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Bentley

Question on Using Guitar Cutter - Chablon

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Posted (edited)

So I just got my guitar cutter, and I made a framed ganache of Valrhona Guanaja on top of a hazelnut praliné.  I put a chablon on it (both sides), but when I cut it with the guitar, the chablon cracked and ruined a lot of the little squares.  

What is the secret to getting a chablon that I can cleanly cut?  Do I need to use untempered chocolate? Is my layer too thick?

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Edited by Bentley (log)

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Posted (edited)

You need a very thin foot on the top and to cut it while that is still wet. I guess I should mention that I put a foot on the bottom - it can be firmed up and even a little thicker (but ideally quite thin) - it's the 'foot' on the top that is still wet.

 

Here is the link to where I first learned this.

 


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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I follow Ewald Notter's practice (and many others to do the same) and spread the foot first. I think he says to use overtempered chocolate, but in the beginning I misunderstood him and used untempered chocolate--heated to 110-115F, and that has worked well for me. It eventually dries and often looks horrible (it is untempered, after all), but it cuts cleanly with no little pieces broken off. I don't put anything on top. It has always seemed to me that spreading the foot on top (the more common practice) leaves you with the problem of ganache (rather than the chocolate foot) directly on the plastic, and the ganache often sticks like crazy. When I'm dipping, the bottom (with the foot) doesn't stick to the fork so much. As for thickness of the foot, I spread the chocolate as thin as I can without letting any of the plastic underneath show through, maybe 1/16" to 1/8" thick.

 

Hazelnut gianduja (I'm assuming that's what you mean by praliné but am not sure) was my first (and so far only) guitar Waterloo--I broke a wire because I waited too long for it to set. You have to get just the right moment. I stick a little knife in it frequently (the cuts don't show in the end) until the knife comes out almost (but not quite) clean. I would say that having it "under-done" is better than the opposite because breaking a wire will ruin the slab and cause a terrible delay. I also put the ganache on the bottom, let it set, then add the gianduja layer because a ganache will usually remain soft enough to cut and you have the more temperamental gianduja layer on top where you can monitor it. In general, the more temperamental layer should go on top, where you can watch it crystallize.

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

You need a very thin foot on the top and to cut it while that is still wet. I guess I should mention that I put a foot on the bottom - it can be firmed up and even a little thicker (but ideally quite thin) - it's the 'foot' on the top that is still wet.

 

Here is the link to where I first learned this.

 

 

Thanks Kerry.  That's basically the process I used.  I must have just waited too long to cut it and the chocolate on top had time to set.  I probably also need to watch the temp of the ganache, maybe even warm it up a bit on top with the heat gun so it doesn't shock the chocolate.  

 You're right about the top foot being the problem.  The bottom was tempered chocolate that was completely set and it didn't give me any issues.

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Just now, Bentley said:

Thanks Kerry.  That's basically the process I used.  I must have just waited too long to cut it and the chocolate on top had time to set.  I probably also need to watch the temp of the ganache, maybe even warm it up a bit on top with the heat gun so it doesn't shock the chocolate.  

 You're right about the top foot being the problem.  The bottom was tempered chocolate that was completely set and it didn't give me any issues.

And yours did look a tad thick!

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Posted (edited)

I wonder if it would work to paint the top foot with a brush to get a very thin layer?


Edited by Bentley (log)

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1 minute ago, Bentley said:

I wonder if it would work to paint the top foot with a brush to get a very thin layer?

 

I suspect the agitation from the brush would actually temper it.

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1 minute ago, Kerry Beal said:

I suspect the agitation from the brush would actually temper it.

I was using tempered chocolate to begin with.  Also, if it was so think, and cut immediately while still wet, would it matter?

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Here is a a video (english subtitles if your French is rusty) that shows what I tried to do.  It looks like he achieved a much thinner chablon than I did on top, but I used the same technique.  Will try again tomorrow.

 

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7 minutes ago, Bentley said:

Here is a a video (english subtitles if your French is rusty) that shows what I tried to do.  It looks like he achieved a much thinner chablon than I did on top, but I used the same technique.  Will try again tomorrow.

 

Looks like it's still wet when Philippe cuts it. 

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Yes - he even says you have to do the cutting quickly while the chocolate is still crystallizing.  I will have another chance to practice tomorrow.  The nieces are in town and all they want to do is make chocolates.  

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Just now, Bentley said:

Yes - he even says you have to do the cutting quickly while the chocolate is still crystallizing.  I will have another chance to practice tomorrow.  The nieces are in town and all they want to do is make chocolates.  

Always nice to have help!

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There's no need to make foot and "roof" for enrobed bonbons, if you use the proper technique for hand dipping then the fork always stays in contact with the foot and never touches the other sides . So it's just detrimental: more work for you, thicker shell for the customer.

Your goal is to spread the foot as thin as possible, whatever method you use you'll end up with tempered chocolate due to the act of spreading it thin (I'm meaning the standard methods with brush, palette knife and similars). To keep it untempered you need to spread it thick, which is not what you want. In my opinion the best thing is brushing untempered chocolate on the acetate sheet, then pouring the ganache over it, then cut the slab keeping the foot at the bottom and not top. If for whatever reason you need to cut it upside down, then warm the foot with a heat gun / hair drier (withouth melting it, it just needs to change matte). If you spread the foot on top (which is a forced choice in some cases, like when you are making a pâte de fruits layer) then the surface will be a bit wavy and bumpy no matter how skilled your hands are, this means the final bonbons will be more irregular (some will tend to be oblique). If you spread the foot at the bottom then its surface will always be flat, leading to better final results.

 

Sorry to be a term nazi, but "chablon" refers to a particular mold (flat and thin, with shaped cavities), not to a thin sheet of chocolate.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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At Melissa Coppel we were taught to use chocolate just out of temper (34-35C) and to spread it on the top after placing the slab on the guitar. That way you can be sure to cut before it crystallizes and it forces you to work cleanly because you don’t want chocolate all over the base of the guitar. My bottom chablon sometimes cracks a bit along the cut marks but if it’s super thin it’s not an issue. 

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Interesting the variety of techniques. I just foot what will be the bottom of my slab & it is on the bottom when I cut the slab on the guitar. If I remember, I'll try the pre-bottoming - put a thin coat of chocolate on a guitar slab prior to pouring your ganache method next time I do a ganache slab. Looks like that could work even better than what I am doing now.

 

For those that coat top and bottom... why do like to do it this way, what are the advantages?

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15 minutes ago, curls said:

Interesting the variety of techniques. I just foot what will be the bottom of my slab & it is on the bottom when I cut the slab on the guitar. If I remember, I'll try the pre-bottoming - put a thin coat of chocolate on a guitar slab prior to pouring your ganache method next time I do a ganache slab. Looks like that could work even better than what I am doing now.

 

For those that coat top and bottom... why do like to do it this way, what are the advantages?

I don’t coat my tops right now because I’m just hand dipping and it’s dofficult to get a really thin enrobage on the top as it is. But if you have  an enrober, it helps to keep the edges sharp and square and also helps facilitate handling the pieces (especially if you’re pushing the limits on the minimum amount of cocoa butter or if it’s a caramel ganache and sort of sticky). 

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18 minutes ago, curls said:

Interesting the variety of techniques. I just foot what will be the bottom of my slab & it is on the bottom when I cut the slab on the guitar. If I remember, I'll try the pre-bottoming - put a thin coat of chocolate on a guitar slab prior to pouring your ganache method next time I do a ganache slab. Looks like that could work even better than what I am doing now.

 

For those that coat top and bottom... why do like to do it this way, what are the advantages?

Makes for squarer squares when you are using a soft ganache.

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1 minute ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

Way to use 11 words instead of my 5,000 ;)

We were posting at the exact same time - as mine showed up 'posted just now' - so did yours.

 

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On 4/14/2019 at 7:37 AM, teonzo said:

There's no need to make foot and "roof" for enrobed bonbons, if you use the proper technique for hand dipping then the fork always stays in contact with the foot and never touches the other sides . So it's just detrimental: more work for you, thicker shell for the customer.

Your goal is to spread the foot as thin as possible, whatever method you use you'll end up with tempered chocolate due to the act of spreading it thin (I'm meaning the standard methods with brush, palette knife and similars). To keep it untempered you need to spread it thick, which is not what you want. In my opinion the best thing is brushing untempered chocolate on the acetate sheet, then pouring the ganache over it, then cut the slab keeping the foot at the bottom and not top. If for whatever reason you need to cut it upside down, then warm the foot with a heat gun / hair drier (withouth melting it, it just needs to change matte). If you spread the foot on top (which is a forced choice in some cases, like when you are making a pâte de fruits layer) then the surface will be a bit wavy and bumpy no matter how skilled your hands are, this means the final bonbons will be more irregular (some will tend to be oblique). If you spread the foot at the bottom then its surface will always be flat, leading to better final results.

 

Sorry to be a term nazi, but "chablon" refers to a particular mold (flat and thin, with shaped cavities), not to a thin sheet of chocolate.

 

 

 

Teo

 

I was thinking about not using a chablon on the top.  It doesn't seem completely necessary in most cases.  I also like the idea of using a heat gun to warm it up if it sets too much.  I haven't tried William Curley's method of using a CB.Chocolate mixture.  I may give that a go just for fun

Chablon, as I have heard it, also refers to the layer of chocolate on the bottom and top of the slab of ganache.  At 1:32 in the video I posted above, the Valrhona chef says "Pour le chablon, nous allons utiliser une couverture temperé..."  (For the chablon, we're going to use a tempered couverture..."  And at 5:08 in the video, he says "Je vais realizer un deuxiéme chablon" (I am going to make a second chablon) as he spreads chocolate over the top of the ganache slab.   

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On 4/14/2019 at 3:01 PM, Pastrypastmidnight said:

I don’t coat my tops right now because I’m just hand dipping and it’s dofficult to get a really thin enrobage on the top as it is. But if you have  an enrober, it helps to keep the edges sharp and square and also helps facilitate handling the pieces (especially if you’re pushing the limits on the minimum amount of cocoa butter or if it’s a caramel ganache and sort of sticky). 

Your enrobage looks quite precise already.  If you're not putting a top layer of chocolate on your slabs, I don't see how adding one would make your bonbons any more sharp and square.  Dipping goals right here:

 

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21 hours ago, Bentley said:

Your enrobage looks quite precise already.  If you're not putting a top layer of chocolate on your slabs, I don't see how adding one would make your bonbons any more sharp and square.  Dipping goals right here:

 

I’m blushing. That’s so kind of you to say. Thank you :). 

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I had the same problem cutting through Valrhona Gianduja actually.  There's a whole thread about my disaster.  I ended up just molding it.

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