Experience With Flow Wrapper?
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
Yes, thank you for sharing!
Now I go back to my expansion plan and wonder if I can afford one this year...
Yes, thank you for sharing!
Now I go back to my expansion plan and wonder if I can afford one this year...
USD $5,000 sounds amazing!
Are you still happy with it? Can you show us the end result?
I don't know if that cadmium amount is anything to worry about. Any technical people care to comment?
Kyle, can you share the origin for the beans?
As leaded gasoline is phased out, lead is less of an issue. Cadmium is still worrisome because of volcanic soils.
Did you analyze for moulds, by any chance?
Hah, cool. Maybe I'll ask a friend to help do a test for taste - and if that passes, ask a lab to run tests?
As a precaution, it's probably best to do it with a fairly clean shell from a non-volcanic soil.
Sebastian, do you know if using the shells for smoking food is also a bad idea?
(I haven't done so and wouldn't recommend it without knowing it's safe. It's plausible that metals would stay in ash and fungus would not survive burning)
Ah, that makes sense, thanks.
I'm shocked reading papers from 70 years ago that are asking the same questions as I had visiting processing centres last week - and not finding much that's published since or that would explain why the state of the art hasn't visibly changed much.
Besides Zoi's papers suggested by Clay, are there other starting points to our modern understanding of what happens in fermentation?
The other thing that comes to mind would be to focus on the impact of alcohol soluble micro-nutrients and self-reducible metals in the fermentation heap.
Can you elaborate on this? Googling for self-reducibility doesn't really enlighten (and gets me a lot of computer science results)
All the aromatherapy stuff is hella overpriced - and often the taste isn't as great as the smell. I used Lorann for my latest experiments, which was easily available and better than the 3 different brands of aromatherapy oils I could get my hands on.
Chocolate inside the grinder would make the mass flow, and get sugar under those wheels. This is a "wet-grinder", after all. To get fine sugar without additions you would need another kind of mill.
I usually can get most of the chocolate out with a spatula while it's still warm, taking out only the wheels.
So, this was completely dry, and you want to make powdered sugar?
What grinder are you using and did you clean it before adding chocolate and sugar?
I certainly haven't seen as many as Sebastian. There are a few clues that can be suggestive but I haven't found any good indicator. Even smell and taste aren't a sure criteria.
Is a temper meter just a way to log and plot temperatures on a chocolate sample as it cools down?
Unless I'm missing something like added cooling, this sounds like a fairly trivial gadget. It seems all you would need is identical size containers (maybe disposable plastic cups), a controlled temperature environment, thermocouple and the data logger.
That would be less than $100 in parts, not thousands of dollars. What am I missing?
It is really useful for me to see those prices and options, thank you
How much production per week do you need to have?
Here's my current setup:
-Roasting. Right now I am using a convection oven (CAD $4,000), which can roast 4-5 perforated pans at once. It does result in a lot of smoke. I usually roast ~4kg in under 20 minutes, as there is a lot of airflow so using the same roast curves others post here leads to burning.
-Winnowing. Sylph winnower with shop-vac and "dust deputy". A Champion juicer to crack the beans feeds into the Sylph, and I separate nibs by size for 2nd and optionally a 3rd pass. I control for remaining husk by weighing what's left in 100g of nibs (marijuana scales are cheap and have 0.01g accuracy). ~CAD $1500 for this setup.
-Grinding. I have a universal and several smaller test mills, both a Spectra/Santha and 5 Premier Wonders. When testing recipe variations I can use two Premiers side-by-side. Each of those can easily handle 2.5kg and will result in very good chocolate; I highly recommend you start with those. I keep those small mills over a heater at 40C in a baking rack holder with cover, which doubles as a warming cabinet. Premiers can handle 100g of nibs every 5 minutes, so this lets me skip pre-grinding.
-Tempering. I experimented a lot before deciding on a continuous tempering machine. For higher throughput production it is not tempering but _dosing_ that is finicky and time-consuming. If you care less about these concerns, you can use cheaper tempering machines or even skip them and temper on stone. A higher-tech solution is an EZTemper (USD$1,000) or a cheaper PID controller setup that keeps cocoa butter at the same temperature.
For optimal tempering I would consider refrigeration (my setup is a baking rack holder with cover and an A/C unit blowing cold air in).
I'm not sure what use a refractometer would be. I found hygrometers for $20 and so have a couple around the workshop. The laser (infrared) thermometer is the other gadget I wouldn't want to be without.
My next purchases will probably include a tiny cocoa butter press (Nutrachef, USD$250) which I suspect will be pretty common amongst craft makers. From online descriptions it can get 160g of butter from 500g of liquor in 30 minutes.
I'd also like a proper conche and will look at the one you listed. At a larger scale a Kleego might be more compelling as it can vary many parameters independently.
I think you could put off the roll refiner and ball mill and replace grinding with multiple Premiers, which would let you try many more recipes in parallel.
That's news to me. The manufacturing company's head mechanic worked on it last year and told me there would always be some pressure applied.
Correct, even on the lowest tension setting there is still some grinding going on. I've had one batch over-refine at that setting, producing a pasty chocolate with a max particle size around 12 microns.
As soon as I can afford to I will separate out grinding from refining.
David: that equipment looks like a great deal. It might be possible to find some used for cheaper.
I have a universal and sometimes wish I could keep conching without grinding, so have to agree that if you have the budget to buy separate equipment it's the way to go. You might also consider FBM's Kleego.
Brad, it is nice of you to take time to help others. "you haven't got a clue on how to make chocolate" might be factual but it was not necessary and came off as insulting.
Sebastian: I had to shell 47 beans to get 20 with "rust", so about 40%. Attached is a photo of 21 beans, one that looked diseased (but had no rust colour), and the 20 that all otherwise seem fine.
Clay: I bought them raw. Exterior rust appearance isn't a perfect indicator - some that looked fine had rust, others that didn't had some inside.
Shelling a few roasted cocoa beans from a new origin and I'm finding a lot of what looks like rust.
The beans don't taste bad and I'm having trouble describing the taste. It's pretty muted, the texture might be a bit chalky.
Does anyone know what this is?
Can you link to the exact motor and springs you bought? Thanks
Not sure when you mean by "at sugar addition". Do you add yours right after nibs or do you wait? And when do you add the rest of the butter?
Huh, I would have thought that more viscous chocolate would refine faster and more thoroughly. On a related note, does anyone know if adding butter at the start or a few hours in has an effect on viscosity?
The lining should be ok - it's been used less than 200 hours total so far. I do use standard white table sugar though, so a two-roll prefiner should be my next purchase
I currently put the nibs straight into the MacIntyre, and put whole sugar in a bit afterwards. I get to ~15 microns (measured with a micrometer) in around 22 hours.
Next would be getting a grinder, then a 3-roll refiner. It's been put off because of lack of capital.
That should lead to more fluid chocolate, right?
If I was going to go with a belt feed, I'd probably get one of those toasters / pizza ovens with a conveyor belt. I would use the searzall manually to find out if nib roasting helps improve my chocolate's quality - unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a consensus on that question
To get back to Arcelia's motivation though - besides adding cocoa butter, my biggest gain for fluidity has been getting a micrometer, which got me to realize I was under-refining. I did have some sticky, over-refined chocolate (hard with a premier but possible with a MacIntyre style conche) and that got me thinking about particle size distribution. Maybe if I pre-refined I'd have a more consistent size distribution, as chocolate spends less time in the refiner.
Arcelia, I'd love to hear about your setup and what other avenues you've tried. Is your grinding area very humid?
How hot should we go to get the shell adequately dried off?
On the more extreme end of accessible short-time, high-temperature options are propane torches, maybe with attachments like the Searzall. I'd love to know if anyone has tried this.
Ah, so I guess I'll have to try a bunch of experiments. Besides doubling up beans on a pan and trying lower air-flow, could you suggest variables to change that might not be obvious?
Others I can think of: perforated vs non-perforated pans, adding thermal mass, nibs vs. whole beans. I will also try to get access to a coffee roaster to see differences with convection ovens.
Anything I'm still missing?
This air flow causing brightness is news to me. At 2kg per pan, that means it's not just a single layer of beans, further reducing air flow and maybe taking more time. It does use less labour and makes ovens more compelling. Is there a good reference on the topic of roasting cacao?
My first batch of Oko Caribe had some lingering taste from the previous batch of Nacional, despite "cleaning" with a few kilos of cocoa butter. I'm considering heating it up to 30C and scraping the inside after each origin change, just before starting the new batch.
Are there any techniques or work-arounds those using this equipment can share?
@deborah2 whoa! A $100 sous-vide controller, that's fantastic
@volnoir I use it right away, otherwise it creates lumps. The chocolate is brought to working temperature before adding the butter, so the crystals don't melt. It seems anywhere around 31-32C is fine.
Is anyone else making heavy use of PID controllers?
I have an anova sous-vide controller generating cocoa butter seed; on the included picture it's set at 92.5F.
A ziploc bag at 34C for 12 hours then at 33.5C, up to 100g of cocoa butter seems to work well; I dry the bag and cut a tiny bit of a corner to use the seed, which takes care of any remaining lumps. It's also worked with a glass jar inside a ziploc bag. The same setup was also used at higher temperatures to infuse cocoa butter with spices.
On the second attached picture is another PID controller, this time a Sous-Vide Magic 1500. I used plexiglass, duct tape, a heater, fan and hacked chafing dish to assemble this heater. This probably doesn't make economic sense if you have to buy all those things - I had an old spare PID controller hanging around and wanted a proof of concept. I learned that ceramic heaters are a really bad choice and will use a hair dryer next
Next I'm getting quotes to build the box in stainless steel and cut the chafing dish holder that would sit on top, so I can use regular restaurant-sized chafing dishes.
In another chocolate workshop I saw a micro-controller running a PID algorithm, controlling an old freezer to keep it at a higher temperature than the one it was designed for. Arduino, Raspberry Pi and others would be good choices - and given time I would get some together to have a seed generator that isn't water based and maybe hack a freezer to be a cooling tunnel.
For the moment my bottleneck is molding bars and packaging them fast enough to be able to get to break-even, so those projects have to wait. I hope this gives people ideas and this thread encourages people to share.
Other stuff meaning: a heated container and a vibrating machine. Yesterday I realized putting chocolate in moulds isn't the actual bottleneck just yet. I spend a good chunk of time manually removing bubbles and feel the need to work faster because chocolate is starting to crystallize.
As soon as I build the other stuff, I intend to get the PM600 .
I found a model for about $350 at simplypumps - it's hard navigating the different models online and they seemed the most approachable for beginners. I've had a 3D printer but don't like the look of the material and I'd also need to buy a motor; I prefer having something that should be resellable.
Ah, thank you! For some reason this didn't show up in my search results.
The main reason I was considering a full-automatic tempering machine was to have a dosing pump. I then found Hilliard makes one that which costs significantly less, though still around USD$5,000.
Researching various pumps it seems that peristaltic pumps could be a very affordable way to hack it together. There are even a few people 3D printing pump heads through which you could put a food-grade hose.
Are there other cheap options I should be considering? Has anyone gone the DIY route and have advice to share?