Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

tammylc

Adventures in Starting a Chocolate Business

Recommended Posts

congratulations tammy!!!!!

I had a quick question. I'm looking at a commercial kitchen tomorrow, and was wondering what I should look for? 

Luis

Depends what you want to use it for! My most important criteria was finding a place that was affordable, since paying much for rental could quickly eliminate any profits I might make. We worked out a profit sharing arrangement, which makes it low risk for me and gives them and incentive to help me grow my business!

You will want some designated space to store your supplies, so there are no conflicts about what belongs to who, and your materials aren't ending up on the floor or something. Obviously you'd want to be sure that everything in the space was in good working order. You'll need to have a conversation about sharing equipment - are you bringing all of your own equipment, or can you use theirs? I'm sharing sheet pans and a food processor and things like that, but needed to bring my own small saucepans, as they just don't have the size that I need.

Those are a few ideas to get you started. Hope that helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
congratulations tammy!!!!!

I had a quick question. I'm looking at a commercial kitchen tomorrow, and was wondering what I should look for? 

Luis

Depends what you want to use it for! My most important criteria was finding a place that was affordable, since paying much for rental could quickly eliminate any profits I might make. We worked out a profit sharing arrangement, which makes it low risk for me and gives them and incentive to help me grow my business!

You will want some designated space to store your supplies, so there are no conflicts about what belongs to who, and your materials aren't ending up on the floor or something. Obviously you'd want to be sure that everything in the space was in good working order. You'll need to have a conversation about sharing equipment - are you bringing all of your own equipment, or can you use theirs? I'm sharing sheet pans and a food processor and things like that, but needed to bring my own small saucepans, as they just don't have the size that I need.

Those are a few ideas to get you started. Hope that helps!

thanks,

that does help. How did you work out the storage of the chocolates? Do you mainly do enrobed or molded pieces?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks :biggrin:

One question I still have is , did you had to file tha food handling business license for that as well, I mean I know the inspector gives you the livcense after the inspection , but on the package I downloaded from the web ( for COlorado ) has a lot of stuff that doesnt apply to my case , its more for someone that is moving to a kitchen full time and owns a restaurant type .DId you still have to file those as well?

Thank you and Good luck with your first day as business owner :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks  :biggrin:

One question I still have is , did you had to file tha food handling business license  for that as well, I mean I know the inspector gives you the livcense after the inspection , but on the package I downloaded from the web ( for COlorado ) has a lot of stuff that doesnt apply to my case , its more for someone that is moving to a kitchen full time and owns a restaurant type .DId you still have to file those as well?

Thank you and Good luck with your first day as business owner  :biggrin:

Michigan differentiates between different kinds of establishments. I am a retail food establishment (which lets me sell both wholesale and retail), but not a retail food *service* establishment. I'm guessing that the food handling license you describe probably refers to service establishments. Call whoever the licensing agency is in CO, they should be able to help you figure out what you need to do. Also, there's probably some sort of local small business agency that can answer questions.

To the best of my knowledge, I have now met all my state and county requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thanks,

that does help. How did you work out the storage of the chocolates? Do you mainly do enrobed or molded pieces?

I do a mix of enrobed and molded pieces, and the ratio is still working itself out. I won't be storing chocolate there much, if at all, since I'm just making to order and not maintaining a stock.

One of the challenges of working in a space that's not just mine is how to manage air-drying/crusting times. Ultimately, I'm going to investigate getting some sort of enclosed cabinet that I can use for that (like this one, although that's really much bigger than I need), but for now I'll just be managing my work times around their schedule. Fortunately, they are closed on Sundays, so I can leave things out overnight on Saturday.

Anyone have any thoughts on whether using a fan would help speed up this process? Although I expect that sometimes I'll have to "cheat" and use the refrigerator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks  :biggrin:

Couple funny things I just remembered. When the inspector left, the owners of the kitchen were totally jealous - "She was sooo easy on you! She's never that nice to us!" On the way there that morning I'd been saying to myself, "I hope she's not in a bad mood!" and I guess that worked. Her laptop was in the shop, so she was a little off her game, having to do everything by hand.

We had a long conversation/debate about labeling, with her saying that I needed to clearly spell out the exact contents of a box on the label. Ie. 4 caramel filled chocolates, 4 coffee-liquer flavored chocolates, etc. Which is clearly not the case, given all the boxes of assorted chocolates (Pot of Gold, etc) you can buy in stores, with mystery pieces that you have to bite into to identify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as  making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark

That's where we settled things, actually - I agreed to go look at a box of mass market chocolates and follow their lead. Because I know that they are not required to do what it is she's asking for.

Thanks, Mark!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thanks,

that does help. How did you work out the storage of the chocolates? Do you mainly do enrobed or molded pieces?

I do a mix of enrobed and molded pieces, and the ratio is still working itself out. I won't be storing chocolate there much, if at all, since I'm just making to order and not maintaining a stock.

One of the challenges of working in a space that's not just mine is how to manage air-drying/crusting times. Ultimately, I'm going to investigate getting some sort of enclosed cabinet that I can use for that (like this one, although that's really much bigger than I need), but for now I'll just be managing my work times around their schedule. Fortunately, they are closed on Sundays, so I can leave things out overnight on Saturday.

Anyone have any thoughts on whether using a fan would help speed up this process? Although I expect that sometimes I'll have to "cheat" and use the refrigerator.

I wonder if a climate-controlled wine storage unit would fit the bill as a way to store the chocolates overnight and facilitate the air drying/crusting of the ganaches?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
COngratulations Tammy!!! Its nice to know wastn that bad at all , but I know you were ready for it, did your homeworks  :biggrin:

One question I still have is , did you had to file tha food handling business license  for that as well, I mean I know the inspector gives you the livcense after the inspection , but on the package I downloaded from the web ( for COlorado ) has a lot of stuff that doesnt apply to my case , its more for someone that is moving to a kitchen full time and owns a restaurant type .DId you still have to file those as well?

Thank you and Good luck with your first day as business owner  :biggrin:

Michigan differentiates between different kinds of establishments. I am a retail food establishment (which lets me sell both wholesale and retail), but not a retail food *service* establishment. I'm guessing that the food handling license you describe probably refers to service establishments. Call whoever the licensing agency is in CO, they should be able to help you figure out what you need to do. Also, there's probably some sort of local small business agency that can answer questions.

To the best of my knowledge, I have now met all my state and county requirements.

Thank you much Tammy, I will definatelly call the department and ask for this specific case .

:smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if a climate-controlled wine storage unit would fit the bill as a way to store the chocolates overnight and facilitate the air drying/crusting of the ganaches?

Possibly. But most wine coolers are geared to maintaining humidity, not getting rid of it, so I'm not sure. I did see a little countertop wine cooler at Home Goods yesterday and considered it briefly. But they're not cheap either...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This inspector will create a labeling nightmare for you. If you follow the recommendation you will be spending as much time labeling as  making chocolate. Show her a box of Godiva which you can get at Bsarnes & Noble, they don't do what she is wants.

Mark

That's where we settled things, actually - I agreed to go look at a box of mass market chocolates and follow their lead. Because I know that they are not required to do what it is she's asking for.

Thanks, Mark!

that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

Well, you do have to list all the ingredients, although you can use "flavorings" and "spices" and the like. Our debate was on how specific the package labeling had to be, with me arguing that "assorted chocolates" was fine, and her saying that I needed to explicitly spell out what the assortment was.

The confusion was probably mostly my fault, I have to admit. In my current business model, I have special occasion sales, where I make lots of chocolate at once to fill a bunch of orders. There's a limited flavor selection to choose from, but people can be quite precise about what goes in their box (2 caramel, 3 passionfruit, 1 hazelnut, etc). So I thought the best way to go would be to make a label that gives the ingredients for each of the potential chocolates, knowing that not everyone will have all those flavors. I make a flavor guide insert with pictures, so people can cross reference if they need to know the ingredients for a particular piece. If I'd just presented her with a label that assumed an equal amount of each chocolate and had the ingredients for them lumped all together, she probably wouldn't have batted an eye. But she got all caught up in the level of specificity and worried about "fanciful names." Live and learn!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
that's right, there is nothing that states that you have to list all ingredients.

Well, you do have to list all the ingredients, although you can use "flavorings" and "spices" and the like. Our debate was on how specific the package labeling had to be, with me arguing that "assorted chocolates" was fine, and her saying that I needed to explicitly spell out what the assortment was.

The confusion was probably mostly my fault, I have to admit. In my current business model, I have special occasion sales, where I make lots of chocolate at once to fill a bunch of orders. There's a limited flavor selection to choose from, but people can be quite precise about what goes in their box (2 caramel, 3 passionfruit, 1 hazelnut, etc). So I thought the best way to go would be to make a label that gives the ingredients for each of the potential chocolates, knowing that not everyone will have all those flavors. I make a flavor guide insert with pictures, so people can cross reference if they need to know the ingredients for a particular piece. If I'd just presented her with a label that assumed an equal amount of each chocolate and had the ingredients for them lumped all together, she probably wouldn't have batted an eye. But she got all caught up in the level of specificity and worried about "fanciful names." Live and learn!

[/q

I was in the class with andrew shotts and I believe he said there is no law that requieres you to list ingredients. Unless I heard him incorrectly.

I also happen to have a box of jacque torres chocolates and he doesn't list anything on his box.

Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[/q

I was in the class with andrew shotts and I believe he said there is no law that requieres you to list ingredients. Unless I heard him incorrectly.

I also happen to have a box of jacque torres chocolates and he doesn't list anything on his box.

Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I talked a supervisor with the Orange County, CA health department earlier today and he told me if something is sold by piece (not prepackaged), then you do not need to label anything. If you sell something that's prepackaged (boxed chocolates, etc.), then you must list all ingredients in order of amount used. He lead me to believe that this was a federal law, but I didn't ask him if it was or not. Maybe some chocolatiers are avoiding this law by saying they do sell by the piece and that the box is just a way of packaging it (like a bag would be for groceries, fast food, etc). I do know that John & Kira's Chocolate in PA label the bottom of there chocolates, they're artisan chocolatiers and do a very large volume (at least for a smaller producer). Recchitti in San Fran. also labels their product on the bottom of the box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just today reading more about labeling ( colorado ) and as Christopher said if you sell the chocolates by the piece you dont need to put the ingredient label, but you need to have a list of ingredients available upon request.Also at least here is you sell them where you manifactured and pack them you dont need to put other info other than list ingredients.( if you produce less than 10.000 units per year you dont need nutrition info also ).

I think I have seen assorted chocolates boxes with a bounch of ingredients listed of everything the might put in it even if maybe they are not , like Tammy said .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

code for my area:

also, may want to consider allergy labeling to decrease liability, and your insurance rates may benefit

3-602.11 Food Labels.

(A) FOOD PACKAGED in a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT shall be labeled as specified in LAW, including chapter 69.04

RCW; 21 CFR 101 - Food Labeling; and 9 CFR 317 - Labeling, Marking Devices, and Containers.

[Amended by WAC 246-215-051(8)]

(B) Label information shall include:

(1) The common name of the FOOD, or absent a common name, an adequately descriptive identity

statement;

WAC 246-215 Working Document 12/04 32 Chapter 3: Food

(2) If made from two or more ingredients, a list of ingredients in descending order of predominance by

weight, including a declaration of artificial color or flavor and chemical preservatives, if contained in

the FOOD;

(3) An accurate declaration of the quantity of contents;

(4) The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; and

(5) Except as exempted in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act § 403(Q)(3)-(5), nutrition

labeling as specified in 21 CFR 101 - FOOD Labeling and 9 CFR 317 Subpart B Nutrition Labeling.

(6) For any salmonid FISH containing canthaxanthin as a COLOR ADDITIVE, the labeling of the bulk FISH

container, including a list of ingredients, displayed on the retail container or by other written means,

such as a counter card, that discloses the use of canthaxanthin.

© Bulk FOOD that is available for CONSUMER self-dispensing shall be prominently

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You must also supply a list of allergens that may be present in your product. Such as peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat....

That is the reason for listing the ingredients. Its not that hard to do and just makes sense.

What I did was create a Microsoft Access database that listed my product name, weight, and ingredients. Then I used mail merge in Microsoft Publisher to create my labels and merge them with my database.

If there was a change to ingredients, I just update the db and then reprint the labels. By the way, the HP 2600n color laser printer does a great job on labels and you can find them in the 200-300 dollar range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tonight was my first night using the commercial kitchen. It went well. I left the house just after 7:30 pm and got home just before 1:30 am. That included going to Meijer to do various shopping, washing all of the new equipment I'd purchased, and get oriented to the space and stuff organized. (I need one more storage bin to do that last part right.) Oh, and making 200 pieces of chocolate, of course.

I was only planning on making 100, but there's an event planner vendor's showcase thing going on this week, so I figured I might as well make extra so I could take little boxes of chocolate to it to hand out with my card.

There were some very good things about the space - lots of room, for one. Three compartment commercial dishwashing equipment, for another. Keeping up with the dishes was really, really easy. Lots of spare equipment I could use - no need to keep rewashing my rubber spatulas, for example - I could just grab another one from the drawer.

And there were some things that were not so good - they keep the temperature in the kitchen very low - 61 degrees. Things did set up more quickly, so I had to be really on top of managing the temperature and the level of beta crystals in my chocolate. Preheating my molds (by blowing hot air on them with a blow dryer) helped, but a couple times I forgot to do it. Still, I only have one tray that's really excessively thick. It also has some temper issues, so it might be a lost cause anyway. We'll see tomorrow.

Since they only have big giant pots, I bought a couple of smaller stainless steel pans to use for making caramel and the like. But what I didn't realize is that the single burner unit they have is not an electric burner, as I'd thought, but an induction burner. Which is very cool, except that it requires a pan of a certain diameter, and mine was not wide enough. So I ended up having to use the big pot to make the caramel. I don't know if it was an consequence of making it in a too big pot, or just that the kitchen was sooo cold, but the caramel stiffened up a lot and was difficult to work with. We'll see what they're like tomorrow when they are at warmer room temperature - they may end up being a chewier caramel rather than a creamier caramel, but that's okay. I don't know what I'll do about this in the long run - try to find a slightly bigger pot? Buy my own hot plate that's a better size for me?

I have to get up bright and early tomorrow to go back in and cap off the molds. And, if I'm feeling really motivated, dip some pretzels and Oreos in the leftover chocolate. Then I need to go to Baker's Nook to pick up packaging materials for the boxes I'll hopefully sell tomorrow. And Staples to get business card stock and labels. Then into my office to print some business cards on the nice color laser printer there. Then I have to make the ingredient and date/weight labels, so I can put those on the boxes and meet those pesky labeling requirements. And then get back to the kitchen by 1 when the anniversary party starts. Damn, that's just too much stuff to do, with not enough time. It was a busy week at work and in the evenings, so there was only so much I was able to do, unfortunately.

But for now, sleep would be good. If I'm lucky, I can get 5 hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually work form my basement and its below 60 :hmmm: , so I am sure youll get the hang of it , some things that you will figure out soon, was the first time so I think it went pretty well anyway.For the burner , make sure , if you get an extra one , that is sommercial type ( I think they will be picky about having any non commercial stuff around ),anyway, I was looking for extra pans and pot as well, You can get a bigger pan for the caramel , not as big as the one they use in there.

You will get better idea as you go .I know the time is not much, and I am already feeling tired and I havent start yet, but with a family a baby and a full time job , starting your own business even if small, its pretty challenging ( we are in the same situation :rolleyes: ),but hang in there eventually the business will get so good that you will do that full time instead of you actual job ( at least thats what I hope for myself ).

Keep us update and good luck :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I usually work form my basement and its below 60  :hmmm: , so I am sure youll get the hang of it , some things that you will figure out soon, was the first time so I think it went pretty well anyway.For the burner , make sure , if you get an extra one , that is sommercial type ( I think they will be picky about having any non commercial stuff around ),anyway, I was looking for extra pans and pot as well, You can get a bigger pan for the caramel , not as big as the one they use in there.

You will get better idea as you go .I know the time is not much, and I am already feeling tired and I havent start yet, but with a family a baby and a full time job , starting your own business even if small, its pretty challenging ( we are in the same situation  :rolleyes: ),but hang in there eventually the business will get so good that you will do that full time instead of you actual job ( at least thats what I hope for myself ).

Keep us update and good luck  :wink:

Thanks Vanessa - I appreciate the support!

I'm still figuring out if this is something that I would want to do full time. It's certainly an exciting idea, but also an exhausting one - constantly having to think about marketing and promotion and keeping myself in business.

My poor son was so sad when I had to leave yesterday. He was clinging to me and saying "Mommy, don't go. Don't go, mommy." That was really hard. We're going to do some special fun stuff today, though, to make up for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The event yesterday went really well. I had a lot of people whose first reaction was "But those are too pretty to eat!" Very gratifying, and I was able to convince most of them that really, it really was okay to eat them. Then word started getting around and it got much easier!

I didn't make a ton of sales, but I didn't really expect to. I gave out some cards and some flyers, added some names to my mailing list and - most importantly - got some really good networking done.

Some memorable moments:

The women who's first question was "Do you do corporate gifts?" Why yes, yes I do.

The 12 or 13-year-old boy who made a point of coming up to tell me that my chocolates were really, really good.

Helping out a new mom, by telling her that most (good) dark chocolate is dairy-free, so she doesn't have to give up chocolate entirely now that she's giving up dairy (because of her breastfeeding baby having trouble). (All my filled pieces had dairy from other sources, but she did grab a couple of chocolate-covered pretzels.)

Spending the day chatting with another local small business owner (a coffee roaster) about business, and our favorite local restaurants.

So all in all, a good experience, and hopefully will lead to sales down the road. The new mom I mentioned above is on maternity leave from Detroit area lifestyle magazine, and she encouraged me to send a sample box to the editor, giving me her name and address and her own name to drop.

On Wednesday, I'll be going to a local event planners event to do some schmoozing. I just found out about this group on Thursday - it's a membership organization for event planners at the University and in the community, as well as vendors and suppliers. They're having a vendor showcase on Wednesday. I'm sure it's too late or too expensive to get a table of my own (although I'm planning to contact them to check), but I made up a bunch of small boxes to hand out with cards and figure I can at least do some informal meeting and greeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By thepastryincident
      This recipe is a great starter for people getting used to working with chocolate. I use Abuelita Mexican chocolate to add a bit of spice and crunchy. Super delicious and easy to make. 
       
      http://www.thepastryincident.com/hotcocoatruffles.html
       
      Xoxo
      The Pastry Incident
       

    • By anonymouse
      I've been working with the Boiron purée recipe tables (chocolate and PdF, ice cream) - some good successes.  However the document is very terse and I wondered whether anyone who is experienced with these formulae might clarify what the expected result is:
       
      - "Fruit ganaches" and "Fruit and caramel ganaches".  I think these are supposed to produce a ganache for cutting and enrobing, although when I tried it came out far too soft to be dipped???
       
      - "Ganaches to be combined with fruit pastes" - I think these are to be layered above PdF and enrobed - is that right?
       
      - "Chocolate molded sweets" - Are these intended to be served as is, ie moulded without a layer of couverture going into the mould first? However the instructions talk about pouring into a frame.
       
      - "Fruity delight" - looks like a fairly light dessert to go into a parfait glass.  Has anyone done these and how do they turn out?  How do they compare to the sabayon-based ones in the Boiron ice cream book?
       
      I'm going to start working through some of the ice creams next week and it will be interesting to see how these turn out.
       
      Thanks for any advice.
       
    • By anonymouse
      As a newbie here I thought, before piling in with my own questions, I'd pull together some of the things I've learned in my first months of chocolate making - in case this helps others who embark on the same path.  
       
      Many of these learnings came from eGullet, some from elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for all the many sources of experience and insight.  Cooking technique is quite personal so of course not everyone will agree with my idiosyncratic list of course.
       
      Most useful equipment so far
       
      Cooking isn't really about the equipment - you can make fine chocolates with hardly any equipment - but here are the things which have helped me the most.
       
      1. Small tempering machine.  This got me started on chocolate making with a superb easy path.  The ChocoVision Rev 2B (with the "holey baffle" which increases its capacity) just gets the tempering perfect every time.  Yes, I could temper in the microwave or on a slab, but it's great to take away any uncertainty about the final finish, by using this great machine.  Downsides: continuously noisy, doesn't have the capacity for large batches.
       
      2. Plenty of silicon baking mats (Silpat clones).  I use these not just for ganache and inverting moulds onto, but also just to keep the kitchen clean!  Working at home, I create a lot of mess and found I could reduce the risk of divorce by spreading large sheets (60x40cm size) across the work surface.  So much easier to clean, and I can scrape unused chocolate back into the supply for next time.  
      I get mine directly from China through AliExpress where they are about 1/3 of the local price.  Then, for a further cost saving I ordered a couple of sheets of stainless steel at exactly the same 40x30 size, from a hobbyist place, and stuck some rubber feet underneath. The silicon mat + steel sheet can then easily be carried to the cool room. I got metal bars made up by another hobbyist place (an eGullet suggestion) which was a cheap alternative to caramel bars.
       
      3. Scrapers.  Life got better when I stopped trying to scrape moulds with a regular palette knife.  I found we had two Japanese okomoniyaki spatulas from Japanese cooking which were perfect!
       
      4. Polycarbonate moulds.  Again in order to afford a bunch of these, I get them from China via AliExpress where they are £5-£7 each (including shipping) rather than £18 (+£10 shipping) locally.  If I were starting again I'd buy little squares and half-spheres first, because these are easy to decorate with transfer sheets and cocoa butter respectively; plus a bar mould for quickly using up some extra chocolate or making a snack for the family.  Magnetic moulds are not in my view essential for the beginner because you can just apply the transfers manually - but they are very easy to use.
       
      5. Hot air gun - little Bosch paint stripper from Amazon.  Always kept to hand to sort out anything which crystallises too quickly in the bowl or on my equipment.
       
      6. Fancy packaging.  We got some little boxes in bright colours with silver lining - great to turn your experiments into gifts. Quite expensive because you have to buy quantities, but worth it we felt.
       
      If I were working at scale I think my top 5 would also include a vibrating table, but that's beyond my means.

      Best sources of learning so far (apart from eGullet of course)
       
      1. Callebaut website - fabulous range of videos showing how a master does the basic techniques.  Also Keylink (harder to find on their website - look in "knowledge bank") which is refreshingly straightforward.
       
      2. Several books recommended on this forum.  Once I got past the basics, I delved into two masterpieces: Wybauw ("The Ultimate Fine Chocolates", a revised compilation of his previous books) and Greweling ("Chocolates and Confections"). These are just awe inspiring.

      Most useful ingredients so far
       
      1. Callebaut couverture "callets" in 2.5kg bags - quick to measure, easy to re-seal.  Everyone should start with 811 and 823, the "standards" ... but I soon moved to more exotic flavours.  Current favourites are Cacao Barry Alunga (rich milk), Callebaut Velvet (white but not as cloying as the usual one; lovely mouthfeel), and half a dozen Cocoa Barry dark chocolates which go with particular ingredients.
       
      2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing.  I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these.  The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer.  Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer.  And the range is fabulous.  So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry.  (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.)
       
      3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration.  Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had.
       
      4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles.  My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind.  Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing.

      Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right)
       
      1. Start learning in winter.  There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room.  Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!).
       
      2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly.  Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques.
       
      3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on.  These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work.
       
      4. Don't rush.  Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time.  Give things time to crystallise properly.  I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)
       
       
    • By JohnT
      I have heard over the years of bakers using beetroot in chocolate cakes to "enrich" them. I have never done this and I am not too fond of beetroot in its various forms (a childhood "thing"). However, I have been requested to bake a chocolate cake using "beetroot juice" in the recipe - the person requesting the cake even supplied me with the recipe!
       
      Right, this is a first time for me doing this and I need to make a sample cake to make sure it results in an edible cake. The recipe calls for 250ml (a metric cup) beetroot juice. So my question is, how would I produce a cup of this beetroot juice? Just wiz a few raw beets in a blender and strain out the juice? Do I boil the beets first or use them raw? Ignorance is sometimes bliss - but sometimes not.
       
      Help with this dilemma would be appreciated for this beet ignorant sod in "Darkest Africa".
      John.
    • By Kasia
      MILLET GROATS CHOCOLATE CREME WITH CRANBERRY MOUSSE
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×