Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

tikidoc

Melanger experimentation

Recommended Posts

Since several of us bought melangers at this year’s workshop, I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread where we could compare notes and troubleshoot. There has been some discussion on another thread but i figured having dedicated thread would make the information easier to find.

 

With the high heat and humidity recently, I have not messed with chocolate much lately. In anticipation of a (finally!) cooler weekend, I started a batch of chocolate in the melanger on Thursday, so I could play with it this weekend. I started with some nibs that I got from royalcacao.com. They are pre-roasted, not raw, so I did not roast the nibs. I made a 70% dark, simple 2 ingredient chocolate. It’s still in the melanger, but as of yesterday when I got home from work, it was quite smooth and the flavor up front was good.  It had a slightly bitter aftertaste, and a hint of an astringency that I didn’t like, sort of like a much milder version of the feeling you get in your mouth when you accidentally get some of the stringy stuff from the inside of a banana peel in your mouth. Mildly puckery. I’m going to just let the melanger run until this afternoon when I have some time to mess with it, hoping this will fix it.

 

So, should I have re-roasted the beans? Is that the problem? The website says “these nibs are made from sun-dried and roasted Arriba cocoa and have their husks removed.” I did taste them before putting them in the melanger, but my palate is still pretty poorly educated when it comes to nibs. It did not taste dramatically different from the nibs we roasted at the workshop, but nibs in general taste kinda lousy to me. The ones I brought to NOTL were advertised as being “raw nibs.”

 

If the astringency is still there this afternoon, I was thinking of adding some cocoa butter and milk powder to make a dark milk (I’m not a huge fan of milks, but I do like some dark milks) in the hopes that the creaminess will help. Thoughts?

 

Lastly, opinions on lecithin? I am a hobbyist, not in business, so the chocolate will likely be used to make bars and, if workable enough, bonbons for friends and family, so I don’t feel the need to be an absolute “no additives” purist. Will I have better luck working with this stuff with a little lecithin? What is the percentage? Do I just add the granules directly to the melanger, or should I blend in to a little melted cocoa butter first? As a hobbyist who does not do this stuff anywhere as often as I would like, and who also does not have strict climate control in my work area (basement), the less finicky the resultant chocolate is, the better.

 

So, any suggestions would be appreciated, and please share your own notes, so we can all learn from each other!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned it in that other discussion but in the interest of compiling this stuff in one place... the first batch I made using nibs of unknown locale (that were listed as raw when purchased, so I did have to roast) was aimed at a 70% dark. 48 hours in, it was unpleasantly astringent. I have no idea if it was related to the beans or my beginner roasting skills but the end result was not going to be enjoyable. So I did exactly as you mentioned, added sugar, milk powder and additional cocoa butter in ratios to end up at a 50% milk chocolate. Those additions resulted in it spending another 12 hours in the melanger (probably didn't need that much to refine the sugar and milk powder, just how it worked out with my work schedule). The result is actually quite nice but I couldn't tell you if the conversion to a dark milk, the additional time in the machine or a combination of both solved the problem. 

I have lecithin on hand but haven't used it in a batch yet. I have no problems with using it. I'm not aiming for "purist" or "strict single origin" or "minimal ingredient" labeling, I just want to make things that taste good, have good texture and will do what I want them to do. So if I do a batch that I think will benefit from having lecithin added, it will be added. If eye of newt and hair of frog will help me make the best chocolate I can make... well, lets hope that doesn't come up or my customers don't read the ingredient list. :D

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I've used mine exclusively for nuts but I'd love to read along!

 


I'm trying to make myself get around to that. I'd like to do a batch of praline paste. The problem being, buying nuts from the local store is a bit of a crapshoot on whether they'll be rancid or not when you get them home and open the package.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ended up adding some milk powder and cocoa butter and the astringency mostly went away. Made a few bars, which were not terribly shiny, but I anticipated I would have issues because it’s just too warm in my work space right now. I mostly wanted to get some in an easily edible form. I may throw in some peanuts next. Got some nice Virginia peanuts at Costco. I just scraped what chocolate I could out of the melanger bowl, and I figure a little chocolate wouldn’t hurt the peanut butter...

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tikidoc said:

I just scraped what chocolate I could out of the melanger bowl, and I figure a little chocolate wouldn’t hurt the peanut butter...


Efficiency is important, at least that's what I tell myself when I do basically the same thing. :D When I finished my batch of 70% dark from the Sur del Lago nibs, I decided to start a batch of 40% milk from the same nibs so I just scraped the dark out as well as I could and proceeded. I suppose it does skew things in some tiny way but it seemed silly to wash it and wait a day for it to dry thoroughly just to work with the same nibs again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


I'm trying to make myself get around to that. I'd like to do a batch of praline paste. The problem being, buying nuts from the local store is a bit of a crapshoot on whether they'll be rancid or not when you get them home and open the package.

I"m sure you are already aware how quickly hazelnuts go rancid. I bought several U.S.-made praline pastes, and all were rancid. Now I buy Cacao Barry from reputable places and (so far) haven't had any issues. If you find good hazelnuts, I am sure your homemade paste will be even better. I wish I had space for a melanger, but I have to draw the line somewhere. The (former) guest bedroom is now completely taken over by chocolate-related equipment.


Edited by Jim D. (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

I"m sure you are already aware how quickly hazelnuts go rancid. I bought several U.S.-made praline pastes, and all were rancid. Now I buy Cacao Barry from reputable places and (so far) haven't had any issues. If you find good hazelnuts, I am sure your homemade paste will be even better. I wish had space for a melanger, but I have to draw the line somewhere. The (former) guest bedroom is now completely taken over by chocolate-related equipment.


That's the main reason I'd like to be able to make my own. Make small batches that I know I'll use up when I know I'm going to need them and not have to worry about the shelf life of a large container.

I understand the space issue. I made room but it may prove to be a bit of a double-edged sword eventually. I'm already realizing that if I'm able to get my stuff to catch on locally, I'm probably going to need another at some point. But that's down the road quite a bit, if ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just visited Michael Laiskonis's chocolate lab at ICE, and found it interesting that in a room full of $10,000+ machines, the melanger was this little made-in-India tabletop geegaw. Apparently it does a good job!

 

 

Raphaelson-1.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, paulraphael said:

I just visited Michael Laiskonis's chocolate lab at ICE, and found it interesting that in a room full of $10,000+ machines, the melanger was this little made-in-India tabletop geegaw. Apparently it does a good job!


It does a great job. That's exactly the same one I'm using. While I would put Michael Laiskonis right up among those at the top of the list for people I would consider a solid endorsement of a product, I don't need him for this one. That little machine is awesome. Kerry mentioned that they're making a smaller drum and wheel assembly for the bases which will be really nice for test batches and small amount of nut pastes and stuff like that so it's already going on my want list.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:

Kerry mentioned that they're making a smaller drum and wheel assembly for the bases which will be really nice for test batches and small amount of nut pastes and stuff like that so it's already going on my want list.

 

More information on this please!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

More information on this please!

 


Maybe @Kerry Beal has more information, I don't know any more than what I posted above. There's nothing about it on the website so far. I haven't actually pursued any additional information, it just sounds like it would be a handy thing to have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bhavani said it would be on the website soon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a small drum on it's way to my home even as we speak. I will be testing it out - but of course not until I get home in early August. I suspect I'll use it a whole lot more than the big drum because most of what I want to do is small batch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How small is this small drum? 🤔

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to make a gianduja that will mold cleanly and not melt easily to the touch? Basically make a gianduja-esque bar that can be eaten as a bar without worry of people having gianduja-covered hands at the end. I'm thinking from a starting point of 1:1 nuts and a fairly high percentage milk chocolate (Bonus question: does it need the additional equal part sugar Greweling calls for in his recipe?), could I alter the ratio or add additional cocoa butter or something to get a more firm result that will still have good flavor? I remember making Greweling's peanut butter gianduja and once it was tempered, it was the consistency of a good couverture. It would basically just shatter if you tried to cut it with a knife. So it seems like it can be done but I'm not sure what I did with that batch that caused it. That was years ago and apparently not the result others were getting. I know this is the "melanger experimentation" thread so I should just experiment but this is one of those things the smaller drum would be handy for, I don't want to find out the expensive way that this won't work if I could have avoided a failure by asking first. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

Is it possible to make a gianduja that will mold cleanly and not melt easily to the touch? Basically make a gianduja-esque bar that can be eaten as a bar without worry of people having gianduja-covered hands at the end. I'm thinking from a starting point of 1:1 nuts and a fairly high percentage milk chocolate (Bonus question: does it need the additional equal part sugar Greweling calls for in his recipe?), could I alter the ratio or add additional cocoa butter or something to get a more firm result that will still have good flavor? I remember making Greweling's peanut butter gianduja and once it was tempered, it was the consistency of a good couverture. It would basically just shatter if you tried to cut it with a knife. So it seems like it can be done but I'm not sure what I did with that batch that caused it. That was years ago and apparently not the result others were getting. I know this is the "melanger experimentation" thread so I should just experiment but this is one of those things the smaller drum would be handy for, I don't want to find out the expensive way that this won't work if I could have avoided a failure by asking first. :D

In my adaption of Greweling's recipe, I use:

     200g dark chocolate (I know you said you would use milk)

     200g hazelnut paste

     50g hazelnut praline paste

     4.5g cocoa butter silk

 

It gets quite firm, in fact so firm that I posted a question on how to get it softer for bonbon fillings (the answer was to add coconut oil). But when gianduja is handled, it's the nature of the beast to melt. I would think adding more cocoa butter (probably not silk) would make it even firmer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

In my adaption of Greweling's recipe, I use:

     200g dark chocolate (I know you said you would use milk)

     200g hazelnut paste

     50g hazelnut praline paste

     4.5g cocoa butter silk

 

It gets quite firm, in fact so firm that I posted a question on how to get it softer for bonbon fillings (the answer was to add coconut oil). But when gianduja is handled, it's the nature of the beast to melt. I would think adding more cocoa butter (probably not silk) would make it even firmer.


Thanks! Yeah, I know the melt is part of what it does. I think what I was hoping is I could make something that isn't necessarily gianduja per se but has enough of the nut paste included to allow the flavor to come through in a nice way that would at least be a little less melty. But I recall the thing about the combining of the fats that has a net effect greater than the sum of it's parts so that was probably just wishful thinking. The main reason I said milk chocolate is I still have a lump of the 50% milk I made remaining after molding bars. Not enough to be worth doing more bars with really but enough for a test batch like this. Nothing to lose by trying additional cocoa butter, I suppose. Worst case, I still have some gianduja to use for something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


Thanks! Yeah, I know the melt is part of what it does. I think what I was hoping is I could make something that isn't necessarily gianduja per se but has enough of the nut paste included to allow the flavor to come through in a nice way that would at least be a little less melty. But I recall the thing about the combining of the fats that has a net effect greater than the sum of it's parts so that was probably just wishful thinking. The main reason I said milk chocolate is I still have a lump of the 50% milk I made remaining after molding bars. Not enough to be worth doing more bars with really but enough for a test batch like this. Nothing to lose by trying additional cocoa butter, I suppose. Worst case, I still have some gianduja to use for something. 

You can increase the proportion of chocolate and get a firmer product, but it will have less hazelnut taste. I don't know if adding chopped nuts works into what you are thinking about, but that would add some flavor without thinning out the mixture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

You can increase the proportion of chocolate and get a firmer product, but it will have less hazelnut taste. I don't know if adding chopped nuts works into what you are thinking about, but that would add some flavor without thinning out the mixture.


Hoping to not have to add nuts beyond what's used for the paste. I'm not even using hazelnuts, that's why I switched to "gianduja-esque". :D I'm actually going to be using almonds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Rajala said:

How small is this small drum? 🤔

Will have to wait until I get it to measure it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:

Is it possible to make a gianduja that will mold cleanly and not melt easily to the touch? Basically make a gianduja-esque bar that can be eaten as a bar without worry of people having gianduja-covered hands at the end. I'm thinking from a starting point of 1:1 nuts and a fairly high percentage milk chocolate (Bonus question: does it need the additional equal part sugar Greweling calls for in his recipe?), could I alter the ratio or add additional cocoa butter or something to get a more firm result that will still have good flavor? I remember making Greweling's peanut butter gianduja and once it was tempered, it was the consistency of a good couverture. It would basically just shatter if you tried to cut it with a knife. So it seems like it can be done but I'm not sure what I did with that batch that caused it. That was years ago and apparently not the result others were getting. I know this is the "melanger experimentation" thread so I should just experiment but this is one of those things the smaller drum would be handy for, I don't want to find out the expensive way that this won't work if I could have avoided a failure by asking first. :D

 

I believe this is the idea behind Valrhona's amande inspirations, though it's not chocolate, it's just almond.  But it has almonds and enough cacao butter to act like couverture, so adding actual chocolate sholdn't get in the way.

 

You can do whatever you want!  1:1 pure (unsweetened) nut paste and chocolate may be too soft to shell mold, I think you'd have better luck either getting your nut butter to separate so you can pour off some oil - got a centrifuge? - or try  3:2 (60/40), 2:1, 3:1 ... or yes, add extra CB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I think you'd have better luck either getting your nut butter to separate so you can pour off some oil - got a centrifuge? - or try  3:2 (60/40), 2:1, 3:1 ... or yes, add extra CB.


Thanks for the reply. I've already put together a game plan and started rolling with it. I decided this is a the "experimentation" thread so I'm just going to go ahead and experiment. We'll see what comes out of the machine. :D

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love having an experimentation thread! Can't wait to start playing myself when I get back home and fire up my melanger.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×