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rookie

Chocolate Tempering Machines

198 posts in this topic

I am looking to purchase a tempering machine. Something small to do up to 10 lbs.

What do you recommend? What is the ACMC like and any suggestions on where to buy

in Toronto area to save on shipping or other places are welcome too. Is $950 Canadian

a good price?

Thanks

Rookie - Mary


Edited by rookie (log)

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are you looking at purchasing a tempering machine for professional use? that is, are you starting a business or something like that?

it seems that to temper small amounts of chocolate (up to 10 pounds) it is easy enough to do by hand...if you understand how to temper in the first place.

there is a thread running right now "chocolate demonstration" which might give you ideas on learning other techniques before buying a machine.

p.s. unless, of course, you are a millionaire and have money burning a hole in your pocket...then please, spend your money on another piece of kitchen equipment :biggrin:

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Alana--I think you ask a good question--recommendations about good tempering machines will be different based on use--not just on price. So Mary--two questions--how do you envision using the tempering machine day-in and day-out? And how strong are you when it comes to tempering--are you already a pro and pretty fluent with chocolate?

I've used the ACMC--what's $950 CAN in US dollars?


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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The ACMC is a great little machine IMHO. However, it doesn't do 10 pounds, more like 7. What's your budget? The chocovision machine is pretty good when you need to step up a little in size, but they're a little more tempermental for me. When I first started making commercial chocolates, I dipped about 2000 pieces a week out of my ACMC. In fact it still gets used ever day, and parts (motors, etc. are easy to get) So I

Tempering machines are great in that they allow you to do other things while the chocolate is going through it's cycles. Plus it keeps it a workable temperature for probably as long as you'll need provided the environment co-operates. It's hard to get any machine to go down to 27.5 celcius when the kitchen is 41!

I agree that if you are just tempering chocolate for an occasional thing, then do it by hand, if you're in a professional kitchen and you can afford it get a machine.


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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Alana,

Thank you for your reponse. I am starting up a very small business for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines day and Easter primarily. Unfortunately I find tempering by hand somewhat difficult at times, this is why I am looking for a tempering machine.

You say there is a chocolate demo running right now? Where and when? I am interested in details.

I wish I was a millionaire but not as of yet anyway. Maybe someday. Haha

Thanks again

Mary

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Steve,

Thank you for you reply too. No I would not be using the machine day in and day out.

Someday I hope to be a pro but for now in am only a rookie (that's why I chose this name!).

When I mentioned cost ...that would be $950 Canadian dollars NOT US dollars. I have found a place that sells them locally but I am open to suggestions and other brand names.

Mary

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Hi Timothy,

Thanks for the info. When you say budget ... less is best I wasn't even looking at spending $1000 for what I need it for. However it seems to be better than the Revolution 1 which is about $425

less and pumps out a lot more chocolate at one time. I am just starting a small truffle business.

I do understand that the parts for the ACMC are easy to get which are good. Actually where I was looking at buying it they fix them too.

As far as tempering by hand...I would love to be able to but with me it is hit and miss unfortunately.

Mary

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I've used the ACMC--what's $950 CAN in US dollars?

It's about $700 US (probably a bit more).

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As far as tempering by hand...I would love to be able to but with me it is hit and miss unfortunately.

Why is it hit or miss??? Do you understand the properties and procedures of tempering well? A machine will only do the actual turning, heating and cooling for you. You have to tell it the temperatures it needs to use, at what points, be able to tell if it needs to go up or down a 1/2 degree to work correctly and be able to decipher the problems when it doesn't work correctly (and it won't from time to time).

Study , study, study...........


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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mary, it isn't a chocolate demo, but a thread where an egulleteer atttended a chocolate demo and discussed some interesting methods for tempering.

when you say you are starting a truffle business, are you wanting to temper in order to use chocolate molds? or are you making truffles that are ganache based and will be coated in tempered chocolate? if you're just starting a small business, and you aren't using chocolate molds just yet, it may be worth your while to just make ganaches and roll the chocolate centers in untempered chocolate and then dust with cocoa, powdered sugar or other coatings. this way, it won't matter if the chocolate is tempered or not. see how the business goes and in the meantime, practice tempering by hand.

i understand the responses where people say it is a timesaver, etc. but that is in the professional kitchen where they are working on other things in the meantime. i think that if this is the extent of your business, then you can invest the time to learn to temper by hand. it shouldn't take you any more time than using a tempering machine. claudia fleming of gramercy tavern used to make all the chocolates they used for service without a tempering machine.

after reading some of the other responses, i can say that with practice you should be able to temper pretty easily if you understand the "chemistry" of the chocolate. use a thermometer until you're comfortable without one. use your microwave. try all the different methods to find one that works for you.

i guess i feel that if you are wanting to start a business, you should be able to work with chocolate inside and out and not rely on a machine right away...what if the machine breaks down and you have an order you have to fill?! how would you deal with emergency situations like that? nothing beats knowledge and practice.

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well said Tim and Alana--Mary--don't buy a tempering machine if you cannot temper comfortably by hand in each of several different ways first--tabliering, seeding, direct warming. Inside and out, day in and day out. Spend your money getting to that point--and on any special truffle and confectionery related instruction you feel you might need--and then consider buying a machine. you'll thank us later.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Allow me to further agree. Granted, my production is nothing like, say, Tim's, and my chocolates are only for mignardise plates- but I still wind up doing chocolate work (molded and enrobed centers, an array of garniture) if not everyday, then at least four days out of the week. I still temper by hand, and, in fact, I enjoy the process each and every time.

Becoming fluent in chocolate, by hand, will not only help with troubleshooting down the road, but will also reinforce the importance of cleanliness and efficiency, and ultimately force you to better respect chocolate's amazing properties. For the most part, chocolate is constant- it is the great number of external variables that make the difference. Exposing yourself to as many of those variables as possible will pay off in the long run.


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Mary,

I've been playing around with chocolate as well and trying to learn as much as possible with the thought of taking it up professionally in a few years when my current "day job" is done. Rather than spend the money for a tempering machine, why not spend a similar amount for a class at Notter's school or some other "advanced" type course? Last I checked the three day course at Notter's school was around $800. I'm not sure what the Chocolate Loft charges (and the website says they are still relocating to Providence. Note also that Notter is relocating to Orlando). Might be a better investment in the long run though to do some hands on work with a real pro if you plan on doing this as a business.


Tony

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Hi Timothy,

Thanks for the info. When you say budget ... less is best I wasn't even looking at spending $1000 for what I need it for. However it seems to be better than the Revolution 1 which is about $425

less and pumps out a lot more chocolate at one time. I am just starting a small truffle business.

I do understand that the parts for the ACMC are easy to get which are good. Actually where I was looking at buying it they fix them too.

As far as tempering by hand...I would love to be able to but with me it is hit and miss unfortunately.

Mary

What are your specific problems with the Revolution 1? I know someone with the Revolution 2 model and they seem quite happy with it. The main advantage of these models is that they temper as little as 4 oz of chocolate at a time. If you're running a small restaurant or are a really advanced home user, making such a small volume of chocolate is perfect. The more expensive machines have a min. of 1-3 lbs. That's a hell of a lot of tempered chocolate for the non professional or small restaurant.

I'm really interested in your view on this.

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What are your specific problems with the Revolution 1?

I'm not sure if this was directed at me or not..... but in case it was, I didn't use the revo 1. I had the x3210. It might have been a one-off thing, but mine would pull out of temper rather quickly. I could leave that little ACMC at 32 degrees for an 2 or more hours and it would stay in temper. The chocovicion would pull out after 30 or more minutes. My experience, FWIW.

I ended up selling it to a friend who is a hobbiest.

Actually, 1-3 pounds is not really a lot of chocolate when dipping or molding a few hundred pieces. besides, it's not like you're throwing away what's leftover...


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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"The main advantage of these models is that they temper as little as 4 oz of chocolate at a time. If you're running a small restaurant or are a really advanced home user, making such a small volume of chocolate is perfect. The more expensive machines have a min. of 1-3 lbs. That's a hell of a lot of tempered chocolate for the non professional or small restaurant."

Though I haven't battle-tested the later Chocovision/Sinsation/Revolution-style models, they've always seemed gimmicky and cheap and some of the earlier instructions I read seemed, well, not all that helpful; I have put the ACMC through its paces and also the twice-as-expensive Italian tabletop temperer which JB Prince sells--and found them both reliable, the Italian one a very reliable accurate tank, and, to add to what Tim said, eliot, even home users, let alone advanced home users and small restaurants you're talking about, should really work with minimum 1 to 1.5 pounds up to several pounds at a time--it "works" better, it holds its temper longer, it's more forgiving to raise heat slightly. If you want 4 ounces of chocolate I'd bet directly warming it in the microwave would be faster and more accurate than in a machine, any machine.

One thing most of us agree on is that it is very efficient to do small amounts for small projects by hand--perhaps even more efficient than it is in one of these machines. In case anyone doesn't know this, the heat source in some machines is a light bulb, a regular household light bulb turned on and off by circuitry and a temperature probe. And even more important than the heat source is the "cooling" source--how well-designed the fan and flow is to cool your warm chocolate down. An inexpensive machine may not do this well--and if you are working in a warm room--forgettaboutit. It's not like these inexpensive machines have built-in cooling ability. In less than ideal conditions, you can still temper the chocolate you'll need for even a big project in minutes by hand. Then you can dump it into a less expensive "warmer" if you prefer and hold it for a pretty long time.

I guess what most of the pastry chefs on this thread are advising is this--don't buy a tempering machine, any tempering machine, as a substitute for or as a shortcut to fundamentally understanding chocolate and working with chocolate. It's not. And the machine itself won't help you learn how to temper--in fact, it will probably confuse you since you don't actually know what you are doing, why you are doing it, you don't know how to adjust for all the variables, the science, the different tempering methods, the missteps that will throw you off, the stuff the supposed experts don't tell you in their books.

I would like to hear some current Revolution reports, though.

1 person likes this

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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are you wanting to temper in order to use chocolate molds?

Alana,

Yes, I have purchased polycarbonate molds (Chocolate World). So for the most part I won't be hand dipping. I will mainly be using ganache filling. I have purchased some flavourings

by Loranne Gourmet.

I also make cherry cordials with handmade fondant as well as caramel centres too.

Any idea what the best caramel would be to use (loaf melted or liquid)?

Thanks, I think all of you have convinced me to keep doing it by hand. I do use the stovetop method.

Mary

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--don't buy a tempering machine if you cannot temper

Okay, You have all convinced me. I will continue to perfect it by hand first.

Thank you

Mary

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What are your specificproblems with the Revolution 1?

Eliot,

I don't own a Revolution 1. What I meant by comment was that it seems to do such a small quantity, where I am looking to do a larger quantity than what this small machine can handle.

Mary

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rookie,

try other methods, if the stovetop method gives you hit or miss results.

i use the microwave at work and then seed if the chocolate gets too warm.

but steve is right, learn all the methods and find a method that works consistently for you.

good luck!

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Here's one that I found online (Canadian store, but ships to the States). It only tempers 1 lb, and I have no idea the quality of it (keep in mind the temperature controls are, judging from the picture, "low" and "high"... hardly high tech).

For $65 CDN, it might be an option for a home cook. The web site says it's on back order.

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It's time of the year for candy making at my house and I'm looking for ways to make the process easier. We use a large amount of chocolate each year. So, here are my questions:

1) Is a chocolate tempering machine worth it? Does it work? I'm looking at the lower price models (under $400). Any recs?

2) I've been using Ghirardelli chocolate and like it. I get the 10 lb bars because the price is cheaper (about $2.00/lb). However, it's a pain breaking up the bar, even with the chocolate chipper we got at Sur La Table. Any suggestion on how we can go about breaking up the bar easier and quicker? Also, if not, any suggestion on a good subsitute that will be the same quality and roughly around the same price?

TIA :smile:

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1) Is a chocolate tempering machine worth it? Does it work? I'm looking at the lower price models (under $400). Any recs?

2) I've been using Ghirardelli chocolate and like it. I get the 10 lb bars because the price is cheaper (about $2.00/lb). However, it's a pain breaking up the bar, even with the chocolate chipper we got at Sur La Table. Any suggestion on how we can go about breaking up the bar easier and quicker? Also, if not, any suggestion on a good subsitute that will be the same quality and roughly around the same price?

1) I don't think it is worth it if you are only doing a couple of pounds of chocolate at a time, but I have never used one.

2) I buy the calets of Callebaut in bulk for ~$3/# ($2.83/# at Fairway last year, if you bought a whole case). I like Varhona but it tends to be at least twice the price.

I haven't used Ghiardelli, but that price sounds very attractive.

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Check this thread.

When I buy the 10 pound chocolate slabs, I break it up with a chocolate chipper and a rubber mallet into chunks then chop the chunks with a big pizza knife(two handles) or a meat cleaver.

I am not that worried about price so when I need smaller batches I simply order it from King Arthur flour in the "buttons" or chips.

Currently on hand I have the Merckens, the Guittard mini chips, the sugarfree semi-sweet and the Schonkinag bittersweet extreme dark.

Note that I do not eat chocolate but use it in gifts. I have to rely on others to evaluate the flavor.

King Arthur flour

I do have a chocolate temperer but for small batches I generally use a Pyrex bowl set on a wire grid in a crockpot with about 2 inches of water in the bottom, set on low. I tape a temp probe on a wire to the outside of the bowl so I know the temp of the water in which it is sitting.

For very small batches I melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every few seconds to make sure I catch it as soon as it has melted, then transfer it to an insulated cup that I have pre-warmed for dipping.

All you really need is a container that will maintain the low heat for the time you need for working with the melted chocolate.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I've had Chocovision temperers since 1997 and am very pleased with them. The first one was the now discontinued "Sinsation." That was replaced last year with a "Revolation 2." There are a few inherent problems with the Rev 2, but it does a good job of tempering small batches (up to 1.5 pounds). Sometimes you can find them on Ebay (in fact, Chocovision often sells rebuilt machines on Ebay).

As for chocolate, look around for the couverture "buttons" (also called pistoles, feves, calets and other names too numerous to mention). These quarter-sized bits make working with chocolate a whole lot easier. And measuring is more accurate, as most weigh a gram or two. These guys are avilable in 11 pound boxes. We use the Cacao Barry 58% semisweet as our standard couverture and the price works out to about $3.50 a pound.

Good luck.

Cheers,


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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