Forum Activity for @Sebastian

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/01/16 03:21:45PM
754 posts

White Chocolate Won't Melt


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

I'm taking it you're working on very, very small scale.  It might be hard to find fluid lecithin if that's the case - you might find some at a health store in capsules that you can pull apart to get to the lec that's inside? I've never really spent any time trying to identify ultra small quantities of lecithin - perhaps others on the board can assist.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/01/16 02:40:22PM
754 posts

White Chocolate Won't Melt


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

It's probably because it's absorbed moisture.  It's likey either old, stored improperly, or both.  Distributors are terrible at this, so if you're not buying direct from the MFR, this will be a common problem.  The absorpbed moisture is resulting in it being very thick.  Add 0.1-0.3% fluid lecithin to it when melting, and give it lots of agitation (like in a kitchenaid mixer).  It will likely never revert to what it's supposed to be, but depending on how much moisture it's absorped, you may be able to bring it back into the realm of workabilty.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
03/01/16 07:11:12AM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

Gap - perhaps it'll be a pop-up book, written in childrens style 8-)  Now that'd be a challenge!

Ning-geng-ohg - the best way to align on flavors is to create a set of standards, and taste them together.  it is really, really, REALLY difficult to create a shared lexicon with words alone. For example, one might take a Domori madagascar bar, split it in half, and then one of us taste it and desribe it, while the other one tastes it so that we're literally tasting the same thing and aligning on the vocabulary used to describe it.  I'd probably not use terms like bright to describe a flavor profile, but words like lactic acid, acetic acid, citrus (and perhaps break it down to more specificity), etc.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/29/16 06:21:45PM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

Actually, to amend my previous statement, there ARE very good references for small producers on roasting, he's just not written a book yet ;-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/29/16 06:55:10AM
754 posts

Hershey, Mars, and See's face suit over heavy metals


Posted in: News & New Product Press

It's more fearmongering for attention, and, ultimately, probablyn driven by a laywer who's looking for business.  Likely in california.  They claim that 'no one knows how they got there' - which is simply wrong. it's been understood for decades where the trace heavy metals comes from, and it happens with literally all crops that are grown in the vocanic soils.

Edited to add - a little information is a dangerous thing, and if it's not driven by a lawyer looking to create an environment where he can create litigation, if they are ultimately successful in legislating the warnings they feel are needed, chocolate companies will likely cease commercial activities in California.  The list of companies they had tested shows a pretty fundamental lack of understanding of the supply chain, as many of those companies aren't making their own chocolate.


updated by @Sebastian: 02/29/16 06:59:24AM
Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/29/16 06:48:33AM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

I'd map your static oven with data loggers, as the airflow in box ovens tends to be very uneven and you get hot spots.  Convection ovens help to mitigate this.

Bed depth, temperature, time, airflow, and thermal mass (1kg of beans will roast differently than 2kg of beans..) are all good things to start understanding.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/28/16 07:56:01PM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

not really.  there's a TON of knowledge known by large producers, who will keep that by and large as a trade secret.  outside of the large producers, very few have the resources to understand it well, and as such you'll find a very wide range of opinions backed up by very little science, and, as a result, a great deal of disagreement. this is further complexed by the fact the bbs community doesn't have an agreed upon sensory lexicon with which they can use to describe the sensory attributes - resulting in divergence of information as your definition of, say, 'bright' may be very, very different than my definition of it.  This leads individuals to think they are talking about the same thing, when in fact they are not.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/28/16 06:30:27AM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

You will get higher roast levels with these types of roasters.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/26/16 06:36:40AM
754 posts

Cleaning a Macintyre?


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

Nothing like good ol' elbow grease  8-)  those are the two most commonly used ways.  obviously one is more thorough than the other!

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/25/16 06:39:57AM
754 posts

Which cocoa bean roaster to consider?


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

I think you need to identify first what type of chocolate you want to make, what attriburtes you want it to have, and THEN select your roaster (amongst other things).  Asking 'is this a good roaster' is similiar to asking 'is a red car a good car' - the answer is, it depends on what  you're trying to do with it.

Do you want to make high roast or low roast chocolate? Do you want to nib roast or whole bean roast?  What are your expected throughputs (how much do you need to make)?  Are you interested in alkalization? Etc.

Can it roast beans to produce a good chocolate?  Certainly.  However since everyone's definition of 'good' is different, it's critical that you understand what your definition is to guide you in selecting the right components to get there.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/24/16 07:22:25AM
754 posts

How to grow cacao at home


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

I've got the blackest thumb in this side of the hemisphere, so i've never been very successful at maintaining good growth at home - but a number of my coworkers are much better at it have.  They've been successfull buy keeping it in a VERY high humidity environment - many times keeping it in the bathroom so the steam from showering humidifies the room.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/23/16 04:31:23PM
754 posts

Cooling the Chocolate Shop/ Production Area


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

Is it feasible to build a 'room in a room' - where you environmentally control the inner room, and discharge / draw from the outer room?  That way you're helping to mitigate your energy costs by focusing them on a smaller space.  Put an aircon unit through the wall and have it pull in air from the 'outer' room.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/23/16 11:51:44AM
754 posts

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


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

Way to go!  Keep at it, hand tempering will be one of the most useful things you can learn if you plan to be in chocolate.  It's not nearly as terrifying as many belive it to be 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/22/16 05:40:59PM
754 posts

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


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

I'd echo hand tempering.  A hot plate/cold box, an aluminum pan, a spatula, and a thermometer will go a LONG way for you.  A few days of practice and you'll have all the skill you need to keep going.  Having an EZ Temper on hand will also result in you being able to very rapidly work with small amounts.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/16/16 02:43:23PM
754 posts

Need HELP: Raw Cacao Butter looking different!


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

Clay Gordon: Of course, a deodorized cocoa butter could not remotely be considered raw.

Neither would most natural butter 8)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/16/16 12:16:55PM
754 posts

Need HELP: Raw Cacao Butter looking different!


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

Mold will never be an issue as long as your butter has not gotten wet.  If it's stored improperly and gets wet, all kinds of things can go wrong.  The butter in your photos is not wet.

Insects can attack cocoa butter, but it's incredibly rare.  I've only ever seen it once. 

Re: comproimsed cocoa butter - it's actually quite easy to 'blend in' other oils to cheapen it, and can be measured/identified spectroscopically.  It's done with olive oil all the time (much of the 'pure' olive oil on stores shelves isn't as 'pure' as claimed).  It's very technical, and not many people know how to do it.  I'd probably not spend much time chasing that down if i were you, to be honest.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/16/16 10:05:11AM
754 posts

Need HELP: Raw Cacao Butter looking different!


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

There's nothing wrong with it at all.   You're seeing variation in natural cocoa butter, and the porous-ness of it is simply differences in how it cooled.

if you desire more consistency in color and flavor, you need to specify you want deodorized cocoa butter from your supplier.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/16/16 06:50:18AM
754 posts

Chocolatier wanted for the UAE


Posted in: Classifieds

Certainly.  Took me forever to figure out how to use this sites messaging system too  8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/09/16 07:12:49AM
754 posts

Chocolatier wanted for the UAE


Posted in: Classifieds

A friend of mine is in need of someone with chocolate making experience for a position in Dubai.  If you're interested, pls contact me directly through the board messaging system and we'll see if you might be a good fit for him.

Thanks

-Seb

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/03/16 08:29:04PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

I'm a skeptic by nature (aren't all scientists?) - sounds like there's an excellent opportunity here to do some controlled tests on a lot of beans, mix them up, ship half in GP bags, and the other half conventionally.  Toss in some data loggers, and count what crawls out of each test.  

Lots of enterprising small batch folks here who are ordering beans. I'll help you construct the study.  Who wants to do a ship test in the name of science!  One caveat is the beans would need to disembark from a port such that the transit carries it across the equator, preferrably during winter in the northern hemisphere.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
02/03/16 06:42:16AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Jordan: Sebastian, thanks for your thoughtful responses to the above - and a clarification on GrainPro bags.  With infested cocoa, in a high temperature/high humidity environment, GrainPro's hermetic bags WILL kill the insects through suffocation.  This is how it works:  the insects (and the cocoa) respire, emitting carbon dioxide, and taking in the oxygen. Once the O2 level drops below 3%, all insects die. In other words, the hermetic GrainPro bag creates a "Modified Atmosphere" - low O2, high CO2 - which is lethal to insects (and all life). Depending on the level of infestation (which serves as the "engine"), the temperature and the humidity - a 100% insect kill can take from 1-2 weeks in a 69 KG GrainPro SuperGrainbag (SGB).  It's critical not to open the SGB (allowing more oxgyen in) during this time. 

In a colder, more temperate environment, where insect activity is reduced, there is a NON-CHEMICAL way to fumigate cocoa: Flushing with CO2 (a naturally ocurring gas). Here's how:  use a GrainPro Cocoon GHF or GrainPro Cocoon Indoor (see GrainPro website), both of which come equipped with an inlet port to enable flushing with liquid CO2.   This is an organic method of infestation control - not requiring chemical pesticides.  This CO2 flushing method vastly speeds up the insect kill - and works in temperate climates/cold warehouses.

Finally, to James initial question/issue, James should request his cocoa beans in hermetic GrainPro 69KG SuperGrainbags FROM ORIGIN (ie, Venezuela), to protect the beans in shipment, stop cross-contamination (onions, ayone?) or cross-infestation - and kill off any insects that might already be in the bag (or container) during the multi-week shipment from Venezuela to US ports.   This is the only way to control infestation without using an of the chemical 'ides...

Hope this helps.

Thanks Jordan.  I admit i'm still skeptical simply due to kinetics.  I understand the concept.  The biomass of infestation is always going to be very low on a % basis, and the metabolic oxidative draw down rate due to respiration from larvae is incredibly small, and is further predicated on no holes in the material - which is difficult to guarantee at origin. Eggs wil be even lower.   Flushing with CO2 will certainly help displace the resident oxygen.  I'd love to have some controlled experimental data to review (or better yet have conducted it myself - it's just the way i'm built). I'd worry about condensation in the bag as there's no place for the moisture to go if it's sealed that tightly, leading to mold. I'm probably most skeptical as i've been doing this for a very long time at a huge scale, and have never seen it.  That's certainly not to say i've seen everything, and i always love finding new ways of doing things - but at first blush i do remain skeptical.

Prove me wrong so i can learn!

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/26/16 06:14:10AM
754 posts

Cocoa butter infusion


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

You may consider using a deodorized cocoa butter to begin with?

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/21/16 07:57:54PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Yikes, methyl bromide (not bromine) and phosphene are both restricted use due to excessive human danger pesticides.  I can not recommend their use...

Industrial microwaves or Cobolt-60 irridiation would certainly work; however are not in practice utilized due to cost, consumer perception challenges, and flavor issues.

GrainPro barriers won't mitigate the problem, it literally puts a bag around it to try to contain it.  You could fumigate inside of the bag as a kill step, but utilizing the bag on it's own won't result in a kill, only a containment.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/20/16 08:33:42AM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

using dry ice is an attempt to modify the atmosphere - dry ice is carbon dioxide, and it sublimates (goes straight from solid to gas without a liquid phase).  the thought is that you can use it to displace the oxygen in the atmosphere, and suffocate the critters.  it will work if you contain it. personally i think it's the path of most resistance - it's expensive, condensation will be an issue, and you need to keep it tightly sealed once the atmosphere is modified (but not before, if you seal it tightly before you'll end up with a bomb).  it would very much surprise me if bay leaves and vinegar did anything helpful.  Cool and dry with spot fumigation as needed is the best option, in my opinion.

Remember to quickly discard your winnowed shell as well - the eggs are 90% on the surface of the shell, if you let your shell lay around in a warm room, they'll be quite happy to hatch the larvae there vs on the full bean in storage as well.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/19/16 07:46:06PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Cold and dry is the best storage.  I find 60F or below and 50% RH is a nice target.  Tarp and fumigate if you're seeing signs of activity.  You can also consider pheremone traps if you're getting fliers emerging.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/16/16 12:54:12PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

Yes.  Use a fogger, tent/tarp your pallets to maximize contact / exposure time, and place your fogger under said tent.  anything that ends in 'cide (pesticide, insectide, etc) i don't think i'd characterize as harmless to humans, so don't go looking for opportunties to breath it in or take a bath in it.   It's very commonly used as part of routine pest management cycles, and will be most effective if you're storing in bulk to use on a regular basis (ie don't wait until you've got a room full of moths to begin treating).

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/15/16 04:40:50PM
754 posts

Help needed for a pest issue - 'warehouse moth'


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

They're cocoa moths.   Preetty soon they'll be flying everywhere.  They're on all cocoa beans, from every origin.  

Keep your beans in a cool and dry place and the eggs won't hatch.  If you need to fumigate, that's also done regularly in cocoa warehouses all around the world.  

It is impossible to order beans from anywhere in the world that will not have an infestation issue over time, if improperly stored.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or inexperienced.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/13/16 12:15:30PM
754 posts

Growing Cacao Trees


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

 Where are you at?  Both Rutgers and Penn State have cocoa trees growing at their campuses...

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/11/16 08:56:29PM
754 posts

what machine is this?


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

All you really need is a good stick mixer (burr blender), and a recipe you're happy with.  You can make a fantastically wonderful ganache without spending 10's of thousands in capital.  If you're not satisfied with the ganaches you're currently making, i don't think an expensive piece of equipment will change that.  Not knowing your details, i'd focus on the recipe.  if by hand blender you mean a beater blender (two rotating beater blades), i'd suggest you consider an inexpensive stick blender (it's a very high RPM/shear mixer where the blades meet the ingredients; downside is that it's a small unit, so it takes longer to get full contact with all the ingredients)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/09/16 12:14:56PM
754 posts

what machine is this?


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

I've never used a cadix, but these types of things are useful as they're high shear, heated mixers.  Some of them can pull a vacuum.  Very good at mixing things up and cooking them simultaneously.  In a ganache, heating the cream can help form a better emulsion, and if you get it hot enough, can help with shelf life.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
01/07/16 07:19:46PM
754 posts

what machine is this?


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

hard to say from the photo.  could be a stephan mixer / kettle.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/23/15 07:17:46AM
754 posts

My toffee has problems -- Please Help!


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

Let us know how it turns out!  Pls send boxes of the finished product to me at .... 

 

8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/20/15 09:56:24PM
754 posts

My toffee has problems -- Please Help!


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

it's been a while since i've made toffee, and i didn't take the time to look over any of my notes for details, but it sounds like to me that you've got higher moistures than you'd like to have.  Without analytically measuring them, it's hard to confirm.  50% RH should be just fine.  Do you get the same negative results if you cook to a bit higher temp (your cook temp will be the easiest metric to use as a guage for water removal in your toffee - the higher your temp, the lower your resultant water content).  I'd be tempted to do a series of small batches (using the same lot of ingreidents, on the same day), and  prepare them back to back, looking at your current process as the control, then raise the cook temp in 5degree increments to see how they compare and if it resolves your problem or not.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/19/15 09:22:23AM
754 posts

Weirdest Mold Release Issue


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

You're too kind Ruth - one of the fascinating things about this category is theres ALWAYS something new to learn - which makes it a ton of fun!

 

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/18/15 06:40:03AM
754 posts

Weirdest Mold Release Issue


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

 No.  But some might say I dabble ;-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/16/15 06:35:03AM
754 posts

Weirdest Mold Release Issue


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

Temper problems are ALWAYS due to:

1) Time

2) Temperature

3) Contamination

Sometimes folks overcomplicate the troubleshooting - just keep those 3 tenets in mind and it helps weed out the background noise so you can ID the issue more quickly.  That's the Sebastian Principle I.

Also, for some strange reason, these things never seem to pop up during slow times.  They always present during peak season.  That's the Sebastian Principle II. 8-)

[Edited by Clay to correct a typo for clarity.]

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/10/15 06:45:50AM
754 posts

Weirdest Mold Release Issue


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

Is it possible they're being stored on a heated surface, raising the temperature of locallized areas in the molds?  Looks very much like thermal abuse to me.

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/01/15 06:50:25PM
754 posts

Anyone used the Olde Tyme peanut butter mill to make pnut butter?


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

Thanks Gap.  Need something a little faster than a stone grinder i'm afraid 8-)

Sebastian
@Sebastian
12/01/15 03:34:09PM
754 posts

Anyone used the Olde Tyme peanut butter mill to make pnut butter?


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

Thoughts on it?  Any details on how fine a grind it's able to achieve?  Does it also grind any additives one would incorporate into peanut butter (such as sugar), or is it a nut grinder only?

Any other suggestions of grinders one might look at for a very small scale (only need a couple of pounds of scale) for making nut butters would be appreciated!

Thanks folks

Sebastian
@Sebastian
11/17/15 05:24:03PM
754 posts

How Stupid do the Mast Bros Think We Are?


Posted in: Opinion

behold, the power of marketing!

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