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

The easiest and most hygienic way to chop up those difficult blocks is to leave the chocolate in its original wrapping and place atop a sturdy, clean counter top. Again with the stress-relieving: whack the chocolate several times with a French hardwood rolling pin (e.g. JBPrince French Rolling Pin ) until it is in small enough pieces.* If you find it necessary, you can put the chocolate into one of those jumbo Ziploc plastic bags before whacking.

*Make sure the rolling pin wood grain is aligned properly so that you won't split it, just in case.

Some comments:

1) Dropping the chocolate to the floor will certainly break up the chocolate, but it is also likely to cause tiny tears in the plastic bag or covering. So your chocolate is coming into contact with the floor.

2) Placing the chocolate under your arm? :blink: I think that staining my outfit is the least of my concerns with this technique.

3) Using a rubber mallet to hit your chocolate chopper is definitely the way to go if you use this tool. You have much much more control, use a lot less effort, and you don't end up with tiny holes in your counter top/cutting board.

4) Scott is correct about the chocolate being more vulnerable to absorbing odors. Be sure to store your chopped chocolate in a cool dry place, preferably in an airtight container, and only for a short period of time.

5) I also use the food processor if I need the chocolate chopped extra finely.

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.

Right after my kitchen was remodeled I smacked a 5kg bar of Callebaut semisweet against the edge of the marble top on the island to break it up. Unfortunately the chocolate didn't break, but the marble countertop did!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could also use a rock hammer or a plain old claw hammer from the local hardware store. Get either the fiberglass or metal handle. It should wash up just fine. Just use the pointed end to break off the chunks you need.

Can also be used for self-defense when fighting off the hands of those who would eat that chocolate before it made it to the recipe...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The easiest and most hygienic way to chop up those difficult blocks is to leave the chocolate in its original wrapping and place atop a sturdy, clean counter top.

2) Placing the chocolate under your arm?  :blink:  I think that staining my outfit is the least of my concerns with this technique.

I was not implying to stick the chocolate in your armpit, but to secure it with your elbow against your hip. If the chocolate is still half in its wrapper, there is nothing to worry about. The prcess is so quick, that melting is not a factor.

Believe me, this is a very efficient way to chop chocolate with the most uniform pieces. Smashing it with a rolling pin will produce an uneven product.

If you are tempering, size does matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The easiest and most hygienic way to chop up those difficult blocks is to leave the chocolate in its original wrapping and place atop a sturdy, clean counter top.

2) Placing the chocolate under your arm?  :blink:  I think that staining my outfit is the least of my concerns with this technique.

I was not implying to stick the chocolate in your armpit, but to secure it with your elbow against your hip. If the chocolate is still half in its wrapper, there is nothing to worry about. The prcess is so quick, that melting is not a factor.

Believe me, this is a very efficient way to chop chocolate with the most uniform pieces. Smashing it with a rolling pin will produce an uneven product.

If you are tempering, size does matter.

I second this method. I first learned it here when chefpeon discussed it. Works like a charm.

And in addition to the wrapper on the chocolate, there's usually at least one layer of clothing between me and the chocolate. :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Believe me, this is a very efficient way to chop chocolate with the most uniform pieces.  Smashing it with a rolling pin will produce an uneven product...

Smacking it with the rolling pin can also put dents in your rolling pin--even a good hardwood pin wil dent if hit just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always melted the chocolate into a bust-mold of my nemesis, then I break it up with a baseball bat.

Saves on therapy sessions, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea of the wrap and drop to break it down into smaller pieces.

I haven't chopped large blocks of chocolate in years, but when I was in cooking school, I used to kneel on a stool when I chopped chocolate. People used to laugh when I did that, but I'm on the short side, so the majority of counters aren't designed for people like me. By kneeling on a stool, I could use my upper body strength to bear down on the chocolate, which made chopping those large blocks much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first started playing around with truffle making, I was using the Michel Cluizel pastilles. These are a dream to work with for making ganache, because there's no chopping required and all the pieces are the exact same size. But, the store where I buy them sells them for nearly $17/lb retail. Looks like I can get down to about $13/lb buying online in bulk, but then there's shipping too...

My other quibble with the Cluizel is that it's actually a little too high in cocoa butter, I think, as I was having a lot of cracking and leaking problems with my truffles, even when the centers were not too cold.

So I've been looking for alternatives. Right now I'm trying the E. Guittard wafers. These are fine for melting (although I have yet to try tempering any of it), but the wafers are not small enough for ganache making, so I'm stuck with the chopping thing again.

Are there tricks for easily chopping large quantities of chocolate and getting a consistent size so I don't end up with unmelted lumps in my ganache? Or is not chopping worth the extra money per pound to buy the Cluizel for my ganache making, and I can use something else for couverture?

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It won't give you evenly sized chunks, but the fastest and easiest way to "chop" chocolate is to wrapit up well in a plastic bag, set it on a hard surface and whack it with a hammer. It you whack it enough all the chunks will be small enough to melt easily.

That's what I used to do anyway, on the occasions when I had to deal with 5 kg bars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there tricks for easily chopping large quantities of chocolate and getting a consistent size so I don't end up with unmelted lumps in my ganache?  Or is not chopping worth the extra money per pound to buy the Cluizel for my ganache making, and I can use something else for couverture?

Thanks.

For chopping large quantities of chocolate quickly and evenly....

Depending on the size of the block....

If it is 1kg or larger, this method works well.

unwrap the block so that the end of the block is still in the wrapper.

Turn the block so that it is standing on its thin side.

Support the block by leaning it up against your body and securing the wrapped end under your arm.

Use your other arm to use a STRONG BREAD KNIFE (or serrated) to push down through the end of the chocolate that is on the cutting board.

Adjust the size of the pieces by how wide you slice down. (You can go as thin as shavings if need be.)

Be sure to use the part of the bread knife closest to the handle to achieve the best control.

(I had people take issue with this method before, as they felt that putting the chocolate "under your arm" was unsanitary.....but believe me, this is the most effective way to achieve consistent pieces. A Chocolatier taught me this method, and I still use it to this day.)

P.S. Cluizel may taste great, but is a #$%@%&* to temper without cracks in final product!

Good Luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are using wafers, it is difficult to obtain anything both fine and consistent. However, I find blocks far more convenient...cutting them is much more under your control, and they oxidize slower (and take up less storage space). If you do try blocks, I also use a serrated knife and slice off appropriate thicknesses...it is quite fast and easy. However, rather than balancing the block on its edge, I simply cut it while it lies flat. The issues with this are...it takes more force to slice the entire width of the block at once, but you quickly get used to it...also, it is difficult if you do not own a decent and fairly long serrated knife. Otherwise you can cut the corners back, switching between sides when the edge is getting too long for your knife.

All in all I like this method the best, and it is extremely fast...I often finely chop up 5-10kg at a time this way...however, if you don't have a heavy & long serrated knife, the on-edge idea may well work better.

Happy chopping,

Randall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Eguittard and I never had problem form making ganache with it (the button size right?).

I chop the 5 kilos bars with a big ( not too big ) serrated knife that isnt too ragged etc and it works very fast I usually chop more and just bag the rest in zipplock.

Another this is that you can actually use the melted button to make ganache , is another method used , just melt and add to the cream or whatever.


Edited by Desiderio (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I use Eguittard and I never had problem form making ganache with it (the button size right?).

I chop the 5 kilos bars with a big ( not too big ) serrated knife that isnt too ragged etc and it works very fast I usually chop more and just bag the rest in zipplock.

Another this is that you can actually use the melted button to make ganache , is another method used , just melt and add to the cream or whatever.

The discs I'm using are between the size of a nickel and a quarter. I didn't try making them into ganache as is, because they just seemed too big.

I've never tried making ganache from melted chocolate, but I was just reading a long post Steve Klc wrote about it a couple days ago, so perhaps I'll give it a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
P.S.  Cluizel may taste great, but is a #$%@%&* to temper without cracks in final product!

Glad to get some confirmation that it's not just me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't bother to chop chocolate into small bits. I take the amount I need by weight, what ever the size of chunk, put it in a pyrex bowl in the microwave and heat it first for a minute, then 10 or 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until just melted.

When I temper chocolate for dipping the chunks I break the bar into might be as big as 500 g. The only reason I sometimes use a chefs knife or a chocolate chopper to get slightly smaller chunks is so I can fit more in the bowl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a few people have mentioned, using a serrated knife makes life much easier. Each cut into the block creates a shaving action, which helps break each "slice" into small shavings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tammy--

A quick and easy way to chop up large quantities of chocolate...

Buy an awl at your local hardware store. It looks like a small screwdriver with a pointy (not sharp) tip; should cost a few bucks. Just press down into the chocolate and chip away. It won't give you consistently finely chopped bits (like you'd get from using a grater or cutting with a serrated knife), but I use this method whenever I want to melt down a lot of chocolate starting in big tablets (I use 1 kilo Valrhona bars). Very fast and easy. Just place the chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper, chip away and then lift the paper and pour it all into a bowl and you're set to melt away.

Oh, another thing-- this will only work well with dark chocolate. Milk and white chocolates have too much milk/liquid in them and they're too soft for the awl to work.


Edited by MichelleGL (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone ever tried freezer the chocolate and then hitting it with a hammer? I wonder if the freezing would make the chocolate shatter in small pieces like glass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to use a knife until I found one of these chocolate chippers at the local Bed Bath & Beyond stores. It was by the bar supplies and labled as an ice chipper.

http://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Chipper/dp/B00005NUVX

I found that it works well with dark, white, and milk chocolate slabs.

I used to finely chop the resulting chunks with a chef's knife, but now I just use Kerry's method of getting a basic melt in the microwave. It's a lot less effort and you don't risk getting lumps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mother likes to whack the 10lb. blocks of chocolate against the edge of a butcher-block table. Never warns any of us and generally scares the crap out of me.

For melting I'm not concerned with chopping it - and do much the same as Kerry. But we do a torte that's finished by sticking chunks of chocolate all over it and it's a pain to get the chocolate cut properly. I usually use a chef's knife..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never have to deal with huge block of chocolate but for the 1lb blocks I found my crinkle cutter works like a charm. This is a wavy blade that you usually use to cut vegetables for garnishes.

Here's one similar to mine.

Edited to add link.


Edited by Anna N (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions. I should clarify that it's not chopping chocolate for *melting* that was an issue for me - it was trying to get even pieces for ganache making that I was talking about. But I'm thinking that I'll just make my next ganache out of melted chocolate instead of just pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate, which is what I've been doing up until now.

Now I just have to figure out which big bars of chocolate I want to buy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I never have to deal with huge block of chocolate but for the 1lb blocks I found my crinkle cutter works like a charm.  This is a wavy blade that you usually use to cut vegetables for garnishes.

Here's one similar to mine.

Edited to add link.

Thanks for the link Anna. Somehow I ended up ordering a stovetop popcorn maker and popcorn. :blink:

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I should clarify that it's not chopping chocolate for *melting* that was an issue for me - it was trying to get even pieces for ganache making that I was talking about.  But I'm thinking that I'll just make my next ganache out of melted chocolate instead of just pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate, which is what I've been doing up until now.

Now I just have to figure out which big bars of chocolate I want to buy.

I always have trouble getting even pieces, so I gave up a while ago and now just use melted chocolate for ganache.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A serrated knife and the corner-chopping method described by RRaaflaub have always worked for me. On the other hand, if you make ganache in the food processor (great for always getting an emulsion)you don't need any smaller than 1-2 inch pieces. The processor does a fine job of chopping the buttons too.

Share this post


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

  • Similar Content

    • By Kasia
      Chocolate cake with plums
       
      The first cake I ever dared to bake by myself was a chocolate cake. I have since baked it many times, always using the same recipe, and many times I have spoiled it at the beginning of preparation. It is necessary to cool down the chocolate mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients. On a hot summer day this process is very long, so I accelerated it by putting the pot with the mixture into some cold water in the kitchen sink. Many times, by mistake, I turned on the tap and poured water onto the cooling mixture. In hindsight these situations were amusing, but at the time it wasn't funny.

      This chocolate cake is excellent without any additives. You can enrich it with your favourite nuts or butter icing. Today I added some plums to the top of the cake. It was great and its sweet chocolate-plum aroma lingered long in my home.

      Ingredients (25cm cake tin):
      200g of flour
      150g of butter
      3 tablespoons of cocoa
      120g of brown sugar
      15ml of almond milk
      100g of dark chocolate
      1 egg
      1 teaspoon of baking powder
      plums

      Heat the oven up to 180C. Smooth the cake tin with the butter and sprinkle with dark cocoa.
      Put the butter, milk, sugar, cocoa and chocolate into the pan. Heat it until the chocolate is melted and all the ingredients have blended together well. Leave the mixture to cool down. Add the egg, flour and baking soda and mix them in. Put the dough into the cake tin. Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones. Arrange the plum halves skin side down on top of the cake. Bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with caster sugar before serving.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kerry Beal
      It's that time again - I'm the group leader for a group of newly minted Ecole Chocolat grads taking a masters course. This one is in Wieze, Belgium. You may recall my last trip as group leader for Ecole when I took a group to Valrhona in France.
       
      I got my packing done on Sunday - was all prepared, car was to pick me up at 6 pm to drive me to the airport. Got a little suspicious when the child was late getting off the bus from school - the driver said that the highway wasn't moving well. At about 5:15 I got a call from the limo service to say that the car that was coming to get me had moved 2 car lengths in the last 30 minutes. Apparently a car roll over on the westbound lanes of highway had ejected two people into the eastbound lanes and the entire highway was closed in both directions.
       
      So I set out in my own vehicle - which of course had no gas, and needed oil... at least the toll highway got me past the problem.  Airport wants $175/week to park - so a quick text to @Alleguede and he came to fetch my car from the airport to park in his driveway until I return.
       
      So here I sit in the lounge awaiting my departure.
       
      I'm doing the Jet Lag program that I have done several times before that has worked well for me. Overcoming Jet Lag, by Charles F. Ehret and Lynne Waller Scanlon. This involves food and caffeine modification. So for the past 4 days I've been drinking Rooibos Provence throughout the day and between 3 and 4:30 slugging down as much real tea as my bladder can handle! The dietary part consists of alternating days of 'feasting' and 'fasting' with high protein breakfasts and lunches and high carb dinners. I had planned to get the driver to stop at the Tim Horton's at the top of my street to pick up the black coffee that is to be taken at around 6 pm the day of travel - unfortunately as I was driving myself that didn't happen - so when I hit the lounge I drank down two cups of strong black caffeinated coffee - better late than never. I'm not much of a coffee drinker - and particularly not black. Should be good for some palpitations when I start the next part of the program which is to sleep as soon as I get on the plane!
       
      This is a 'fasting day', 800 calories suggested - I left my carb meal until I reached the lounge.
       

       
      ]
       
      One of the two cups of coffee.
       

       
      These are the "Gentlemen Retire to the Library' chocolates that I posted before that I am taking along - port wine PDF and tobacco ganache. I used Sosa tobacco flavouring this time instead of a cigar so I don't have to concern myself with nicotine poisoning.
       
       
       
       
    • By pastrygirl
      I'm watching The Sweet Makers on BBC - four British pastry chefs & confectioners recreate Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian sweets with petiod ingredients and equipment. A little British Baking Show, a little Downtown Abbey. 
       
      Check it it out for a slice of pastry history. 
       
      BBC viewer only available to the U.K., but on this side of the pond where there's a will, there's a way. 
    • By boombonniewhale
      Hello! I was wondering if anyone on here has tried using an induction cooktop with confection making (caramels, fondant, marshmallows ect...). My stove has literally three settings, and the low setting still burns sugar and there is no such thing as maintaining any sort of "simmer". I was looking into getting a cooktop and buying some copper sugar pots and mauviel makes this thing that goes inbetween. I would love to hear any input into this idea or your experiences!
       
      ~Sarah
    • By ChristysConfections
      Hi All,
       
      I think this is a long shot, but I'll put it out there. I'm wondering if anyone in the Greater Vancouver area has an EZ Temper that they would be willing and able to loan/rent out for a couple days or up to a week? I am super curious to try it out and if the results are as wonderful as I expect I'm hoping I can find it in the business budget.  
       
      Feel free to message me privately.
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×