fresh new ones versus the old rancid ones. For the extra 5 minutes it adds to make my own, I'll just stick to new from here on out. The one challenge that i haven't rectified yet is how to strain the solids out after the initial mixing. Andrey goes through what looks like a paper towel. I tried that and it blew out when I squeezed it. Then I tried a coffee filter and had the same problem. Right now I'm straining through my nut milk bag which works but ruins the bag no matter how I try to clean it.

I've liberated some Kimwipes from work - hoping they might be good for straining. He describes his paper towel as a viscose napkin. 

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