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Skwerl

Chocolates with that showroom finish, 2004 - 2011

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I already decided I couldn't live without one (I was actually leaning towards the ACMC before this deal came along) but I'll probably have to try to for now. I really hate to pass on it though.

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For what it's worth, my ACMC is hands down the best investment I've made- and I bought it knowing that I might not use it for more than a couple hundred pieces once a year. It simply frees me up to do other things, and makes the dipping easy.

It is my machine of immaculate chocolate lovin', and I would never want to live without it again. :blush:

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For what it's worth, my ACMC is hands down the best investment I've made- and I bought it knowing that I might not use it for more than a couple hundred pieces once a year. It simply frees me up to do other things, and makes the dipping easy.

It is my machine of immaculate chocolate lovin', and I would never want to live without it again.  :blush:

I have an ACMC. Good machine, but as Wybauw says, hard to clean. Makes tempering very very easy. Also, makes filtering out the tiny unmelted pieces out very easy.

I use my Mol d'art more now, but I give the ACMC thumbs up.

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Thank you Kerry and cmflick - you have no idea how helpful that info is!  I've been tossing A LOT of shells back into the melter.  I was searching for a topic on molding as I'm a new at it but couldn't find one.  Anyone know if there is one?  I'll pose my question here in the meantime...  I did a course with a chocolatier on Bowen Island (Cocoa West for those in the know...)  and she taught a 2 shell molding procedure:

1)Fill/ Scrape/ Vibrate

  Empty while tapping for 10 sec./ scrape upside down/ turn up and scrape/ vibrate

  Place open side down and let set (fridge or counter).

2)Do everything all over again after hitting quickly with the hair dryer except empty for 15 seconds and after approx. 3 minutes on the counter setting - put in fridge for 8 minutes.

Does anyone else do a 2 shell mold?  If not, how do you get your shells thick enough?  After filling to you let the chocolate sit for a minute or so in the mold before dumping?  My chocolate is pretty fluid so just 1 layer is a little too thin.

Thanks again!

When I was first molding, I painted the chocolate into the molds, usually 3 coats. That's the way that I was taught in the one and only course that I took. This works very well and you don't have to worry about air bubbles. It's also much neater than filling and dumping, too. But, it's a gigantic pain and takes a long time. I abandoned that technique a while ago in favor of filling and dumping.

I do a one shell molding. My shells are thin, but just thin enough. I don't have a problem with them cracking or anything. I did find that if I tapped for too long while draining the chocolate out that my shells were too thin. I try not to tap for more than 10-15 seconds. I suspect that the chocolate that you use will influence how thin your shell is, because of differences in fluidity between brands of chocolate. You can also adjust the temperature of your chocolate to adjust the fluidity.

I don't let my chocolate sit for a minute or so in the mold before dumping. I bounce my molds around on the counter for about 30 seconds after I fill them with chocolate to get rid of air bubbles and then I dump the chocolate.

I just kept practicing and experimenting when learning how to mold shells until I found something that worked for me. Come to think of it, I'm still experimenting. I'm always looking for shortcuts or easier ways to do things!

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Well I'm back with a little more info on spraying. I was in Vancouver over the week-end and popped in to Thomas Haas. He came out all smiles so I ventured to talk to him. The company that I was talking to about silent compressors had sold him a unit last year so I asked him about it. He invited me into the kitchen to show me how he has it piped into the wall and to show me what he thinks I should be using - an airbrush. He uses the airbrush for cocoa butter. I asked him if he tempered the cocoa butter. He said he uses it 1 degree warmer than tempered for the airbrush and 4 degrees warmer than tempered for the spraygun in order to compensate for the air flow tempering the cocoa butter while spraying.

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So I made an attempt this weekend at using an airbrush to spray colored cocoa butter into some molds. I've nver used an airbrush before. It was a complete failure. After an initial thin spray, the butter stopped coming out altogether. The nozzle did not seem clogged an I cleaned it several times with a pin anyway. This was one fo the cheap Badger airbrushes referenced ealrier in the thread. Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong?

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So I made an attempt this weekend at using an airbrush to spray colored cocoa butter into some molds. I've nver used an airbrush before. It was a complete failure. After an initial thin spray, the butter stopped coming out altogether. The nozzle did not seem clogged an I cleaned it several times with a pin anyway. This was one fo the cheap Badger airbrushes referenced ealrier in the thread. Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong?

Your cocoa butter probably needed to be warmer. You want it quite liquid for best airbrushing.

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So I made an attempt this weekend at using an airbrush to spray colored cocoa butter into some molds. I've nver used an airbrush before. It was a complete failure. After an initial thin spray, the butter stopped coming out altogether. The nozzle did not seem clogged an I cleaned it several times with a pin anyway. This was one fo the cheap Badger airbrushes referenced ealrier in the thread. Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong?

I would also recommend warming your airbrush.

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Thanks, but the cocoa butter was very liquid and I hit the nozzle and the jar of butter with a hair dryer on high a couple of times.

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Thanks, but the cocoa butter was very liquid and I hit the nozzle and the jar of butter with a hair dryer on high a couple of times.

Did you check the adjustment of the paint tip on the airbrush? I've had times when nothing was coming out, but if I played with the height of the paint tip I could get it flowing.

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Thanks, but the cocoa butter was very liquid and I hit the nozzle and the jar of butter with a hair dryer on high a couple of times.

Did you check the adjustment of the paint tip on the airbrush? I've had times when nothing was coming out, but if I played with the height of the paint tip I could get it flowing.

The right height is definitely important.

I've also had a time or two where a bit of cocoa butter has gotten jammed not in the part of the airbrush where the air comes out - that can be really tricky to clear, but completely blocks the airflow so it doesn't work.

Sometimes if I'm having trouble with the tip, then the cocoa butter will thicken up in the tube, and i'll have to rinse everything out in the gun part to get it going again.

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I had heard running vegetable oil through the airbrush, once you're done with your work will help to keep the brush clean and ready for use when needed - anyone ever hear of this? Thoughts on it?

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I had heard running vegetable oil through the airbrush, once you're done with your work will help to keep the brush clean and ready for use when needed - anyone ever hear of this?  Thoughts on it?

I haven't heard about running vegetable oil through the airbrush. When I'm done spraying, I run lots of very hot water through the airbrush, soak it in hot water and then run lots more hot water through it, using the hottest water that I can get out of the tap. I also try to get as much cocoa butter out of the siphon tube as I can. I use a thin wire to scrape around in the tube while it's submerged in hot water. When done scrubbing, I run lots of air through the airbrush to try to get it as dry as possible.

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Thanks, but the cocoa butter was very liquid and I hit the nozzle and the jar of butter with a hair dryer on high a couple of times.

Did you check the adjustment of the paint tip on the airbrush? I've had times when nothing was coming out, but if I played with the height of the paint tip I could get it flowing.

Could also be a clog in between somewhere. Run hot water through it to see.

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Thanks for all the advice. Gave it another shot tonight with equally poor results. The only thing I can think is happening is that the cocoa butter is clogging the tip almost immediately when the cold air hits it.

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Thanks for all the advice. Gave it another shot tonight with equally poor results. The only thing I can think is happening is that the cocoa butter is clogging the tip almost immediately when the cold air hits it.

Are you using a compressor or canned air? If using canned air, it gets very cold and can cause clogging problems.

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Thanks for all the advice. Gave it another shot tonight with equally poor results. The only thing I can think is happening is that the cocoa butter is clogging the tip almost immediately when the cold air hits it.

Are you using a compressor or canned air? If using canned air, it gets very cold and can cause clogging problems.

Ah yes, this is a significant problem. Try putting the can in a bowl of warm water to keep it from freezing up too quickly.

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What colored cocoa butter are you using? Pre-mixed, or something you're coloring yourself? (Wondering if you're using powdered color and it's clumping?)

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What colored cocoa butter are you using? Pre-mixed, or something you're coloring yourself? (Wondering if you're using powdered color and it's clumping?)

Pre-mixed. I don't recall the brand (I'm at work). It's not from Chef Rubber.

Are you using a compressor or canned air? If using canned air, it gets very cold and can cause clogging problems.

It's canned air. I'm using the Badger 250 airbrush which seemed to be used successfully by a lot of people earlier in this thread.

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What colored cocoa butter are you using? Pre-mixed, or something you're coloring yourself? (Wondering if you're using powdered color and it's clumping?)

Pre-mixed. I don't recall the brand (I'm at work). It's not from Chef Rubber.

Are you using a compressor or canned air? If using canned air, it gets very cold and can cause clogging problems.

It's canned air. I'm using the Badger 250 airbrush which seemed to be used successfully by a lot of people earlier in this thread.

I've been using a Badger 250 airbrush as well with canned air. I've found that I have to warm the canned air can to keep the cocoa butter from clogging up the airbrush. The air from the can gets very cold very quickly after you start spraying. I place the can in a pan of water at about 115F while I'm using it. That seems to really help. The can has a warning not to go above 120F, though. I also dry the can off really well when I'm done so that it doesn't start rusting around the bottom.


Edited by cmflick (log)

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And note that the propellant used in canned air isn't generally considered food safe. So you may want to invest in a compressor if you're going to do a lot of this kind of decorating. You can get some great deals on used compressors on Ebay, and there's a thread around here somewhere that talks about what kind of compressors are good.

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I have also been using the Badger 250 air brush and canned air for about 4 years now and have had no real problems. You can look at my egullit images and see some of the work I have done in the past. I must admit that I don't do more than 3 or 4 trays and one or two colors at a time so cant speak to the can getting overly cold. However I have found a couple of things that might help.

I find that the coco butter must be quite liquid not just melted. In fact I find that the little jars that come with the badger are very warm to the touch when I melt the colored coco butter in them. I use a microwave to melt. I am not sure what this does to the temper of the coco butter but I have never had any problems getting the sprayed shells out of the molds.

Another thing that is a must is adjusting the screw tip on top of the siphon tube (not the actual air tip, I hope this is clear as I can't diagram it) to get the right spray. This is especially important if you have not taken the unit apart to clean. A little adjustment either way makes a big difference in how the spray comes out. I always clean the unit up after spraying and have found that a pipe cleaner(available at smoke shops and some grocery stores) and hot water works well to clean the siphon tube and the bottom of the tip. A large diameter pin cleans the tip orifice. The pipe cleaners can also be used to dry the siphon tube.

Hope this helps I know that sometimes its the little things that confound us.

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And note that the propellant used in canned air isn't generally considered food safe. So you may want to invest in a compressor if you're going to do a lot of this kind of decorating. You can get some great deals on used compressors on Ebay, and there's a thread around here somewhere that talks about what kind of compressors are good.

Do you know of a source of information as to the safety of the propellants in canned air relative to food? I have done extensive searches and the only hazard that I can find associated with either of the propellants in canned air is inhalation and as a fire hazard. Everything that I have seen says that contact with food is generally recognized as safe. On the other hand, I have heard other people say that the propellant in canned air isn't considered food safe. It's probably not good for the operator to use it a lot, but I can't find any negative reports on contact with food. I'm confused (and rambling). Probably my science background getting the better of me.

I'm looking for a compressor anyway, just to get away from the annoyances of using canned air and it gets expensive after a while.

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And note that the propellant used in canned air isn't generally considered food safe. So you may want to invest in a compressor if you're going to do a lot of this kind of decorating. You can get some great deals on used compressors on Ebay, and there's a thread around here somewhere that talks about what kind of compressors are good.

Do you know of a source of information as to the safety of the propellants in canned air relative to food? I have done extensive searches and the only hazard that I can find associated with either of the propellants in canned air is inhalation and as a fire hazard. Everything that I have seen says that contact with food is generally recognized as safe. On the other hand, I have heard other people say that the propellant in canned air isn't considered food safe. It's probably not good for the operator to use it a lot, but I can't find any negative reports on contact with food. I'm confused (and rambling). Probably my science background getting the better of me.

I'm looking for a compressor anyway, just to get away from the annoyances of using canned air and it gets expensive after a while.

Ok, here you go. Only "partial" info but we've posted about this before. Special Thanks to Lior, who actually contacted Badger for info.

Short answer: the propellant cans are not food safe.

Airbrush for Chocolate - post about Badger propellant food safety


Edited by John DePaula (log)

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