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Something lighter for the chocolatiers (and anyone really): an unrequested volunteer guard


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I am new to chocolate, but have been a home cook all my life. I have been reading here for awhile as I go on my chocolate journey. I learn a lot from the things I read here, but I really don’t have a lot to contribute since I am such a novice, especially with chocolate, so I thought I’d share something light with the community to hopefully give you something fun to take your mind off of some of our intensity these days. Sunday I made my second batch ever of bonbons, and they’re made with my own chocolate, a lavender ganache filling with a little taste of salted caramel. I saw this little guy on top of one of my leaf bonbons offering to protect it from any renegade bugs as they sat on the counter. I love these little jumping spiders, and they’re welcome in my house any time. Cute little sucker who hung out for quite awhile. Anyhow, something lighter for your day.

0831BC7D-9D70-410E-817C-412526AC2913.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

@Douglas K - welcome to eG.

 

He is a cutie - much cuter than the fruit flies that seem to have taken over my chocolate room. 

 

 

Thank you Kerry, you’re one of my heroes here so much appreciated. 

 

I think he’s there to take care of our fruit flies as well. We’re having our first snow as I type this (101 F in Denver on Saturday and today is Tuesday) so much less to worry about them now. They never seem to hang out in the winter, the fruit flies that is, not sure where spiders go.

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@Kerry Beal It was polycarbonate. I did not have a good scraper yet then, but I do now! Amazing how much easier it is with a proper tool. This was only my second batch, so I’m learning as I go along. There’s so many things to keep track of, and I tend to rush things when I haven’t done them before. Plus figuring out how to hold things etc. while trying to get the chocolate mostly back in the bowl... it’s quite a choreography. The last batch was much better.

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9 hours ago, Douglas K said:

@Kerry Beal It was polycarbonate. I did not have a good scraper yet then, but I do now! Amazing how much easier it is with a proper tool. This was only my second batch, so I’m learning as I go along. There’s so many things to keep track of, and I tend to rush things when I haven’t done them before. Plus figuring out how to hold things etc. while trying to get the chocolate mostly back in the bowl... it’s quite a choreography. The last batch was much better.

Excellent- scraping molds is definitely a ballet! Looking forward to watching you progress through the process.

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13 hours ago, Douglas K said:

@Kerry Beal It was polycarbonate. I did not have a good scraper yet then, but I do now! Amazing how much easier it is with a proper tool. This was only my second batch, so I’m learning as I go along. There’s so many things to keep track of, and I tend to rush things when I haven’t done them before. Plus figuring out how to hold things etc. while trying to get the chocolate mostly back in the bowl... it’s quite a choreography. The last batch was much better.

 

You must give into the messiness for now, and as you get the techniques, process, and habits down, it'll clean up.  The folks here suggested pouring and scraping over parchment/wax paper, rather than directly into the bowl.  This helps catch the chocolate and makes it easier to re-use; you'll just have to heat it up and/or retemper, which is not too much a big deal if you are doing small quantities.  That, or get a bigger bowl.

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1 hour ago, jedovaty said:

 

You must give into the messiness for now, and as you get the techniques, process, and habits down, it'll clean up.  The folks here suggested pouring and scraping over parchment/wax paper, rather than directly into the bowl.  This helps catch the chocolate and makes it easier to re-use; you'll just have to heat it up and/or retemper, which is not too much a big deal if you are doing small quantities.  That, or get a bigger bowl.

 

Yes, for small quantities dumping the chocolate over parchment is definitely preferable--unless you have a bowl at least the diameter of the mold.  I use a tempering machine. It has a large bowl, but it's still not large enough to dump molds.  I have learned over the years to tilt the mold (not 180 degrees, closer to 90) so that the excess chocolate runs into the bowl without mess. With that method I don't have to temper so much chocolate since I am collecting some of it each time. Then I quickly move the mold over parchment to finish tapping out the excess. This method does require some "adjusting" because the chocolate in the top cavities runs down into the lower ones, making the top ones have shells that are too thin.  I have developed a technique for counteracting that issue but won't go into it here as it is probably of little interest to others.  What many chocolatiers prefer is a rectangular melting tank (such as in some Mol d'Art models), which is large enough to dump the mold with no mess, but that involves larger quantities than @Douglas K is using at present.

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4 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

Yes, for small quantities dumping the chocolate over parchment is definitely preferable--unless you have a bowl at least the diameter of the mold.  I use a tempering machine. It has a large bowl, but it's still not large enough to dump molds.  I have learned over the years to tilt the mold (not 180 degrees, closer to 90) so that the excess chocolate runs into the bowl without mess. With that method I don't have to temper so much chocolate since I am collecting some of it each time. Then I quickly move the mold over parchment to finish tapping out the excess. This method does require some "adjusting" because the chocolate in the top cavities runs down into the lower ones, making the top ones have shells that are too thin.  I have developed a technique for counteracting that issue but won't go into it here as it is probably of little interest to others.  What many chocolatiers prefer is a rectangular melting tank (such as in some Mol d'Art models), which is large enough to dump the mold with no mess, but that involves larger quantities than @Douglas K is using at present.

I often melt in bowls like these. I have a few sizes - even the largest I tend to tilt the mold over the bowl while tapping and scraping. Early in my learning I found dumping out onto parchment was the most efficient way to go until I got a lot faster. I could reheat that chocolate and add it back into the bowl to keep my temper going for a much longer time. 

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10 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

I often melt in bowls like these. I have a few sizes - even the largest I tend to tilt the mold over the bowl while tapping and scraping. Early in my learning I found dumping out onto parchment was the most efficient way to go until I got a lot faster. I could reheat that chocolate and add it back into the bowl to keep my temper going for a much longer time. 

Those are exactly the same bowls I use for small quantities.  I love those Nordicware bowls.  I too sometimes reheat the chocolate emptied out on parchment. Sometimes in a big batch, when the chocolate in the Delta machine is clearly becoming over-crystallized, I scoop up that dumped chocolate, heat it enough to get it definitely out of temper, then add it to the chocolate in the machine.  This works very well to deal with that over-crystallized state (which creeps up on one because its signs are not so clear-cut as might be wished).

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@jedovaty I’ve definitely given in to the mess. It’s funny where I will find a smear of chocolate, but as you say it cleans up easily with water.

 

@Jim D. and @Kerry Beal I appreciate the tips. I have used parchment paper for catching drips when resting the molds, but never thought of just dumping the chocolate onto it. I never saw myself really getting into making confections a lot, but rather found it a good way to use chocolate as I learn to make it. I like to cook so it combines my interests, and I’m really finding it a lot of fun, and so I see myself doing it a lot more.

 

As for bowls, I have a large 2 liter measuring cup from Pyrex Like this. I used to use it a lot for brewing when I did that more, and I find it handy for when I’m making chocolate. I like the mass of it for temperature inertia when tempering much more than my stainless steel bowls, and the handle is handy. I am getting ideas for how to do things, and I work in process control, so I’m fairly handy with those kinds of things. I see some fun challenges ahead before I invest in equipment.

 

I am definitely learning from the folks here, and I definitely appreciate how helpful everyone is here, so thank you!

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41 minutes ago, Douglas K said:

@jedovaty I’ve definitely given in to the mess. It’s funny where I will find a smear of chocolate, but as you say it cleans up easily with water.

 

@Jim D. and @Kerry Beal I appreciate the tips. I have used parchment paper for catching drips when resting the molds, but never thought of just dumping the chocolate onto it. I never saw myself really getting into making confections a lot, but rather found it a good way to use chocolate as I learn to make it. I like to cook so it combines my interests, and I’m really finding it a lot of fun, and so I see myself doing it a lot more.

 

As for bowls, I have a large 2 liter measuring cup from Pyrex Like this. I used to use it a lot for brewing when I did that more, and I find it handy for when I’m making chocolate. I like the mass of it for temperature inertia when tempering much more than my stainless steel bowls, and the handle is handy. I am getting ideas for how to do things, and I work in process control, so I’m fairly handy with those kinds of things. I see some fun challenges ahead before I invest in equipment.

 

I am definitely learning from the folks here, and I definitely appreciate how helpful everyone is here, so thank you!

A 4 litre pyrex measuring cup was my first tempering bowl. 

 

I suspect if you look hard enough in old eG posts you'll see a demo I did on tempering milk chocolate and that bowl was featured. 

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