Forum Activity for @Sebastian

Sebastian
@Sebastian
07/30/17 01:58:38PM
754 posts

Box sizes for fermenting cocoa beans


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

To get into the details of what's going on with your setup will take some time i'm afraid.  If you're able to post a series of pictures showing the empty boxes (internal and external), as well as a shot of the whole setup from 10-20 meters back at 10 am, noon, and 4pm on a sunny day that'd be helpful.  The details are important here - where are you, what is the starting brix, how are you measuring temperature, how are you turning the beans, what is the external temperature graphed over a 72 hour period, etc all are important places to help start looking at..

Sebastian
@Sebastian
07/20/17 07:47:14PM
754 posts

A New Tempering Machine is Closer Than Ever!


Posted in: News & New Product Press

But does it come with a flux capacitor?

Sebastian
@Sebastian
07/19/17 03:10:51PM
754 posts

Sweet regards from the land of chocolate


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Looks good.  I've been everywhere in Belgium 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
07/19/17 05:11:38AM
754 posts

Sweet regards from the land of chocolate


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I was just in belgium this week.  Had i seen this earlier i'd have stopped by your shoppe.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
04/13/17 08:55:54PM
754 posts

Chocolate Geode


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

Yes, generally speaking, the slower you can induce the process, the larger they will grow.  Looking forward to seeing  your results!

Sebastian
@Sebastian
04/03/17 09:51:38PM
754 posts

Chocolate Geode


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

Let me know when you make them, i'll be a customer 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
04/02/17 06:29:26AM
754 posts

Chocolate Geode


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

http://www.thisisinsider.com/baking-students-create-spectacular-chocolate-geodes-2017-3

I don't often post things of this nature, but this is just too cool to pass up.  Fantastic imagination and technical work!


updated by @Sebastian: 04/16/17 08:47:37PM
Sebastian
@Sebastian
04/01/17 06:12:59PM
754 posts

adding spices/herbs to melanger


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

I'd make your chocolate base, then transfer it to a mixer (even a kitchenaid), and do your oil based flavor additions there. Stainless steel is much easier to clean.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
04/01/17 09:07:24AM
754 posts

adding spices/herbs to melanger


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

Flavor contamination of your equipment is definitely going to be a challenge.  I'd consider dedicating equipment for that to avoid flavor transfer to your chocolates that you don't want to be flavored.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/24/17 04:21:17PM
754 posts

Has anyone ever built a DIY ball mill?


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

Potomac Chocolate:

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?

A 70% 2 ingredient bar would almost certainly be very close to 40% total fat, assuming well fermented beans were in play.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/14/17 06:12:32AM
754 posts

How to make chocolate "softer"


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

Downside is that if you're shipping bars, thin ones are more likely to break in transit.  A little bit of a low melt point fat actually increases flavor perception, believe it or not, as flavor release of fat soluble aromatics is a function of the melt characteristics of the fat system.  A chocolate bar that is softer (ie melts at a lower mp) will release it's flavors differently than a high mp bar, creating the perception of more flavor.  You're correct from the perspective of 'volume fraction' of flavorants - 2% milk fat addition will depress all other components by 2% - so straight-line mathematically there's less of everything else.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/12/17 10:54:58AM
754 posts

Post-harvest processing for reduction of bean bitterness


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

Large processors are very often very well integrated throughout the supply chain. Hence part of the reason they're spending 10's of millions of dollars.  In many cases, the processing is occuring at 3rd party fermentation / drying centers, where there are information protection controls in place, as well as massive financial implications. I won't go into what those are, and i'm sure there's some info leakage to be sure.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/12/17 09:12:27AM
754 posts

Post-harvest processing for reduction of bean bitterness


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

I would say that most cocoa processors/farmers really don't understand the drivers of post harvest quality well at all - but often think they do.  The 'big buyers' as you say spend 10's of millions of dollars on this, and understand it very, very well - but because of the significant investment, don't make that information publicly available because, well, they've made a huge investment into something that gives them a competitive advantage.  It's like any other business.  With understanding the levers one can pull on post harvest control and their impact, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility that it generates.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/11/17 10:00:15AM
754 posts

Post-harvest processing for reduction of bean bitterness


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

I'm not aware of any publicly published comprehensive information sets on this.  This is a specialized area, where knowledge is developed over decades and typically held as trade secrets.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/10/17 12:00:05PM
754 posts

Post-harvest processing for reduction of bean bitterness


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

That, my friend, is probably a 2 week long discussion involving a great many details.  The old adage of 'believe none of what you hear and half of what you see' probably applies here.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/10/17 06:40:45AM
754 posts

Post-harvest processing for reduction of bean bitterness


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

Bitterness can be coming in from many, many reasons - i'm afraid there's no quick and easy answer to your question that one can answer briefly on a forum.  I suspect it's a combination of genetics, pod age (maturity), fermentation protocol (too short), and how he's drying.  washing the beans is likely providing no material benefit.

Remember you can influence bean flavor by processing on YOUR end as well.  Roast time/temp/grind conditions/formula all are part of the equation.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/06/17 03:53:13PM
754 posts

Looking for a quality Caribbean chocolate bar


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

You might consider contacting the governments of Trinidad/Tobago, or Jamaica as they both fund activities in this area.  There's a few in grenada as well (although i've not had them for some time).  A great deal of cocoa grows in the DR as well, and i'd suggest you speak with Max at Rizek cacao.

Alternatively, give my family a room for a week and i'll teach you how to do it yourself ;-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/06/17 03:44:03PM
754 posts

How to make chocolate "softer"


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

You will not be able to affect the softness change with your processing only.  IF (and this is a really, really BIG IF) you can control your bean sourcing to ONLY source beans (including the cocoa butter) from very high altitude trees, then you have some hope.  But i know of 3 people in the world (two who aren't typing at the moment) who can do this, and I suspect you're not one of them.

If you want to avoid milk entirely, you can get a similar affect by using small amount of liquid vegetable oil (or semisoft vegetable fat).  Note: doing so may result in your chocolate loosing its standard of identity (it's legal in some countries, but not others), and the more you use the more difficult it will be to temper (if not impossible.)

If you undertemper your chocolate, you can also achieve a textural softness, but you're playing with fire here, as, well, it's not really tempered any more, and you're likely to get bloom along with your softness (depending on your degree of temper, your bloom may  not show up for a week or longer, but it will show up).  Given the amount of information we have at this point, this is likely what happened in your first batch.  It will be very difficult for you to replicate consistently.

Edited to add: or my personal favorite, add some hazelnut paste and make it a gianduja.  Ranks high on the delicious-ometer, and it definitely softens it.


updated by @Sebastian: 03/06/17 03:45:43PM
Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/05/17 08:08:58AM
754 posts

How to make chocolate "softer"


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

You're spot on Gap! No reason to be intimidated at all  -  I'm not *that* terrifying....

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/01/17 06:19:32PM
754 posts

How to make chocolate "softer"


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

I'm going to refrain from answering as a challenge to those who have been taught this answer.  Yes, consider this a pop quiz 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/24/17 09:58:13PM
754 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

There you go.  There are many different makes/models out there - towards the turn of the century is when the technology to differentiate/compensate began to be used, but not everyone chose to include it in every model.  Know thy model and it's limitations 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/18/17 11:21:45AM
754 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

I don't think i'm going to go into the science behind it, but suffice it to say that an Aw meter will give a reading of the overall Aw of the food system being tested, and will be agnostic of individual ingredients. It considers the system as a whole, and if that system contains alcohol, that will be considered as well as part of that system.  As Clay notes, port, while relatively high alcohol for a wine, is still relatively low in overall alcohol content, and as such the contribution of alcohol to the overall formula will be nominal at your likely use level.  While it may be measurable, it's not likely to be meaningful in terms of it's ability to provide extended microbiology shelf life.

Edit: as longa as the Aw meter was made after 1999, that is, after which point they began including compensation to correct for the fact that volatiles such as ethanol impact the humidity and the humidity sensor.


updated by @Sebastian: 02/18/17 01:57:29PM
Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/18/17 07:38:30AM
754 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

The impact of the alcohol you add will be factored into any Aw reading you take.

Perhaps consider grating the cheese, putting it in a sous vide bag, and then into a pressure cooker - sort of a DIY HPP process to reduce the micro load of the cheese? I've no data on it, but theoretically it should work pretty well.  Better yet, grate the cheese, add it AND the port to the bag and pressure treat them both - that way you get the impact heat, pressure, and alcohol working on micro load reduction.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/16/17 07:14:53PM
754 posts

Valentine's Day 2017 Beer and Chocolate Pairing


Posted in: Tasting Notes

You should really identify a tasting partner when doing these things, for, uh, safety reasons.  Sort of the buddy system.  Let me know when the next one is and i'll watch your 6...  I just bottled a Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla...should be prime just about this time next year...

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/07/17 06:48:15AM
754 posts

Sterilization Cocoa Nibs


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

Sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things.  If you've not already done so, i'd encourage you to undertake a validation program to assess the kill rate of salmonella surrogate organisms (you don't *actually* want to do the test with real salmonella...), as the energies required to kill salmonella to a 5 log kill can look different than those required to reduce yeast by 5 log.  Don't forget your environmental swabs (things like floor drains, for example, become excellent harborage points for salmonella that can be tracked through the facility on one's shoes)..

True sterilization is very difficult - usually due to environmental factors.  Cobalt-60 irradiation is effective, as are some gasses.  Both those options come with serious considerations.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/03/17 02:46:04PM
754 posts

Sterilization Cocoa Nibs


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

Lot of good questions in there that can't be answered briefly.  Short version is you need to be most concerned with achieving an effective 4-5log kill on Salmonella - the danger lies in ingesting viable organisms that can then multiply inside you.  All treatments you mention (steam, nib, bean roasting) can be validated to safely achieve the necessary level of kill, although they all work slightly different from one another, and the settings you use to get a 5log kill on one method will likely require you to modify them for another.  Post roast-contamination should always be part of your flow design - you don't want to effectively roast the beans only to re-contaminate them when you remove them from the roaster (it happens).  Steam is a MUCH more effective way of killing micro-organisms than straight dry heat, as the energy associated with heating water is greater than the energy associated with heating air to the exact same temperature.  It is that energy, then, that results in the death of your micro-organisms.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/02/17 08:24:19PM
754 posts

Sterilization Cocoa Nibs


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

I'd strongly disagree with that.  TPC, yeast, and mold are more indicators of storage/transport conditions (ie did the materials get wet at some point) and general quality, but have very little to do with organisms of public health concern.  Coliforms and salmonella sp. are *the* reasons for kill steps in chocolate making processes, and as such are the organisms of concern to be targeted for enumeration.  It is those that one needs to concern themselves with.

Steam sterilization of nibs in commercial roasting operations is not an uncommon thing to do.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/27/17 04:15:46PM
754 posts

Fruity Panama Beans


Posted in: The Cocoa Exchange

I recognize that sensory scoring sheet 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/23/17 05:47:42PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

It's the difference between what occurs in a perfect, highly controlled scenario, vs what one knows they're going to get (less than perfect) so having to be practical.  If 3rd world post harvest practices evolve to the point where modern drying technologies, measurement techniques, and transportation mechanisms are controlled to single percentage point accuracy - then I'd anticipate no moisture issues.  Until such time, practicality dictates alternate considerations.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/23/17 01:48:16PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Jordan - i have no intention of getting into an argument, and I'd classify my comments as being exceptionally well informed, from a few decades of experience with statistical, primary peer reviewed research with global organizations that have been replicated over many geographies, at the hundreds of millions of tons scale.  I respect your business and have nothing against either it (or you).  I'm certainly open to reviewing new research, and routinely welcome (and am asked) to review experimental designs, analysis, and conclusions.  I also routinely find that there are those who have strongly held conclusions without having the data to back them up; or have acquired data in a way that is effectively useless due to flawed experimental design - one ends up collecting data that they believe is something other than what it actually is. If the data is in question, then of course the conclusions that were drawn from it are in question as well.

If one is able to dry every single cocoa bean to precisely 7.5% moisture, and vacuum out the atmosphere from the contents (and it's moisture) - then the risk of moisture related problems may be mitigated.  In any given bag of agricultural commodity prepared in a 3rd world rain forest environment, i can assure you that not every single bean is precisely 7.5% moisture, and there is far more bean to bean variation than one realizes. I can also assure you that most moisture testing tools are not routinely calibrated for accuracy in that 3rd world environment (meaning their results are quite variable), and that even if they were, post testing moisture migration from the environment changes the actual moisture content of the beans once the testing has been completed anyway (it may rain on them.  they don't sit in environmentally controlled warehouses, so condensation may form during transit from one storage vehicle to another.  when they're moved they may be tarped to prevent rainfall contacting them, but the tarps are torn. how many cargo ship holds have you placed data loggers in to understand the RH conditions as the vessel transits from a subequatorial location to an equatorial to a northern one to understand the localized environmental changes that are occurring below the water line, while assessing how intact your sheathing material remained after being moved by numerous dock workers with a hook/crane configuration?  What if the rest of the material in the hold is high moisture, and by some chance of fate all your beans were exactly 7.5% moisture, but the hook that placed them into the hold scraped the sheathing and tore a hole?  etc. )

I humbly offer my knowledge - folks here can do accept it, reject it, or challenge it.  What I will not do is argue or attack the knowledge of others.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/23/17 06:55:46AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

very important.  If you've hermetically sealed your beans at origin, you've trapped both the moisture in the beans and the moisture in the air (humidity) inside the wrapping.  When you ship that material, they are likely to experience significant temperature drops, either from being in the hold of a ship, or via the transit route the ship takes, resulting in the dew point being reached, and that moisture condensing.  I've literally seen it rain inside a shipping container that was not vented.  The story ends, as you can imagine, with a green, fuzzy, moldy mess.

Airflow is important because, as with airflow in a solar dryer, it prevents a localized accumulation of moisture by sweeping it away.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/21/17 07:55:34AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

carl - i suspect that the bottom of the pallet is open, allowing airflow?  IE the bottom of the pallet has not been shrinkwrapped, so the unit as a whole is not hermetically sealed..

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/20/17 03:39:26PM
754 posts

what use it is given to the shell of the cocoa beans


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

that doesn't look at all like a central or south american metals profile to me.

i'd never advise you to do something consumable with the shell.  you are likely nowhere near being in control of your supply chain, which means what you will recieve over time will almost assuredly be different than the snapshot you take at your analysis.  mycotoxins will be a concern.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/13/17 02:29:36PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Andy Koller:

@ Sebastian: How long would the bags stay under the tent? Only for 1 hour or more for a few days? In jute bags, I guess...

Depends on the volumes of both the beans and the concentration of the fumigant.  Your fumigation supplier can best direct you with contact times based on the specific products and quantities involved.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/12/17 01:02:40AM
754 posts

what use it is given to the shell of the cocoa beans


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

Lead melts at what, 620F or so, and aflatoxin (lets use aflatoxin a, since it's the most carcinogenic) breaks down at about 356F.  I've never measured the temperature in at the smoke point source, but it'd suspect it's above 356.  Lead is not going to decompose, but it could aerosolize and redeposit itself on your foods i'd wager.

And now i'm hungry for brisket.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/12/17 12:39:17AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

I spent a number of years in Indonesia - fantastic place, some very fond memories and some great friends there!

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/12/17 12:33:57AM
754 posts

what use it is given to the shell of the cocoa beans


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

You know I was going to try that this summer, actually.  I suspect it's not a very good idea, to be honest, but I was going to try it nonetheless (do as i say, not as i do?).  That said, i never did get around to trying it...

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/09/17 06:36:13AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

No worries - did you open up your own shoppe?

Don't forgot to discard your winnowed shells on a regular basis, lest that become an infestation point source as well.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/08/17 07:29:22AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Not knowing your exact set up makes it difficult to give exact recommendations.  Generally speaking, the colder you can keep the room the better (larvae will remain dormant below about 50F). Also, tenting the bags for fumigation by placing fumigants under the tenting to concentrate it's exposure to the bags is common practice. If your beans are in  airtight plastic bags (a bad idea, by the way), you'll need to perforate them/open them to give the fumigant the opportunity to do it's thing.  Displacing the oxygen in the room with an inert gas, such as CO2 certainly would work, but it also tends to asphyxiate you as well, which comes with it's own set of problems.

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