Forum Activity for @Ben Rasmussen

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
07/31/17 02:06:06PM
191 posts

DCM Melanger


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

I've only heard good things about the Diamond grinders, and raves about the customer service.

As with any stone-based grinder, my guess is that it will take a fair amount of time--possibly an unreasonable amount of time, as Brad mentions, depending on your process and other requirements--to refine to a smooth texture. It's definitely do-able--I haven't found that most craft chocolate I've tried to be particularly gritty--but it does take time.

I believe the machines Brad mentions are some form of a universal (please correct me if I'm mistaken). I've had some excellent chocolate out of universals, too, and they're definitely an option to look at, as well.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
07/28/17 09:56:23AM
191 posts

Winnower query


Posted in: Classifieds

There are several plans out there online, including the realseeds one Clay linked. If you search/dig on this site, I'm sure you'll find some of them. If you like John Nanci's winnower, he has plans on his site if you want to build it yourself:

http://chocolatealchemy.com/blog/2011/07/11/chocolate-alchemys-diy-winnower 

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
06/17/17 12:08:29PM
191 posts

chocolate mold warmer?


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

I use a restaurant food warmer with a roll top lid that I've hacked in a fan and temperature control. You can see it here:

https://www.facebook.com/PotomacChocolate/photos/a.125991854108467.9786.124491320925187/547818471925801/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/PotomacChocolate/photos/a.125991854108467.9786.124491320925187/547819058592409/?type=3&theater

Other possibilities are food warming cabinets, bread proofers, or dehydrators.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
06/15/17 04:39:07PM
191 posts

help with getting precise weight of chocolate into each mold


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

You could also look into a pancake batter dispenser. I got one a while back, but never got around to really testing it out. It would probably work with larger inclusions than a syringe, but may not be as precise. You could fill it from the spout on your tempering machine.

The one I have is manual, but they also make motorized versions. Here's the one I have:

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/aluminum-pancake-waffle-batter-dispenser/158PCD13.html

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
06/15/17 04:35:36PM
191 posts

help with getting precise weight of chocolate into each mold


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

I would look into a large syringe over a funnel. There's a link in a couple threads either here on the Chocolate Life or on Chocolate Alchemy. You can be very precise with them and they're not messy. Larger inclusions would be a problem, though.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/15/17 02:31:06PM
191 posts

Continuous Temepring machine?


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

Continuous tempering machines draw from a bowl of melted, untempered chocolate and then temper it through cooling and then heating. The result is that tempered chocolate comes out of the depositing head. No seed is necessary.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
03/24/17 06:58:31PM
191 posts

Has anyone ever built a DIY ball mill?


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

That is true. I'm not sure what I was talking about.  :)  Maybe I just saw 50%, not 40-50%...


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 03/24/17 06:58:55PM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
02/28/17 10:13:22AM
191 posts

What conche for roll refiners?


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

I've never used one, so I don't know.  :)

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
01/30/17 11:02:22AM
191 posts

Has anyone ever built a DIY ball mill?


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

I know of a few makers using a ball mill to to make 2-ingredient 70% bars, which almost certainly don't have that high a fat content. Where'd you read that?

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
01/26/17 09:23:20AM
191 posts

Has anyone ever built a DIY ball mill?


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

I have been thinking about one, but with a different design than the one you linked to. My version would have a U-shaped tub with stirrers that would agitate the balls and chocolate. More or less, it's the same idea as a vertical ball mill, just turned on its side. 

My reason for this is that (if it works) I think you could make a small scale one using a meat mixer. Also, I make a U-shaped conche that could be used for this with by swapping out the conche scrapers for the stirrers.

I think you need to be able to heat it. For the rolling-can design, that's going to be a little more difficult since you can't attach a heating element. You could just heat it with a heat gun, of course, but that's probably not going to be particularly efficient. A ceramic heating element could be better. If it's small enough, too, you could just preheat the whole can, nibs, sugar, etc. in the oven first.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
01/10/17 11:45:11PM
191 posts

Looking to purchase 65lb grinder/melanger


Posted in: Classifieds

Hello,

Since the Rumbo shares the main overall design ideas with all other melangers (stones spinning on a stone base), I'm sure it can be used to conche as well as any other melanger (maybe even a little better, due to some of the changes like the off-center stones). Also, my guess is that some, if not most of the makers using it are using it to both refine and conche, although a separate conche will work significantly better. Melangers are just not particularly good at conching, which is why you have to run them for days and days to achieve some of the effects of a real conche.

As a melanger, I think the Rumbo looks like one of the best out there. Having the wheels turn, rather than the bowl, seems like a great idea, and the drainage spout for emptying is genius.

-Ben

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
09/26/16 09:10:29AM
191 posts

Where to buy molds? And need help picking a melanger


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

Hi Adir,

Molds have been discussed on this forum many times. I'd suggest doing a search for 'molds' here on TCL and reading the existing threads. There's a ton of great info here, including discussions on where to get them, materials, cleaning, and more.

I don't have any insight on which refiner to use. I use the original Premier Wonder grinders for test batches and they do very well. The Chocolate Refiner is an upgraded version of that, so I'm sure it'll be good, too. 

-Ben

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
09/25/16 09:49:05AM
191 posts

syringe


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

Glad to hear it helped.  :)

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
09/23/16 08:33:40AM
191 posts

syringe


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

If you don't do something like this already, try rubbing a little chocolate around the inside rim of the syringe before putting in the stopper/plunger part. This makes the stopper move easier.

I've had problems in the past with the rubber stopper coming off of the plunger, especially with older syringes, but this trick has solved the problem completely for me.


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 09/23/16 08:34:28AM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/27/16 02:08:33PM
191 posts

bean to bar chocolate %'s question - help needed to put mind at rest


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

This has been discussed in some detail elsewhere on these forums. You could do a search and find a bunch of threads dealing with it.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/27/16 02:02:52PM
191 posts

bean to bar chocolate %'s question - help needed to put mind at rest


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


The cacao percentage of a chocolate includes both non-fat cacao solids and cocoa butter. Technically, a 70% bar could be made up of any of the following:

  • 70% nibs, 0% added CB
  • 0% nibs, 70% CB 
  • anywhere inbetween the above two

So, I would probably say that the statement that there are no cacao solids in white chocolate is incorrect. I suppose you could have a 70% cacao white chocolate, but I'd imagine it would be pretty gross.  :)


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 05/27/16 02:04:04PM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/27/16 08:39:27AM
191 posts

Santha Melangeurs


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

It sounds like there could be a crack in the epoxy somewhere. Once you finish this batch, clean the machine really well and then reseal with a food-safe epoxy. You may want or need to chip the old epoxy first. Good luck!

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/27/16 08:36:00AM
191 posts

bean to bar chocolate %'s question - help needed to put mind at rest


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

The first would be a 75% cacao chocolate. The second would be a 70%.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/21/16 10:43:51AM
191 posts

Looking for Viable chocolate grating options


Posted in: Classifieds

Kerry: do you have any problem with chocolate starting to melt when using that attachment? I've tried to use the shredding blades in my food processor, but they move too fast and the chocolate starts to melt. Same with an ice shredder.

How much have you done at once?

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
05/20/16 08:40:30AM
191 posts

Looking for Viable chocolate grating options


Posted in: Classifieds

I do a 'pulverized' chocolate for a couple customers. Essentially, I just break chocolate blocks into smaller chunks and then put them in a food processor for a little bit. It does a pretty good job. One day, I really want to have one of the automatic shredders like Kerry mentions (https://www.tcfsales.com/products/c123-chocolate-shavers-automatic/ )

I've also just bought a couple heavier-duty vegetable peelers/julienners to test for exactly this purpose. This one works incredibly well:

http://www.amazon.com/Precision-Kitchenware-Stainless-Julienne-Vegetable/dp/B00FF75XG4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_

With that, I was able to shred 5 lbs in 10 or 15 minutes. It works best if the block of chocolate is no thicker than the width of the blade.

I'm not sure how much I'll end up using it, though, as I need to do 20-50 lbs every so often and my hand starts to cramp up after 10 or so.  :)

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
04/04/16 08:37:05AM
191 posts

1st Annual DC Chocolate Festival April 9, 2016


Posted in: News & New Product Press

The 1st ever DC Chocolate Festival will be held this Saturday, April 9th, 2016. There will be about 30 chocolate businesses sampling and selling their products, including a lot of local DC chocolate makers, chocolatiers, etc., but also several chocolate makers from outside of DC. Additionally, there will be several classes/demos/presentations in a separate learning room.

Info and tickets are still available athttp://www.dcchocolatefestival.com/ . Also, I believe there are still one or two vendor slots available, so if anyone is interested in attending as a last-minute vendor email me at info@potomacchocolate.com.

-Ben

512


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 04/11/16 05:04:55PM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
03/10/16 07:50:57AM
191 posts

Mini Cacao Butter press for Small Scale Single Origin Chocolate & Artisan Cacao Butter production


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

This thread has a video of a simple press made by Mindo Chocolate: 

https://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/group_discuss/979/cocoa-butter-press

I don't know how much it is or it's production capability.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
02/23/16 11:33:49PM
191 posts

Looking for the smallest R&D fully automatic (seedless) tempering machine/solution


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

You can also just use your Chocovision to temper. I temper test batches in it regularly with no seed. I just set the cooling temp lower and it works well. You could get extra bowls and baffles for quick changeovers. Definitely not as fast as hand-tempering, but another option.


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 02/23/16 11:35:04PM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
02/09/16 03:11:07PM
191 posts

Dosing pumps & DIY options


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

Which one did you go with? Can you provide a link?

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
12/15/15 08:22:30AM
191 posts

Bug reports


Posted in: FAQs on Using the new Site

It looks like the login issue is fixed with the latest site update. My login has been remembered for the past several days. Thanks!

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
12/03/15 12:23:54PM
191 posts

Bug reports


Posted in: FAQs on Using the new Site

I'm having the login issue on serveral machines. Two are running chrome on Ubuntu Linux and the other is a Chromebook running chrome (obviously). 

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
11/25/15 09:17:06AM
191 posts

Bug reports


Posted in: FAQs on Using the new Site


Two issues:

1) The login 'Remember Me' checkbox doesn't seem to work, or works intermittantly at best. I almost always have to relogin when visiting. 

2) The groups are still essentially useless due to the fact that you can't tell what's been updated. It actually seems worse now than when I last looked. For example, the top discussion was last updated in 2009. Besides the fact that the top discussion should be the one most recently updated, you can't tell that that discussion was last updated in 2009 until you go into the discussion. The changes that I think need to be made are for the sorting to be changed so that the most recently updated discussion should be at the top and then descending in reverse chronological order, and that the display on the group page should include 'Last Updated by $user at $datetime'.

On a side note, I wish the 'Latest Forum Posts' on the homepage also included the time it was last updated, like it does on the 'Newest Posts' forum page, which is much more useful than the time it was originally posted. 

Thanks,
Ben


updated by @Potomac Chocolate: 11/25/15 09:20:00AM
Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
11/03/15 08:53:48AM
191 posts

Any tips for Spectra Melanging?


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

I currently use the Spectra 65. I don't have a good way to heat the nibs or the bowl, so I just use a heat gun to warm everything once I've added a small amount of nib. I usually run it for about 10 minutes or so and find that that heats things up enough to keep everything flowing until heat from friction takes over.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/16/15 10:20:39AM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Absolutely! I'm not sure when I'll have time to get back to work on it, but I'm hoping to in the next few weeks. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/15/15 02:50:46PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Very interesting! I will definitely look into this and see how I could best add it. My roaster will be relatively open, so building up pressure isn't going to be a problem. 

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/15/15 12:33:43PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Thanks eg!

Sebastian: It would be pretty easy to do this. Would the idea be to produce steam? This is something I haven't looked into too much.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/14/15 02:21:55PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

It's probably betweeh $1000 & $1200 at this point. I've got a little more to buy, but mostly it's just finding the time to finish the build.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/14/15 01:52:29PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Some roasters use perforated drums for more direct roasting, as opposed to heating the air and blowing it through through drum. I'm using a perforated drum for the roaster I'm building partly because it's a simpler design.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/14/15 01:36:20PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Are you asking if the position of the flame will need to be adjusted, or if the output/intensity of the flame? If the output, then yes, you'll need to able to adjust this to control the temperature. If the position,my guess is that it would depend on the roaster, where the burner is, whether the flame is directly heating the drum vs. heating air that is blown through the drum, whether the drum is solid or perforated, etc. etc.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
10/14/15 01:17:50PM
191 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

@honest-chocolate: I've been using a drum roaster for several years and haven't noticed any fat buildup. I'm roasting whole beans--maybe nibs would have this problem.

You'll at least need to have a low enough drum speed to not break the cacao, but adjustable drum speed isn't absolutely necessary. That being said, you can affect the roast through modifying the drum speed, so adjustable drum is preferable.

Stainless steel is not a necessity. I did a lot of research into drum material for a roaster I'm currently building and most of the roasters I looked into use a mild steel drum. Apparently, stainless does not transfer heat as well as mild steel.

To your last comment about roasting at a low temp, I'd modify that to say 'at a lower temp than coffee'. I do not subscribe to the 'always roast cacao low & slow' philosophy. It works well for some beans, but very poorly for others. With regards to a roaster, you're going to want as much temperature/energy input control as possible.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
09/16/15 12:58:31PM
191 posts

Tempering with holely baffle


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

Therein lies the reason why I've only given some thought vs. executed the idea. :)  With my limited space, I don't have space for a real press and I'm not sure if one of the little olive oil presses would work.

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
09/16/15 08:37:49AM
191 posts

Tempering with holely baffle


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

It is possible to temper without seed in the Revolation machines. I do it with test batches regularly. I essentially just go through the same process I do in my Savage Bros: melt > cool to 82 > warm to working temp. As Michael says, it is not a necessarily fast process, but it can work.

Adding an EZTemper to the process would definitely make it faster and easier, of course. So much so, that I've given some thought to pressing some of the cocoa butter from a batch to use in the EZTemper and still maintain my 2-ingredient recipe. :)

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
07/11/15 10:15:47AM
191 posts

Brand new 3 roll mill for chocolate production for sale


Posted in: Classifieds

Hello,

I'd be interested in getting info on this mill as well. info@potomacchocolate.com

Thanks,
Ben

Potomac Chocolate
@Potomac Chocolate
06/09/15 07:09:35PM
191 posts

Opinion on Continuous v Batch Tempering


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

I only ever temper one 50lb batch in a day, but if you had pre-melted chocolate on hand, I'm sure you could double or triple that.

Clean up is not too bad. The whole scraper assembly pulls out as one piece and then further disassembles for easy cleaning, and the tank is just like any other tank.

1