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MoonChild

Instant read probe thermometer vs Infrared thermometer

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Hello everyone!  I would like to ask a couple for questions when using thermometers when temping chocolate and cocoa butters.  I have 2 instant read thermometers and 1 IR thermometer gun.  I see a lot of chocolatiers seem to prefer IR thermometers through online videos from Savour or Instagram videos or stories.  I am a bit new to using an IR thermometer.  I've been finding that my finding that my IR thermometer seems to read around 0.5-0.7 degrees higher them my calibrated probe thermometers. 

 

1.   Is there a way to test and see if my IR thermometer is giving off an accurate reading?  (i.e.  Something like testing a probe thermometer in ice or boiling water)

2.   I've looked through the instructions and haven't found a way to calibrate the IR thermometer......is it possible?

 

Finally just a general question:  What kind of thermometer does everyone her prefer to use when temping chocolate and cocoa butter and why?

 

Thank you for any help or advice~  

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I've watched pretty much every savour video and I don't think I've seen them use an IR thermometer very often - I know they definitely don't use them in their hands-on classes. The majority of people I know use an instant read, because you're getting the actual temperature of the chocolate, not just the surface temperature. And you can relatively easily calibrate them!

If you have something that's circulating your chocolate, then an IR might be a better option, but in a melt tank I prefer the instant read.

 

You may be able to tweak the EMS settings on your IR to get the readings you're expecting. You can test the accuracy against an ice/water slurry: https://www.thermoworks.com/infrared_tips_icebath_to_calibrate_infrared. It does say in that article that IR thermometers are known for their low drift though, i.e. they don't lose calibration.

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For chocolate I use an IR gun....much faster and more convenient as you don't have to wipe of the probe everytime.

But it since it definitely does not give me the accurate temperature inside the tank I have learned to compensate for it in my head automatically...for instance if my IR thermometer gives me a reading of 32 C then I know the actual temperature inside the melted chocolate is more or less around 33.5...so I just use it that way (your temperature differences may vary quite a bit depending on your tank size/ chocolate amount and brand of thermometer).

Never had a problem with my temperatures that way...as a side note I would not use this method with something like a pate de fruit/ special caramels where the actual temperature is much more critical...there I use a high quality probe thermometer exclusively.

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16 hours ago, keychris said:

I've watched pretty much every savour video and I don't think I've seen them use an IR thermometer very often - I know they definitely don't use them in their hands-on classes. The majority of people I know use an instant read, because you're getting the actual temperature of the chocolate, not just the surface temperature. And you can relatively easily calibrate them!

If you have something that's circulating your chocolate, then an IR might be a better option, but in a melt tank I prefer the instant read.

 

You may be able to tweak the EMS settings on your IR to get the readings you're expecting. You can test the accuracy against an ice/water slurry: https://www.thermoworks.com/infrared_tips_icebath_to_calibrate_infrared. It does say in that article that IR thermometers are known for their low drift though, i.e. they don't lose calibration.

Thank you for sending me the link.  Also, I greatly appreciate everyone taking the time to answer my questions.  I definitely do like not having to wipe my probe every time.  It also did remind me to think about investing in a higher quality thermometer. 

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I am a big fan of IR thermometers for working with chocolate.

 

The most important thing is to stir thoroughly before you take the surface temperature  - which will make the surface representative of the whole. 

 

Thermoworks makes a testing cup here. it requires a reference thermometer and most IR thermometers aren’t able to be calibrated. I tend to test new ones against one that I trust  and as long as they are within a couple of 10ths of a degree C to my ‘reference’ then I’ll add them in to my collection.

 

 

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On the subject of chocolate thermometers, got one for Christmas that recommends tempering white at 82F and makes me wonder what ‘plain’ chocolate Is ... anyone else find this odd?

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3 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Plain chocolate seems to be the British term for dark chocolate - not necessarily couverture.

That was my first thought but then when they are talking about cocoa butter they have both plain and dark. 


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