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Chocolate pralines WORKFLOW


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Hello lovely people,

 

for the first time I prepared a larger amount of pralines (~270). It took me an ENORMOUS amount of time, so I'd like to ask what I did wrond or where I can tweak my procedure...

 

I have 3 molds only. I used each twice for one design and twice again for second one => I made 6 designs with 6 flavours.  It took me 30+ hours (which puts the price of a praline to skies or makes me work for free).

 

Below is what I did. I tried to work with my 3 molds simultaneously. Between each steps is waiting time (allowing the chocolate to set). Steps 1 and 2 was repeated many times because I used more than one color for a design and was doing 3 designs at time. Also I used dark and white chocolate... basically doubling the steps. 

 

I repeated this cyclus 4 times.

  1. temper cocoa butter (heat -> cool -> heat)
  2. paint design
  3. temper chocolate (heat -> cool -> heat)
  4. make shells
  5. fill with filling
  6. temper chocolate again
  7. make caps

 

My ideas:

Work with only one type of chocolate for sealing.

Buy more molds, so that I dont have to repeat steps 1.-7. 4 times, but only 2 times  for 6 molds or only once for 12 molds... Which is something I dont want to do as just a home experimentator.

Somehow manage to have acces to tempered chocolate.

 

I hope you have some tricks apart from magic :) 

 

btw is it a mold or mould?

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Big question!

 

More molds for sure - time is money - spend the money on molds to save time. It will pay for itself.

 

Temper your fillings so they set up quickly. Temper a larger amount of chocolate to make shells and back them off - keep the tempered chocolate  warm  when you fill the molds and back them off as soon as they are set.

 

 

 

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If you are making 6 flavors / 270 pralines then you are setting yourself up for failure no matter your workflow...it's no way to be efficient and make money.

I understand that when you start out you want to have as many flavors as possible to be attractive to your customers but for 270 pieces you should have 2 flavors at the most...

That amount in 2 flavors would take me about 4-4.5 hours....that's with my own optimized workflow (no access to a continuos tempering machine)....somebody else may be faster or slower.

I would recommend the following things:

1. Buy an EZtemper or equivalent machine.

2. Buy more molds...only one style that is easy to clean and polish (eg. Hemispheres)

3. Don't go crazy with the designs on your shells...keep it simple....most of the fancy designs you see on Instagram are very labor intensive and made by people that sell "masterclasses" but don't sell chocolates 😉

4. Temper your ganache before filling, it will set a lot quicker and you can cap them sooner.

Hope this helps 😊

 

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Guys thank you very much, some of the advice is yey opening!

 

On 12/12/2019 at 4:41 PM, Kerry Beal said:

Temper a larger amount of chocolate to make shells and back them off - keep the tempered chocolate  warm  when you fill the molds and back them off as soon as they are set.

Just to be clear: I will temper 500 g of chocolate. I will do my shells with 400 g then put away (I can not use it again unless I temper it again). And I will keep remaining 100 g warm until my fillings are done and I am ready to cap. Thus skipping one step of tempering :)

 

On 12/12/2019 at 4:41 PM, Kerry Beal said:

Temper your fillings so they set up quickly. Temper a larger amount of chocolate to make shells and back them off - keep the tempered chocolate  warm  when you fill the molds and back them off as soon as they are set.

 tempered only gianduja. Wow, I've never thought I should temper caramel or cream based filling where's just few grams of chocolate.

What I did was: I piped them below suggested temp of 29 °C. Which ment they were basically set already :), but required a lot of work with a toothpick to distribute them :(

 

On 12/13/2019 at 3:35 AM, Avachocolate said:

1. Buy an EZtemper or equivalent machine.

3. Don't go crazy with the designs on your shells...keep it simple....

 

After quick googling: EZ temper will reduce the process of tempering from heating -> cooling -> heating to heating -> adding seed. Which I find not that big of a difference for chocolate. But when I consider I can temper fillings the same way, I see the potential! 1000 $ for a miniature oven is unreasonably lot. Maybe I will try to make it by myself.

 

You are right! I am too enthusiastic. It was an experiment, I dont work in culinary industry or anything. I will re-think everything.

 

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11 hours ago, Vojta said:

After quick googling: EZ temper will reduce the process of tempering from heating -> cooling -> heating to heating -> adding seed. Which I find not that big of a difference for chocolate.


On paper, it doesn't look like a major difference. In actual practice, it's a HUGE timesaver. It's always ready to use and it's much more foolproof for the average person than tempering by heating, cooling and heating. Not that there's anything wrong with tempering that way, it's just much easier to mess up until you develop a really good touch with it. The EZtemper is remarkably forgiving. It's probably made me sloppy to the point that I would have a very difficult time working without it now because it just always works. I guess how much "it always works" is worth to you is something only you can decide. 

 

11 hours ago, Vojta said:

1000 $ for a miniature oven is unreasonably lot.


That's an easy viewpoint to take when somebody else had the idea, did the legwork, got it manufactured and does the marketing and sales. It's a professional tool that can save time and help reduce waste in chocolate production. Time and waste are profit killers, the cost for a tool that helps counteract those profit killers is more than reasonable on that merit alone. But it also makes production easier which, for me, makes it more enjoyable. I'm not really the "suffer for your art" type so that's a big plus for me. Do a little digging, see how many professional chocolate production and teaching facilities have an EZtemper onboard. They don't have it just because it looks good on the bench (which it does, by the way). These are industry professionals who have seen it in action and deemed it worthy of a portion of the budget... and we all know how tightly small business budgets tend to be held.

I'm not telling you that you need an EZtemper, I'm just giving an alternative take on a couple of your assumptions regarding it's potential value to chocolate production. 
 

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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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I had the same mindset when I started my baking company.  I had a 20 quart Hobart, one bowl and one beater and one whip.  For about three years I resisted spending the money for a second bowl because it was "so easy to wash it".  It was $200 and I didn't want to spend that much (it was many many years ago ;).  I was so very very misguided.  As soon as I bought the second bowl, my production timing improved so drastically I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner.  It made a huge difference in what I could get done and couldn't see it until I had the second bowl.

 

Moral of the story:  the right equipment makes your life easy.  Buy more molds and buy an EZ Temper.

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16 hours ago, Vojta said:

Guys thank you very much, some of the advice is yey opening!

 

Just to be clear: I will temper 500 g of chocolate. I will do my shells with 400 g then put away (I can not use it again unless I temper it again). And I will keep remaining 100 g warm until my fillings are done and I am ready to cap. Thus skipping one step of tempering :)

 

 tempered only gianduja. Wow, I've never thought I should temper caramel or cream based filling where's just few grams of chocolate.

What I did was: I piped them below suggested temp of 29 °C. Which ment they were basically set already :), but required a lot of work with a toothpick to distribute them :(

 

 

After quick googling: EZ temper will reduce the process of tempering from heating -> cooling -> heating to heating -> adding seed. Which I find not that big of a difference for chocolate. But when I consider I can temper fillings the same way, I see the potential! 1000 $ for a miniature oven is unreasonably lot. Maybe I will try to make it by myself.

 

You are right! I am too enthusiastic. It was an experiment, I dont work in culinary industry or anything. I will re-think everything.

 

IMHO 500 grams of chocolate is no where near enough in order to maintain temperature while waiting for things to set up. 

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With all due respect to @Kerry Beal and the amazing EZtemper, if you haven't already got a melting / holding tank, I would start with that. I'm a strong believer in learning and understanding the basics before moving on to the time saving things: learn how to temper chocolate and learn what the process of tempering is actually doing in the chocolate, and this will serve you better in your troubleshooting in the future. When you're comfortable with tempering, then you buy the EZtemper and marvel at what it does 😁

 

As Kerry says above, 500g isn't enough to hold the temperature whilst you work - I usually work with minimum 1.5kg in a 5kg melting tank.

 

Your #1 time saver imho will be more moulds.

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8 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

IMHO 500 grams of chocolate is no where near enough in order to maintain temperature while waiting for things to set up. 

 

Definetely this. It has no sense to work with less than 2 kg chocolate. With 500 g or less you need to keep after it every 2 minutes, pure nightmare. With 100 g it becomes a horror movie, there will be more air bubbles than chocolate at the end..

 

 

 

48 minutes ago, keychris said:

Your #1 time saver imho will be more moulds.

 

Definetely this too.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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To sum everything up: there is little to no way how to make pralines effectively unless you start a regular chocolate production, buy the equipment and produce larger quantities.

 

I do ~100 pralines/ month for friends of friends in my homekitchen without melting tank or anything. Just a microwave :) I opened this topic bcs I was thinking about starting a regular custom production from my home. Now I see there is no middle between  'for fun' – doing it professionally and/or effectively.

 

Thank you everyone!

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Some suggestions for streamlining without minimum increase in equipment if you are streamlining you chocolate making for friends / starting to get into artisan professional levels.

 

1. Purchase Peter Greweling's book, https://www.amazon.com/Chocolates-Confections-Formula-Technique-Confectioner/dp/0470424419/ref=asc_df_0470424419/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=311990507415&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8583461089994955786&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007564&hvtargid=aud-801738734305:pla-455468897198&psc=1

 

2. Purchase  enough moulds to shell on batch of bon bons

 

3. Melt & temper twice the amount of chocolate you will need to shell the moulds. This will make it easier to maintain the heat and temper of the chocolate. This "extra" chocolate is not lost, you can use it the next time you make chocolates.

 

4. Wrap, label, and freeze your chocolates (following Greweling's instructions for freezing chocolates)  in small enough quantities that you only need to defrost one box of each flavor to make up chocolate boxes for your friends/customers.

 

5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you have an inventory of flavors that makes you happy.

 

6. Follow Greweling's instructions for chocolate defrosting & box up your selection of bon bonds.

 

I hope you continue to enjoy making chocolates. Perhaps you would like to join us (dabblers, professionals, semi pro hobbyists, novices, etc.) at the next eGullet Chocolate & Confections workshop... were meeting in Buffalo, New York May 2020. More details to be posted here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/158984-planning-egullet-chocolate-and-confectionery-workshop-2020/.

 

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5 hours ago, keychris said:

With all due respect to @Kerry Beal and the amazing EZtemper, if you haven't already got a melting / holding tank, I would start with that. I'm a strong believer in learning and understanding the basics before moving on to the time saving things: learn how to temper chocolate and learn what the process of tempering is actually doing in the chocolate, and this will serve you better in your troubleshooting in the future. When you're comfortable with tempering, then you buy the EZtemper and marvel at what it does 😁

 


Agreed. The EZ Temper isn’t the first $1k you spend when just starting out, it’s the tenth $1k you spend after scaling up a bit. 

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On 12/15/2019 at 9:35 AM, Vojta said:

To sum everything up: there is little to no way how to make pralines effectively unless you start a regular chocolate production, buy the equipment and produce larger quantities.

 

I do ~100 pralines/ month for friends of friends in my homekitchen without melting tank or anything. Just a microwave :) I opened this topic bcs I was thinking about starting a regular custom production from my home. Now I see there is no middle between  'for fun' – doing it professionally and/or effectively.

 

Thank you everyone!

Kind of this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted, “Chocolate is a STUPID hobby!” when I’ve been frustrated by trying to work in my home kitchen Around my family’s meal schedule or traipsing all over the house to retrieve the equipment I have squirreled away wherever there’s room or trying to keep chocolate in temper for more than a handful of molds with just a melter or when I just haven’t had the right tool for the job. The reality is, it’s just really frustrating. I agree with everyone above. First purchase: more molds. Pick something easy to use, paint, and polish. I have 20 half-sphere molds and 15 dome molds and use those for almost everything. Second: a melter makes a huge difference. Third: the EZTemper legitimately saves me so much time. 
 

Good luck!

Edited by Pastrypastmidnight (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/15/2019 at 8:40 PM, Pastrypastmidnight said:

 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted, “Chocolate is a STUPID hobby!” 

 

.......and then you persevere and turn out some beautiful, beautiful product. It's good to vent your frustration OUT LOUD, and occasionally have a meltdown {of the human kind} on your kitchen floor. 

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