Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
stllc

Chopping chocolate

Recommended Posts

I have recently started a chocolate business and one of the things that is puzzling me most is chopping chocolate. I am having a hard time keeping up. I sometimes spend a couple of hours on chopping the 11 lb. blocks of chocolate (a bunch of them) by hand a week- knife and/or chipper. Besides the time it takes, it's really wearing on my wrists. I have seen the chocolate cutter from Chocovision, but does this cut the chocolate into small pieces? Are there any other pieces of equipment out there that would work that I don't know about?

Thanks for any input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

buy pistoles instead of blocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I don't know the brand of chocolate you are using, in what applications you are using it, nor the kind of quantities you are dealing with, the pistole format is probably the way to go. The slightly higher price of pistoles will be offset by the saved labor costs of manually breaking down block chocolate; my time is certainly more valuable than the extra cents per pound I pay. You can also factor in the ease of precise measurement, quick and uniform melting, and that there is no waste.

Depending on your application (tempering, ganache), there may be concern that some manufacturers may formulate pistole and block formats differently. I personally haven't done any large scale, side by side comparisons to be able to pick up on any subtle differences in fluidity and the like, though I've heard claims that they may behave differently. For me, pistoles or tablets are the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definately use pistoles, buy them from the same place your buying your blocks. It's rare that a wholesale co. doesn't have them.

I hate chopping up blocks! I always use pistoles and I've never had an instance where the chocolate pistoles behaved any differently then block chocolate.

Also if I do have to use block choc. I break on the side of my table into smaller blocks, then very coarsely chop, then cusinart it to a working size.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with everyone here, pistoles are the way to go.

No waste, cuts labour, etc.

The only block stuff I use now is Valrhona, and that's only because my dist. doesn't carry the feves, or pistoles.

My inventory is 95% pistoles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you must stick to the blocks, try zapping them in the microwave for about thirty seconds before chopping.

It really cuts down on the effort (I do this when I make chunks for cookies).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used a "chocolate fork" in the past. It looks like a fork on steroids and you just poke it into the chocolate to break it up. Perhaps JB Prince sells them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They only buy blocks where i'm working. I discovered quite by accident that a heavy-duty mezzaluna knife works like a dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my favorite way to break up a chocolate block- hold it high and let it drop on the floor- it makes a terrific bang-( works best on a concrete floor) scares the bejezes out of everyone and just feels great!

now of course it has to have its plastic wrapping around it- and thats good for one drop- got to wrap it better if your'e going to drop it a few more times- but it sure gets it started well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you cant get pistoles, use a serate dkinfe to cut the choc, smash the blocks on the edge of a counter and break up the larger peices wwith a ice pick or choc fork. But pistoles are the best bet if you are doing high volume production.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 3-pronged ice pick is the tool of choice for fast chopping - unless of course you have a stage - then use them. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For chopping the blocks i use and 2 handeled cheese knife.

i get good leverage from it and my wrists don't hurt..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My best method is to put the chocolate in a ziplock and take it outside with a hammer. You gently pound the block or chunks and you get chopped chocolate. Works like a dream everytime for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one more tip along with breaking up into more manageable pieces...this may seem obvious but using your serrated knife, always cut on the corners. so, if you have a rectangular piece, cut one corner until it gets a little awkward, move to the other corner and create a point, then cut that point down...i guess what i mean is that it's easier to cut on the smaller angles, don't try to cut the entire length of the bar at once. and, as everyone else has already said, get pistoles! so much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I would not select the serrated knife for this task. You want the weight and power of your French knife (if you don't use the chocolate chopper/ice pick)

But your whole point is that you are sick to death of spending time and energy chopping the chocolate. You could jus hack it all up and bag it all when you get it in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy better chocolate and buy pistoles. It melts faster and more evenly. Spend that time you save doing something more interesting or working more efficiently and that will make your end product better. Win-win.

Think about it--how easy and clean and efficient it is to weigh out what you need right from the box versus all the time, hassle, energy expended opening, chopping, storing, touching, cleaning, wiping hands and towels, re-wrapping chopped chunks of block chocolate? Not to mention the risk of injury trying to chop chocolate with all these various undoubtedly dull knives lying around a typical prep kitchen, etc. If that isn't worth the .25 or .50 cent difference per pound (pistoles vs. block) I don't know what is.

I'm with invento and chefette--if you have to--use the multi-pronged ice pick. It's safer and cleaner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

I use Lindt couverture for my truffles and it's so hard to chop up those huge blocks of chocolate. I've tried the 'chocolate chopper' which looks like a huge fork with 3 prongs but it doesn't make things faster. Does anyone have any suggestions about speeding up the process?

Also, can I chop the chocolate and leave it in an airtight container for when I need it?

Thanks so much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my favorite method for chopping chocolate also relieves aggression :laugh: keep the block of chocolate in it's paper wrapper, and put the whole thing into a small garbage bag, tied at the top. then, hold the bar above your head, let go & let it fall to the floor. makes a heck of a noise, but it breaks the chocolate up into more manageable pieces. you can store it that way, chopping pieces smaller when you need them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh. I actually put it in a Ziplock and then whack it a few times against the counter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do the bag and drop...then when I have workable smaller pieces, I grate it in the food processor and store it in a plastic container in a cool place. That way I only have to get the processor dirty once, I don't wear out my wrist with the chopping, and I am ready to go when I need to melt some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the same problem before and ended up switching to using chocolate disks. However, I did get some advice about using the chocolate chopper. I was told that it's easier if you use the chopper along w/ a rubber mallet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The method we used at the truffle shop I used to work at was:

-Turn the whole block on its side and secure it under your arm.

-Then, using a serated knife, (the part closest to the handle) push the knife through the chocolate. At say, 1/2 inch intervals.

It makes a mess if you are using a 5kg piece, but works really quickly.

You can cut the chocolate to any width really. The better the serated knife, the more control you will have. Also, the closer to the handle you use, the more control you will have.

If you don't want Chocolate stains under your arm, you can place a piece of parchment there, or a rag or keep it half in the wrapper.

I also find that this method makes it easier to rewrap if you don't need the whole block. No odd shaped chunky pieces.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a tip about this in the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine: get yourself a cheap chisel from the hardware store, wash it up really well, and then chisel the chocolate hunk to pieces. I haven't tried it, but I like the idea. (Now, the real trick will be to keep my husband from taking the chocolate chisel downstairs into his workshop.... :raz:

MelissaH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and for those who don't like loud banging noises I find an oyster shucker works well too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm the minority here, but I don't believe in pre-chopping chocolate. Cocoa butter absorbs odors very easily. By chopping it, you're exposing so much more of it air.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Kasia
      MILLET GROATS CHOCOLATE CREME WITH CRANBERRY MOUSSE
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!


    • By ChristysConfections
      I am trying to find boxes like these pictured below, with matching candy trays and candy pads. They are about the size of a piece of paper and about 2-2 1/2 inches high. Haven’t had any luck finding them domestically. Anyone else use something like these? How do you store/package your bulk chocolates?
       


    • By pastrygirl
      Has anyone used the chocolate pump that TCF offers?  https://www.tcfsales.com/products/c115-mol-d'art-melters/
       
      I'd like to increase both production and efficiency, so I'm looking at a 20-24kg melter, the pump, and possibly an EZ temper as an upgrade from a 6kg melter, a bunch of bowls and a ladle.
       
      What do other chocolatiers think?  I doubt I'll jump right into 24kg at a time, but I figure might as well have the capacity since it is the same footprint as the 12kg melter.  The pump would save a lot of time with molding, provided it doesn't clog up or over-temper the chocolate - is a stray chunk going to cause havoc?  And if it is a full 24kg, that's a lot of chocolate to hand-temper, so much heavy stirring.  Would the pump be able to mix in EZ Temper silk and make tempering virtually hands-free?
       
      thanks!
       
       
    • By MrJonathanGreen40
      One of my friends is leaving for Spain next week, and I’m planning to surprise her with a party before she leaves. Since she’s a huge lover of sweets, I decided to buy her a cake. I don’t know where to start looking, but my brother suggested that I buy from this online provider of custom cakes. I checked their website, and I think they have cakes that my friend will love. I haven’t bought anything yet because I want to be 100% sure that their cakes are truly excellent. Do you have any idea how I should examine cakes through the Internet? What are the things that I must take into consideration? Thanks!
    • By jedovaty
      Hi:
       
      I'm making some homemade peanut butter cups, but shaping them like bon bons instead.  I don't have bon bon molds, so instead I'm dipping the peanut butter centers into tempered chocolate.  As the chocolate coating sets, it contracts and my soft peanut butter center squirts out a little.  Is there a way to prevent this, or do I need to do a second dipping?  I've tried with both frozen and room temp centers (although peanut butter with a little vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar doesn't seem to freeze at all).
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×