Forum Activity for @Shannon Campbell

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
02/18/16 03:26:07PM
13 posts

Wanted: Used Dedy Guitar Cutter


Posted in: Classifieds

Thank you so much!  Unfortunately I think the extra frames puts this well out of range for me. I really only need one frame and the set brand new is $1400 for one.  So I do appreciate it but I'll have to pass on the large set. Thank you!  


updated by @Shannon Campbell: 07/09/16 11:48:48AM
Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
02/18/16 01:58:44PM
13 posts

Wanted: Used Dedy Guitar Cutter


Posted in: Classifieds


Like everyone else in the world (lol) I am in search of a lower priced Dedy all metal guitar with frame.  I am open to different sized frames.  

If you have one please contact me by and include pictures with asking price.  

Thanks!

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
02/03/14 08:46:02PM
13 posts

Tomric 3d molds / moulds


Posted in: Opinion

I am considering upgrading this Easter from my more difficult thin clear plastic 3d egg and bunny molds to a high quality polycarbonate. I'm told magnetic molds are so much easier and provide a major difference in "cleaner" results since they don't seep out like cheap clipped ones.I'm wondering if these molds are really worth the high cost? $200 for just 3-5 cavities is a lot. Also, if I select their solid magnetic molds could they these not be used hollow items too? Usually they just have an opening in the bottom but I'm wondering if these do not since their hollow ones are $100 more!Does anyone use these Tomric molds and have any feedback? Or anyone have advice on ones they love?
updated by @Shannon Campbell: 04/10/15 08:39:32PM
Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
11/25/13 04:34:32PM
13 posts

Best tabletop extruder?


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

I am looking into getting an extruder for both caramel pieces and ganaches. Right now the front runner is theSavage Carousel

Pros:

-This machine can do both caramel or ganache (no more hand portioning with a scoop!)

-They have stock shapes or will custom make any shape or size for you

-Footprint (size) of the machine -- tabletop and small

-Support, reliability, and reputation of Savage Bros

Cons:

-Expensive (Around $8K US) and haven't been able to get ahold of one used

-Output is only 1 piece at a time. I would prefer something still small (tabletop size) but capable of maybe 3-5 pieces with a small conveyor. Maybe such a thing doesn't exist.

I do like theirdepositorbut it's for liquid. I need the function of the extruder/cutter in the form of the depositor I guess :-)

I have the Savage Firemixer 14 and couldn't live without it now. Savage makes a good, solid product in my opinion and my experience so far. Also great support from the company. The down side is they are expensive. And with only getting one piece out at a time I will save some time but it's truly a middle step given that at some point my production increase will require me to get multiple pieces at once and with less manual intervention.

All of this said.... does anyone have this machine, or a comparable piece of equipment? What are your thoughts, cautions, and recommendations? Is there another company with a device similar in size and output (or better output!) with a lower price tag? Does anyone have one they absolutely love?


updated by @Shannon Campbell: 04/10/15 05:42:02AM
Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
11/25/13 04:51:15PM
13 posts

Question on Top Chocolatiers?


Posted in: Opinion

Sebastian, I read so many of your posts, I'm always impressed.

I would be most interested to know who your favorite chocolates come from :-) And more importantly how the rest of us can try YOURS!

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
08/20/13 10:30:36PM
13 posts

Sanitation of product when using enrober


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

Good evening!

Right now my candy shop makes every product by hand, including dipping truffles. We have grown too big for our britches :-)

I am looking to purchase my first piece of equipment and think an enrober is the way to go. I am looking at the Perfect 6", however, as I think about how I works I am concerned about sanitation of the chocolate.

When using a hard item like a cookie or biscuit, you may get a few crumbs that come off under the chocolate "waterfall" or from the blower.... but my largest concern is when enrobing truffles. We make a Mayan truffle, which contains a lot of chili pepper in the ganache. When we hand dip them, I can clearly see the outermost layer of ganache melt slightly as the warm chocolate coats it. Eventually the dipping bowl becomes so filled with chili powder build up from the melting ganache centers that we have to throw the coating away and begin with new.

My thought here is that when using the enrober with a large hopper as it were, will also experience a slight melt of ganache centers during the coating process. As that chocolate is rotated back into the hopper, hasn't that introduced both flavor contamination and water contamination (ganache contains cream, cream contains water), thereby inviting bacterial growth into your chocolate tank? I know there are tons of companies that must use enrobers for truffles but I can't figure out how they get around the likelihood of contamination of the coating chocolate. I feel like I have to be missing something very obvious.I make a number of truffles with strong flavors, so the worry of bothflavor and bacteria contamination are making me second-guess this idea.

Am I missing something? Can anyone tell me their process in order to avoid this concern? Thank you!!!


updated by @Shannon Campbell: 04/16/15 08:58:01AM
Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
04/08/13 07:18:26PM
13 posts

Food safety when keeping chocolate or compound melted


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Thanks, Thomas. I like your idea of a collaborative effort. I'm not really big on the idea of starting a war with my inspector. I realize she is trying to do her job, and I know that if there were a public health problem, she would be held accountable. I just wish there were more collaboration and effort on their part to help me. Every time I ask a simple question about how to be compliant I can't get a straight answer. I think part of it is that our county recently underwent a change from having all city inspectors to being goverened at the county level. So, unfortunately, there were some job losses. I'm sure this adds a lot of pressure. I think your suggestion of working with the state is really a great idea. Thanks!

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
04/08/13 01:28:09PM
13 posts

Food safety when keeping chocolate or compound melted


Posted in: Chocolate Education

I would like to thank each of you for your thorough and candid responses. You confirmed the information I already knew to be the case -- but given that I am not a chemist or food scientist by nature, I don't speak to something as fact unless (like the health dept) I have indisputable documented evidence. You have given me all of the information I need to speak to this with my inspector in complete confidence.

I should note that thus far I have not received a written violation but a concern raised. She is coming back to review her findings with me and want to be sure I am covered since the concern was expressed. I am disappointed that I find myself in the position of educating my heath dept resourcesmore often than being educated by them in this aspect; however, confectioner's are very very few and far between in my area. I am certain to be the only candy production she's ever been responsible for. I just wish it were more of a joint effort to investigate and educate together as opposed to the"guity until proven innocent" I've been receiving. Sadly, this appears to be the common nature of the beast.

It is my strong opinion that there is a great deal of "nit picking" occuring. I am in my chamber of commerce and someother FSO operators have made the same mention of my individualinspector. Others have said she is a breeze and very easy to deal with. The differences seem to be mom & pop shops versus corporate owned places. Most inspections take 10-15 minutes, while mine and the others who have complained have her company for an hour or more per inspection. I watch the restaurant shows, I know what's out there. Believe me, I am quite certain there are more than a few FSO owners that are very lax in their food safety. My team is NOT one of them. It is run by myself, my husband, and 2 employees who have all been certified in safe food handling. Our life savings is in this place; our livelihoods are on the line. We are well aware of the consequences to just one single food safety incident -- we would lose everything!! We show remarkable diligence, above and beyond what most other places have done according to my conversations with other owners. And yet there is still the constant "picking" of things that do not affect actual safety of food or product, and infrastructure that was in place as-is for YEARS before we took occupancy (years of which SHE was the very inspector that passed those items previously -- like hot and cold water taps being on opposite sides of 1 hand sink, yet still clearly labeled in text and color).

I find myself constantly searching google for validation on items of concern such as the chocolate and having to prove that I am following the rules. My state refuses to publish clearcommercial kitchen requirements and rules as well, so each inspector is given the authority to interpret the code as they see fit. The "code" is never enforced in the same manner from one location to another. In my opinion this gives a distinct competetive advantage of one business over another and should be illegal, but my expression of concern over that went unaddressed.

Anyway, I greatly appreciate each of you for your information and insight. The forum has been a godsend for us as we started up and continue our journey of growth!

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
04/06/13 06:13:01PM
13 posts

Food safety when keeping chocolate or compound melted


Posted in: Chocolate Education

I recently purchased a chocolate melter from TCF sales.I am currently using Mercken's compound melts in this melter.

We are extremely happy with the increased productivity, but our health inspector expressed concern at the contents sitting at 100 degrees being in the "danger zone". I always understood this to apply to raw or cooked temperature sensitive foods (meats, eggs, etc). I always understood chocolate and compounds were not TSF (temperature sensitive food) by point of food safety. I have never seen chocolate or compounds to be a concern for bacterial growth as long as the product is not contaminated by another substance.

When we use this melter, a sanitized dipper is used to scoop compound out. The compoud is NEVER introduced back to the melter once it has been used, and only sanitized utensils over touch the melted chocolate. It is completely cleaned every-other day by washing the containers and replacing with fresh compound.

My concern is that my inspector is not familiar with confectionery as opposed to restaurant food safety requirements. We don't use food borne illness prone meats and other bacteria-prone agents. Unfortunately, I cannot find ANY documentation -- not even from ADM Cocoa (the maker of Mercken's) -- that will explicitly state that compound is not conducive to bacterial growth at 100 degrees consistent melted temperature; nor anything stating the contrary.

Does anyone happen to have expertise in this area that could help me locate any sort of back up that says what I'm doing is the right way? I know they wouldn't be able to sell these melters for commercial use if it were really true that storing chocolate or compound at 100 degrees for 4+ hours causes bacteria and food borne illness! I need something in writing though :-( Any direction would be wonderful!

Thanks!!


updated by @Shannon Campbell: 04/20/15 03:35:46PM
Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
11/25/13 04:16:33PM
13 posts

Heat sources for making caramels


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Our demand for caramel at the store was so high that we could no longer manage on the stove top. We maxed out at a 16 lb batch and it was killing us to lift and pour. I finally broke down and bought a Savage Firemixer 14. I can say without hesitation it was the single best investment I have made so far! Like a few other people have mentioned along the site, it did not initially work well with my recipe. We had to make a few adjustments to ingredient ratios -- we would absolutely not change our recipe because it is very very popular, but adjusting amounts of things here and there to help facilitate use of the machine worked to get rid of the graining problem we were having. And the people at Savage are eager to help; it's a small business and they are good to work with.

I'm in the market for an extruder next but I will likely be looking hardest at Savage for this one too (we'll see what the forum folks think!). I know it's a lot of money, and I know there are some cheaper ones out there but Savage has a ton of videos and documentation (plus a good reputation) and we are close to IL so we were able to go there and pick it up, saving a lot on freight. I'm glad I went with it.

If you have the need to dedicate and expand and the money to invest, the Firemixer was wonderful for us. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone.

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
11/25/13 04:41:35PM
13 posts

Chocolate Drinking Machine Recommendations


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

I have theBenchmark dispenser. I do not love it. I don't hate it -- but I do not love it. It does not hold my chocolate at the temperature it is set to. I heat it on the stove top to temp, then let the dispenser keep it there, but it's usually about 15 degrees less than the highest temp on the device. It's also a condensation nightmare.

I wouldn't recommend this one personally.

Shannon Campbell
@Shannon Campbell
08/08/11 11:44:38AM
13 posts

Display cases


Posted in: Opinion

I'm in a similar situation where I have just opened a small storefront but want my candies to really stand out and look awesome in a fabulous display case. I'm willing to invest a little money to get the right case, but what I'm finding out is that the "right case" is hard to figure out.

I understand that for the candy it's ideal to have a cooling and humidity controlled case designed for candy. However, a leading chocolate maker and retailer in my local area says he got rid of all his cooled cases in his shop because they produced way too much heat that it ruined the products out of the case. I share the space with a bakery, and I can't afford to get a case that runs so hot that I have to add a hundred dollars onto my electric bill to crank up the A/C in the store to keep from impacting their products.

His advice was that if the A/C is sufficient in the store that should be enough to keep the display case good but my experience so far has been that it's not. I want to keep my chocolates around 65 degrees or so; I can't keep my store that cold. At about 72 I get people complaining that it's chilly in there and the A/C runs constantly. I'm also in Ohio which I'm sure is about the most humid place on the planet lol.

I'm using a dry case now and I stick many candies in the fridge at night which of course is creating horrible condensation and giving me sticky chocolate on those. The ganache truffles are sealed up tight before they go in so they are okay, but I'm not sure what to do about my dipped candies. I want to improve their shelf life by keeping them cool but the fridge is just too cold and wet, and it sounds as though a cooled case might be a mess too.

I'd love to hear what anyone with a really small shop is doing - cooled or dry case - and how it's affecting your utility usages, and if anyone had a similar problem with a cooled case running too hot. I'd love any advice!

Thanks! (And thanks for the thread, Amber... so far very helpful!)

Shannon