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Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques


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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice cake! I have read the threads on airbrushes and spraying chocolate with great interest. Thanks for all the great info everyone. I recently came back from a chocolate workshop in Italy. We spent a day with Paul DeBondt - one of my favourite chocolatiers. He demonstrated one of his fabulous eggs made with many layers of sprayed chocolate before filling the mold with the appropriate amount of chocolate and spinning. I would love to attach a photo but I have barely learned how to post let alone attach photos! In any case, I now feel that I 'need' a spray gun. I'll tell you what I've learned so far given that I am a research-aholic... First - Paul DeBondt said that the gravity feed sprayers are best for chocolate. He continued to say that for spraying cocoa butter you need a tip of about 1.2mm up to 1.7mm (although 1.7 is on the large size). For spraying chocolate he said you need a large tip size - about 3mm. He only thins his chocolate with about 30% cocoa butter so it would still be quite viscous and would require a large nozzle. Because I would like to get a gun that would spray both cocoa butter AND chocolate - that ruled out the airbrushes - tips are too small for chocolate. In looking for spray guns with tips ranging from 1.2mm to 3mm - I found nothing! I did find one made in Canada with a 1.2mm and a 2.8mm nozzle. The fellow did tell me that a 2mm isn't double a 1mm. He did some math and multiplied something by pie to show me that a 2mm is much bigger than double a 1mm. He said the difference between a 2.8mm and a 3mm is about 25%. The difference between a 2.5mm and a 3mm is about 50%. I figured I might need to thin my chocolate a bit more but I was sure the 2.8mm tip would work just fine. Then he told me that they use brass fittings and is this food safe? He said there are guns out there made from all stainless steel but they are expensive. I wasn't sure about the brass so I did some research on that. Like copper, brass is reactive and apparently the tarnish that builds up on it is poisonous. Lovely. So onward to look for a food safe spray gun. I found one made in Italy that has an all stainless paint channel and stainless tips. Unfortunately the biggest tip for that gun is 2.5mm. I can't seem to find much bigger so I think I am going to go for this gun. I thought I would first ask anyone who sprays chocolate (not coloured cocoa butter) what size tip you use - and how it works for you. Thank you!!

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Nice cake!  I have read the threads on airbrushes and spraying chocolate with great interest.  Thanks for all the great info everyone.  I recently came back from a chocolate workshop in Italy.  We spent a day with Paul DeBondt - one of my favourite chocolatiers.  He demonstrated one of his fabulous eggs made with many layers of sprayed chocolate before filling the mold with the appropriate amount of chocolate and spinning.  I would love to attach a photo but I have barely learned how to post let alone attach photos!  In any case, I now feel that I 'need' a spray gun.  I'll tell you what I've learned so far given that I am a research-aholic...   First - Paul DeBondt said that the gravity feed sprayers are best for chocolate.  He continued to say that for spraying cocoa butter you need a tip of about 1.2mm up to 1.7mm (although 1.7 is on the large size).  For spraying chocolate he said you need a large tip size - about 3mm.  He only thins his chocolate with about 30% cocoa butter so it would still be quite viscous and would require a large nozzle.  Because I would like to get a gun that would spray both cocoa butter AND chocolate - that ruled out the airbrushes - tips are too small for chocolate.  In looking for spray guns with tips ranging from 1.2mm to 3mm - I found nothing!  I did find one made in Canada with a 1.2mm and a 2.8mm nozzle.  The fellow did tell me that a 2mm isn't double a 1mm.  He did some math and multiplied something by pie to show me that a 2mm is much bigger than double a 1mm.  He said the difference between a 2.8mm and a 3mm is about 25%.  The difference between a 2.5mm and a 3mm is about 50%.  I figured I might need to thin my chocolate a bit more but I was sure the 2.8mm tip would work just fine.  Then he told me that they use brass fittings and is this food safe?  He said there are guns out there made from all stainless steel but they are expensive.  I wasn't sure about the brass so I did some research on that.  Like copper, brass is reactive and apparently the tarnish that builds up on it is poisonous.  Lovely.  So onward to look for a food safe spray gun.  I found one made in Italy that has an all stainless paint channel and stainless tips.  Unfortunately the biggest tip for that gun is 2.5mm.  I can't seem to find much bigger so I think I am going to go for this gun.  I thought I would first ask anyone who sprays chocolate (not coloured cocoa butter) what size tip you use - and how it works for you.  Thank you!!

Check out www.dr.ca and go into chocolate equipment and scroll down. They have an all stainless gravity feed for $80/cdn - but it doesn't say what size the tip is. A phone call to them should get that info - but it is made for chocolate. (if you want to spend another $1900 or so you can get a spray booth to go with it).

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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I pulled out the ol' Wagner Power Painter today to coat this Pistachio/Rose/Pomegranate cake:

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I detailed the process at my blog.

that is amazing... almost looks like peach fuzz.

I don't know how I missed your previous (a year ago it looks like) project of passionfruit cheesecakes, but those came out excellent! As a knitter I thank you for your support of the fiber arts guilds...:D

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Thanks to Kerry Beal - I think I might actually post a picture!  Here is Paul DeBondt's fabulous egg...

gallery_58871_6314_176390.jpg

Wow, I totally can't stop looking at that. It's so... surgical.

And are those sausages on the table, or some sort of confection?

Patty

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Thanks to Kerry Beal - I think I might actually post a picture!  Here is Paul DeBondt's fabulous egg...

gallery_58871_6314_176390.jpg

Wow, I totally can't stop looking at that. It's so... surgical.

And are those sausages on the table, or some sort of confection?

I bet that's the chocolate sausage made with figs and chocolate as I recall. There is a similar egg in one of the books I have - can't recall if it's a Wybauw book or one of the showpiece books I have.

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Yes - funny sausage hey? It's gianduja shaped into sausage with added nuts to mimick the bits of fat. I'm sure it works in Italy - don't know if it would work here...

Kerry, I checked with DR and the tip sizes are 1.5 and 2mm. They're checking to see if they can order in different sizes. Thanks so much for that reference - I love that it's all stainless.

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Thanks to Kerry Beal - I think I might actually post a picture!  Here is Paul DeBondt's fabulous egg...

gallery_58871_6314_176390.jpg

Wow, I totally can't stop looking at that. It's so... surgical.

And are those sausages on the table, or some sort of confection?

I bet that's the chocolate sausage made with figs and chocolate as I recall. There is a similar egg in one of the books I have - can't recall if it's a Wybauw book or one of the showpiece books I have.

I think it's in the Wybauw Chocolate Decorations book.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Yes, I've seen the eggs in the Wybauw book. I believe he uses a silicone insert to make decorations. This egg is done a little differently. First, he sprayed the mold with a few thin layers of chocolate. This is what gives it the shine. He then piped a small amount of chocolate to form the 'crack'. He took a pointed wooden stick and cut along the inside of the piping. Then he filled this area with a mixture of nuts. The premise is - a thin layer of chocolate won't release from the mold thereby leaving the nuts exposed. The next step was to adhere the nuts to the rest of the egg so he piped thin lines in a crisscross pattern across the nuts trying just to touch the nuts and the piped line. You want to avoid getting too much chocolate on the underneath layer that you want to stick to the mold. Once the nuts are completely covered the mold is partially filled, put together and put on the spinning machine (he didn't do this for the demo - just filled and dumped each half). Once cooled it is removed from the mold and sure enough the thin layer adhered to the mold leaving the nuts exposed yet completely attached to the egg. Wonderful! After seeing this I'm sure you can understand why I 'need' a spray gun now! Here are a few more photos to show the process...

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I made this Pomegranate Kumquat entrement yesterday. After pulling out the ol' Wagner one more time, I was motivated to look up a more traditional spray gun and realized how inexpensive they were. My Wagner may be retired. Its worked well, but I lack some of the control and precision that I now want/need. I also hate having a container full of chocolate that can't be picked up by the suction tube. Other than those two issues, this is still a good option for folks especially with big jobs.

gallery_41282_4652_23929.jpg

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I thought I would post an update with what I've learned about spray guns since my last post. I decided to contact Paul DeBondt and ask about his gun. This is what he said: "The gun is special because, different from others, it has the possibility to have air pressure on the container (= on the chocolate) . This gives you the possibility to spay thick chocolate and/or large quantities and create many different effects." So the gun he uses has a pressurized gravity cup - not that common in a spray gun. I found a Walcom gun with a pressurized cup. The fellow at Walcom was most helpful. He said with a regular gun all you get is even atomization. With the pressurized gun you can get all kinds of effects. Here is a photo of some of the effects Paul DeBondt did. I'm also posting a photo of Paul DeBondt with his pressurized cup gun - notice the little hose that goes to the cup? You can see it near the neck of his T-shirt. I remember reading a post about using a spoon with your spray gun to get a splatter effect. With this gun, you adjust the air going into the cup and just spray splatter. I'm going to bite the bullet and buy this model. Then I'll have to save my pennies for a compressor!

gallery_58871_6314_19794.jpg

gallery_58871_6314_140840.jpg

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I thought I would post an update with what I've learned about spray guns since my last post.  I decided to contact Paul DeBondt and ask about his gun.  This is what he said:  "The gun is special because, different from others, it has the possibility to have air pressure on the container (= on the chocolate) . This gives you the possibility to spay thick chocolate and/or large quantities and create many different effects."  So the gun he uses has a pressurized gravity cup - not that common in a spray gun.  I found a Walcom gun with a pressurized cup.  The fellow at Walcom was most helpful.  He said with a regular gun all you get is even atomization.  With the pressurized gun you can get all kinds of effects.  Here is a photo of some of the effects Paul DeBondt did.  I'm also posting a photo of Paul DeBondt with his pressurized cup gun - notice the little hose that goes to the cup?  You can see it near the neck of his T-shirt. I remember reading a post about using a spoon with your spray gun to get a splatter effect.  With this gun, you adjust the air going into the cup and just spray splatter.  I'm going to bite the bullet and buy this model.  Then I'll have to save my pennies for a compressor!

gallery_58871_6314_19794.jpg

gallery_58871_6314_140840.jpg

Which of their guns did you buy?

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Haven't bought it yet - still deciding on which nozzle size to get. Here is a link to the gun - it's the Slim S HD.

http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/walcom2.htm

I managed to get a really good price - $307 - but not from this company. It's a 'just for me' special. If anyone else is interested I could ask if the price will stand for others.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Haven't bought it yet - still deciding on which nozzle size to get.  Here is a link to the gun - it's the Slim S HD. 

http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/walcom2.htm

I managed to get a really good price - $307 - but not from this company.  It's a 'just for me' special.  If anyone else is interested I could ask if the price will stand for others.

Lana,

Have you decided on the nozzle size and obtained the airgun yet?

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Another interesting looking pressurized gravity feed air gun here. Contacted the company - all the parts that contact the 'paint' are stainless except for one small area that is nickel. According to the fellow at the company, they are being used in the UK for chocolate work.

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why would anyone want to spray thick chocolates ??

i you want to make your life easy your buying one of those babies:

Wagner w 180 p

the ratios for perfect spraying chocolate are:

dark chocolate 70% = 70% Chocolate 30% Cocoa Butter

semi dark chocolate 55% = 60% Chocolate 40% Cocoa Butter

Milk chocolate around 38% = 50% Chocolate 5o% Cocoa Butter

white chocolate around 32% = 40% Chocolate 60% Cocoa Butter

you spray just a thin layer and then you normally mold with tempered chocolate. if your cocoa butter designs are somewhat thick you want to go a little warmer for the first mold, and a bit colder for the second to get nice thick walls, if you want to have yellow or orange or any shiny bright color you want to spray a white layer before molding a dark chocolate...

cheers and merry xmas...

t.

Edited by schneich (log)

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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Thanks for the info Schneich. I am getting this gun primarily so I have the option to do effects. I will definitely still be thinning the chocolate with cocoa butter. I looked into the gun you mentioned Kerry (the Fuji) and was told that I needed to use it with a turbine. Not knowing much about these things at all I was told that a turbine differs from an compressor in that it blows warm (hot) air. He said the air can get pretty hot. I didn't think that would work for chocolate so didn't pursue it. I ended up ordering 2 of the Walcom guns. :rolleyes: I figured I was getting such a good price I could always sell one. I got one with a 2.5mm tip for chocolate and the other with a 1.3mm special order tip for cocoa butter. With 2 guns I can use them simutaneously. I inquired with the fellow in Italy where Paul DeBondt purchased his gun. He said a 1.7mm tip would be fine for both chocolate and cocoa butter if you just want 1 tip. His gun comes with the whole heating cabinet unit for 1800 euro. Yikes... http://www.faemitaly.com/macchine%20spray%20inglese.htm

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Apparently the Fuji turbines blow air that is about 10º C warmer than ambient - with the 6 foot extension hose the air cools by 15º ( I assume Celcius). Good if you are spraying warm spray onto cold chocolate for the velvet effect.

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I have always assumed that it is the cold air and fast movement of the chocolate from the spray gun that tempers the chocolate/cocoa butter as it is being sprayed. I would love clarification on this if anyone knows the science of it?? I haven't done the velvet effect before but you know I'll try it with my new gear!

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I have always assumed that it is the cold air and fast movement of the chocolate from the spray gun that tempers the chocolate/cocoa butter as it is being sprayed.  I would love clarification on this if anyone knows the science of it??  I haven't done the velvet effect before but you know I'll try it with my new gear!

Yup, that has been my assumption as well, that the final tempering occurs as the spray leaves the gun. But there are airbrushes they sell with heated heads for working with chocolate as seen here. So I suspect that as long as it doesn't blow air that is too warm it won't be a huge problem.

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      <center>
      <img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206886386/gallery_59301_5864_40960.jpg">
      </center>
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      <center>
      <img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206903687/gallery_59301_5864_14712.jpg">
      </center>
      Ingredients
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      Note2 - If you like a more 'brown sugary' chocolate chip cookie, increase the brown sugar and decrease the white sugar, so you still have a total of 1 1/2 cups sugar total.
      Keywords: Dessert, Cookie, Easy, American, Chocolate, Snack
      ( RG2116 )
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