Making small chocolate balls
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
Thanks Sue! This looks exactly what I need! And they have a lovely range of other products too that look really exciting!
Thanks a million!
Hi . Yes - that is exactly what I wish to do. I already have a range of "Chocolate Nibbles" and these are created by starting with "callets" of chocolate which are small half-spheres that come from my chocolate supplier. I pop these into my pan and add a tiny bit of melted chocolate. The callets then "double" on the flat side and then I can build from there. They are popular and easy to make. I do about 60Kg at a batch. However I want to do something with a completely different chocolate that sadly ONLY comes in 5Kg blocks - not callets. So I'm basically trying to make either callets or balls from the 5Kg blocks to get me started. On close examination now it is clear to me that the callets are made by depositing but depositors are big and very expensive. So I wondered about making balls with moulds (molds) but no-one that I can find has small ones. They all seem to be 20-25mm diam. Far too large for me. The "completely different chocolate" is sugar free - so I can't use the callets I use now as they have sugar in them. I'm a bit stumped.
Thanks for the thought It MIGHT be a solution. It would be slow and I need to do runs of around 16Kg at a tine. I think that each ball will be about .7gm so I think that is around 2,300 balls per batch. Also I will be further processing these with panning and flat edges tend to "double" although if I could cut them into cubes I might work through that. Appreciate the thought. Will think about a guitar - had not considered that route.
Hi All! I need to make a LOT of small chocolate balls. Say 10mm diam. I had been panning callets but a project I'm working on only has bulk chocolate in blocks. I only want chocolate in the centers. I've spent hours seeking moulds on web sites world wide but can't find anything. Even if I can only make half spheres that would get me started. There are spheres and half spheres 20mm and up but I really want them smaller. Any thoughts please? Thanks!
Can you advise what Chinese machine you are finding such good results from please? I use Chinese pans and I'm very pleased with them too. Can you supply a link please?
If you'd rather not put it on this site (there are sponsors to consider) would you mind emailing me please? email@example.com
Thanks for that. With panning we do indeed use untempered chocolate. With deeply crevassed products such as inca berries the chocolate fills the voids but it also coats the "peaks". As far as I can ascertain, the tumbling tempers the chocolate on the peaks but not the chocolate in the voids so the untempered chocolate is thrown out of the voids making the voids ever larger as the (tempered chocolate) peaks build up. In the five years I have been doing panning I have learned "mostly" how to work with this (a story in itself). This has been a real journey for me as seemingly very few people pan any more and those that do seem to stick to easier products such as coffee beans, nuts etc. The inca berries are the very worst to work with. But then it gives me some pretty "clear air" as most others don't try.
This "powder" is an ongoing problem and I'm hoping that someone that understands the chemistry of chocolate can shed some light. The "dust" can become quite thick - to the extent that when I try to blow it off with compressed air it gets everywhere in my panning room and if I try to add gum arabic to it, it simply soaks up the gum arabic making for a really bad surface. I AM making some progress but my "fixes" are mechanical - I'd like to know what this dust is and what is really making it form. And then, hopefully, how to prevent it.
I have a very strange problem that I am hoping for insight on. I pan inca berries (physalis peruviana) - (and a lot of other products too). However when I pan the inca berries a white(ish) powder forms on the surface of the product as it tumbles. It can become very thick - a coating of dust that is difficult to remove. Further, if I leave the coated berries resting overnight the dust multiplies.
This does NOT happen with any other product - coffee beans, cherries etc with the same chocolate.
I usually use Sicao 53% (a Callebaut brand out of Singapore - very good couverture chocolate).
I believe that the issue is created by the fact that I have to pan for a long time - sometimes hours - and I think that it might have to do with micro-movement of the chocolate as the berries contract and expand as they tumble in the pan.
The reason that I need to pan for so long is that the berries have deep crevasses and I need to fill them in by running the pan and also heating the chocolate to melt it, let it harden and then melt it again repeatedly. I believe that during this process the chocolate tembers, looses tember and re-tempers multiple times.
I suspect that it has something to do with crystalization or probably over crystalization and maybe something to do with the coca butter. But I really am bamboozled.
I'd like to know what it all is with a view to being able to avoid it developing. But it way past my modest skill set!
Does anyone have any thoughts on this please? Thanks!
I want to pan (with chocolate) some cashews. Possibly other nuts (Almonds come to mind) too. I'd like to honey coat them first but I can't find any recipe online. Well, I can, but for domestic use with all sorts of ingredients! I want to do this with larget batches - 20Kg or so at a time.
Does anyone know about this please? Any thoughts or ideas? The nuts are already roasted - I just have to honey coat them with real caramelized honey - but of course I need them dry to pan with chocolate.
I am in Sydney, Australia and this is probably the hottest continent on Earth. It's also very larg. I send chocolate around Australia and indeed to New Zealand and other coutries and this is how I do it.
This follows ask-maki's suggestion and it does work very well. I get VERY few failures and if I do I just replace.
At markets I use the same idea but one really important concept is to keep the cold air from getting out and new hot air getting in. To achieve that I pop the chocolate in the foil bag and then I heat seal it on the stand. Then the air simply can't transverse.
I can't actually buy these bags - at least not cheaply. So I buy rolls of metalized of the material (metalized bubble wrap) that I use for shipping and cut bags out of that and make the bags myself at home before going to the markets. Then I just have to heat-seal the opening on-site.
I DO keep all of my chocolate in polystyrene boxes on my stall to keep them cool. And I take these nice cold bags to seal for Customers.
Oh - forgot to say. I keep my chocolate as cold as I reasonably can and load my van just as I leave for the day. Temperture is always around 15-18C.
Hope this helps - taking care of chocolates and Customers at farmers markets becomes a real artr and I am now pretty good at it!
Captain Chocolate, Sydney, Australia
I'm Colin Green (aka "Captain Chocolate") and I manufacture chocolate goodies by panning.
Located in Sydney, Australia and I market online and via farmers markets and the like, mostly around Sydney.
The web page is at www.captainchocolate.com.au
Very much looking forward to using Clay's new site to share and learn GREAT ideas!
Thanks so much for this Marc. Received with enormous thanks!
(For the benefit of Ruth and others...) Reading through your document it seems that the initial issue is that of pre-coat. Although I am concerned to do this with freeze dried products as they may well go soggy instantly. I shall test...
There HAS to be a way...
I am going NUTS with a problem that I am hoping someone can assist with please.
I pan chocolate products and in some uneven products like some "crinkled" berries (eg raisins or dried cherries) I have a really bad problem - especially with dark chocolate.
The chocolate adhers to the product OK but in the "valleys" (crevices) of the center it will not "set". By "set" I suspect I mean "temper". It stays liquid yet on the "ridges" it goes hard.
As a result the liquid chocolate falls out of the crevices and I get deep holes. One would think that softening the chocolate would soften the ridges and the holes would close up but this does not happen.
In some products, leaving it to turn for a long time does eventually smooth out the job. But in others it just causes damage. Eg freeze dried strawberries start to break up.
I suspect strongly that the vibration in panning tempeers the chocolate on the ridges but the chocolate in the hollows does not temper - hence it falls out.
Does anyone have any thoughts please? This is giving me real grief and wasting a ton of time.
I do NOT temper before adding chocolate to the pan. I have researched this quite well and advice on this website and other places say "don't temper".
Thanks so much in eager anticipation.
How many do you need? I do this with freeze dried strawberries in order to give me a base for panning.
Thanks Mark. I precoat the centers with choclate thinned down with cocoa butter - time consuming but to date the only way I know to do this.
I do cool as I go by directing air from an air conditioner onto the product.
The chocolate is stright from the box and I hold it at around 45 degrees C so it should be OK. If I take it down too far it goes "oily" which will be the cocoa butter separating.
I don't think I'm adding too much chocolate at a time. If I do it then adheres to the pan rather than the product. In fact I do find that it pays to be generous with the application otherwise the product starts to break up - a real challenge!
I am using untempered chocolate. If it' tempered it's much harder to do and slow. The vibration of the chocolate tempers it I believe.
Thanks so much for your thoughts!
I am panning freeze dried strawberries. So quite large (much larger than coffee beans).
Currently using milk chocolate but I use white & dark too.
Problem is that as I pan deep crevices develop exposing the strawberry through the chocolate. At first I thought that if I stopped adding chocolate and simply let the batch "run" the chocolate would close over the crevises and then I could continue to add chocolate and get a nice result. But the crevices actually deepen right down to the strawberry.
I THINK I know why. I think that there are naturally "holes" in the centers and that chocolate covers the center but leaves cavities. The chocolate in the "ridges" becomes tempered by vibration but the chocolate in the cavities remains untempered and shakes out - thus the cavity grows.
This may NOT be a reasonable explanation but from my hours of observation is the conclusion I have come to.
Does anyone have any idea as to how to avoid or fix the peoblem please? It's sending me nuts and consuming a massive amount of time and effort.
Thank you so much for uncovering this for me. It is a great demonstration as to what information is on this website without asking questions. I didn't research well enough.
There is much to digest so at this stage I will just say "thank you" most sincerely.
All of my work involves panning. However I may have an opportunity to work with someone interesting on a new project that involves molds. In essence it is to make company logos out of chocolate by use of molding. But this is virgin territory to me!
I'm OK with tempering etc. But as regards the molds I know little.
Are polycarbonate molds the ones to use? And how do I get molds made? How many items (about an inch across) would I get from a sheet of molds? I am thinking that I'd need to make around say, 1,000 pieces a week (that may be inaccurate but at least it's a number). Do molds have a "life"? How many times can the be used?
Any idea as to prices? I would need to have these molds created for me.
I think that the molds could be emptied and reused in about an hour after the chocolate has set. Sounds right?
Finally, I shall need a tempering machine and a depositor (I guess...) I am thinking that FBM would be the way to go?
ANY advice would be so welcome.
Thanks Clay. The information I received was FAR more than I might have hoped for. And much of the material that you gave me links to took me in other directions that have had me pondering.
The BIG one was "temper or not" and there was enough information to send me back to "untempered" and "experiment more".
Your illustration of the FBM install is graphic! Can't imagine doing one with no experience. Although the FBM people are fantastic supporting with videos and the like!
Thank you sincerely Clay, Brad and Gap. I totally appreciate your thoughts.
Clay - the articles you have provided are extremely interesting and shed light on a lot more than I had asked for. Fantastic information! Thanks!
One thing I did not share is how I apply the chocolate. I do this by hand and can do up to 70Kg (154lb) per batch in my big pan (although I usually do 35Kg). The Minifie article suggests tempered chocolate for hand panning (I assume that he means chocolate application by pouring) and untempered when spraying. Everyone else is saying "untempered" for any panning.
Any thoughts please? I really can't see how it is practical to pan with tempered chocolate - or at least using a baine marie and seeding which is my only means of tempering at this stage.
I also note that they suggest application at 34-35C which is pretty cold and getting close to the solidification temperature - yet he says that that is where tempering will occur in the pan. This is really important I think as I think I may have forced "setting" of the chocolate resulting in big crystals (ie not type V or VI) and hence grittiness. BUT panning at low temperatures (I tried 36C) results in a greasy result (in milk chocolate) which I assume to be some function of the cocoa butter impacting. Panning at around 42-48C avoids this - but I think from this information I am working too hot.
Brad - your comment about the judges is a fair one. I enter chocolate competitions and frankly panning is the poor cousin against the high-end chocolatiers. And indeed some judges can be as you say. However I have been able to score some golds and even "Best Product from an Emerging Manufacturer" for one product and in an on-line environment where Customers are seeking clues as to quality these do help.
Take a peek at http://www.captainchocolate.com.au to see how I use them for marketing.
But if they are a true reflection is sometimes doubtful. They DO encourage me to lift my game and I get feedback. But sometimes they are downright discouraging and costly too!
Thanks again Guys!
I pan coffee beans and other centers. I have always used untempered chocolate which has been successful. It is my understanding that the vibration of panning makes type V crystals thus tempering the chocolate.
However in a recent competition my product was marked down as the judges said that the chocolate was gritty and took too long to melt on the tongue. Of course I was horrified! The suspect was the micron size of the solids and the cocoa butter content but on careful checking both are seemingly excellent.
I was VERY fortunate to be able to communicate with two of the judges and one, who is very respected (they both are) insists that I should have used tempered chocolate.
This baffled me but I took his advice and today did a batch with tempered chocolate. To put it mildly it was a mess. The chocolate became far too thick resulting in lots of "doubles" and was very hard work. And I can't really detect that it's any better.
I am looking at other possibilities but can anyone tell me whether I really should use tempered chocolate? One expert says "yes". Two others and an article I have to hand says "untempered". Common sense says that it's simply too hard to use tempered chocolate when panning.
Does anyone have advice please? DOES the panning process produce type V crystals? So can I use untempered chocolate?
My panning environment is usually around 45-50%RH and temperature 17C (62F) in the room with a bit lower in the pan (as best I can get). I use dark (70%), milk (36%) and white chocolate.
I really thought I had this nailed down but I MUST listen to what these guys say - but it just seems wrong.
Any thoughts please?
Thanks a million
You don't make "chocolates" with panning. You are right - it's for coating centers such as coffee beans, nuts, freeze dried strawberries, razzcherries and the like. No, you can't make truffles, ganache etc.
BUT - to do the more "fancy" stuff you need expensive equipment if you are to do this in commercial quantiies. You can do some REALLY nice creations for a small outlay but if you want to make money you need to splash out.
I was not really in a place I could do that and I needed to be profitable quickly so I decided on panning.
Others can help you on equipment needed and prices. Clay has access to some great gear at more than fair prices. But it can still get costly. Union Standard in New York have good deals on second hand gear too although that proved too costly for me down here in Australia - but it should be far better for you. And this website has great deals on second hand gear quite often.
Not sure I can say much more except "good luck!"
I have received so much valuable advice in this forum that I feel a need to "give back" where I can. However I don't do the really clever stuff that so many in this group do so I held back. But I DO have a market stall and manage to pull in around $600-$1000 a day from that stall.
I could not afford the equipment required for so many chocolate products so decided on panning. Pans are relatively inexpensive and I now have two of them with which I can make up to 70Kg per day (packing is another story!)
Your stall will give you access to all sorts of people and their ideas and also allow you to test your ideas and products.
One REALLY critical thing is to consider who you will sell to and select a market in an area that will give you best returns. I abandonded one market that was giving me back less than $200 a day shifting to one that gave me $600-$1000 a day. The difference was the demographics of the area (the new one has a population with higher disposable income and lots of tourists) and also the time of opening hours. A common "objection" I encounter is "it's too early for chocolate". So I selected a market that opened at 10:00am and closed at 4:00pm as opposed to 7:00am closing at 2:00pm. Made a huge difference!
Hope this helps a bit and if you need more info I'll be pleased to comment.
Does anyone use Sicao chocolate? It is owned by Barry Callebaut as I understand it and manufactured by Callebaut in Singapore and I thought was one of the best chocolates around (I am based in Australia).
I would VERY much appreciate any thoughts as I am trying to use VERY good (but affordable) chocolate for my entire production and it has been questioned by judges in a recent show I entered it for judging in.
A Google search seems to give favourable feedback - nothing negative - but I would appreciate any feedback please.
Thanks Clay. My big problem is in the polishing stages. I use Capol 5021A (Gum Arabic) for the polish and Capol 425M for the seal.
The instructions for dark chocolate for Capol 5021A is that the temperature is to be 16-18C (12-14C for milk and white) and the RH 40-50%. Same with the seal (Capol ). Also, once done, the product must go onto trays for at least two hours before packing. In practise I usually leave it overnight and then either pack or put into bins for later packing (so I can select the pack sizes that I may need as I sell product).
The dehumidifier I use is a refrigerant type which means that it freezes water out of the atmosphere. There are two drawbacks. One is that it suddenly goes into a "de-ice" mode where the humidty soars - suddenly it's up to say, 65% from 48% which of course renders shock to the job I am working on making it sticky and then the seal layer of one piece fuses with the seal layer of another piece and then they tear and the job is bad. Secondly as the temperature reduces I can hit the dew point and then my dehumidifier fights with my air conditioner and the humidity goes up beyond acceptable levels.
Much of this is a problem of being very small. There are dehumidifers that dry the air then heat it to avoid the dew point problem. I have not really examined this in detail as I know that it's outside of my budget. I would also need to install bigger air conditioning - also costly.
Part is also that I work from home and the sealing on the room I use is sub-optimal.
So I wondered at installing a dessicant dehumidifer and was not sure if going ever lower for the RH% would be an advantage.
You say "no" and I have now had advice from Capol that it would be a bad idea too. So I won't do that.
So I am still seeking a way to get the RH dwon and keep it constant. Temperature is not so hard - although anoything below 18C gets challenging - especially here in Sydney in summer time (now) where it has been up to 42C in the past month.
Thanks for your thoughts - I'm going to try to find some of that bio-char here!
That is seriously interesting Clay! I do wonder how it would go in a commercial sense though. A possible application is to pop one of the bags in the pan overnight and seal it when I've done a batch and then the load should be be ready to polish in the morning!
The room sizes they speak of are tiny - for muppets I think! Very interesting concept though!
I WAS wondering about using a system to take my RH to 30% but have had feedback that this would dry the job out too much and make it chalky.
Here in Australia we are having really strange weather. Bushfires and record temperatures a couple of weeks back and then very heavy rainfall. It's all adding up to high humidity which is proving "interesting" for chocolate - especially polishing in a pan.
At the moment I can't get below about 60% RH although I have had my dehumidifier on for days with the room closed.
I have a home based business working out of a converted "spare room". I know that I need to work more on sealing it better. But there is more to the problem than that. When the temperature reduces the RH increases. Sadly the dehumidifer also stops working or it goes into a "de-ice cycle" and then the RH soars and if I am polishing I have MAJOR problems.
While there is seemingly nothing I can about it (the manufacturer tells me) I HAVE to fix the problem.
One thought is a dehumidifier that also heats the air to drive up the "dew point". More "non-chocolate" technology to get my head around and pay for too. I think costly.
Another is to use a dessicant dehumidifier. In essence, the raw, moist air is blown into a silica gel wheel where the water is removed. The wheel then goes through a heater where the water is driven off and exhausted to the outside air and then the cycle is repeated.
SOUNDS like a neat solution and seemingly not too costly (about $5,000).
But I don't know anyone that has done this.
Does anyone have any comments please? I need to fix the problem!
Thanks for that Sebastian. I was concerned that I may alter the characteristics of the white chocolate by taking it that high. Cost and flavour are not too concerning as this is only a very thin pre-coat. Appreciate your help on this.
I could REALLY do with some help please.
I need to thin down chocolate in order to apply a thin layer to enable me to pan freeze dried products. It holds the center together so I can then pan - which is otherwise impossible.
It's been quite a journey and I have been very sucessful with dark & milk chocolate. I am using the best chocolate I can find - no compound product. It's Sicao which is owned by Barry Callebaut - hard to do much better for commercial chocolate I think. I have even won a gold medal and a trophyfor the end product.
My method is to combine chocolate and cocoa butter ina baine marie and melt them at 45C (48C for dark).Proportions are 66% cocoa butter, 33% chocolate. Then I have been able to temper this by adding another 25% of the total volume with chocolate callets of seed chocolate and dropping to 30 or 32C (milk or dark). This makes a nice thin mix which tempers very well and holds everything together for subsequent panning.
I can hold that in temper easily by staying at 30C for milk or 32 for dark chocolate. It lasts for ages.
Now I want to do the same for white chocolate and I did the same as for milk (only difference is the temperatures - I used 43/30C as for milk).
Firstly the seed callets didn't melt entirely so I had to keep stirring for a good while. Then I got a call and had to leave the job and returned in about an hour. With earlier jobs this would have been no problem as it's easy to hold at the required 30C.
However when I returned the whole thing had gone quite solid! Not at all what would have happened with my milk or dark. I guess it had pretty much tempered but I did think that holding at 30C would have prevented that.
The specs of the milk and white chocolate are very close excepting (of course) that the milk has 11.5% cocoa mass and the white has none. The milk has 4.5% skimmed milk powder too. The sugar, cocoa butter and whole milk powder composition of both are almost the same.
I can't really see what the melting point of the two chocolates are - it's not on the spec sheets. But it can't be far below 30C. Maybe 25-28 - but my temperature is above that at 30C. But I HAVE to stay at 30C to keep temper - I don't think I can increase it anyway.
Am I using too much cocoa butter for the white chocolate?
Any thoughts please?
Thanks sooo much!
Has anyone tried panning ginger? I have done two batches - one dark choc and the other milk. Using Sicao chocolate so it's very good chocolate.
I tried it in my big pan (55Kg) but the ginger pieces flex and the chocolate breaks away. So I switched to my small pan (15Kg) and slowed it right down - same problem. Seemingly nothing is gentle enough to prevent the ginger flexing and breaking up. I thought that the milk chocolate may have worked as it's not as brittle as dark but it didn't work out
Am thinking of pre-coating with a thin layer of chocolate/cocoa butter prior to panning but that is a lot of work and I'm not convinced it will work. It works well with very light centers but I fear that the heavier ginger will simply break the layer up when I get to pan.
Does anyone have any thoughts please?
I have just purchased a Campbell Hausfeld HVLP spray gun for spraying with chocolate. Initial results have been disapointing with very little chocolate coming through. On reading the manual carefully it seems that the unit is shipped with an "all purpose" nozzle/needle (they need to be matched). I think that it needs the "thick" nozzle/needle but I can't get a response from Campbell Hausfeld to buy one as yet.
Although I heated the "cup" on the sprayer I did not heat the tube that dips into the chocolate (thinking that the chocolate would do that). When I opened up to clean out this was blocked although I had tried to spray hot water through in an effort to clean.
I was trying to spray light items (freeze dried fruit) and the force of the air coming through the gun simply blows them away. I'll have to pin them down I think for the first coat.
Not giving up as yet. Will try Sebastian's thought for cocoa butter if it does not degrade my chocolate too much.
That's pretty interesting Brian. Thanks for that. So I assume that all of the chocolate coating the pan interior melts off and adheres to the product? Don't you get "dents" in the product where it comes in contact with the hard stainless steel pan without the cushioning effect of the chocolate lining? I assume that you still need to seal with shellac? If so, wouldn't the product lack "grip" without the chocolate lining or ribs? Or is that in another pan?
Thanks Edward. I wondered if something like that may be the answer. I DO find it helpful to be able to add a dab of heat from time to time but don't think this is industry practise.
Anyway, I have ordered my pan and now await for it to arrive!
I am buying a pan to increase capacity in my small chocolate set-up. Most suppiers stress that they have heating on their pans but I fail to see why. It has the effect that a pan drawing 1.5Kw needs a further 4Kw for the heater and as I am already having to consider installing a three phase power converter too it ups my price significantly.
On my current small pan (15kg) I have no heating although I do sometimes cheat and smooth out the choclate covered coffee beans with careful application of heat from a blower. But I consider that a "cheat" - not a requirement.
I saw on another post here that a member assumed that he'she would need heating - so I hesitate as I don't consider myself an expert in this area. But as I say, I just don't see the point!
Is it that other forms of confectionery (ie, not chocolate) need added heat and that is why it's supplied? Or am I missing something that might become glaringly obvious when I get to the much larger volumes (70Kg load) that the new system will hopefully deliver? I really acn't easily afford to do this wrong. Thanks!
This is definately going to brand me as a "newbie"...
Is there any particular reason why I can't pan tempered chocolate over untempered?
I ask as I am still struggling with freeze dried strawberries. I have been dipping them in tempered chocolate and setting them aside for later panning. The panning process tempers chocolate (I am told...), hence "Tempered Chocolate over Untempered".
Dipping in tempered chocolate is a hassle.
If I could simply dip and cool and then pan I'd save lots of time and effort and the chocolate would be softer for the pan.
However I am told that I can't pan over untempered chocolate - I think because it will bloom.
I am questioning this but does anyone have any thoughts before I waste more time and maybe product trying it out?
Yes - I think I have it now. Although still working on it.
The spray gun was a total failure for the reasons given earlier. However two very good things came from it. One was that if anyone is thinking of using a standard spray gun for chocolate I'd sincerely suggest that they DON'T go there. I'm now told that if I want to use milk chocolate then that's different - should have specified that in the first place. Buy new needles and nozzels. I give up. I have no belief that that will work now. So I have blown my money.
The GOOD part is that I do have belief in the Krebs product not the least for the wonderful attitude and help from Sean from Krebs that pops up on this forum. He has good answers for chocolate spraying although I am still cautious of the air pressure. However the following seems to indicate that I won't need to spray.
(Incidentally, the overspray can be handled by spraying into a BIG BOX. Simply work within it.)
The second VERY good idea came from this forum and some others I have been chasing around with. I tempered a 50/50 mix of Sicao milk chocolate and cocoa butter and as you say, piled my strawberries into the pot. Have to work quite fast and REALLY watch the temperatures. Then pour them into a seive and let the chocolate mix drip out. (Did I say to REALLY watch the temperature?) Then pick the berries off one by one - a fast process - and place them on a special "chocolate mat" I purchased. The chocolate won't seep into the mat and the strawberries break off cleanly with almost no "foot".
When they "set" - as the mix is tempered that happens quickly - I simply take them off and pile them into the pan and start to build the chocolate up. The layer is really thin but as it's tempered it's hard and the strawberries tumble well without breaking up - although I need REAL care as once they start to break they go to pieces quickly.
This process has drastically shortened the process from a two day process to about seven hours turnaround and I am convinced that I can reduce it further. It's still not really "commercial" but a LOT better. I am about to do the same with dark and white chocolate too.
Also looking at enrobing to see if I can make it faster still but the above may not mean that I can delay purchasing the enrober (although I REALLY want it for other things too) if modifications to the above work even better.
I have this weekend installed an AMAZING "Cool Bot" - idea also from this forum - which will help me HEAPS with low temperature control (after tempering and in panning). And am waiting for my new 70Kg pan to arrive too. PLUS a new spray system for the pan. With all of these I SHOULD be able to make commercial quantities semi-automated in time for the Christmas rush.
Thanks so much for this. I am going to have another try at the system I have purchased as it cost me quite a bit of money and I have not tried the dilution with cocoa butter idea as yet. I have ordered some and it should arrive tomorrow. The high air flow is a problem although I can turn it down - although I assume that that will imact the way the sprayer works.
I am in Australia so I assume that I can get one here OK.