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Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques


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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.

Kerry, you're amazing! How do you find this stuff. :biggrin:

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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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.

I agree! What a cool little airbrush. Now I want one of those too...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lana, have you gotten a chance to play around with your Walcom spray guns yet? I'm sure we'd love to see some pix when you get a chance.

Edited by John DePaula (log)

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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Lana, have you gotten a chance to play around with your Walcom spray guns yet?  I'm sure we'd love to see some pix when you get a chance.

No, I don't have them yet! They were being sent from Italy as I ordered one with a special nozzle. I'm sure they'll be here any day now... Once I've had a chance to play with them I'll post some photos.

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Just got my guns today. Having never used these large guns - they look a little daunting! I also purchased my compressor a few days ago. I now have to bring my guns in to purchase the fittings etc. So after I read all my instructions I should be ready to start spraying next year :wink: OK - maybe a bit sooner... I have a simple question which I can't seem to find the answer to. When I want to change colours in my gun - or to change chocolates - what is the procedure for that? I read somewhere to use hot cocoa butter or hot oil to clean the gun out. I'd love to know what others do. I don't imagine you wash with soap and water at this point do you?

Speaking of which, to wash at the end of a session - do you always use soap and water? How do you dry the gun or do you just let it dry on it's own? Or can you just put it in a warm place and leave it 'chocolatey' if you'll be doing another session the next day? I've only used an airbrush in courses and I never had to clean them!

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Just got my guns today.  Having never used these large guns - they look a little daunting!  I also purchased my compressor a few days ago.  I now have to bring my guns in to purchase the fittings etc.  So after I read all my instructions I should be ready to start spraying next year :wink:  OK - maybe a bit sooner...  I have a simple question which I can't seem to find the answer to.  When I want to change colours in my gun - or to change chocolates - what is the procedure for that?  I read somewhere to use hot cocoa butter or hot oil to clean the gun out.  I'd love to know what others do.  I don't imagine you wash with soap and water at this point do you? 

Speaking of which, to wash at the end of a session - do you always use soap and water?  How do you dry the gun or do you just let it dry on it's own?  Or can you just put it in a warm place and leave it 'chocolatey' if you'll be doing another session the next day?  I've only used an airbrush in courses and I never had to clean them!

I usually just dump the excess then blow out whatever colour remains in the cup (now you are going to be using a bigger cup). I'll take the heat gun to the cup and airbrush to warm it and get more colour out. Then I'll just add my next colour to the cup.

When I'm done I pour hot, hot water in the cup and blow that through until it's clear.

I do see some places that are using the air brush for the same chocolate day after day, just place it in the heated cabinet where they keep their colours and cocoa butter. It's warm and ready to go when they are.

Can't wait to see what you can do with your new guns!

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I usually just dump the excess then blow out whatever colour remains in the cup (now you are going to be using a bigger cup).  I'll take the heat gun to the cup and airbrush to warm it and get more colour out.  Then I'll just add my next colour to the cup. 

When I'm done I pour hot, hot water in the cup and blow that through until it's clear. 

I do see some places that are using the air brush for the same chocolate day after day, just place it in the heated cabinet where they keep their colours and cocoa butter.  It's warm and ready to go when they are.

Can't wait to see what you can do with your new guns!

Thanks so much Kerry! I can't wait to see what I can do with them too! I'm making my 'to do' list today so I can be ready for Valentine's. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave me a lot of play time with my new toy. I'll be using it for basics (hopefully!) for my Valentine's Day products. I'll post photos when I get there.

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There's this chocolate solution meant for manual sprayers from Bo Friberg. By "manual sprayers," I'm assuming he means the type you would find in a barber shop. Has anyone tried this?

The ingredients are corn syrup, warm water, and cocoa powder.

I've made a few entremets that call for spray but I usually skip that step.

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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.

Another turbine here at JB Prince. The web site states the following:

Turbine powered system for high air volume and low pressure. The result is a finer spray with less overspray. The nozzle on the hand gun has adjustable pattern size (1/4" to 6"), 3 different shapes, and adjustable air control. Great for showpiece and production work.

Anyone with any experience using these?

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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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.

Another turbine here at JB Prince. The web site states the following:

Turbine powered system for high air volume and low pressure. The result is a finer spray with less overspray. The nozzle on the hand gun has adjustable pattern size (1/4" to 6"), 3 different shapes, and adjustable air control. Great for showpiece and production work.

Anyone with any experience using these?

No experience - but the same one is less on Amazon here.

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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.

Another turbine here at JB Prince. The web site states the following:

Turbine powered system for high air volume and low pressure. The result is a finer spray with less overspray. The nozzle on the hand gun has adjustable pattern size (1/4" to 6"), 3 different shapes, and adjustable air control. Great for showpiece and production work.

Anyone with any experience using these?

No experience - but the same one is less on Amazon here.

Uggg.. and a not very good review (though you often have to take these things with a grain of salt).

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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Uggg.. and a not very good review (though you often have to take these things with a grain of salt).

Looks like people were happier with the CH 2500 unit. Although they don't seem impressed with customer service. You'd still have to determine if the spray part was food safe I guess.

I was to have gone and checked out the Fuji unit today in Toronto, but the weather was not cooperative. We've rescheduled for Saturday - the day the next storm is expected. I may never get to see this thing. My hubby has decided to get the 4 stage quiet version to spray latex paint - so if I decide to get the pressurized gravity feed gun we can share the turbine.

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Uggg.. and a not very good review (though you often have to take these things with a grain of salt).

Looks like people were happier with the CH 2500 unit. Although they don't seem impressed with customer service. You'd still have to determine if the spray part was food safe I guess.

I was to have gone and checked out the Fuji unit today in Toronto, but the weather was not cooperative. We've rescheduled for Saturday - the day the next storm is expected. I may never get to see this thing. My hubby has decided to get the 4 stage quiet version to spray latex paint - so if I decide to get the pressurized gravity feed gun we can share the turbine.

Are you talking about the Fuji Industrial Spray Equipment 3004 Q4 PRO Quiet 4-Stage HVLP Spray System ?

If so, then take a look at the Product Details section. Specifically, the California Residents Prop 65 warning. The warning is written to cover a variety of products. Maybe I'm just foggy from getting over a cold, but I'm not sure how the warning applies to this particular product.

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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Uggg.. and a not very good review (though you often have to take these things with a grain of salt).

Looks like people were happier with the CH 2500 unit. Although they don't seem impressed with customer service. You'd still have to determine if the spray part was food safe I guess.

I was to have gone and checked out the Fuji unit today in Toronto, but the weather was not cooperative. We've rescheduled for Saturday - the day the next storm is expected. I may never get to see this thing. My hubby has decided to get the 4 stage quiet version to spray latex paint - so if I decide to get the pressurized gravity feed gun we can share the turbine.

Are you talking about the Fuji Industrial Spray Equipment 3004 Q4 PRO Quiet 4-Stage HVLP Spray System ?

If so, then take a look at the Product Details section. Specifically, the California Residents Prop 65 warning. The warning is written to cover a variety of products. Maybe I'm just foggy from getting over a cold, but I'm not sure how the warning applies to this particular product.

I suspect it means "don't suck in lead paint spray"!

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Uggg.. and a not very good review (though you often have to take these things with a grain of salt).

Looks like people were happier with the CH 2500 unit. Although they don't seem impressed with customer service. You'd still have to determine if the spray part was food safe I guess.

I was to have gone and checked out the Fuji unit today in Toronto, but the weather was not cooperative. We've rescheduled for Saturday - the day the next storm is expected. I may never get to see this thing. My hubby has decided to get the 4 stage quiet version to spray latex paint - so if I decide to get the pressurized gravity feed gun we can share the turbine.

Are you talking about the Fuji Industrial Spray Equipment 3004 Q4 PRO Quiet 4-Stage HVLP Spray System ?

If so, then take a look at the Product Details section. Specifically, the California Residents Prop 65 warning. The warning is written to cover a variety of products. Maybe I'm just foggy from getting over a cold, but I'm not sure how the warning applies to this particular product.

I suspect it means "don't suck in lead paint spray"!

Well, duh! :biggrin: I guess they're not saying that the gun/turbine itself is toxic, then.

Did you see this page, too? FUJI PARTS & ACCESSORIES

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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Did you see this page, too?  FUJI PARTS & ACCESSORIES

I think hubby's plan is to get the turbine, the extra length of hose and a number 6 tip for latex. I'm going to look at the pressurized gravity feed gun with a number 6 tip.

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My hubby has decided to get the 4 stage quiet version to spray latex paint - so if I decide to get the pressurized gravity feed gun we can share the turbine.

Kerry that's awesome. Now we can trade gun stories. My hubby isn't handy at all so we're both looking at this spray gun and compressor while scratching our heads. I read the instruction manuals today. The compressor said in bold writing to not use indoors as it might cause your house to explode. Lovely. I called the salesman and he told me not to worry about it. Well - still a little worried. I then talked to 2 compressor using friends and they said the same thing - don't worry. OK, not worried anymore. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who's used a pressurized gun before. I have more gauges than I know what to do with! The instruction manual for the guns is not at all helpful in terms of usage. I'll have to do some online research and see how it all works. Ah the joys of chocolate making!

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It occurred to me that it may be very easy to setup a makeshift Chocolate Cabin in a normal kitchen environment.

Like any kitchen, I have a nice powerful hood above the stove. You could construct a "stage" to sit level over the burners - perhaps made out of some left-over kitchen counter material. Then, along the sides and front, you could use those strips of clear plastic like you see being used to keep a cold area cool. Acrylic sheeting or even Styrofoam sheets should work, too.

I think that would work pretty well to keep most of the atomized cocoa butter from getting into your lungs and all over your kitchen.

Anyone see a problem with this setup?

Edited by John DePaula (log)

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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It occurred to me that it may be very easy to setup a makeshift Chocolate Cabin in a normal kitchen environment. 

Like any kitchen, I have a nice powerful hood above the stove.  You could construct a "stage" to sit level over the burners - perhaps made out of some left-over kitchen counter material.  Then, along the sides and front, you could use those strips of clear plastic like you see being used to keep a cold area cool.  Acrylic sheeting or even Styrofoam sheets should work, too.

I think that would work pretty well to keep most of the atomized cocoa butter from getting into your lungs and all over your kitchen.

Anyone see a problem with this setup?

I like that idea - how clever. I was thinking of setting something up on a cart in a little used bathroom and utilizing the fan in there. However I would much rather be in the kitchen! I'll give it some thought and discuss it with some handy people and see what transpires.

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Did I mention that I wanted to bring home one of the defunct baby incubators from work to spray in? It's plexiglass with spots to put your hands in, and you can open and close the top to take things in and out.

My hubby put a stop to it!

I turn on the range hood when I spray pan spray into cake pans, keeps it from getting into my lungs - so I don't see why even something as simple as a big box with the top open to the range hood wouldn't help prevent spray all over the kitchen.

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Hubby and I just got back from picking up the Fuji equipment from Toronto. Paul, who owns the company was kind enough to meet us there on a day off. He was delightful! He pulled everything out for us - showed us how to spray, how to adjust the spray pattern, let us listen to the noise made by the turbines. Of course we used water rather than paint or chocolate.

Apparently if you turn the pressure from the turbine way down with a viscous liquid - it sputters and splatters - so that's the first thing I'll play with - see if I can get some nice random splatter in a mold. You can adjust the spray to a small circle which should let you make lines - I don't think anything will allow us to make a fine line in a mold however. You can also adjust the pattern for broader coverage.

I'll be interested to see how much aerosol I get - with water we were getting a lot - but with a more viscous solution this may be minimized. We'll see. Forgot to bring home masks from work - may have to grab some before the experiments begin.

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Hubby and I just got back from picking up the Fuji equipment from Toronto.  Paul, who owns the company was kind enough to meet us there on a day off.  He was delightful!  He pulled everything out for us - showed us how to spray, how to adjust the spray pattern, let us listen to the noise made by the turbines.  Of course we used water rather than paint or chocolate.

Apparently if you turn the pressure from the turbine way down with a viscous liquid - it sputters and splatters - so that's the first thing I'll play with - see if I can get some nice random splatter in a mold.  You can adjust the spray to a small circle which should let you make lines - I don't think anything will allow us to make a fine line in a mold however.  You can also adjust the pattern for broader coverage. 

I'll be interested to see how much aerosol I get - with water we were getting a lot - but with a more viscous solution this may be minimized.  We'll see.  Forgot to bring home masks from work - may have to grab some before the experiments begin.

I can't wait to see how you do with your gun! I brought my guns into our local tool place to get hose and fittings. They were boggled by the gun - they had never seen one like it - so they kept calling people over "hey Stan, have you ever seen a gun like this?" Between a bunch of them they had it kind of figured out. They were really surprised that no instructions came with it - they thought I should have gotten a DVD. Fortunately they were very knowlegable about guns and compressors in general so they helped me out a lot there. I'm going to call the salesman who sold me the guns on Monday and get him to walk me through it. The saga continues...

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I'm in love with this new Fuji spray gun! For the first time airbrushing I finished without coloured hair or blowing blue snot. Minimal aerosol, and can be made less by turning down the volume of air.

I made up chocolate with 30% extra cocoa butter, then used it to spray a frozen boot. I screwed up a bit - the chocolate was supposed to be 50º C when I sprayed it - but it was around 30º. I think the suede look would have been better with the temperature right. And of course it doesn't help that I've now got finger prints on it.

gallery_34671_3115_128587.jpg

I then took the same mixture, turned the air pressure right down until the chocolate sputtered out of the needle - perfect splatter! It was a simple matter to dump out what was left in the container - wipe with a paper towel - heat with the heat gun - wipe once more - then blow the air through until no more colour came out of the needle. Then I added a coloured cocoa butter and sprayed.

gallery_34671_3115_11407.jpg

This gun will not allow you to do a thin line (but I don't think any spray gun or airbrush will). The unit we got is the Q4 turbine - Q for quiet - it still makes a fair amount of noise, but it's not at the ear splitting frequencies of my compressor, so it's a whole lot easier to tolerate. I think the extra $200 for the quieter turbine is money well spent. I'm going to keep the 6 foot flexible hose and the attachment with the air control valve in my stuff - and let hubby get another one - because it was covered in coloured cocoa butter fingerprints when I was done. This way I don't have to worry about food safety issues because we are sharing the turbine.

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I can't quite seem to find which gun you purchased?

Here is my new baby.The GT-X2.

Oh yeah, the question was raised earlier about warm air from the turbine. I didn't find it warm at all and the colours I sprayed dried quickly.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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      Lisa's Levain Bakery copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (**Yields 1 dozen cookies)
      <center>
      <img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206886386/gallery_59301_5864_40960.jpg">
      </center>
      Ingredients
      2 sticks 'cold and cubed' unsalted butter
      3/4 cup granulated sugar
      3/4 cup brown sugar
      2 eggs
      3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour (feel the dough, it should be moist, kind of like cold cookie dough in a tube.. but not super sticky, so you can portion the cookies with your hands)
      3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
      3/4-1 teaspoon baking powder ( I don't fill the tsp fully, hence the 3/4 tsp)
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used half semisweet and half milk chocolate)
      1 cup walnuts (I used macadamia since I was out of walnuts) Toast the nuts for more flavor, if desired.
      Directions
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated, then add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each.. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 16-23 minutes depending on how gooey and raw'ish you like the middles (I bake mine at 375 for 18-20 minutes, as I prefer a less raw interior), until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don't immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
      ***Lisa's Levain Copycat Dark Chocolate Peanut butter Chip Cookies (**Yields 1 dozen cookies)
      <center>
      <img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206903687/gallery_59301_5864_14712.jpg">
      </center>
      Ingredients
      2 sticks cold and cubed unsalted butter
      1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      2 eggs
      1/4 to 1/2 cup good quality dark cocoa powder
      2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      1/4 tsp Kosher salt
      3/4 to 1 teaspoon baking powder
      1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
      2 cups peanut butter chips
      Directions
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated, then beat in cocoa powder. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Gently fold in remaining ingredients. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each, and place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven 16-20 minutes depending on how gooey and raw'ish you like the middles (I bake mine at 375 for 18 minutes, as I prefer a less raw'ish' interior), taking care not to overbake. . Let cool on a rack and store what you don't immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
      ** - The Levain Bakery uses 6 oz of cookie dough per cookie.. If you want 12 cookies out of the above recipes, a little over 4 oz per cookie (4.1 to 4.2 oz. Use a kitchen scale) will get you that. If you want to use 6 oz of cookie dough per cookie, you'll probably get only 6-8 cookies. However, a little over 4 oz makes a cookie just as thick and huge, so you don't even notice the difference.
      *** - Regarding the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies. I used Dutch-process cocoa. If you use basic, natural unsweetened cocoa (you know, your basic Hershey's in the brown can or whatever), add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients. Also, if they're too 'chocolatey' and rich for you, use only 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and add 1/4 cup extra flour.
      Note1 - The Levain Bakery doesn't use vanilla extract in their cookies, as they feel it's unecessary. However, some feel you need it. You can add 1 tsp to each recipe if desired. Just add it after each egg is incorporated.
      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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