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Chocolatiers: how do you shell with chocolate melter? (consistency, thickening)


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How do you shell 100 molds using a melter (like Mol d'Art)?


I am unable to achieve nice continuous work flow when shelling, and I am really unable to shell more than 20-30 molds.

How does your workflow look like: Do you pour (drip) back inside the melter?, how often do you reheat/ remelt?, what temp you set your machine on?, how much chocolate/ how many molds?, how many molds you can shell, etc.


When shelling, my chocolate is unacceptably more viscous even after 4 molds, making me to stop shelling after 8-12 molds completely.

What I tried and didnt work for me:

  • working with 2-3 kg CH
  • adding extra CB
  • setting the machine to 35 °C (95 F) or even 40 °C
  • diluting with untempered CH

All helped slightly, but I always end up in a state where I am above the working temp (ie higher than 32 °C (90F) for dark CH), yet still thicker than after tempering.

I've managed to survive shelling more than 300 molds like this (over multiple days), but it's so frustrating that I am thinking of pouring out the chocolate outside my melter or stopping to use it.


PS: room temp is 20-22 °C (68-36 F); I use Callebaut CH; I don't work slow use a ladle and scraper and its fast; I use CHWorldAntwerp 21 kg model with 6 liters or 13 liters stainless steel insert.

PPS: the machine is temperature control is terrible, but I managed to work with 1 thermometer in chocolate and second in the machine



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That would be a dance I would say. 


Looking at a couple of options - if you were working with 2 melters - you could scoop tempered chocolate out of your initial melter - then dump and scrape into a second one kept at a higher temperature. You can then detemper the second one and put the warm chocolate back into melter number one as required. As the chocolate in melter number one starts to become over tempered with time - adding warm untempered chocolate to it will dilute the form V crystals. Also as your chocolate becomes over tempered you can push the temperature up without it going out of temper. You can go as high as 34.5 for dark chocolate and around 32.5 for milk. 


The other option and what I do when working with large quantities - the melter holds untempered chocolate at 34º C (which shouldn't thicken up significantly over time since it isn't in temper) - I put as much as I need at one time into a big Callebaut bowl which will drop to 33.5 by the time it makes it into the bowl - temper with the EZtemper - make my shells, pouring back into that bowl as I go along (if it starts to thicken up significantly in the bowl - I pop into the microwave for 8 seconds at a time until I'm back up to 33.5).  When the chocolate in the bowl runs out - I add more and temper that. 


And I use a reliable IR thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the chocolate - stirring well so the surface temperature will reflect the temperature of the entire bowl or melter full. 




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Kerry's post describes most of what I do, and I have no breakthrough to announce, but wanted to add some notes from my experience.  In my dealings with the overtempering problem, adding warm, untempered chocolate is the best solution (however temporary) for overtempered chocolate.  Turning up the heat doesn't work as well since the excess Type V crystals don't always melt as expected.  Well-tempered chocolate is quite forgiving of warm chocolate being added to it; in other words, it doesn't fall out of temper even if adding quite warm chocolate (35-36C) to it, but its original fluidity does return.  I don't have a lot of success using my Mol d'Art to make shells as its temperature changes are rather slow.  I use a Chocovision machine, which does tend to make the overtempering issue somewhat worse with its constant movement, but its temperature changes are very quick and register accurately.  So if I have a bowl of chocolate at 32C and it becomes overtempered, I can add untempered chocolate at 35.5C, wait a few minutes for the machine to register 32C again, and a temper test will show it still in temper (I have never had the test fail).  If using EZtemper silk, the chocolate is even more forgiving of upward temperature shifts.  Just yesterday I had a bowl of tempered chocolate, was interrupted by a chef picking up some chocolates for his restaurant, stopped to swap restaurant gossip, then went back to find the chocolate as thick as mud.  I heated it to 35.5C and, fearing the worst, tested for temper, and it was fine.  @Vojta, I am sure my methods for my relatively small production would not work for your larger quantities, and obviously you have tried all the methods, but I have found that adding untempered chocolate is the way to go.

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That's exactly why I got a Selmi ... ;)


But even with the continuous tempering machine, I don't think I've made more than 30 molds in a day.  (working alone and doing the whole paint-shell-fill-cap process in the same day)


I've managed the melter by warming the chocolate with a hair dryer, increasing the heat between batches, and/or having a second melter with warmer, untempered chocolate to replenish the supply as needed. 


Are you doing 100 molds a week?  A month?

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