Posted in: Classifieds
Try making a cold infusion. Just put your tea and cream in a jar and leave in the fridge for 24-36 hours. DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TEA when done, just let it drain. Use as you would use any normal cream. Use a little more than you would need to compensate for what will be absorbed by the tea.
If you want something REALLY small, try one of the HIlliard's Hand Coaters. I have one with a 3-inch belt and it has served me well for 3 years now. A LOT less expensive than any of the wheel or continuous machines, it's a perfect "starter" enrober.
Cocoa Mass or Cocoa Liquor is the normal way for chocolatemakers to safely store their production materials for extended periods of time. So yes, I use cocoa mass almost every time I make chocolate. (The exception would be when we start from nibs)
So, to answer point 2, it was just fine.
We use the 1800w (120v) for small batches about three to five times a week. For larger batches I just purchased a 3000w 220v model that does the job very well. However, this still is only capable of making medium-sized batches (2-3 kilos) efficiently. A used Firemixer would probably be a very good investment if you want to cook 25-kilo batches.
I've always had very good luck with theClassifieds at the Retail Confectioners' Association website.
I've been toying with the idea of cannibalizing a small wine cooler for the TE guts. Something like a Vinotemp or Cuisinart in the 20-30 bottle range. Why? Because of the thermostatic control. Most come with a very nice digital temperature controller with a probe. I've often seen damaged units on sale cheap at the local warehouse store.
From personal experience I know the Cuisinart can hold 50F even when filled with bottles -- or chocolate LOL, as that was my very first chocolate cooler.
This would make the display's temperature adjustable. In my case the TE cooler just runs full-tilt all the time and sometimes can get a little too cold, especially if the display is left filled overnight with the lights turned off.
Just FYI, I can do ~100 bars per hour or more using the previously mentioned syringe and a cheap dental vibrator. It's really very convenient because you only have to use one device to extract, measure and pour your chocolate.
For example, your 2.5 oz bars would translate to ~71 grams or just about 55cc (using the formula I gave you above) of chocolate.
Everyone else seems very fond of the $500 (funnel) or $10,000 (wheel machine) solutions, well here I am giving you a $5 one...
Oh don't bother with EIC their products are way too expensive. And, they're wrong, the TE AC does work, I actually have a 1000 btu unit in a larger display case (4 tier, 4 foot wide) but that one was $1700 -- ouch! Still cheaper than the $4k plus display cases available.
Roy, the trays are also custom-made. Any decent plexiglas shop should be able to duplicate those no problem. I also foundthese online, but boy are they pricey!
Haha thanks Clay took the words right out of my... fingers?
As far as costs the cabinet, LED lighting, power supply and trays, custom made here in Guatemala, came out to ~$800. The cooler I got for like $39 on a liquidation sale online.
Hi, as most people here have stated, you will probably not find a commercial product that does what you need. In my case I've been using, with great success, a thermoelectric cooler to keep my custom-made display case cool. The beauty of this is it operates on 12 VDC. I use a power supply to convert from 120VAC. It easily cools 15 degrees below ambient. Vinotemp makes the TE units, as well as many other manufacturers. In my case I used a unit from a Mobicool portable active cooler. You can see it on the case's left hand side. Lighting is LED, also powered by the 12V power supply.
This is an excellent topic! Funny how sometimes people are thinking the same thing? I was JUST about to post something along these exact same lines.
One item that has become indispensable in my lighting repertoire is a diffuser. It makes photographing shiny objects a lot easier by putting it between your light source and product.
Another item I now can't live without is a color card. It makes setting your white point so much easier, and from that you can make all your pictures look very similar, as far as color is concerned.
Also, for the vast majority of my pictures I use a tripod and slower shutter speeds. This lets me play around with the aperture (and therefore depth of field).
Clay, one thing I don't see mentioned much are lighting angles... what are the recommended or standard angles and how many light sources should on use or food photography (as a general and not ironclad rule?)
Um, Costa Rica is 9 degrees NORTH of the equator, so you might want to re-check your coordinates.
It really depends what type of land it is. Cacao grows between 0-2100 ft in altitude, in very wet conditions. Naturally, the flatter the land the easier it is to grow/harvest cacao. Most of the plantations in Costa Rica are using the 4x4 scheme, which means a tree planted every 4 meters in a grid pattern.
As far as required investment, it really hinges on the extension of the land, how overgrown the land is, how hilly or flat, and how much infrastructure is already in place. Plan on spending easily 50% more than originally budgeted, that's just the way things are in Central America. Time frame for first harvest from clones: ~4 years.
As far as selling the cacao, remember that to be useful to the chocolate industry it must be fermented and dried. Only if it is of exceptional quality will you get people to make the trek to you, so the best plan would be to actively market the product internationally and line up your buyers well in advance.
Clay, I use normal tempered CB regularly and have noticed no discernible difference. Caveat: I have only used it for tempering, not as a thickener for desserts.
However, from what I remember of the Valrhona class, it really didn't matter as it was used for its solidification properties rather that its tempering properties, and it could be melted to just about any temperature.
If you're familiar with design software like Photoshop or Illustrator (to name just 2) you can completely skip the clunky and expensive Deco software!
All you need are the transfers from Tomric plus the edible inks from kopykake. I use the Canon ip4700 and it works quite well. Of course you have the white issue, but that can be circumvented by using white chocolate for your prints or spraying a white background with either white cocoa butter or white edible ink. Just did some VW logos for our local club and they looked great.
The difference in price is more of a fundamental difference in function between the machines.
The Selmi, as a continuous tempering machine, will keep the chocolate in temper throughout the working day without needing to slowly raise your working temperatures during the day. This is achieved with a closed refrigeration/heating loop that as the name suggests, continuously de-tempers and re-tempers the chocolate.
The JKVs are wheel machines, normally with light bulbs as a heat source and forced air for cooling. They use seed chocolate for tempering, and as such will need some attention through the day. The chocolate will thicken and you will need to gradually raise your temps until it's no longer in proper temper. Then it's time to stop and re-temper.
So, you're paying that extra money for extra throughput and added convenience. On the other hand, if you're a DIY type, these machines (Selmi) are much more difficult to fix yourself.
I personally like Linda use Hilliard's machines and they are certainly up to the task. They are rugged and simple to operate and maintain (they use light bulbs/forced air too). I was lucky enough to find all my gear used for an unbeatable price. For me it was an easy choice because of the DIY aspect, since I do most of the maintenance/repair work myself.
We already do (natural) vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, mango and passion fruit marshmallows using the Valrhona recipe. They are truly delicious and are relatively inexpensive to make. No relation whatsoever to the mass-produced bag crap. Huge (huge!) sellers, both in naked and chocolate covered form.
The vanilla marshmallows, burnt a little with a blowtorch, play beautifully with hot chocolate.
Why not just use natural peppermint oil to flavor your milk chocolate? That way you don't have to buy a specialty chocolate for just one product. You could probably find it locally in PR at stores that supply the candymaking industry or hobby.
Edit: woops missed jo's post stating exactly the same! great minds and all...
Yes, for some people 400 lbs might be a pittance, but to me, it's a lot. And I was wrong, we have about 1000 lbs already
Still, those mills all seem to be geared towards much larger production scales
Thanks anyway for the input!
I'm accumulating a LOT of cocoa cake and have not been able to find anyone local that is willing to pulverize it. Any suggestions for an inexpensive solution? I easily have 400 lbs of cake and a lot of demand for the cocoa powder!
At the moment we're pulverizing small amounts with a food processor and varying size sieves but it's ridiculously time consuming.
Ideally the solution would be under $1k.