Forum Activity for @Tom

Tom
@Tom
10/25/14 08:05:29PM
205 posts

Francois Pralus


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

I would say that he has done this technique for many years and knows how the taste of his brewed tea translates into finished chocolate. I have a similar method where i taste the beans as they are roasting every 5 mins after about 15 min roasting to see when i should end the roast. I taste two shelled beans with half a teaspoon of sugar and munch it for a while. This gives me a precise idea of how that will translate into finished chocolate, not because it tastes exactly like the finished chcooate will but because of many years of experience in translation from this to finished chocolate. I know that certain flavours and aromas will not translate into the finished chooclate and i know how others will change and develop. Translation is the key here, i think
Tom
@Tom
08/30/14 09:54:09PM
205 posts

Heavy Metals


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Except in the case of the Aussie growers which have soil tested. Oh and i have asked growers from islands that i have made batches for but they dont get testing done but usually these are small plantations.
Tom
@Tom
08/30/14 09:10:21PM
205 posts

Heavy Metals


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Thanks guys, so the responsibility is on the chocolate manufacturer when it is all said and done and the new bean to bar makers will discover in due course that they need to be doing this testing so they can formulate appropriately to the regs if there are any.So the biggest risk really is then to the hobby chocolate maker who will have absolutely no idea of the heavy metal levels in their beans. I have been making chocolate for almost seven years and have been buying small 1-15kg batches from many origins and have never been given any assurances on heavy metal levels, but then again i have never asked.
Tom
@Tom
08/20/14 09:18:36AM
205 posts

Heavy Metals


Posted in: Chocolate Education

So is the limit just a guide? Is Haighs only playing by the rules as a way to avoid customers laying any claims against them or is it an offence in itself to exceed the limit?
Tom
@Tom
08/14/14 08:13:09PM
205 posts

Heavy Metals


Posted in: Chocolate Education

I am wondering with all the new small bean to bar chocolate makers if any are getting heavy metal testing done. This I am curious about because some makers maybe get a bag or two in from obscure sources and heavy metal testing may not be something that they think they need to do. I know that Haigh's here in Adelaide are very concerned about this aspect and every shipment is evaluated for heavy metals. With their import size as well Australian customs would get on their case about the levels too but with smaller imports they may slip through - at least for a little while until customs catch on.

Is it common practice for plantations to have their soils tested or beans tested before export? I would guess no judging by the fact that Haigh's test everything.

Also I do know that the Australian growers have their soils tested and this was a very important aspect of setting up the plantations.


updated by @Tom: 04/10/15 11:43:36AM
Tom
@Tom
06/07/14 07:57:33PM
205 posts

How to grow cacao at home


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

Hi Chantelle, where you have it in the shop it probably isnt getting enough sun. I have one on the window sil at work. It has been growing well for 2 years and is about 70 cm tall now. I planted one in Darwin at my sister in laws house and it was that big after about 3 months, so we do face issues here in Adelaide. On my window in never gers below 15 deg C and as the dappled sun (we have louvers) hits it the terracota pot warms to about 25 deg C even in the last week. This is helped by the large thermal mass of the building i work in, so ambient temp overnight doesnt drop low. Also i water well and use a high magnesium fertiliser. I sometimes water with warm water if it goes a few days where there is not much direct sun. I also spray it with water about three times a day but not on weekends. I found mine was very slow to grow initially but it seemed to reach a critical number of leaves in the last year and is growing super well now. Good luck
Tom
@Tom
05/13/14 11:20:28PM
205 posts

cacao cucina


Posted in: Opinion

I think I found a vid Clay at this address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCCxeODNTK4

Looks like an automated screw expeller, like the hand worked Piteba one. I bought one of these and had no luck in getting cocoa butter out of it. However Bob Rankin also had a Piteba and was getting it to work but he died before he got around to helping me tweak what I was doing to get it to work. Just wondering what options are available in the automated version for speed and aperture for the solid and liquid output. These things need to be adjusted as the system warms up too (with the Piteba).

Found some instructions for use.

Looks like heating is controlled by thermostat for expelling the solid which is good as I found the end of the Piteba sometimes cooled down and this stopped the cocoa solid from coming out.

Tom
@Tom
04/06/14 12:53:24AM
205 posts

"Whole Bean Chocolate"


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Don't forget the Pralus choc coated cocoa beans, they have the shell on them. I was taken quite by surprise when i had some a few years ago, for the above stated reasons.
Tom
@Tom
03/18/14 03:20:30AM
205 posts

Texture Issues


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Here is what I have found using the Spectra 10. Refine your cocoa liquor first down to desired size, this is quick as nibs are soft in comparison to sugar. Then add your other ingredients, I find this produces a better chocolate texture. Using this technique I find using large crystal raw sugar is best, using powdered sugar makes a thick paste and slows your grinder down and extends grind time. I would like to explain more but I shattered my dominant side collar bone and this typing one handed lark is irritating. Just do it, it works, test for yourself. Cheers

Tom
@Tom
03/04/14 04:10:12PM
205 posts

In need of a starting roast profile for these 3 test origins for my company.


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

This is how i do it and it works very well. Pre heat oven to 170 degC with a high edge baking tin inside. Pour beans into tin so the beans sit in a layer about two beans thick (i have a tray that takes 800g to 1kg so this is the roast scale i work on and hence the times i mention will be based on this batch size). After 5 min at 170 degC, turn oven down to 150 degC and stir the beans every 5 min. After 15 min at 150 degC i taste the beans every five minutes from that point when i stir them until i think they are done. The way i do this is to select two beans one big, one small and shell them, then pop them in my mouth with about half a teaspoonfull of sugar. Chew this to a paste in your mouth and it will give you a rough approximation of what your choc will taste like at that roasting time. As for specific times for those origins well that depends on your taste, a lot of people like a light roasted Madagascar, but i like a darker roast and this can translate to an extra ten min roasting. As a guide though the lightest roast i have done was with some Samoan beans and this was only 20 min at the 150 degC stage and longest was 45 min at the 150 degC stage for a batch of Aussie beans. Generally you will find that bitterness will increase as you roast and astringency will decrease, some can get bitter very quickly like the Samoan which is why the roast was so short. So it is about balancing these two parameters with that of the choc flavour formation, everyone has a different opinion. Good luck, you should be fine.
Tom
@Tom
12/19/13 02:30:03AM
205 posts

Ganache Separation Difficulties


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

In answer to the first question about adding warm cream to warm chocolate your desired combined temp is too much and it breaks, maybe try lowering the temp of the cream. The way I do it with 85 degree C cream onto solid room temp chocolate.

As for the reason not to boil cream, well I read this somewhere and then in my head my reasoning was that the hotter you heat cream the more the proteins denature (unravel) and then when they cool again they agregate with other proteins. And if your emulsion (ganache)is stabilised by the proteins then changing their form is likely to change their ability to stabilise the emulsion. Also practically this works very well, before when I used boiled cream, quite often I would have the ganache break, implementing the method of not boiling cream and only taking it to 85 degrees C I don't have a problem anymore.

Tom
@Tom
12/16/13 02:56:55PM
205 posts

Ganache Separation Difficulties


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

Some tips that have worked for me:1. Never boil the cream....never, just get it to about 85 degrees celcius, ganache will be much more stable2. To fix a broken ganache add a splash of cold skim milk and blend with immersion blenderAs for your issue i think your cream is just too hot for the tempered chocolate. I have never found it neccessary to use tempered chocolate since using tip 1 above. I just use finely chopped untempered chocolate and cream at 85 degC, let it sit a few minutes then blend.Hope this is useful
Tom
@Tom
11/28/13 02:42:52PM
205 posts

get ill from chocolate


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

What, roasting it?? ;)
Tom
@Tom
11/25/13 11:00:28PM
205 posts

Cacao beans


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I look forward to another bean to bar chocolate in the Australian market. Just be aware that the greatest issue with making chocolate on a small scale in Australia is the sourcing of small packets of good quality beans. And if you do find a good source making sure that source is consistently good, variability of flavour is fine and almost desireable season to season but some go from good to inedible. Josh Bahen was the subject of an article in the Australian recently and touches on this, saying that he had his equipment for 18 months before putting out any bars because sourcing beans that he was happy to make chocolate out of was a real issue. I will attempt to attach article.

Tom
@Tom
11/25/13 02:55:10PM
205 posts

Cacao beans


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Also check the chocolate down under group for discussion on bean to bar chocolate makers in Australia. It is always fun to benchmark your chocolate against others, there are 16 or so commercial operations now, mostly doing dark chocolates.Enjoy your journey!
Tom
@Tom
11/25/13 02:50:51PM
205 posts

Cacao beans


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hi Ross, where in QLD a you? You could grow the cacao yourself if you are around Innesfail or above. There is also Loving Earth sells beans but again none of us have tried them for chocolate making. I have used Nui in the past for vanuatu beans, they also do fijian sometimes too. Other than that there is not a lot of option unless you are mates with a grower somewhere who is prepared to ship you small amounts at a reasonable cost. You also have the option to buys from Chocolate Alchemy, many of us have started that way but shipping is expensive.I also saw you are diabetic, if you start making chocolate you have options to make low GI chocolate using sweeteners such as coconut sugar. I have done this and the taste is very nice in a dark chocolate.
Tom
@Tom
11/23/13 12:50:05AM
205 posts

Chocolate oxidation


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

I like the term photo degradation Sebastian, it is more useful for non chemists. Oxidation does not necessarily involve oxygen. Oxidation is just loss of an electon, which photons can do (photooxidation), UV wavelengths as you have pointed out. Other great oxidisers which arent oxygen and dont even involve an oxygen atom are the halogen gases. As you also eluded to different molecules are more susceptible, some like the polyphenols in choc can continue the cascade as well, as once they have lost an electron, and because they are relatively stabilised they can react with other molecules, rather than internal quenching. My question back to Oliver is why the concern, you can delve as deep as you like on this broad and complex topic. Re reading your original question i feel that there is just the confusion in the term photooxidation, which is a process which doesnt have to involve oxygen at all, it is just the removal of an electron from a molecule by a photon and the subequent reaction of the resulting reactive species, usually degradation, as Sebastian said.
Tom
@Tom
11/22/13 04:19:05PM
205 posts

Chocolate oxidation


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

Oxygen can react with oxygen in two basic ways, either through triplet state or singlet state, usually on the carbon carbon double bonds in fats of protons adjacent these groups. This is why cocoa butter is so stable to oxidation because it does not contain many of these groups. The triplet state reaction is called the ene reaction and the singlet state reaction is a cycloaddition reaction, this is the one catalysed by light because you need light to excite the oxygen to singlet state, this process also requires a sensitiser as well, polyphemols are good at this. I would say most people just throw the term oxidation around and not really understand it. As i said it is not a big problem in chocolate, firstly because the fat is mostly saturated (milk fats on the other hand are different and more susceptible), secondly it is a solid, so only the surface is exposed to oxygen and or light.
Tom
@Tom
11/20/13 10:38:17PM
205 posts

Chocolate oxidation


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

Reaction with oxygen is facilitated by light

Tom
@Tom
10/27/13 10:38:20PM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Interesting take on this. However, I see one issue and that is that the majority of rich people who could pay a lot for chocolate simply don't live where chocolate grows (obvious exception is Hawaii and perhaps some other places). Wine on the other hand grows where the rich live. I have paid $20 for chocolate bars I can buy here (which is a lot and sometimes not really worth it)but with a wife, kids, mortgage etc I haven't been OS in over 10 years. One other thing is proximity of other bean to bar makers, in a wine region you have 10s if not 100s of big and boutique wineries offering theirown little twist on the local conditions and then there are the varieties and blends in the mix, perhaps again Hawaii is an exception here. The point being that people who go to or holiday in wine regions want this variety and expect to visit 5-10 wineries in a weekend.

Tom
@Tom
09/25/13 11:07:33PM
205 posts

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what is in this picture and how it affects bean to bar


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

This is just the germ, true it is more bitter and harderbut don't bother taking themall out.You can get rid ofquite a few of them by using a fine kitchen sieve, when I crack my beans I push everything through a 1/4 inch sieve (to remove whole beans so I can crack them again and have a uniform size) and then use a kitchen sieve to remove dust and quite a lot of the germ.

As for the bitterness I don't think the germ here is responsible. More likely the beans inherent bitterness, I have found this origincan give that lingering bitterness especially if roasted too long and esspecially if the batch you have is not well fermented. Also with a 90% formulation you will notice it more, go for something more like a 70% and see how that goes. A good way of using beans that are a bit too bitter is to make milk chocolate with it.

Tom
@Tom
06/19/13 11:17:37PM
205 posts

Dodgy Samoan cocoa dealer....


Posted in: Opinion

I met David about a year ago when he came out to Australia(actually I think he is Sydney based, but originally from Samoa) with Steve Brown (exAdelaide boy but 20 years in Samoa)to promote and sell Samoan cacao. they seemed pretty legitiment, had stacks of cacao and RichardhadhisKoko Samoa product with him(essentially a Crio Bru type of thing).They looked the part.I believe you met with this group, Howard Frederick was with them in Melbourne I think. Imade somebars up from their beans and went with them to meet with Haigh's when they were here, as a consultant. Steve promised a lot but once the road trip was over, pretty much all communication was lost, they screwed over a local analytical chem place and they did promise to pay me for the bars I had made, but nothing. Steve did claim that the analytical chemistry thing was a 'miscommunication' and that paying me was dependant on obtaining some funding from the Samoan government. My take on it is that they didn't pick up enough contracts on the road trip, certainly not Haigh's,(which they took to the USA also, at least Howard did), the money ran out andno grants were forth coming. So that was the end of that. Samoan farmers go back to selling to who they can, doing poor post harvest practices, like washing beans after ferment, and cremating the cacao for the local market.......an opportunity to resurrect a countries cacao industry goes by.

That is my piece of the story anyway.

Tom
@Tom
06/06/13 10:59:02PM
205 posts

Bean to Bar


Posted in: Chocolate Education

I believe Nick from Nick's Chocolate out of Brisbane took that course and I have tried his chocolate and it is pretty nice stuff, if that is any recommendation. You could try contacting him to see what he thought of the coursethrough his website. www.nickschocolate.com.au

Tom
@Tom
04/13/13 05:41:01PM
205 posts

Almond Paste: Make it or buy it?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I have found the same thing as Brad
Tom
@Tom
02/27/13 09:14:49PM
205 posts

Making Milk Chocolate


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

Wow that is almost a white chocolate!

Tom
@Tom
02/24/13 09:55:57PM
205 posts

Making Milk Chocolate


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

As a general rule you want to have your cocoa fats (calculated from liquor and added cocoa butter) between 35 and 45%. My milk chocolates are down around the 35% and dark chocolates can be up to 45% but generally about 40%. You are going way too heavy on the milk powder in my opinion, the most I have ever had in a formulation has been 20%. Good luck, formulating milk chocolate is tricky to get just how you would like it, with the desired rheology.

Tom
@Tom
02/21/13 11:27:27PM
205 posts

Aussie Chocolate Maker in the Modern Craft Project


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks, Clay,I was in a hurry, forgot that it was protected. Just thought it was an interesting project that other craft chocolate makers might like to know about.

Tom
@Tom
02/21/13 05:55:18PM
205 posts

Aussie Chocolate Maker in the Modern Craft Project


Posted in: News & New Product Press

This site is for a project initiated by Ketel One Vodka.

It is sitting behind an authentication screen (you say you are over 21 to visit the site). In order to see this entry you MUST pick Australia as the country you are coming from OR you can authenticate for your home country, close the browser window or tab, and then click on the link to load the page. [Instructions added by Clay.]

Joshua Bahen@ The Modern Craft Project (Australia)


updated by @Tom: 04/11/15 03:39:52PM
Tom
@Tom
02/11/13 10:19:46PM
205 posts

The results of my gamble....


Posted in: Self Promotion / Spam

Nice one on the new project, looking forward to seeing it. Good to put a face to the name, and not a bad singing voice either.

Tom
@Tom
01/09/13 10:22:58PM
205 posts

Bean to Bar Maker Co-operatives


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

Some wineries do this. Glen Ewin Estate here in Adelaide where the cellar door represents several wineries. The wineries may even use same grapes but would be a hard job to tell.

Tom
@Tom
11/13/12 07:33:23AM
205 posts

Eat More Chocolate, Help Your Country


Posted in: News & New Product Press

A strong correlation has been found between average chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel Prizes won by country. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMon1211064 or see article in New Scientist Nov 3, 2012.So get eating, i am certainly eating above my average, i estimate my intake at around >15kg of dark or dark milk chocolate annually.
updated by @Tom: 04/09/15 02:29:21PM
Tom
@Tom
11/10/12 06:36:26AM
205 posts

That One Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Likewise for me, i make a bar lovingly dubbed Daintree Mocha, a dark milk Australian chocolate with just a hint of coffee ground in and packed with crispy mouthwatering nibs......damn going to have to go and eat some now!If commercial, very difficult, Pralus Chuao or Valrhonas El Pedregal....got to go
Tom
@Tom
11/04/12 09:28:47PM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Oh and by the way the parrallels I draw from the wine industry concern mainly the manufacture and flavour development steps not the marketing and promotion, chocolate is its own beast in that respect.


updated by @Tom: 09/16/15 07:21:42AM
Tom
@Tom
11/04/12 09:13:27PM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

I think coffee is an equally reasonable business model to follow, I have observed both closely as a guide in planning a business model, in fact I see a hybrid of the two being successful as chocolate is more versatile with a bigger potential consumer base than both wine and coffee. However I do think that a culture of appreciating fine chocolate that resembles that of wine would be replicated, in fact it already exists, the website www.seventypercent.com is just one clear example. In fact it would be one to really build and capitalise on because it is not age restricted. Don't forget that the connoisseurship of chocolate can be linked with that of wine through chocolate and wine pairing as some of the wineries around here are discovering is quite lucrative. Essentially you have a market segment that you can directly tap in the fashion that you are claiming chocolate cannot achieve.

Tom
@Tom
11/04/12 03:48:11PM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

I agree the beginings are there. A lot can be borrowed from the wine industry in achieving this, the parallels in wine and chocolate producting were very apparent when i was a post doc at the universities wine research campus. What was also very apparent is how much behind the choclate industry is and how much opportunity there is. I have a lifetimes worth of experiments id like to work on.Perhaps this is why two Australian chocolate company founders came through the same institution as wine makers. Both Bahen and Co Chocolate Makers and Kennedy and Wilson were founded by wine makers. All be it Kennedy and Wilson start with liquor, they do some very nice blends and flavour combos.
Tom
@Tom
11/04/12 02:53:56PM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Perhaps rarity is the key, you could grow two or three trees in a green house in an odd place like New York or Vatican City and take it tree-to-bar making only a dozen to two dozen per harvest. Or shoot for twenty six bars.
Tom
@Tom
11/04/12 04:52:03AM
205 posts

What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

I think that is a very interesting idea. As someone who may potentially buy one i would say history and reputation of a company would be important. A new market entry would find it difficult to produce and sell a $100 bar of chocolate. As for what characteristics a chocolate bar would have to have to be worth it, well approaching it from a makers (hobbyist) perspective who has delt with fermentation studies over several years from the same plantation i would say i would need the same control a wine maker does over each vintage. Ideally i would have a plantation with 3 to 4 varieties, i would have control over the growing ie pruning, watering, fertilising, harvest time etc. ideally monitoring parameters deemed important such as pH and sugar levels of the fruits. I would then want control of the fermentation, ie aging the fruit before ferment, time of ferment, possibly starter culture etc. then i would want control over the drying, shipping, roasting, blending, formulation......you get the picture. I would then require 10 years of experinece applying and tinkering with different ideas in all these areas and then i would feel comfortable in offering up a chocolate bar worthy of a $100 price tag. Oh and in that 10 years establish a good reputation and build brand equity to support the $100 price tag.
Tom
@Tom
10/23/12 11:22:54PM
205 posts

Identifying couverture chocolate


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

I have attached an exel calculator that I use a lot basically because I make chocolate myself and like to see what other formulations manufacturers use. This only works for dark chocolate, so should be fine for your use. You just plug in % cocoa and % total fat and the calculator will spit out % cocoa butter, % cocoa liquor and % sugar.

For example the Valrhona El Pedregal bar on my desk says it is a 64% chocolate and in the nutritional info says 38.8g total fat in 100g so 38.8%. Plug that into the calculator and it tells me that the formulation for this is 36% sugar, 52.5% cocoa liquor and 11.5% cocoa butter.

The calculator assumes the following:

Formulation calculators assume the following:

  1. Dark chocolate is composed of sugar, cocoa liquor, cocoa butter. This calculation doesnt take into account the small amount of lecithin or vanilla added to certain chocolates.
  2. Calculator doesnt work if cocoa powder has been used as an ingredient in the chocolate.
  3. Calculators assume that cocoa liquor (which is just crushed cocoa beans) contains 52% fat.
  4. Calculators use Australian definition of cocoa solids which is cocoa solids is cocoa liquor + cocoa butter.
Tom
@Tom
10/17/12 03:59:21PM
205 posts

Washing Beans after Ferment


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

Conching would be better for removing acidity while maintaining the body and soul of chocolate, though you can go to heavy on that also, in my experience.
Tom
@Tom
10/17/12 03:58:20PM
205 posts

Washing Beans after Ferment


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

No i didnt request them washed. Yes acidity was reduced but so was the body and soul of the bean, the difference is drastic. I dont know whether there would be such thing as a light wash. I am not sure why the difference is so great but i can have a go. The washing occurs before the drying and removes the left over mucilage. I would say the mucilages presence is very important for flavour development in the drying process, not only keeping compounds present but also keeping them in the bean, the coating is a lot thicker and harder with the mucilage. Once washed off the shell of the bean is paper thin and a lot of the compounds would be lost easily, i think. These beans are on drying racks on the equatorial sun for many days. I think of the left over mucilage as a marinade.
Tom
@Tom
10/17/12 12:32:58AM
205 posts

Washing Beans after Ferment


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

Ha ha yeah, I would recommend it in that case, but as you say why would you.

1