Forum Activity for @David Senk

David Senk
@David Senk
03/18/14 11:09:48AM
17 posts

Texture Issues


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Thanks for the suggestions, Tom. Let me give that a try on my next test batch. Agreed on the powdered sugar not being a good choice -- the added starch alone is a show-stopper. Best wishes on your broken collar bone -- wishing you a speedy recover.

All the best,
David

David Senk
@David Senk
03/18/14 01:15:17AM
17 posts

Texture Issues


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hi Sebastian,

I'm afraid I've been guilty of measuring my chocolate with the same delicate touch I've used for years to measure steel pin gauges -- time to un-learn / re-learn. I wasn't aware that you could get a micrometer with a pressure gauge -- I'll dig into getting one of those for sure.

On the sugar, the finest I've been able to find here without starch is bakers sugar. I haven't been able to find powdered or icing sugar without starch. I've played with pre-grinding it in a blender or food processor, but it's not something I could easily scale. Is there anything finer than bakers sugar that is widely available?

Thanks for the education on the ICUMSA scale -- I wasn't aware of that -- and thank you, as well, for taking the time to share on this forum with those of us still on the steep part of the learning curve.

Regards,
David

David Senk
@David Senk
03/18/14 01:04:54AM
17 posts

Texture Issues


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Thanks, Brad -- I like simple solutions! Good point on the Santha. I've enjoyed the challenge of learning to make chocolate from what I could reasonably cobble together, but along with doing it that way comes learning the hard (and sometimes slow) way what compromises you have unwittingly signed up for.

We do have some room to tighten the wheels down more, and we've only been running around 30-36 hours on most batches, so we have still go longer, too.

Thanks again for the help -- I'll let you know on this thread how we make out.

Best,

David

David Senk
@David Senk
03/17/14 12:39:35AM
17 posts

Texture Issues


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Following is a recent post from our "Shared Journey" discussion in the Start-up Central Group:

Still struggling with the texture of our chocolate. It's better since we started using the micrometer to make sure the max particle size is sub-25 microns, but still "powdery" (not actually gritty, but definitely not smooth like it should be). Seeking the wisdom of the crowd and those who have gone before. We're doing our conching/refining in a Santha 11, if that helps. We're running some tests on (improvised) conching after refining, improving our tempering, adding cocoa butter (some of our chocolate is a lot more viscous than others). Any thoughts for which rocks to turn over first??

Since posting this I (think) I've figured out that our "sub-25 micron" chocolate really isn't. Using a micrometer to measure the maximum particle size is not incredibly precise -- and the biggest variable so far has been....me. If I stop at the first sign of resistance I'm measuring more like 30 microns. Up until now I've been using the micrometer the way I always have, but it appears that with chocolate you can very easily crush a 30+ micron particle and get a reading quite a bit below what you really have.

I'm also interested in hearing what you think about sugar as a factor (or not) in final texture. We've tried several different organic sugars, as well as highly refined table sugar, and I'm wondering if the organic sugars behave differently because of what isn't removed.

Would love to hear your thoughts, trials, and tribulations!

Cheers,

David


updated by @David Senk: 04/13/15 10:31:14PM
David Senk
@David Senk
11/19/13 09:38:54PM
17 posts

Where can I find a Guillotine?


Posted in: Classifieds

Please count me among the interested, as well...

Cheers,
David

David Senk
@David Senk
11/11/13 07:05:18PM
17 posts



I'm not even using a shop vac -- just a regular old vacuum cleaner. There werethree mods I had to make to the Dust Deputy to get it to work as an effective winnower. First, you have tomake some kind of provision to get airflow through the bottom of the DD (I do this by placing a couple ofpieces of polycarbonate (1/2" x 1.5" x 18") between the top of the bucket and the lid -- it lets air flow into the bottom of the DD funnel). Second,you have to extend the exit funnel (I just built a quick extension funnel with poster-board and tape), and third, you want to restrict the airflow on the inlet side when you are feeding. Both of these adjustments serve to increase the verticalairspeedwhich helps to get the husks going up while notbeing so fast that the nibs don't go down...it'sa matter of experimenting a bit and making fine adjustments. Good luck!!!

David Senk
@David Senk
10/22/13 11:13:42PM
17 posts



On the KitchenAid food grinder the auger goes through the bearing at the back end and floats free at the exit end, so it runs just fine without the plates in place.

I did find that the KitchenAid mixer, even on low speed, is faster than my winnower can keep up with so I either have to increase the capacity of my winnower (the best solution) or feed more slowly (the immediate solution). To accomplish the latter I found a $15 battery-powered rotisserie drive that is perfect -- I just have to make a drive adaptor to couple the drive to the food grinder. That's a much less expensive option than using a $600 mixer to drive your auger...

David Senk
@David Senk
09/29/13 06:29:48PM
17 posts



I agree with Clay's numbers. Measured a different way, if I start with 10kg of roasted beans, Iestimate that somewhere around 8.8kg is the best ideal-case recovery (that assumes 88% nibs, 12% husk and germ). Starting with 10kg I usually end up with around 7.5kg of useable nibs after winnowing and germ removal -- that works out to about 85% recovery --15% is lost in the winnowing and germ separation processes.

David Senk
@David Senk
09/28/13 07:21:27PM
17 posts



Hi Rochelle. By 'dust' do you mean husks?

David Senk
@David Senk
09/27/13 11:40:13PM
17 posts



First 'production' run indicates that valves are going to be a 'must-have'. I had my flow rates tuned for manual feeding, which turns out to be slower than what the KitchenAid set up delivers, so now I'm having to adjust in order to get a clean separation again. The fun part, though, is just seeing that it's possible. I don't think I'd dedicate a KitchenAid to this task once we get up and going -- a small variable speed motor should do the trick for a lot less money.

David Senk
@David Senk
09/27/13 10:15:54PM
17 posts



Lol -- necessity really is the mother of invention! I'm happy to report that the proof-of-concept winnower feeder works! Here's a (very) short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlfdF_gA2MU&feature=youtu.be

The feeder is a KitchenAid food grinder attachment sans the cutting blades and end cap. My "hopper" is a blender pitcher. I'll get cute later with the refinements, but it does look like a very inexpensive screw feeder (which is all this in without the blades) works really well. An added bonus is that the feed rate can be adjusted over a wide range using the KitchenAid speed settings.

David Senk
@David Senk
09/27/13 03:48:39PM
17 posts



Hi Ben -- I do think that adjusting the vacuum and the flow rates will result in better first-pass removal (even for a single stage system). I see challenges using a two stage DD system in that you need to ensure a certain upward airflow rate in both DDs in order to prevent the husks from falling to the bottom, so balancing the flows would be more of a challenge. I'd expect even more challenges using a three stage system. Once we get set up in our new leased space I should be able to start experimenting with improvements. Like I mentioned earlier, my first small victory will be in automating the feed so that I can go do something else while my system cracks and winnows -- very manual at the moment.

I'll definitely share anything I learn -- it's a fun problem to try to solve.

David Senk
@David Senk
09/26/13 11:41:47PM
17 posts



...I do think that by addingtwo valves (oneto controlthe total flow rate and one to control theair flow throughthe bottom of the DD)and controlling the material feed rate you could get good separation in a single pass.Once I hard-plumb the system I'll add those controls -- right now it is a 'portable' system that gets assembled and disassembled every time I make a batch of chocolate...

David Senk
@David Senk
09/26/13 11:12:29PM
17 posts



I've been using the DD (it's my set-up in the video that Kane posted the link to) for the last year or so and am very happy with the results. I found it works best if you extend the cone by about 6" (I just taped a cardboard funnel I made to the bottom of the DD lid), you need to either cut a hole in the lid or, as I did, just put a spacer between the lid and the nib bucket, to allow for sufficient airflow up the DD, and you need to add a bucket between the DD and the vacuum to receive the husks and keep them from going into the vacuum. I get almost zero husks falling into the nibs, but I do suck some of the nibs up with the husks -- I run three passes with the husks and capture somewhere between 85 and 90% of the theoretical total (assuming about 88% nibs by weight in a typical bean). The whole set-up cost me about $100.

My next steps with it are to add a valve to adjust the inlet airflow, and to add an automatic feeder -- I found an attachment for my KitchenAid mixer that I think will do the job with a couple of minor adjustments -- I'm going to give that its first go this coming week.

David Senk
@David Senk
08/18/13 12:00:49AM
17 posts

vegan milk and white chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

We were in the same boat a couple of years ago and spent a LOT of time working on a recipe for what wefelt would qualifyas anartisan class vegan white chocolate and vegan milk chocolate. I think what we came up with is an order of magnitude better than anything else on the market (we've tried all the same ones you have, I sustpect). We're in the midst of a move this week and next, and we're right in the midst of launching our business (taking it from a 'hobby' to a legit business), but if you're interested, contact me privately and we can send some samples your way once we get settled back in...

David Senk
@David Senk
08/17/13 07:08:36PM
17 posts

Samoan Gold Standard Cocoa now available for testing


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Hi Howard, I'd be very interested in evaluating some of your beans if you still have them available. I'm a small artisan maker in California and would very much like to add learn more about your FF beans.

David Senk
@David Senk
01/28/13 11:54:44PM
17 posts

CocoaT roaster?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Clay,

Thanks for the great posts and information on roasters. I know this post is from 2011 -- curious if you still have the roasters available (both the ABS oven and the dedicate roasters), and if it would be possible to get a quotation. Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,

David