Weirdest Mold Release Issue
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
Couple followup questions - are you warming the molds? Are you measuring the temperature of them? Are you chilling them after adding chocolate into them?
You can get bags like these:
Maybe you could do a deposit system so that people can bring them back so you're not just giving away loads of bags. Alternatively, you can always just charge them for a bag. Manoa in Hawaii gives you a bag like this if you order over a certain amount of bars.
It's because most tablet molds have a pyramid slope from wide to narrow (narrow being the front). If you wrap this way you'll have to invert the outside label and your customer will have to flip the bar over to open it, defeating the purpose. We experimented with this when we started and it made wrapping more difficult and customers thought the bars looked "backwards" when they were wrapped. I guess it depends on your mold.
Dunno if you've figured out since you posted but vanilla extract tends to have alcohol and won't work in chocolate - in fact, the more you add, the more you'll end up with a thick sludge and won't be able to temper. Have you tried using vanilla bean? You can add as much as you want.
Okay I threw something temporary together for the Premier gear/belt replacement - feedback welcome! I would like to know if there's a better thread to post this so please let me know. Thanks!
We've spent the last year trying every cacao bean we can get our hands on, and it's just about time that we're starting to look at which sugar to use. We're currently using C&H Organic unrefined cane sugar for all our evaluation batches, though I'm curious to try Rapadura (sold as Rapunzel in the US). My question before buying it - has anyone used it in bean to bar chocolate? Does it have a low moisture content? I was interested in Zulka but we were having tempering issues (which may or may not have had anything to do with the slightly higher moisture content) - so we've stopped using Zulka and are back to C&H unrefined for now.
If anyone has a sugar recommendation (the less processed, the better!) that has a low moisture content and have experience with it, please let me know - thanks!
Clay - yeah we've been talking to Dandelion about getting testing done, especially with cacao from our farm in Guatemala as it hasn't yet been imported to the US before in any quantity.
Obviously a US-based opinion as that's where I'm at and where I'm going to base my opinion on, and what I'd love others to chime in on. Rather than just my opinion, I'd love to get a conversation going because I think this may be a larger issue at some point.
So I know Sacred Chocolate is somewhat of an easy target as they do both whole-bean and "raw" chocolate. I don't mean to single them out but they cover both areas I'm interested in so I'll use them as an example. Let me preface this by saying I've never tasted Sacred's stuff and for all I know it could be awesome. I have tasted other "unroasted" chocolate that was awesome.
So, shells first -
On a pure legal front, as far as I understand the FDA regulates the shell content of chocolate to 1.75% by volume:
Being that shells are around 20% of the weight of the bean (or more, depending on origin and a number of other factors), that would make Sacred in violation of the FDA regulation, right? So how did they even pass a health inspection?
I read the discussion earlier last year about Paul Young's whole bean chocolate (which I guess was discontinued?) which mentioned similar concerns. But I'm only now finding out that Sacred Chocolate is currently doing this in the US. It blows my mind. And the reasons for doing it are to promote the health benefits of the shell (!). I've also seen people candy-coating whole cacao beans which makes sense from a manufacturing standpoint (who wants to hand peel tens of thousands of beans?) but not necessarily from a health standpoint.
Now, I'm of the opinion Live and Let Live and these folks are entitled to their opinions on what's healthier about eating the shell or whatever, but here's my concern and what I'd love to discuss - Say that a bunch of people get seriously ill from eating Whole Bean chocolate or Raw chocolate or some other "unconventional" chocolate. The FDA comes in and says "yeah, no we need to tighten regulations on chocolate." Suddenly the rest of us will have to jump through extra hoops when it comes to importing, warehousing, and processing raw cacao beans, even if we end up making chocolate from fully roasted, deshelled cacao. More to the point, I could totally see the Craft Chocolate movement in the US hit critical mass and finally garnering the attention of the Big Chocolate companies, who would use any illness outbreak from a small maker as a way to push additional regulations through via lobbyists, making it more difficult for us to operate. Am I being paranoid? Probably. But don't you all remember what happened with Odwalla with their unpasteurized apple juice that sickened 70 kids (and led to many of their deaths) and led to sweeping changes in the juice industry in the 90s? They felt that unpasteurized was heathier and retained more nutrients. Sound familiar?
That's exactly the sort of thing I worry about with craft chocolate. It's pretty much a free-for-all and the fact of the matter is raw cacao beans should be a well-documented source with standardized storage and kill steps, regardless of being Raw or whatever. I personally like the fact that Big Government is out of my kitchen when it comes to my cacao processing, but I still consider this a looming issue. Hollywood regulated itself in the 1930s specifically so the government didn't intervene. Did they go too far? Of course. The idea was ultimately abandoned. I'm just throwing out ideas because, to quote any number of movies: I have a bad feeling about this.
Greetings o chocomasters!
I recently bought a used Rev Delta and received a bunch of baffles. One of the baffles has a slight "burned" dark splotch over one of the two metallic sensors that touch the base (which tells the machine the baffle is installed correctly). So if I try to use that particular baffle, after about 5-6 minutes the drum stops and the alarm sounds with the LED warning ***PLEASE REPLACE BAFFLE*** even though it's screwed down all the way. I've tried (with more or less success) to unscrew it slightly which seems to help for a few minutes, but then it stops and gives the error message again. Using other baffles works just fine. When I emailed ChocoVision, they told me that the baffles can't be repaired and I have to buy a new baffle. Boo.
Anyone have any luck with this?
Oh it doesn't dissolve?? Is there a good chemistry book that discusses the molecular structure of cacao? And speaking of books, is there a good resource for bean-to-bar chocolate making?
I'd seen this book but that's a pretty hefty price - I'll buy it if it's worth it though.
I'd heard about confectionery sugar having corn starch so I'm glad I'm using regular granulated sugar.
No, I'm not sure what the fat content is - I guess I'm going off of how thin the liquor is before I'm adding sugar. Thanks for the sugar tip and I'll take a look at buying cocoa butter to aid in the thickness problems I'm having. I'm also wondering if grinding with sugar included for less than 24 hours would help. Pre-ground sugar (like in a food processor like you suggested) shouldn't take all that long in the grinder to dissolve right?
Thanks for responding! I guess at this stage I'm trying to mitigate the number of variables. I'm still trying to figure out the roast, let alone grinding times. I have found these beans to have quite a lot of cocoa butter in them naturally, and only after 24 hours with sugar added did it start to really thicken up. Cocoa butter would thin it back down, correct?
I'm experimenting with some conacado Dominican Republic at home, and after grinding for 24 hours I had super low viscosity (almost like water) with a super-small micron size. After adding sugar (30% to make a 70% bar) and grinding for another 24 hours, my micron size came back down to normal levels but my temp had shot up to 124F and the chocolate became super viscous and was pulling from the bottom of the grinder. I wanted to conch another day or so but I was worried the chocolate would seize up the machine, so I pulled it from the grinder and tempered and molded it. It has an astringent quality that I think conching for another day or so would've helped.
I was using a small batch (about 1.5lbs) in a tabletop grinder. Was I adding sugar too early? Is there anything I can do temperature-wise? I really don't want to add cocoa butter if I can avoid it. I can also provide pictures if that helps.
Thanks for the response! Yea that's what I was worried about. I guess I'll have to experiment.
I'm just starting out and own a Premier Wonder Grinder like this:
Does anyone have any experience with micro-batches? I'm testing different roasting times and want to use the minimal amount of nibs possible. I don't want to have to use 1kg all at once if I don't have to. I've been experimenting with 2oz batches in my molcajete but obviously the grinding times are limited by what my arm can do (roughly 90 mins).