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Melanger experimentation


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On 2/11/2021 at 12:18 PM, EsaK said:

 

Not sure if there's a baseline per se, but I think somewhere around 40% seems to be fine. Can go higher for really punchy flavours, and lower for more subtle ones. Haven't tried banana, but could imagine it being a tough one to bring out the flavour? Interested to hear if you have issues with the powder getting stuck (guessing that was the issue with corn?). 

 

Thanks! Actually, the issue with the corn was it took a lot of cocoa butter to get it firm enough to work with. It was softer than a gianduja initiallý, using the typical ratios.

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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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  • 2 months later...

For those who've played around with it, any consensus on the best type of non-dairy milk powder for making dairy-free milk and white chocolate? I'm trying to stay away from the coconut flavor that comes with coconut milk powder. The plan right now is to get a bag each of soy and rice milk powder and see which I prefer, just interested in thoughts and other options from those who've already done it.

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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  • 1 month later...

Hello All!

I'm looking to purchase a chocolate melanger, and many people on this thread seem to highly recommend the Premier Chocolate Refiner. Is this where the majority of you purchased your melanger? I live in the US, and the website says it's currently out-of-stock. Any suggestions as to where I could purchase this model? Any recommendations on other models that are as good as the Premier Chocolate Refiner? Any thoughts on this different Premier model? Thanks!

Edited by no10 (log)
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1 hour ago, no10 said:

Hello All!

I'm looking to purchase a chocolate melanger, and many people on this thread seem to highly recommend the Premier Chocolate Refiner. Is this where the majority of you purchased your melanger? I live in the US, and the website says it's currently out-of-stock. Any suggestions as to where I could purchase this model? Any recommendations on other models that are as good as the Premier Chocolate Refiner? Any thoughts on this different Premier model? Thanks!

I'm not seeing it out of stock on melangers.com which is the manufacturer's website - here. The tilting model is easier to dump out and you can put the small drum on it as well for small batches.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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On 5/13/2021 at 2:52 PM, Tri2Cook said:

For those who've played around with it, any consensus on the best type of non-dairy milk powder for making dairy-free milk and white chocolate? I'm trying to stay away from the coconut flavor that comes with coconut milk powder. The plan right now is to get a bag each of soy and rice milk powder and see which I prefer, just interested in thoughts and other options from those who've already done it.

suggestions recently - tiger nut milk and cashew milk. 

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1 hour ago, no10 said:

Thanks, @Kerry Beal. I was looking at the 8-pound capacity melanger (non tilt) here on the manufacturer's website, which is currently out-of-stock (USA). Thanks for your input regarding the tilting model.

 

I have the tilting model.  The one you linked seems to have been replaced with a new design.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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On 7/10/2021 at 8:46 PM, Kerry Beal said:

suggestions recently - tiger nut milk and cashew milk. 

 

Gonna have to look into that... I didn't even know those were available in powder form. Thanks!

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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42 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

 

Gonna have to look into that... I didn't even know those were available in powder form. Thanks!

You might have to make your own powder I suspect

 

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 4:46 AM, Kerry Beal said:

suggestions recently - tiger nut milk and cashew milk. 

How does powdered cashew milk differ from just using cashews? 🤔 Drying cashew milk gets you just the nuts plus some gums etc? Or am I missing something?

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

You might have to make your own powder I suspect

 

 

 

I was afraid you were gonna say that. Back to soy, rice and coconut we go. 😁

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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40 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

 

I was afraid you were gonna say that. Back to soy, rice and coconut we go. 😁

But I think it's just unroasted cashews ground then put in the melanger,

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  • 1 year later...

I have reread this thread and have a few questions about melangers.  Ever since they became a "must-have" device for many chocolatiers, I have considered purchasing one.  But my tight space as well as the apparent difficulty of cleaning the machine held me back.  So I have made my praline nut pastes (almond, pecan--I buy Cacao Barry's hazelnut already made) with a food processor.  I make the hard caramel first, then grind it in a small food processor until it is as fine as I can get it.  Then the caramel bits and nuts go in the large food processor, and I grind away.  Needless to say, the paste never gets completely smooth, but the sugar bits are tolerable.  But I have never been completely satisfied.  Then I found two nut praline pastes (almond and pecan)--made by a very reputable company-- that I didn't know were available, so I ordered some of each (of course it had to be in 5kg pails).  Yesterday I mixed up the almond to put it in smaller containers to freeze.  The tasting was a revelation--not in a good way.  It was bitter (and I don't mean the wonderful taste of bitter almond flavoring) and quite dark.  Either the manufacturer left the skins on the nuts (which is not my preference) or roasted them to a degree beyond what I consider palatable.  I can rescue the paste by adding some bitter almond (a wonderful German brand that requires only a few drops), but am really unhappy with this expensive purchase and a nut paste that needs further doctoring.  I can only imagine the bitterness I may encounter when the pecan arrives.  I have learned an expensive lesson:  flavor is paramount, texture matters less.

 

But there is still the lure of the melanger to reach both goals.  My question, for those who have used melangers for a while, is whether they would purchase the machine again.  Is the result worth the tedious cleaning?  Furthermore I have read ominous comments about having to grind everything (caramel, nuts) in advance or risk having the machine seize up.  I would appreciate any comments on melangers.  I would not plan to use it for anything aside from nut pastes.

Edited by Jim D. (log)
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5 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I have reread this thread and have a few questions about melangers.  Ever since they became a "must-have" device for many chocolatiers, I have considered purchasing one.  But my tight space as well as the apparent difficulty of cleaning the machine held me back.  So I have made my praline nut pastes (almond, pecan--I buy Cacao Barry's hazelnut already made) with a food processor.  I make the hard caramel first, then grind it in a small food processor until it is as fine as I can get it.  Then the caramel bits and nuts go in the large food processor, and I grind away.  Needless to say, the paste never gets completely smooth, but the sugar bits are tolerable.  But I have never been completely satisfied.  Then I found two nut praline pastes (almond and pecan)--made by a very reputable company-- that I didn't know were available, so I ordered some of each (of course it had to be in 5kg pails).  Yesterday I mixed up the almond to put it in smaller containers to freeze.  The tastindid.g was a revelation--not in a good way.  It was bitter (and I don't mean the wonderful taste of bitter almond flavoring) and quite dark.  Either the manufacturer left the skins on the nuts (which is not my preference) or roasted them to a degree beyond what I consider palatable.  I can rescue the paste by adding some bitter almond (a wonderful German brand that requires only a few drops), but am really unhappy with this expensive purchase and a nut paste that needs further doctoring.  I can only imagine the bitterness I may encounter when the pecan arrives.  I have learned an expensive lesson:  flavor is paramount, texture matters less.

 

But there is still the lure of the melanger to reach both goals.  My question, for those who have used melangers for a while, is whether they would purchase the machine again.  Is the result worth the tedious cleaning?  Furthermore I have read ominous comments about having to grind everything (caramel, nuts) in advance or risk having the machine seize up.  I would appreciate any comments on melangers.  I would not plan to use it for anything aside from nut pastes.

Well - i just did get one again. I lent mine to a friend and he is continuing to use it - so I figured it made more sense to leave it with him. So I got the new 10 lb setup from melangers.com and I've gotta say - it does a fabulous job compared even to the old one. It's faster, the flow inside is better. If you don't put a sufficient amount inside there is a bit of splattering that happens - but I discovered just putting it in a big cardboard box serves a couple of purposes - keeps it warmer and keeps the splatter contained. Apparently if the batch is big enough to cover the shaft of the stones the splatter will be minimized.

 

The improvements also prevent product from working it's way down into the works from the shaft in the middle. 

 

The 8 lb melanger with stainless stone holder would be a good option and is a bit easier to handle for emptying and cleaning. 

 

Soon there will be small bowl for the 10 lb melanger with the new improvements. I'm holding out for that because I don't really feel the need of making large batches of anything. 

 

 

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Kerry, thanks for the helpful comments.  So the difference between the 8 lb. and the 10 (besides the capacity) is that the 10 is tilting?  I have read in this thread and elsewhere that the tilting option is worth the extra money.  I am really impressed with the updates in the new machines, which seem to have addressed many if not all of the issues people had with Premier melangers.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

Kerry, thanks for the helpful comments.  So the difference between the 8 lb. and the 10 (besides the capacity) is that the 10 is tilting?  I have read in this thread and elsewhere that the tilting option is worth the extra money.  I am really impressed with the updates in the new machines, which seem to have addressed many if not all of the issues people had with Premier melangers.

Yup - the tilting - and I find I don't always use the tilting feature anyway - so lifting a smaller lighter bowl might be advantageous.  

 

I'm impressed with all the changes that Bhavani has made over time. I look at the competition and their machines haven't changed at all as far as I can tell - and he just continues to tweak and improve wherever he sees the need.

 

Getting the stones on and off is a breeze now and the blue bushings prevent the black you used to get in the product. 

 

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10 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Yesterday I mixed up the almond to put it in smaller containers to freeze.  The tasting was a revelation--not in a good way.  It was bitter (and I don't mean the wonderful taste of bitter almond flavoring) and quite dark. 

 

Ugh, so disappointing.  How had you been planning to use it?  Maybe it's better sweetened or mixed with white chocolate. 

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@Jim D. These smaller machines, depending on your quickness as a washer, it can take anywhere between 15-30min to properly clean a melanger by hand. If you do several batches in a row of the same stuff then obviously you reduce cleaning time in total.

 

You do need everything in very small pieces, like cocoa nib size, or preferably powder. Putting whole almonds, hazelnuts, cashews etc in there just calls for issues. 

 

The stainless steel upgrade is a major upgrade, but there are still plastic parts around the stones that cause headache. The stone centers are lined with plastic, and those can wear out in a couple of sessions if you're not very careful with how tight you've turned the top adjuster etc. There are the white plastic rings that are meant to protect from that, but you can wear those protectors out in one session too. The blue bushings have been completely useless for me (though I guess they aren't essential if you run the machine full enough so fat lubricates the stone centers). I think Bhavani and the team is working on these issues, but no idea when and what they come up with. It's great that they are improving though. 

 

So do expect something to break. I've spent at least a cool 100 hours taking things apart, putting back together, trying to fix something, emailing the team, waiting for replacements etc etc. I've probably had a fair bit of bad luck too, but these aren't machines that will likely run even a full year without some issues. If that's a deal breaker or not depends on the user and their needs and skills etc I think. 

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9 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Ugh, so disappointing.  How had you been planning to use it?  Maybe it's better sweetened or mixed with white chocolate. 

 

Of course it's already sweetened (with caramelized sugar), but it certainly can use some more.  To make gianduja, I use milk chocolate (I tried all three, but liked the taste with milk best).  I do have a little Valrhona amande chocolate, so could try that.  I use almond praline paste in many bonbons I make.  One has chopped cherries and caramelized almonds surrounded with almond gianduja.  Another is a "marjolaine" (layers of hazelnut ganache, then almond gianduja, which keeps a meringue cookie crisp).  My issue with the purchased paste is that it doesn't have a strong almond taste.  What I am about to write is an exaggeration, but the paste tastes burnt.  The product is 60% almond, whereas what I make is 50%, but that's not a huge difference.  At what I paid for the almond plus the pecan paste (that hasn't arrived yet), I could have bought a melanger.  I suppose, in the interest of providing relevant information for others, I should add that the brand of these products is Valrhona.  Perhaps it is obvious that, given the company's reputation, I assumed all would be delicious.  And I hasten to add that many people may find this almond paste to their liking.  In answer to the obvious question: there was no way I could request a sample of these items.  In the case of a pistachio praline paste (made by Cacao Barry), I could order 1kg and see that I liked it very much.

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3 hours ago, EsaK said:

@Jim D. These smaller machines, depending on your quickness as a washer, it can take anywhere between 15-30min to properly clean a melanger by hand. If you do several batches in a row of the same stuff then obviously you reduce cleaning time in total.

 

You do need everything in very small pieces, like cocoa nib size, or preferably powder. Putting whole almonds, hazelnuts, cashews etc in there just calls for issues. 

 

The stainless steel upgrade is a major upgrade, but there are still plastic parts around the stones that cause headache. The stone centers are lined with plastic, and those can wear out in a couple of sessions if you're not very careful with how tight you've turned the top adjuster etc. There are the white plastic rings that are meant to protect from that, but you can wear those protectors out in one session too. The blue bushings have been completely useless for me (though I guess they aren't essential if you run the machine full enough so fat lubricates the stone centers). I think Bhavani and the team is working on these issues, but no idea when and what they come up with. It's great that they are improving though. 

 

So do expect something to break. I've spent at least a cool 100 hours taking things apart, putting back together, trying to fix something, emailing the team, waiting for replacements etc etc. I've probably had a fair bit of bad luck too, but these aren't machines that will likely run even a full year without some issues. If that's a deal breaker or not depends on the user and their needs and skills etc I think. 

 

You have certainly provided helpful information on the melanger.  Not encouraging, but helpful.  Thanks for all the details.  I am not mechanically inclined, so warnings are useful.

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18 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

Valrhona?  


That explains it, it’s “French brown” 

Not sure what you mean.  Maybe the caramel is very dark (dark to the bitter stage)?  That would explain the lack of sweetness.  If so, then I finally understand what people mean when they say the darker the caramel, the less sweet it is.

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53 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

@Jim D. the French tend to go darker in baking and caramelization than we Americans do

That's what I thought you meant.  I've been thinking of ways to salvage what I bought.  I could buy some typical almond paste (usually 50-50, but the sugar is not caramelized), and mix it in, and see if that helps.  If the almond is this bitter, I can only begin to imagine what the pecan will taste like.

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