Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools
Sounds like a great idea!
We are thinking very much on the same lines. I pan in a converted bedroom with no special insulation. However I have been planning to line it in the same way as you describe with foam panels faced with aluminium or stainless steel sheet. Also want to tile the floor. I wondered how much difference it would make and now you have inspired me!
My pan is a unit that I purchased from China. It holds 15Kg, is variable speed and cost me US$2,000 including freight from Shanghai to Sydney. I had never even seen a pan before I bought so I was trying to keep price down to see how it went. Now I need to increase the pan size and I will probably purchase an enrober too.
I am amazed at the speed at which you can pan! I mostly do coffee beans but also raspberry jellies too. More recently I have been trying the freeze-dried starwberries too which you can see I am having issues with. The coffee beans and also the jellies have flat sides and these "double" horribly. It can take me three hours or so of careful attention to get to a point where the double reduce and then two to four hours beyond that before I have completed the panning process. So your timing is mind-boggling to me!
I THINK that part of my issue (in addition to the flat surfaces) is that the small pan does not let the product drop through the air for long enough. Also I am panning at no-where near the temperatures you speak of. So your comments give me much hope that I can do much better.
How did you modify your a/c unit to yield such low temperatures? That is a neat trick!
You ask about polishing. I have spent a bit of time on this. Someone told me that the "big guys" add talc at the end to induce polish. I managed to buy some but while searching I found reference to possible problems relating to cancer. It is very close to asbestos and that has been a major problem here in Australia. So I tossed that idea pretty quickly.
I leave the product to cool overnight. Then I add gum arabic in the form of Capol 5021 which I buy in 10 liter drums. I do this in three coast and leave it to polish dry in between. Then I finally seal against moisture and to a degree, heat, with Capol 425M (which I also buy in 10 liter drums). Capol 425M is shellac disolved in alcohol.
The polishing needs to be done in low humidity - I get to around 45RH. However it's also supposed to be quite cool - about 18 degrees C or less to yield the gloss. That can be hard to achieve and there is a real trade-off between temperature and humidity. I can discuss this with you if you'd like.
So, that is it from me so far. I am keen on an enrober for two reasons - one to pre-coat the freeze-dried strawberries and second to do the same with the raspberry jellies to make them more "round" for panning. In both cases it's a pre-coat although I might do more "chocolate stuff" just enrobing. Still considering my options there.
Incidentally I THINK that I have a rather neat answer to the spraying issue too but am still looking. Will need to share that with you via email if I can't find something better.