Forum Activity for @Brad Churchill

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
01/21/16 02:04:28AM
527 posts

Part 1: Fact Checking Georg Bernardini's "Chocolate - The Reference Standard"


Posted in: Opinion

"The reference standard" for chocolate....

Hmm.....  

A reference standard based on the opinions of one person....

Hmmmm.......

And sheeple are buying the book....

Hmmmmmmm......

Me thinks, narcisistic, bloated, self indulgent wingnuts like the author of a book who proclaims that HIS opinions are THE reference standard do more harm that guys like Mast.  He should be stopped or at the very least slapped.  Hard.  The publisher should be contacted.  The book should be pulled.

Every one of the referenced companies in the book should be contacted and asked to NEVER sell or gift a single bar to the author again.  He's doing more harm than good.

Clay writes:  "I would like, in any comments, for members to focus on fact checking the book, not engaging in nit–picking the ratings and reviews of specific products, which, as I mention above, are completely personal. "

FACT:  Not a single one of the ratings is a substantiated and accurate representation of what the average consumer of that chocolate would conclude upon tasting the bar, BECAUSE no single person can be representative of an entire populace.

Based on this single, simple, statistical fact (Statistics makes the rules.  I don't make the rules).  Every review or rating is garbage, and given that it's a large portion of the book, most of the book can be considered garbage, or at the very best, simply the opinion of one person and should not be taken as seriously as a Superman comic book.

THAT'S THE FACTS JACK.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/21/15 07:33:35PM
527 posts

Ok... I HAVE to swear....


Posted in: Opinion


Clay, 

So what you're saying then, is when a chocolatier out here lies for years about what they do, just like the Mast Brothers did, it doesn't matter, but when someone does it in YOUR neck of the woods it does?   My nemesis out here has made a hell of a lot more money (millions of dollars more) lying to people here in Western Canada than the Mast Brothers have, and it doesn't matter where the lies are propogated they are still lies, and they still affect EVERYONE in the industry.

You can continue to make theChocolateLife about you and your own personal agenda (just like you are doing above), or you can respect and recognize that there is a lot of deception in the industry regardless of where you go, even if it isn't in your back yard, and that the opinions of others (such as me) matter.

Will the expose bring the whole Brookly craft "movement" down?  Anyone who believes that is just plain foolish.  Not everyone reads the New York Times.  Not everyone reads Facebook.  Not everyone will read this forum or other articles on Mast.  

In my not so humble opinion (which is the topic of this forum), very little will happen.  Brooklyn isn't the center of the universe, and people will still buy their chocolate.  The only thing that will most likely happen is that the Mast brothers will no longer be the darlings of print and social media, and the demand for their wares will decrease to a point where they can actually make enough to keep up with demand, instead of buying someone else's.

What's most discouraging though, is that unless stiff penalties are legislated and imposed for lying to consumers, in a few years, someone else will step up to the plate and do it again.  Remember Noka?  Well.... Mast is the new Noka.

Best Regards

Brad Churchill

Choklat


updated by @Brad Churchill: 12/21/15 07:38:39PM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/21/15 06:38:42PM
527 posts

Ok... I HAVE to swear....


Posted in: Opinion


ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?????

In a letter posted on their website, Rick Mast writes, and I quote (pointing out highlights):

"Mast Brothers is a 100% bean to bar chocolate maker. Every chocolate bar made by our company that you have lovingly purchased since we opened our first factory, including those purchased for the coming holidays, was made "bean to bar". Any claim or insinuation otherwise is simply false."

THEN JUST TWO PARAGRAPHS LATER HE WRITES:

"And while we never claimed to make all our chocolate exclusively from bean to bar in those early days, we did describe ourselves as a bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Since we were in fact making chocolate from bean to bar, we honestly thought we could say as much. We sincerely apologize if you or any of our other loyal customers feel they were misled about the chocolate we made when our company was just getting off the ground."

THE LYING CONTINUES!!!!  

Literally, there may be some truth to it.  However, taken in the context that it's written... Well, here's the summary  "Look how stupid people are!  Every bar of chocolate we sold had our name on it and was represented as made by us - even the stuff we bought and melted into molds with our name on it.  You people are suckers!!!!"

I wish to personally thank the Mast Brothers Chocolate company for making Choklat look like a saint here in Calgary.

Cheers

Brad Churchill

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/04/15 01:33:52AM
527 posts

Choklat is FINALLY going to start shipping. Read More!


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

You bet! I would be happy to sell you liquor.

I look forward to seeing your pledge come through!

Cheers

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/03/15 07:27:55PM
527 posts

Choklat is FINALLY going to start shipping. Read More!


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Taking over 5600 sq feet in the NE.  I'm stoked!  You need to pledge!!!!

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/03/15 10:55:59AM
527 posts

Choklat is FINALLY going to start shipping. Read More!


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

No.  I am closing the inglewood store at the end of this month and moving everything to the new location.  5X the space and a 1/4 of the cost for rent.

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/02/15 06:45:03PM
527 posts

Choklat is FINALLY going to start shipping. Read More!


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself


Hi Everyone.  I have finally pulled the trigger and am moving into a larger space - one that will support online ordering and shipping of my amazing chocolate bars all over North America.

To help accomplish this, I have created a landing page that will allow you to make an online purchase and get FREE DELIVERY.

OR....

You can contribute a larger amount of money and either get your money back and a HUGE return (80%) or actually become a shareholder of my company.

Part of the factory I am constructing will have a lab specifically set up for bean to bar classes!  Here is your opportunity to help someone who has helped many through this and other forums, and also continue to help the industry by sharing what I have learned over the past decade.

Check out the page and get more information at the following:

https://www.sochoklat.com/public/FundIt/index.html

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/18/15 11:51:51AM
527 posts

How Stupid do the Mast Bros Think We Are?


Posted in: Opinion


You want a real good laugh?

Here are some Brooklyn Water Makers (Wow, the parallels!  LMAO)

Timmy Brothers – Water Makers

[Note: Edited to correct typos on 11/21/2015.]

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/17/15 05:34:56PM
527 posts

How Stupid do the Mast Bros Think We Are?


Posted in: Opinion

I chuckled when I read this.  I have Bernard Callebaut.  You have Rick Mast.  Let's unite and declare Jihad on such despicable chocolate infidels!

;-)

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/17/15 01:40:29AM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Sebastian:  I'd compete for sure if you were that voice.

Keith:  Clay's definition is really close for sure, but....  his statement of "all stages of the transformation of raw cocoa beans into finished chocolate..." needs to be clarified, or at the very least the word "raw" removed.  Raw can be interpreted many ways, and in fact today, almost NO manufacturer, large or small has complete control over the raw product.  They/we all get cocoa beans after they have been fermented and dried by the grower - a process which is crucial in the step of making good chocolate.  (in the case of large manufacturers, some of the beans they get aren't even fermented, as the grower has no idea they need to do so!)   In my case, two of the varieties of cocoa beans I buy, I do have some say in how they are fermented and dried, but in two other cases I don't.  However, I still get the cocoa beans whole, and in sacks, and still have to roast, crack and fan, and then grind them up into chocolate, which I then sell at full retail price in my store.  Whether I control the fermentation process or not should be irrelevant, as I still get the beans and turn them into bars, ergo, bean to bar.  The quality of the bean when I get it is, in my opinion and for the purpose of definition of the competitive category, irrelevant.  In fact this is why the competition is in place.  It's hard to make a good chocolate out of crappy cocoa beans!

I also agree that a company should never play with a consumer's trust.  Frankly it's a shame that I have to compete in a market where at least one of my peers (and a well known one at that), has lied to consumers for many years, and to this very day continues to do so.  When I stand up and speak the truth, I'm often looked upon as the bad guy.  It's sad really....

Cheers and thanks for your input.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/12/15 06:20:59PM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Clay;

Thanks.

FWIW, I think bean to bar should be defined as "...all steps in the production of chocolate, including but not limited to purchasing. roasting, cracking and fanning, refining and conching cocoa beans into chocolate, must be done in-house.  No step can be contracted to a third party.  Furthermore, all steps in the production of the chocolate confections submitted for competition must also be done in house, with only the chocolate made in-house."  This is truly a definition of bean to bar.

Cheers.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/11/15 05:41:35PM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Adrienne

I hope to be able to increase volume enough in the new year to offer my bars over the web all over North America.  I've already bought some of the equipment.  Now I just need a place to install it and put it to work!  ;-)

The reason I don't ship right now, is because I can't meet local demand.

 

Cheers

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/04/15 05:25:05PM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Holy cow Clay.  I just about fell off my stool when I read your post!

We finally agree on something unilaterally!

Gotta go.  I need to print and frame this thread!  

LOL

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/03/15 01:25:34PM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Dallas, you are completely missing the point here.

The point I'm making here has nothing to do with Bernard Callebaut as a person.  It has to do with HONESTY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND FAIR PLAY in competition.

What REAL bean to bar manufacturer didn't win the award because a competitor lied and submitted product made by a large company?  Was the misrepresentation fair to them? Why should THEY be deprived of an award for their hard work?

Why would I want to compete if nobody is honestly representing themselves or at the very least there is no accountability or audit system?

What is the value of such a competition if people can cheat with impunity?

Forget Bernard Callebaut for a minute.  What if I said "Information has come to light which can prove that company X didn't actually make the chocolate they submitted and won an award with?"

Does it hold any less merit than my original post?

I don't think so.

It just so happens that I make a point of knowing my competitors in my market, what they do, what they don't do, and that my friend is simply intelligent business, and it just so happens that in this case the fraudulent submission is made by Bernard.

Over the years I've publicly pointed a lot of fingers at other people too.  If you lied in a competition and I found out about it I'd publicly slap you wherever I could too.  Somebody has to.  There's too much deception in this industry done in the name of selling chocolate to the consumer.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
11/03/15 02:12:22AM
527 posts

How Credible Is A Chocolate Competition When There Is No Validation Criteria For Contestants?


Posted in: Opinion

Over the years, many people have asked me to enter my chocolate into competitions.  My answer has been a resounding "ABSOLUTELY NOT" for many reasons - one of which is that there is no "audit" step with respect to submissions.

Simply put: contestants can submit anything without being required to prove that they actually made the product.

Case in Point:  This past April, the "Academy of Chocolate" held a competition where chocolate makers and chocolatiers from all over the world submitted entries to be judged.

These contestants spent cumulatively THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to get their creations to the competition.  They also spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours crafting their wares to be judged.

...BUT DID THEY ALL???

WHO VALIDATED THEIR WORK???  After all, if the winners are going to proudly celebrate their awards in order to entice more consumers to buy their wares over their peers', shouldn't there be some kind of audit - some kind of proof that they actually did what they were awarded for doing?

...and what if it was revealed that competitors fraudulently submitted entries simply to be able to use the perceived "prestige" created by the contest and it's award?  Would that not taint ALL of the contestants' awards?

I don't know.  I think it would.

What I do know is this:  In April, Papa Chocolat of Calgary (aka Bernard Callebaut the person) submitted an entry in the 80% Bean to Bar Category.  That entry he claimed was his Peruvian.

What I also know is that Bernard Callebaut (aka Papa Chocolat) has never made an ounce of chocolate in his entire life, and currently buys his couverture from ICAM Spa.  Ironically one of the 70%'s that ICAM Spa produces is Peruvian.  Now... Add a little liquor to it, mix it up, and presto!  You have an 80%.

Does that make his submission Bean To Bar?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Could it be a mistake?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  This man is the grandson of Eugenious Callebaut himself, and owned a successful chocolatier company with 20 stores for 25 years.  HE ABSOLUTELY KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE.

Does his blatant disregard for the rules taint all the hard work that HONEST artisans are doing?   ABSOLUTELY

I got into this business because of slimy, deceptive practices of people like Bernard Callebaut, and I will continue to speak out against them, because if even one single customer of mine sees his website, sees that award, and questions my claims, the poison taints MY business and MY hard work.

I truly hope the Academy of Chocolate sees this, does something about Bernard's lies, and sets the record straight.

Respectfully

Brad Churchill, a guy who REALLY DOES MAKE CHOCOLATE.

 


updated by @Brad Churchill: 11/03/15 02:12:55AM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
10/27/15 04:32:09PM
527 posts

FDA Packaging Guidelines for Chocolate???


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Unfortunately there's no single defined solution for you.  There are simply too many variables.  Are you going to sell wholesale?  Are you going to sell online?  Are you simply going to offer your products exclusively out of your store?  These all require different labelling, and the requirements difffer from state to state, and province to province.

Welcome to beaurocracy.

 

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
10/07/15 10:26:47PM
527 posts

Anyone Have a Mirror Glaze WITHOUT Cocoa Powder???


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi.

I have a condensed time frame to make some desserts and am trying to find a mirror glaze that doesn't use cocoa powder - just couverture.

 

Can anyone help?

 

Cheers

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
09/23/15 06:49:36PM
527 posts

Hilliards Lil Dipper Help!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks.

 

I have finally gotten around to finalizing the design of my own tempering machine, and have written a wireless interface which allows me to control all aspects of the machine from my phone (or computer).  The cool thing though is that the application steps through the ENTIRE tempering process - heating, cooling, and reheating. No need to worry about seed. No need to worry about chocolate crawling out of the machine.  Etc.  Even if the chocolate is solid in the bowl, the application controls the motor and will turn it on only after some of it has melted.

It also has the built in functionality of simply heating and holding the chocolate at whatever temperature you want (such as overnight heating), so that all you need to do is push the button in the morning to start the tempering cycle. 

No more seeding

No more lightbulbs

"Smart" completely automated tempering cycle

super easy to clean

much larger bowl (about twice that of hilliards)

smaller paddle (allows for more working area)

Runs on a phone, computer, or tablet and controls the machine from anywhere in the shop (not necessary, but definitely a cool thing!  LOL)

No tempering experience needed.  The application even has voice commands and suggestions.

Priced about $500 less than a Lil Dipper (which only costs about $500 to build in the first place)

A prototype has been running in my shop now for a couple of weeks.  I turn it on in the morning and more or less forget about it for the rest of the day.

My staff now want me to change over all of my machines in the shop to work the same as this one!  Haha!

Kickstarter to take it to CSA-UL approval is coming soon.

Photo of the user interface is attached.

...I guess now the cat's out of the bag

 


GUIBackgroundV2.jpg GUIBackgroundV2.jpg - 61KB
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
09/23/15 05:02:23PM
527 posts

Hilliards Lil Dipper Help!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks Larry!  That's just what I was looking for.

 

By the way, when you reference the "new" style of hilliards machine (digital), are there any other changes, such as different heat source than a light bulb, or any automated functions?

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
09/22/15 10:55:31PM
527 posts

Hilliards Lil Dipper Help!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi.

Can anyone out there who has a Hilliards Little Dipper tempering machine take a look and let me know what the motor brand and model number is?

Thanks!

 

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
08/26/15 06:06:33PM
527 posts

Bakon 123 vs Mol d'Art melter


Posted in: Opinion

If you're not looking to temper the chocolate - simply melt it, then two stock pots will easily do what you need.  I've melted thousands of pounds of cocoa butter this way.

One large stock pot holds the water, and the other (slightly smaller) sits in it with the water going up the side of the smaller one about 6 inches.

This is simply the layman's version of a $8,000 water jacketed Savage Melter.

You don't even need the expensive kind of stock pots.  Jut make sure they are stainless steel.  I think mine cost me about $50 each 7 years ago.

No need to buy a fancy machine if you are just melting chocolate.

Brad


updated by @Brad Churchill: 08/26/15 06:07:04PM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/30/15 06:35:35PM
527 posts

Piping Bag Frustrations. PLEASE Help!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Piping bag is large - about 18 inches, and holds close to 4 litres (quarts).  I have other smaller piping bags but rarely use them.

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/29/15 06:37:01PM
527 posts

Piping Bag Frustrations. PLEASE Help!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Ok....

If you've ever tried to give a cat a bath by yourself, well.... that's what it's like trying to load marshmallow into a piping bag by yourself!!!!!

I swear I got more marshmallow on me than out the end of the tip of the bag!!!

Where can I find an apparatus that holds the bloody piping bag wide open while I scoop stuff into it - and I mean a BIG aparatus - not one of those dinky Wilton piping bag stands for the happy homemaker and her cup of blue icing.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that I can buy piping bags everywhere in this city, but when I ask for a stand or a holder, the sales guy looks at me with this "deer in the headlights" look, then says "Uhhhhhh....".

I appreciate the help.

Frustrated Brad.... 

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/08/15 05:47:25PM
527 posts

Tempering & Molding – chocolate solidifies too fast


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

There are a few things a play when tempering chocolate, which nobody seems to mention in their online instructions:

1.  The thermocouple on your ACMC is NOT 100 percent accurate.  I have seen them out as far as 4 degrees.

2.  Humidity is going to play a factor in the crystalization of your chocolate.  Dry days it flows great.  Wet days it's like working with tar.

3.  The entire time you are working with your chocolate it is trying to form crystals.  You can control the fluidity (viscosity) of your chocolate simply by raising and lowering the temperature while you are working with it one or two degrees at a time.  Inexperienced chocolatiers will add cocoa butter to their tempered chocolate when it gets too thick.  This only compounds the problem they are trying to solve, and mutes the taste.  When your chocolate thickens, raise the temp of your ACMC a degree and wait a bit.  If it's still too thick, raise it up one more and wait a bit.  Once the fluidity is more manageable do a temper test.  You'll quickly find your threshold for working temperature, and will never look back.

Just remember: Chocolate works at IT'S pace - not yours.  Be patient.  Pay attention to detail, and in no time you too will be a Kung Fu Temper Master!

;-)

Brad

 

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/08/15 04:48:26PM
527 posts

Tempering & Molding – chocolate solidifies too fast


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Your working temperature is too low and/or your chocolate is far too crystalized when you start working with it (it will be very thick).

Use your ACMC to temper the chocolate, and find a working temperature where the chocolate stays fluid in the machine for a period of time.  I have 6 ACMC machines and I work in lower temperatures than you do, so I know they will hold the chocolate in temper and in a fluid state for a long time.

Once you know what your acceptable working temperature is, then you can take chocolate out of the machine and mold it any time you like without issue.

Cheers

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/08/15 04:37:19PM
527 posts

Brazil Roast


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Where the beans come from is not quite as important as their acidity before the roast, and as well, guaging their acidity while roasting.  

I have beans that I only roast for 30 min, and others (such as my Brazilian beans) that go as long as an hour in the oven.

What you need to pay close attention to is the smell.  They start as brownies baking, then become very vinegary, and then go back to rich brownies and light acidity.

I have standardized a roasting temperature in my shop, of 300 degrees F in a convection oven (equates to 325 in a standard oven), and then just vary the time.

That seems to work pretty well for me.

Hope that helps.

Brad

Choklat

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
07/04/15 05:36:53PM
527 posts

Immersion Blender or Robot Coupe for Ganache?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

My mixers (both the 8 quart and 20quart) with the whip attachment work great.  They add a bit of air to the ganache, but it seems that customers really like the light and fluffy texture, so what the heck!  Mix On!

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
06/02/15 02:13:47AM
527 posts

changing the belt on premier wonder grinder


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Having been at this game now for almost 10 years, I've tried a lot of things.

The belt you want to switch to is a linking V belt.  They almost never stretch, are almost impossible to wear out, and are a collection of links which can easily be added or removed, or even replaced if you sieze the bowl and burn a spot on the belt.  

Check it out: http://www.fennerdrives.com/powertwist-plus/

I'm not sure where everyone is, but most transmission supply places carry them, or in North America, Acklands Grainger.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
05/31/15 03:20:56AM
527 posts

What to do about To'ak Chocolate?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi AnneMarie;

To be very candid with you, I think what they are doing is fabulous!  

The reason is very simple:  Their outrageous pricing and marketing causes consumers to ask questions, and as misguided as it may seem, that helps EVERYONE in the bean to bar industry who has once, if not 10,000 times, taken time to educate their customers about mass produced chocolate vs. the chocolate they MAKE right there in their shop.

A few months ago, Choklat passed the 100,000 customer mark, and in spite of being open for 7 years, being the only chocolate maker in my city of just a million people, having benefitted from tens of thousands of dollars in free media attention over the years, and having our chocolate and wine events sold out 4 nights a week for 5 months in advance on word of mouth alone, every day we STILL get people through our doors that don't know the difference, and get the spiel from me or a team member.

If To'ak garners some media attention, and helps educate consumers in the interim so I don't have to, well... GREAT!  They've told the general public that there's more to life than a KitKat bar (or 260 bars for that matter!  haha!)

Are they going to be around long enough to make a dent in the industry?  I doubt it.  Already the word is getting out that their product is medicre at best, and online reviews are certainly doing them no favours.  The orders will stop coming in soon enough.

Remember Noka a few years back?

One thing I will say for certain though:  The bean to bar chocolate industry is gaining exposure, and many customers who have been to my shop have sought out other artisans.  I know this because they come back even more loyal than before.  Recently I increased the price of my chocolate bars to $10 and up, and bumped our truffles to $2.25 each.  Not a single customer batted an eye.  In fact, when I posted the apology for the price increase on my facebook page, the overall response was, and I quote "Couldn't care less if prices go up. It's 100% worth it. "

Now, we need a $1,000 chocolate bar that actually tastes good!  Anyone out there want to give it a go?  LOL

Brad


updated by @Brad Churchill: 05/31/15 03:21:53AM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
04/20/15 07:11:31PM
527 posts

Whole Bean Chocolate, Raw Chocolate, etc and the law


Posted in: Opinion

Kind of like bankers and lawyers today.....  Oh...and real estate sales people, and credit card companies.... Haha!

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/30/15 03:05:04AM
527 posts

Wrapping Chocolate Bars... We've been doing it wrong???


Posted in: Opinion

Lucky for us, our chocolate bars go into boxes, so the slope doesn't matter.

In fact, wrapping the bars "updside down" helps us, because our bar boxes are translucent, and having a very smooth surface actually works to our benefit, as opposed to being able to see the pattern of the bar as it's pressed through the foil when it's wrapped.

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/21/15 02:13:31AM
527 posts

cocoa beans with vinegar


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Mariano;

I don't think so, although if you live in a very warm climate it may work, but will take a long time.  At this point in time, the acetic acid is in crystal form and thoroughly embedded in the shell and the bean.  Heat from roasting is the best bet, and then a long conche.

My porcelana is VERY acidic and I have found that I have to roast those beans at a low temperature for almost 3 times longer than any other bean I have.  It seems to work very well, but even then I still have to conche for several days.  The end result however is an amazing, fruity, smooth chocolate.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/19/15 07:42:06PM
527 posts

cocoa beans with vinegar


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I hope I can help a little bit here...

The vinegar smell you are getting is actually acetic acid, a by-product of the fermentation process.  Depending on what the farmer does, some beans can be quite acidic.

There are two processes that you can take advantage of to lower the acidity of your chocolate:

  1. Roasting - a lower temperature roast spread out over a long time can help.
  2. Conching - a long, open air conche will help as well.

Hope that helps.

Cheers.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/18/15 01:42:38AM
527 posts

Slate Headline: The High-End Chocolate World Hate Mast Bros.


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Ok....

At Clay's request I read almost every one of the 500+ comments on the article.  Heck, I even read the article!  

I'll sum it up for you:  Superfluous Jibber Jabber.

Of the 500+ comments to the article I only found a couple of (at best) luke warm compliments to their chocolate, and ignored the plethora of comments insulting their beards.  Wow... I had no idea people hated beards that much!  Who knew??

Here is a summary of the comments I DID find on their chocolate - the words and phrases are pulled directly from the posts:

  • icky
  • too intense
  • sh*tty overpriced chocolate
  • caca
  • bitter
  • did not measure up
  • i had to spit it from my mouth it was so awful
  • my palate wasn't sophisticated enough to 'get it'
  • I can just tolerate their Special Dark
  • chalky and really disliked it
  • I live in the neighborhood and I really wanted to like Mast Chocolate - but after many attempts - it has always been disappointing.

This company and it's founders are truly the poster children for what I've been preaching about on this site for years:  LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!!

Knowing the types of machines they have, and how much volume (of PROPERLY conched chocolate) on a weekly basis each machine can produce, I can definitively tell you that Mast Bros. are taking shortcuts with respect to product in order to address demand issues.  

Those shortcuts will spell their demise.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but within the next 5 years.  Mark my words.

I'm sure at one time they produced great chocolate.  However today, according to people who have bought it and tried it, they aren't and that very unsilent majority is spreading the word that it's crap.  They have already spread out significantly into surrounding communities.  WHY?  Because nobody in THEIR community is buying their chocolate anymore.  NOBODY LIKES IT.  

Rick Mast may disagree with me.  Maybe you do too.  But think about this for a second:  There are 2.6 million people in Brookly alone. That means in just Brooklyn approximately 25.1 million lbs of chocolate gets consumed every year.  One would think that if they made "the best", it wouldn't be hard to completely sell out AT FULL RETAIL PRICE of the tiny amount they make with a consumption pool of that size surrounding them. 

Yet they don't sell out in their shop, and have branched out to other communities, selling their bars at a wholesale price, instead of focusing locally and selling out at full retail and being more profitable.

As an analyst, this tells me their product ISN'T the best (or even close), and that they don't give a flying pinch of pigeon poop what their customers think or want - justifying their ignorance by spouting off about not caring about what the critics say, or pushing their own beliefs of good chocolate down the throats of those who enter their shop once, and most likely won't come back, as they 'aren't sophisticated enough'.

In business, refusing to listen to your customers is a great recipe for failure, and while they will make some headway in the next few years due to their funky look and the media interest in the craft chocolate industry, I assure you they won't be the media darling for much longer.  When the cameras disappear, and the media dust settles, they'll be left standing there scratching their hipster beards and saying to each other, "Hey dude... where did everyone go?".

I make and sell chocolate too, and in a city that is a fraction of the size of Brooklyn.  My team and current equipment can't keep up with local demand and it's a hell of a lot more industrial than the units the Mast Bros use.  I CAN'T expand without taking a giant leap and building a large factory, and I'm certainly not going to sell a single bar at a discount if I know we can sell it at full retail pop in the next few days!  Doing otherwise is truly stupid.  In a city of only a million people Choklat has become so popular that my shop holds chocolate and wine tasting events 4 nights a week in Calgary, and twice a week in Edmonton, and we are sold out until 2016.  Yup.  You heard it!  You can't reserve a seat in any of our events until NEXT YEAR!!!

The bottom line here is that somebody will always stand out from the crowd, and unfortunately it's all too often that the media dictates who that somebody is.  (Remember a few years ago those douches named Sacred Steve and David Wolfe, who were spouting off about "raw chocolate" all over the place?).

In this case it's the bearded hipsters in Brooklyn, and while I don't personally think the attention they are getting is a bad thing for the craft chocolate industry (after all it's creating awareness in the marketplace), I think that in time the market will dictate what it wants, and if Mast Bros. doesn't give it what it wants, they will join Sacred Steve and his funky hat somewhere in "Faded Fad Land" where they can debate the popularity of their beards vs. Steve's hat.

In the meantime I too will continue ignoring the self indulgent, pretentious critics, just as I have done in the past.  However, at the same time I WILL be listening to my customers and selling a boatload of chocolate because of it.

Cheers

Brad

 


updated by @Brad Churchill: 03/18/15 01:50:21AM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/17/15 02:21:11PM
527 posts

Truffles Cracking!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

This problem is not related temperature.  It's related to physics, and understanding the behaviour of the chocolate you are working with.

When making chocolate confections, you have two compounds with different properties and different behaviours:  You have your centers, and you have your coatings.

As the centers warm and cool, they just sit there and for the most part, do nothing.  However it's important to keep in mind that some centers are softer than others, and also have more air incorporated into them than others, while other centers are dense, and less inclined to give in to slight compression.

Then you have your chocolate.  THIS IS THE CULPRIT.  As the cocoa butter in the chocolate crystalizes, it shrinks (which is why it comes out of molds very easily when properly tempered).  Chocolate with a high cocoa butter content (such as good quality couverture) shrinks LOTS, and when properly tempered, has zero maleability.

Your truffles are rolled round.

When a sphere shrinks, it shrinks inward.

You cover a round ball with tempered chocolate, and as the chocolate sets it tries to shrink.  However when it can't, something has to give, and as a result a crack appears.  It really IS that simple.

A very soft center with air incorporated into it (such as a whipped/piped ganache), will allow the chocolate to compress it and as a result will not crack.  A hard center will not give the chocolate an opportunity to shrink, and as a result many will crack.

Understanding the behaviour of your ingredients, you have a number of options:

  1. Use a couverture that has less cocoa butter
  2. Incorporate air into your centers by whipping them
  3. Double dip your confections (the first dip will crack, but the second generally won't)
  4. coat your truffles with something (which adds structure for the chocolate to grab on to and compress)
  5. Use a milk chocolate to coat your confections

This lesson here is further supported by the process of molding chocolates.  The molds are poured, emptied, and scraped, and allowed to set before the filling is piped in (this gives the thin chocolate shell time to shrink).  The center is piped in, and the bottoms are poured.  Thick bottoms can cause cracking whereas uniform bottoms very seldom ever do.

Cheers and Happy Chocolate Making

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
03/17/15 02:02:16PM
527 posts

Where is the tempering error(s)?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

The problem in this case has nothing to do with mold temperature, or fridge temperature, or even humidity.  It has to do with the type of crystal the cocoa butter has formed in the tempering cycle.

I've seen this happen many times when I'm teaching a new employee to temper chocolate.  They go through the tempering cycle too quickly, and then bar up the chocolate.  The bars at first come out of the cooler with a super nice shine, but within 24 hours, the inside of the bar turns all grainy, and eventually all look exactly like the photo.

Solving this problem is very simple.  When taking the chocolate through it's tempering cycle either:

  1. Lower the cooling temperature a couple of degrees (allowing more crystal propogation)or
  2. Let the chocolate remain at the cooling temperature for a longer period of time.

The problem you are having is that you are not allowing enough time for the appropriate types of crystals to propogate, BEFORE you reheat yoru chocolate to the working temperature to mold up your bars.

You also need to remember that when working with different kinds of beans and making single source varieties of chocolate, the cocoa butter in each will exhibit different behaviours, and will temper slightly differently from the others.  The tempering cycle is more of a "rule of thumb" for tempering all chocolate, but with experience, you will see that each chocolate you make will temper slightly differently.  It's not something you can just apply a boiler plate heat/cool/reheat cycle to (although for small batches you will get VERY close).

I hope this helps.

Cheers and Happy Chocolate Making!

Brad

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
02/23/15 02:12:17PM
527 posts

Wrapping Chocolate Bars... We've been doing it wrong???


Posted in: Opinion

The other day, I was opening a peer's chocolate bar to sample it, and as I unwrapped the foil I found myself looking at the back of the bar (which was full of bubbles and swirls).  I had an "AH HA!"  moment and went over to my secret chocolate stash of other bars, and pulled all of them out.

Every single bar (including my own) were wrapped wrong!  EVERY SINGLE BAR of the 75 I EXAMINEDWAS OPENED TO EXPOSE THE BACK OF THE BAR FIRST!

HOW SILLY!!!  

As chocolatiers, we go through all kinds of trouble molding our bars into pretty shapes and designs, only to have our customers inevitably open them up and look at the back - the one place where there is NO pretty shape or design!

EVERYBODY HAS BEEN WRAPPING THEIR BARS WRONG!!!

The only time I've ever seen someone open the entire bar (people usually only tear open the very end to break off a piece), is when the bar is being evaluated or photographed, and in those cases it doesn't matter which way they're wrapped because the whole wrapper is coming off anyway.

As of now, I've directed my team to start wrapping our bars so that when that little corner is torn open,they see the design first!

Opinions?

 

 


updated by @Brad Churchill: 04/09/15 08:05:02AM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
02/20/15 12:16:47AM
527 posts

Who Makes The Best Chocolate in the World?


Posted in: Opinion

Mast Brothers makes the best Chocolate in the world.  (but still has bars available for purchase while using tiny volume cocoatown granite grinders.  If it's so good why isn't he sold out??)

Fortunato No. 4 is the rarest chocolate in the world (but is available wholesale through Chef Rubber, and wholesalers like Qzina specialty foods.)

Amadei makes a very expensive "Porcelana" chocolate bar (that is practically as black as an oreo cookie.  Hmmm.... a blend???)

Xocai makes "cold processed" anti-oxidant rich chocolate (that tastes like chocolate)

Countless Organic merchants promote "raw" cocoa powder (that magically has a rich chocolatey taste)

10's of thousands of chocolatiers who "make chocolate"  (grrrrrrr.... this is the worst one and really pisses me off!)

....and the list of misinformed marketing crap goes on...

 

Clay, can you guess how many people think Lindt 70% Excellence is "good" chocolate?  It would BLOW YOUR MIND!!!  In the past 6 years I've hosted over FIVE HUNDRED chocolate and wine tastings for well over 10,000 people who for the most part, thought Lindt was good quality.  I would rather lick a dive bar parking lot than eat the burnt crap that Lindt calls "70% Excellence".  However, they spend millions of dollars per year here in Canada buying premium shelf space in large grocery stores and department stores to flog the public with their brand.  Not to mention the millions of dollars they spend on television advertisements that show the Lindt "masters" in their impeccable chef whites, stirring their vats of chocolate!

What a farce! 

When tasted side by side with a good quality chocolate, almost 50% actually spit out the Lindt.

 

I'm not worried about some bearded hippie with a handful of dinky stone grinders and a chocolate "God" complex.  If anything, he's doing our industry a favour!  I'm sure even his worst chocolate is still better than Lindt!  I'm worried about companies like Lindt.  To most people, chocolate is still a candy - a novel, convenience item to be grabbed on the way to the cash register at the drug store, or grocery store.  As long as large companies are able to buy this premium shelf space, THEY will dictate the chocolate buying habits and taste preferences of the masses, not the bearded hippie with the big mouth.

 

I think the world needs 1,000 more bearded hippies to counter balance companies like Lindt and the chocolatiers who go around telling people they make chocolate when they don't.


updated by @Brad Churchill: 02/20/15 12:24:33AM
Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/16/14 06:29:54AM
527 posts

What's your favorite Whole Milk Powder???


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Parmalat, but I think you can only get it in Canada.

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/10/14 12:16:22AM
527 posts

adding cocoa butter when tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Working with chocolate in small batches (by hand) is like shooting at a moving target; you always have to be making minor adjustments in order to keep the viscosity consistent.

Here are a couple of hints that may help:

1. White chocolate takes longer for the beta crystals to propogate appropriately, as there are more "non-cocoa" particles in it. You need to have more patience.

2. When you see your chocolate start to get thicker than you would ideally like, hit it for a moment or two with a blow dryer, and stir like crazy.

3. Don't wait until the chocolate is unbearably thick (over tempered). Make constant adjustments as you go, but keep in mind that you need to stir it very well.

I'd type more, but I'm on hour 16 of today's version of Christmas insanity and I desperately need food. Hope that helps.

Brad

...PS.... When you think you've stirred enough, Well... You haven't. ;-)

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/09/14 04:04:15PM
527 posts

adding cocoa butter when tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

All chocolate works under the same principles, whether milk, dark, or white. You just need to keep in mind that in the case of white chocolate, there are more "tiny bits" separating the cocoa butter crystals, so it takes longer to crystalize. That's all.

Brad Churchill
@Brad Churchill
12/09/14 12:35:50AM
527 posts

adding cocoa butter when tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Callebaut's reasons are self serving to say the least.

At no time do I advocate adding cocoa butter during the tempering process, whether it's properly crystalized or not. For the most part, the viscosity of a good couverture can be controlled by temperature and crystalization.

My philosophy is simple: You wanna work with chocolate? Learn to temper chocolate.

Having said that, I have attached to this post an EXCELLENT document I have written on tempering chocolate. Why is it excellent? Because it makes tempering chocolate simple, and tells you all the things that online posts don't tell you.

This document makes tempering chocolate so simple that I taught my dog, and he how holds courses on chocolate tempering! LOL

DON'T CHEAT. LEARN TO TEMPER CHOCOLATE!

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