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Wendy DeBord

Chocolate brands

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I'm not using it to temper or enrobe, etc.

I'm cooking with it.

All of these chocolates have different characters that make them different to work with.

Thanks for the info about conching, I've always been under the impression that a longer conching time helped determine mouthfeel.

That's great that you don't have to temper for time and for costing considerations.

Ask your suppliers to give you samples of all their baking chocolates. Specify that you do not want chips or chunks. Those are for cookies and are not meant to be melted down and put into recipes - far less conching on that chocolate.

Tell your supplier that you want pistoles or callets only. Different manufactures refer to them by different names. Generally speaking, baking chocoalte does not come in blocks - however, there may be exceptions to this rule.

You should easily find something you like for under $3.50 / lb. that's the high market price on baking chocolate (and the market is pretty high right now). Expect your absolute lowest price on decent couverture to be the $3.50 / lb mark also.

On the characteristics of chocolate, the % refers to the ratio of cocoa mass - or cacao liquor - to sugar/cocao butter (and dairy in the case of milk chocolate) in the chocolate. And you're right about the conching/mouthfeel relationship.

100% cocao mass - is pure baking chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is also relatively inexpensive - and a good way to add extra flavor to a relatively inexpensive baking 58%.

On white chocolate - it has no cacao liquor. IMHO, Carma is a Swiss manufacuterer of some of the best white chocolate - ask to see a sample from anyone who sells Cacao Barry and Callebaut - all three lines are owned by the same company. Also, Valrhona and Cuisel make great white chocolate too.

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O.k. I'm on the Dawn lead today, thanks!

Thanks for the info. Marthapook...........I have to run-but I have a couple more questions...I'll be back to ask you.

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Ted, I thought you'd be using it in bon bons or truffles. That's why I brought up adding cocoa butter.

I'd still stick with a good couveture for any desserts in a pro kitchen. The low end stuff just doesn't make a good end product.

But I'm of the opinion that chocolate is like wine. If I'm not going to drink(or eat) it, I'm certainly not going to cook with it.

Tim


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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Ted, I thought you'd be using it in bon bons or truffles. That's why I brought up adding cocoa butter.

I'd still stick with a good couveture for any desserts in a pro kitchen. The low end stuff just doesn't make a good end product.

But I'm of the opinion that chocolate is like wine. If I'm not going to drink(or eat) it, I'm certainly not going to cook with it.

Tim

Tim

Have to disagree.

Baking chocolate is good chocolate.

It is not a low end product.

It just does not require tempering.

As a pastry chef, you must know that.

Couverture and baking chocolate are manufactured by many chocolate companies, from Valrhona to Fruibel.

The 'good stuff' is not classified by couverture or baking but by the manufacturing process and the quality of ingredients.

Walk into any of the 'pro-kitchens' in New York restaurants, patisseries and bakeries and you will find both couverture and baking chocolate - as well as cocao powder - not to mention glazes and compounds. Do the top ten pastry chefs (named in PA&D each year) then work in kitchens that are not considered professional? I know quite a few that would never use couverture for a brownie recipe - it is simply a waste of money.

If your rule of not cooking with any chocolate that you would not eat applies - then you would never use 100% -unless you enjoy the taste. :hmmm:

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whatever.

an added thought....

for my food, I know what's best. I really don't care what others use in their products. I know what makes what I do stand out. And yes, I actually use couveture for my brownies.

and BTW, we weren't talking about cocoa powder, compounds or glazes.


Edited by tchorst (log)

Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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whatever.

an added thought....

for my food, I know what's best. I really don't care what others use in their products. I know what makes what I do stand out. And yes, I actually use couveture for my brownies.

and BTW, we weren't talking about cocoa powder, compounds or glazes.

btw

we weren't talking about your food :smile:

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Ask your suppliers to give you samples of all their baking chocolates.  Specify that you do not want chips or chunks.  Those are for cookies and are not meant to be melted down and put into recipes - far less conching on that chocolate.

Tell your supplier that you want pistoles or callets only.  Different manufactures refer to them by different names.  Generally speaking, baking chocoalte does not come in blocks - however, there may be exceptions to this rule.

You should easily find something you like for under $3.50 / lb. that's the high market price on baking chocolate (and the market is pretty high right now).  Expect your absolute lowest price on decent couverture to be the $3.50 / lb mark also.

On the characteristics of chocolate, the % refers to the ratio of cocoa mass - or cacao liquor - to sugar/cocao butter (and dairy in the case of milk chocolate) in the chocolate. And you're right about the conching/mouthfeel relationship.

100% cocao mass - is pure baking chocolate.  Unsweetened chocolate is also relatively inexpensive - and a good way to add extra flavor to a relatively inexpensive baking 58%.

On white chocolate - it has no cacao liquor. IMHO, Carma is a Swiss manufacuterer of some of the best white chocolate - ask to see a sample from anyone who sells Cacao Barry and Callebaut - all three lines are owned by the same company.  Also, Valrhona and Cuisel make great white chocolate too.

Actually, the percentage of cocoa in a chocolate refers to the combined total of cocoa products -- cocoa solids and cocoa butter, not to the percentage of cocoa mass in a chocolate. This is a pretty common misconception - even Jonathan Reynolds got it wrong in the NY Times Sunday Magazine a couple of weeks ago.

It is true that the majority of the total percentage comes from the cocoa liquor (or mass), but most companies add extra cocoa butter into the mix during conching. (Take a look at the ingredients and if you see cocoa butter as a separate ingredient then it has been added.) As near as I know, only Guittard, of all the major brands, lists not only the total cocoa percentage but the amount of extra cocoa butter they add. But last I saw, not all their labels had all this information.

White chocolate is white because it contains no cocoa solids (powder). The cocoa butter and powder are extracted from the cocoa liquor using a hydraulic press. Because most companies add cocoa butter during conching, and most chocolates are blends, virtually all cocoa butter is deodorized so it has very little flavor of its own. In most white chocolate, therefore, taste is dependent on the quality of the milk/cream that's used. Try the Felchlin Criollait - a combination of milk and cream. El Rey may be the only company that makes white chocolate with undeodorized cocoa butter and it is, in my opinion, the best - hands down.

Almost all of the manufacturers I know of make product available in BOTH pistole (or callet or feve) form. Some pastry chefs I know prefer to use blocks because their recipes are based on weight - on the number of sections of a bar to use. They just count sections, break off the amount they want, and melt that down. They'd rather do that than weigh out pistoles.

Hope that clears some things up,

:Clay


Clay Gordon

president, pureorigin

editor/publisher www.chocophile.com

founder, New World Chocolate Society

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Clay,

Thanks for the continuing education - really - it's always cool to learn something new about something you thought you already knew everything about. And I took a peek at your site - on my list of things to do this weekend. Thanks again :smile:

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marthapook,

Welcome and all that. but, I think the tone of your 'chocolate tutorials' presumes that tchorst and I have never worked with chocolate before.

Most everyone who is in here works with coverture pretty exclusively, be it for cooking ,enrobing, etc.

Including the moderators of this forum.

And sometimes a new product acts a bit differently and we talk about it.

I'm no Robert Linxe but maybe you could turn it down a few notches?

Just a thought...


2317/5000

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Ted,

While I do not mean any offense, I really doubt Pastry forum poster newbie martha was ever intending to offend you, or anyone else for that matter, on your chocolate knowledge, choices or opinions. Perhaps offend isn't the correct word usage, but perhaps disrespect? At any rate, she seems to be genuinely appreciative of chocophile's generosity in sharing of information (as well as others that come to eG and read, choosing not to partipate or post for the numerous reasons that one may have). :smile:

Meh. It is after all, only my opinion and I may be mistaken. :rolleyes:

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Ted,

While I do not mean any offense, I really doubt Pastry forum poster newbie martha was ever intending to offend you, or anyone else for that matter, on your chocolate knowledge, choices or opinions. Perhaps offend isn't the correct word usage, but perhaps disrespect? At any rate, she seems to be genuinely appreciative of chocophile's generosity in sharing of information (as well as others that come to eG and read, choosing not to partipate or post for the numerous reasons that one may have). :smile:

Meh. It is after all, only my opinion and I may be mistaken. :rolleyes:

No offense taken, beans.

My intention wasn't to burn anybody up, god knows, I post and read everything I can on this site, period.

This kind of bugged me though

"Walk into any of the 'pro-kitchens' in New York restaurants, patisseries and bakeries and you will find both couverture and baking chocolate - as well as cocao powder - not to mention glazes and compounds. Do the top ten pastry chefs (named in PA&D each year) then work in kitchens that are not considered professional? I know quite a few that would never use couverture for a brownie recipe - it is simply a waste of money.

If your rule of not cooking with any chocolate that you would not eat applies - then you would never use 100% -unless you enjoy the taste."

Seems to me an awful lot of the PA& D chefs talk about some pretty well regarded, high end coverture chocolates, almost exclusively. And I know sometimes these people are reps for co. like Valrhona or Cocoa Barry, but I'm pretty sure they like the product alot. Otherwise, they would be pulling a Bayless and endorsing Bakers or something.

all of the pro-kitchens I've walked into in the years I've been doing this use the "good stuff".-


2317/5000

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marthapook,

Welcome and all that. but, I think the tone of your 'chocolate tutorials' presumes that tchorst and I have never worked with chocolate before.

Most everyone who is in here works with coverture pretty exclusively, be it for cooking ,enrobing, etc.

Including the moderators of this forum.

And sometimes a new product acts a bit differently and we talk about it.

I'm no Robert Linxe but maybe you could turn it down a few notches?

Just a thought...

tan 319

thanks for the warm welcome

my intention was to offer options and information on the 'good stuff'

call my opinion 'tutorials' if you'd like but i wasn't presuming anything at all

i could tone it fown a few notches or if you'd prefer, i could simply refrain from posting to your forum

just another thought. . .

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Awww, please don't refrain from posting, that's kind of bummy.

We usually are pretty respectful in here.

Sorry if you felt dissed..


2317/5000

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Hello...Wendy,

I work for Great Lakes Gourmet. And yes we do carry the E Guittard line. It is our one and only domestic chocolate brands. We have a few customers that seem to like it. However we don't carry ALL of the Guittard line. It depends on demand.

I believe we have in stock the 72%, 61% 58% and the 31% white. We just ran out of the 38% milk. Feel free to email me. Or call us next week. I don't want to quote prices openly here. That just feels soooo wrong. I stumbled onto this forum by accident and I have been reading and learning here since.

Take care...


Stephen Ring

Great Lakes Gourmet

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I recently had the great opportunity to participate in a Felchlin seminar. Maricaibo (sp?) was some wonderful stuff. I think my favorite I tasted was the dark chocolate double cream. Sorry, had to wipe the drool off my lip there...

My cheaper favorite right now is Noel's 58.5%. Dark, but slightly on the milk side and just nice mouth feel. We use it in Forte's chocolate mousse cake.

Back to Felchlin. You know it was weird. I tasted the pistoles of the dark chocolate and I second the person who said it just wouldn't melt in my mouth. BUT!, when tempered and used directly or in a recipe it was so worth the work because it had a different mouth feel that was super once tempered. We made prailines and truffles as well as plated desserts and larger plated presentations using various recipies.

Great Lakes Gourmet, and my recent find Midwest Imports have great people. They want your business as a consumer and customer. At least that is what I got the impression of when meeting some of their people. Not schmoozing, just telling you all what I experienced is all.


Debra Diller

"Sweet dreams are made of this" - Eurithmics

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Back to Felchlin. You know it was weird. I tasted the pistoles of the dark chocolate and I second the person who said it just wouldn't melt in my mouth. BUT!, when tempered and used directly or in a recipe it was so worth the work because it had a different mouth feel that was super once tempered. We made prailines and truffles as well as plated desserts and larger plated presentations using various recipies.

I believe I was the person that made that point....about it not melting in your mouth.

I'm a little confused/baffled that: 1. you noticed a difference once it was tempered. (I don't understand how that's possible? and didn't find similar results) 2. what do you mean about it being worth the work? (I found it to handle very easy comparitively to some other brands)

Don't get me wrong-I really like the high end Flechlin line and used it for years!...just thought the lower end was horrible and no where near the quality of their high end.

Also thanks to everyone, it seems that I now have two places to buy E.Guitard from! I've yet to get it in....but I'm very excited to try it.

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Which type(s) are you going to try, Wendy?


2317/5000

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Honestly, whatever I can get my Chef to buy will delight me. I don't know if Dawn will carry the whole line. Well, what would you reccomend as a 1 shot purchase?

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"I don't want to quote prices openly here. That just feels soooo wrong."

I wonder if that is because there are different pricing structures for different clients within the same market area? If that "feels" wrong, it just might "be" wrong.

In Washington, DC I've paid between 3.28 and 3.78 per pound for the 61% and 72%, over the past 2 years, depending on the distributor and market fluctuation. As you know, these are the darks I use most of the time. I'm impressed with their overall performance.

Wendy, in the E. Guittard line these are the only products which are special--against the competition--the 72% and the 61%. So start with them. Everything else--the white, milk, etc.--is pedestrian and/or has too much sugar.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Wendy,

I pretty much agree with Steve, although I felt that the 55% percent has something special about it.

What percentages are you using most of the time now?


2317/5000

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Thank-you for the advice Steve. Also I'm sort of amazed at your response about publicly announcing or printing pricing. Personally, it's never made sense to me the secretive nature of " the price" professional sales representatives guard so strongly from revealing. I've asked sales people more then once about this issue and received so many answers (which we all know their justifications) that talked in circles- that honestly I set this issue aside thinking I just was too dumb to get it. I actually felt they (the sales reps I have asked about pricing) treated me like I was a rude person to actually ask them about this....and I've gone with the flow to not be "rude".

Having owned my own business in the past and having sold my wares in large wholesale trade shows I had to be open and straight with everyone on my pricing or they weren't receptive to buying from me. BUT when I signed on with a sales marketing group they didn't operate by handing out priced brochures and discouraged me from doing so. For pricing everything was a phone call (of course they wanted to take the call so it listed as their sale and commision, but if that's how things work-that's fine) a play on quantities and countless ways they skirted being open with the same price for everyone. I could see giving someone a break for a volume purchase (which I did), BUT they constantly broke our contract by giving "deals" to THEIR special clients regardless of volume ordered from me. I of course didn't renew my contract with them.

My point......this is always been a hush hush issue and I really do think it's wrong. AND I want to tell you that I really respect and applaud you Steve for having the guts to stand-up and say something is wrong, even if it goes against popular ways!

As to my purchase of E. Guittard I'm very, very constrained by my Chefs. I will get whatever they want to pay for....and typically they won't purchase from mulitple suppliers for different brands of chocolate for milk, white and semi.

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"PEDESTRIAN AND/OR HAS TOO MUCH SUGAR" ...? THE 31% AND THE 38% FROM GUITTARD HAVE LESS SUGAR THAN CHOCOLATES IN THE SAME PERCENTILE RANGE MANUFACTURED BY CLUIZEL, VALRHONA, COCOA BARRY, COCOA NOEL, FELCHLIN, AND EL REY. IT IS A KNOWN FACT, READ THE SIDE OF THE BOX THEN CHECK THE OTHERS. ONE SHOULD CHECK HIS FACTS BEFORE COMMENTING ON A PRODUCT FROM A COMPANY THAT HAS BEEN MAKING CHOCOLATE FOR OVER 130 YEARS. WHAT MAKES IT PEDESTRIAN? WHAT DO YOU USE FOR MILK CHOCOLATE AND WHITE CHOCOLATE?

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Kyo--first, welcome, and second, there are facts and then there are opinions. Hopefully all of our opinions can be backed up with some experience, but to a certain extent this is always going to be subjective and we can disagree respectfully. I'd sincerely like to find out more from you, based on your experience, why you think I may be mistaken. But facts "on paper" or on a label don't necessarily tell the whole story or reveal themselves in performance--which is why reading about chocolate off of some sales sheet versus using and understanding chocolate can be two very different things. If you read the El Rey label or sales sheet years ago you'd think their dark chocolates were fluid and could be tempered easily. (Not.) That's also why we tend to talk about chocolate here on eG a lot because, well, we often disagree. (You also won't find discussions like this in the pages of Chocolatier or Pastry Art & Design--too dependent on advertising from said chocolate companies.)

In my case, I've been lucky to work for both El Rey and Cluizel--I was proud to cash their checks and proud of most of their products--so you might say I'm somewhat familiar with their products and their "facts." But I've even been critical of their formulations. I analyzed their chocolates, figured out what was best to do with each blend, toured the country giving demos to other chefs and students on how one might best appreciate their chocolates and even spent time in the Cluizel factory in France.

I haven't ever worked for Guittard--but I know them well, hold their management and sales teams in the highest respect and I feel like I've come to know their products inside and out. You should realize, though, that Guittard has only made "good" or "serious" chocolate for a few years now--that's right, the E. Guittard line. The other stuff is, well, industrial and really pedestrian. But, their commitment to high-quality chocolate in this country cannot be challenged and I've only used E. Guittard in my restaurant desserts. I've also very frankly expressed my feelings about their chocolate to them--so it's not like I'm taking a cheap shot nor do I think what I said warrants being chastised for criticizing a century-old American company. The product is either good or it isn't, it's either special or it isn't. They know how I feel big picture as well--when I served as the educational consultant for the American Museum of Natural History Chocolate Exhibit in NYC this summer--guess which chocolate manufacturer I invited in to sponsor all of my master classes and events? That's right, Guittard.

When is say "pedestrian" in this context I really don't mean to be unkind, I just mean workmanlike, serviceable, not really distinctive--and unfortunately the semi, milk and white E. Guittard varieties I'm speaking about are just that on my palate. When you taste sugar first that's a problem. Want to know the milks and whites I don't think are merely pedestrian? That's right--the El Rey milk, which is a 41%, the Cluizel milk when it was at 45% (now it is a 50%) and the El Rey white. I also found the Carma white a clear step above the pack but haven't used it since Carma was bought out. The Valrhona milks would fall in this category, I just liked the taste of the El Rey and Cluizel better. That's it--just about everything else can be shopped for on price and used practically interchangably--they use the same deodorized cocoa butter, the same high amounts of sugar which you taste upfront and are overpaying for. I'd give the edge to Cacao Noel within this second tier pedestrian category because of lower price and greater ease of temperability--but that's subjective.

Yes I usually also have a box of E. Guittard milk and white in my cabinet--but again, they're nothing special. I wish they were--I wish they'd come out with a higher percentage milk. If they did, and I liked the taste, I'd trumpet it from the highest tower. Right now the E. Guittard milk tastes and performs closer to the lowest common denominator milk chocolate than it does the special or distinctive ones.

I'm not dissing E. Guittard blindly--I choose to use their 61% and 72% chocolates because I believe those are the best in the country at the moment in their category--when price to performance to palate is taken into consideration. They're fantastic in desserts, easy and forgiving to temper and work well in molding and confectionery applications. If someone wants to overpay for the sugar percentage in a chocolate that is fine by me, but I'll stand behind recommending using higher cacao percentage chocolates, from better quality beans and then adjust by adding sugar in the recipes. It will help make your work more distinctive. Sugar is much cheaper that way and you'll get a more pure, more interesting chocolate flavor that way. You'll be able to buy better, more expensive chocolates that way--and it will go a lot further. (Of course, you could also use a good cacao powder this way as well.)

With the lower cacao percentage/higher sugar percentage milks, I've also had some good results by adjusting my recipes to accomodate adding some high-percentage extra-bittersweet chocolate to the mix. Works wonders in a milk chocolate creme brulee or flan--you still get all the malt or caramel from the milk with just that slightly greater cacao kick you might be craving.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Looks like I need to set the record straight. We here at Great Lakes Gourmet are very upfront about our pricing. We have a actual price list we give out. Granted, some items on the price list are "old" now due to the Euro, Chocolate pricing, and Vanilla pricing. We are working on a new updated price list. However, we do not have special clients with special pricing. We do have clients that buy in volume. Yes then there is a price break for those that are willing and able to meet the volumes.

People that do business with us KNOW that we do not play games with them. What you see is what you get. For example, if someone orders product A and we happen to be out of product A then we will call you back and let you know we have product B. We will NOT send you product B without your knowledge. We will not SHORT you either. If we can not fill your order totaly then we will call you and let you know so you can hopefully find it elsewhere. Tom and I personally hate it when we are shorted from our suppliers.

Now for as to how we get products to you....we ship everything UPS. WHY?? With in our UPS zone most shipments get to the client with in ONE day. Eventualy we are going to put a truck on the road for local deliveries.

In conclusion I have known Tom Chaput for 20 years. He hired me at the Lansing Hilton(The last Playboy Club in America). I am proud to be able to call him my friend. He was the Executive Chef, I became his Purchasing Agent. Tom has always been honorable and true to his word. Tom is involved with the ACF for most of his adult life. He has earned many awards in that time. Education was always his main focus. This is how the M.S.U. Chocolate Party Benifit came into being. 15 years of hard work. It is an excellent venue for Exec Chefs, Pastry Chefs and Students to learn, exchange ideas, network, and have a good time. Also it supports one of the oldest Museums in the country.

opps...one more thing.....

I AM NOT A SALESMAN!!


Stephen Ring

Great Lakes Gourmet

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