chocolate mold warmer?
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
Thanks so much for all those ideas.
So I am wanting .01 of a gram accuracy, and the bar is 28 g. And I currently use a different mold (polycarbonate) and because it is rigid, and the shape of the bar narrower, I don't have as much deviation in the weight of each bar. I fill them by hand either with a scoop, or the spout on my Perfect Air temperer. And then I scrap off excess. It is very messy and if I could afford a fancy tempering machine with the depositor that would probably eliminate alot of trouble. In the meantime, we are currently looking at buying a scale that reads to .01g and then purchasing a funnel to deposit the chocolate, but I am concerned about how time consuming that process will be. Also we are trying to get a funnel that can handle inclusions.
What do other folks use who don't have the fancy machines to do it for them?
hi there, I am trying to determine the most efficient and effective way to fill molds with an exact amount of chocolate. I recently weighed many of my bars that are coming out of custom made plastic molds (not as rigid as poly-carbonate), and they all come out at different weights. If there is a particular way to use funnels and scales? I am looking for details....ie. what type of scale in order to get precise and also be able to hold the weight of the entire mold (4- 1oz cavities)?
What type of funnel and where would I find it? What type of machine? if there is one that doesn't cost the moon. I really have no idea if there is a small scale depositor that would be in my reach financially, but if so please recommend.
due to the drastic exchange rate I am inquiring if there are any folks who might be able to supply me with fairly traded (doesn't have to be certified) cacao paste and butter within Canada. I am currently using Ecuadorian cacao that I ship within the US and then drive over the border. I would prefer to stick with Ecuadorian cacao (due to labels that are developed already), but if the source was affordable and consistent I would consider other options. I am located in rural Canada and therefore very limited in what I can access. I am open to US sources if the price is better than my current supplier. I am currently about to expand so my needs would be roughly 125 kilos of each for 6 months, and then probably an increase by then.
And to avoid the timing out issue, would you recommend a non digital scale? I often tare a vessel to weigh into and then add some ingredients and come up against some issue which causes me to need more time, and then the scale turns itself off. And I have to start all over again. I find this very frustrating and feel there must be another way to do it. I am sure there are scales that do not turn off? Or at least give you the option.
I am looking to purchase a scale that will be able to handle heavy items and will not time out. I currently use a low end digital scale that times out and also can only handle 5 kg. I need to be able to weigh my coverture before adding inclusions. can folks let me know what scales they use? I will also use it to weigh ingredients especially now that my batches will be increasing in size, so it needs to handle at least 10kg or hopefully more.
Any suggestions? Thanks
hi Clay and other chocolatiers , I am reading this thread about maintenance of melangers and curious if you can suggest what else to do for a chain drive besides cleaning? I have a Santha 40 and have been using it 2 years not realizing I should do anything. I also wonder if anyone has ever experienced their plastic washers wearing away into the chocolate during the grind?
Also I have been experimenting with the capacity of the machine, as it states that it can do 40 kg, but I do not find this is the case at all. Like you mentioned, the axle and stones would be completely covered. And in regards to viscosity I usually grind just paste and sugar for up to 10-15 hrs before adding other ingredients (ie cacao butter), in order to decrease the time it takes, but it seems very thick and I may begin adding butter sooner to reduce wear on the machine. What is the typical way to do this?
I have been experimenting with not powdering the sugar before hand (because of the dust) to see if it takes longer. So far it seems to take longer, but I'll need more tests. I am also very curious how long to grind for. I usually leave my grinder going overnight and it seems to take up to 24 hrs to achieve optimum smoothness, but I still haven't figured out a specific amount of time and speed for consistency. Can anyone point me to some guidelines on this?
I apologize as this has gotten very long, I suppose I have many questions and I am open to any feedback from others.
I had very similar problems with a ECGC-12SL, and had to replace the stones within one year of purchase because the plastic inserts were wearing down and cracking and then even the metal arm broke that holds the stones. After replacing it all at cost (no warranty) I tried using it again and this time the plastic/ metal shaft in the bottom of the drum broke off completely and I gave up. i am at a loss as to whether to fix these machines because the cost is almost as much as a new machine.
I have recent reinvested in a Santha Spectra 40 and I am happy with it except I am having similar plastic issues in the same place (inside the stone roller). And all these issues are with just grinding in sugar to melted liquor and butter. I am looking to find out if anyone else is having this issue with Santha's machines? I am at a loss as to what to do about this because I invested quite a bit and literally have only used it 10 times, and because I live in Canada they will not warranty it, which is very difficult because there is no other machines in my small capacity that are.
Basically I am very disappointed and not sure how to proceed.
I am wondering if the plastics they are using nowadays are just crap? I thought about looking for metal shafts to replace the plastic one thru the middle of the stone. Any ideas, solutions, DIY fixes?
I am building a commercial space to house my chocolate business and have many questions about machinery. While still a very small business, I am in the process of upgrading to a larger production and have many questions about small scale universals and tempering machines:
1- How loud are these machines and how much heat do they produce? Are certain machines quieter than others?
2- Do people generally isolate these machines in another room?
3- Are there any other options besides cocoatown and santha in the under $10k range?
4- What are people's experiences with the spectra 40 and cocoatown 65 grinders? I was using two cocoatown ECGC-12SL melangers for the last year until they both broke down on me. I am looking at having to replace the stones and the metal arm (which snapped) because the plastic has now cracked in all the places where it attaches to the stones. I am hugely skeptical to invest in their larger machine because I am already out the $1000 I spent on these machines and they only lasted me a little over a year. the motor is still fine, but I think there is inconsistency in the tension which creates wear over time and stresses the plastic, as well as the metal nuts that scrape constantly on the plastic, thereby wearing it completely away. I wonder whether anyone else experiences this? In my conversations with cocoatown I learned that they changed the machine to include new plastic washers, in order to help with the wear on the plastic, but they don't seem to want to compensate me for this on my machine.
5-Any good advice on tempering machines?
6-Does anyone have any good information on homemade cooling tunnels? ...any thoughts on the ideal cooling temperature, should the temp stay the same or change? I am thinking of putting an external thermostat on a freezer and then putting a fan inside, but there is no way to control humidity.
any helpful advice would be appreciated, thanks, Beth
Hi there Clay, I am wondering if you have gotten the 40 kg universal from South America yet and if so, how can I find out more about it? Also do you know of any other brands that have them under $10k. I have asked Brooklyn Cacao for a quote on theirs but I am not too optimistic that I will be able to afford it. thanks, beth
hi there, I am just finding your post and would love to talk with you about your current experience using coconut sugar. I am also using it and have learned the hard way to either dehydrate the sugar first or use dessicant to get the humidity under control. I have experienced exactly what you are talking about with my cocoatown melanger, and wondered if you have upgraded to a better machine? I am looking to buy something in a larger capacity that won't break!
It has been hard to find anyone else using coconut sugar to discuss this with. thanks, Beth
Hi there Jessica,
just wanted to let you know about another option for melangers than cocoatown. I am not happy with that machine and am about to reinvest in a Spectra, which also offers more affordable larger capacity machines, which I need at this point. Check them out at chocolatealchemy.com
I have not used them yet, but in talking with him I am more clear about the weak points in the cocoatown machine and that I can get an all stainless steel center, which hopefully would last alot longer. If you use any alternative sugars, I would be careful to only add a little sugar at a time. I do use a vitamix to pregrind the sugar and I am learning through my mistakes what not to do with the melanger. i am happy to share them with you to save you $ lost. Beth
are you grinding in the sugar and if so what machine do you use? I am struggling with my cocoatown melanger and it can't seem to keep up with my small batches of 10 lbs. I am trying to figure out what to invest in and don't have many other people to discuss the use of that sugar and get the equipment I need.
thanks so much for all you share Clay. It is very informative and I get alot out of this website. I look forward to hearing more about this machine. As my business grows I would love to upgrade to a larger capacity, quicker method. I have sooo much more to learn about making chocolate, but seem to be making many people happy in the meantime. If you don't mind explaining, I am trying to understand if I should be dry conching first. At this time I melt alot of cacao butter, and half that amount cacao liquor, and pour it into the cocoatown melanger, and then quickly add the powdered sugar. This I grind for up to 4 hrs before adding any other ingredients. Would I benefit in this case by dry conching, just letting the liquor grind by itself, or has this step already been done by the company who produces the liquor or paste I buy? (Or is this up to the producer?)
howdy, if by conching you mean grinding the sugar in and blending all ingredients then it takes around 3-4 hrs if all goes well. I am using coconut sugar and dealing with humidity issues which can make the sugar clump and slow the process alot. I am not sure if what I am doing is conching. I am not grinding the actual beans. I am also doing around 8 lb batches and using a cocoatown melanger. I am maxing it out and hope it won't hurt the machine over time. peace, Beth
just wanted to say there are still lots of antioxidents found in roasted cacao and if you are truly trying to eat chocolate just to get antioxidents you would have to eat alot, and that is not balanced. If you want antioxidents then eat some blueberries and then enjoy your chocolate. I am also not an advocate of processed, full of refined sugar chocolate , but I am not totally sold on this raw food approach. I think if the cacao was roasted and then fresh ground with good sugars and other ingredients (not lecithin), it is full of health and still has tons of benefits.
two questions, have you ever tried roasted cacao without refined sugar? Are you comparing chocolate bars made with roasted or raw or just the bean itself? Also it seems there is alot of variation in temperature in the definition of raw. Where did you get your degree (temperature)? I myself make and manufacter bars both raw and roasted. I am making my bars from scratch using coconut sugar (which is technically not raw). I find that for me what I love about raw chocolates is the different sweeteners and other ingredients which are not found in mainstream chocolate. I personally find coconut sugar and even roasted cacao powder to be still full of life and nutrients. The only major difference I notice in how I feel is the caffeine. The roasted gives off more of a buzz and can tend to keep you awake, but there is a time for everything. Beth with Belicious Chocolate Alchemy
Most importantly I am looking for already roasted cacao powder. I have access to all the raw I need but can't seem to source the roasted. I realize I would also prefer to deal with folks who are not certified and support them as 90% of growers cannot afford the certification.
I am also searching for eco friendly options for packaging on a smaller scale. I am currently using paper backed foils and would like to use eco foil , or recycled paper. I make 1 ounce bars and also hearts and soon other shapes. How does one go about displaying the different shapes?
your email is not working> I tried and it was returned, left a message maybe you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I am interested in powder paste,and butter, raw and roasted. thanks, Beth
Greetings, I am looking for a new source for powder and paste that is organic and fairly traded, not necessarily certified. I would be able to do a smaller quantity for now until a storage is built. I am micro business making bars from scratch and don't want chocolate that is already made. Any leads? I am trying to reach Pacari and already was using El Rey. Not sure who is willing to deal with a small company.
I am molding bars of dark chocolate and recently have starting having strange spots on the bars in only one place on each bar, but it moves.. its looks like cacao butter film. I am baffled as to what might be causing this. I wonder if its the temperature in my shop? I put all the bars on shelves to cool. I used to put them directly into the freezer and had no troubles then,but I
thought that wasn't the best for the chocolate, because of condensation, so now I let them cool at roomtemperature, whichfluctuates.
I pressed return too soon, excuse my spelling.... I want to be clear that I am currently not a bean to bar maker, because of the immense cost and labour, but I am in another unknown category using powder, paste and butter to make my own chocolate. I am powdering coconut sugar in a vitamix, but find it still have graininess. I am trying to decide if I should purchase a conching machine as well as a temperer. thanks And also if a conching machine is the same thing as a melanger?
Thanks for your response. I am now thinking I want a Savage bros (or similar) auto temperer (that doesn't require seed) and a melanger/concher? I am using cacao powder and butter at the moment and coconut sugar, but want to source paste instead of powder. I am not sure if a melanger is necessary to mix the sugar in, I am thinking it will help my texture though. I am currently using a vita mix to powder the sugar, and I am tempering using a double boiler. I also wondered what is the difference between a temperer and a moulding machine? I saw a Preformac moulding machine on one of these sites, haven't investigated that company yet.