Forum Activity for @David Menkes

David Menkes
@David Menkes
12/12/15 03:46:31AM
32 posts

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?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/30/15 06:48:19PM
32 posts

selling chocolate in the summer (in the correct Forum - I hope)


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

Hey John,

You can get bags like these:

http://www.4imprint.com/search/thermal/product/106542/Therm-O-Tote-Insulated-Grocery-Bag

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.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/30/15 02:17:12PM
32 posts

Guatemalan Cacao?


Posted in: Classifieds

Well we're going to start bringing in containers - we can produce 110MT per year.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/30/15 01:29:45PM
32 posts

Guatemalan Cacao?


Posted in: Classifieds

We have Guatemala beans for sale on our site onlinecacao.com

We will also have new beans from our own farm in Rio Dulce coming soon!


updated by @David Menkes: 04/30/15 01:30:25PM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/26/15 04:01:01AM
32 posts

Wrapping Chocolate Bars... We've been doing it wrong???


Posted in: Opinion

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.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/26/15 03:53:17AM
32 posts

Sugar or fat bloom or not tempered?


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

What is the temperature of the room? What cooling temp and for how long? Only time we really ran into that issue was when the molds were too warm. We also aim for 68F ambient room temp.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/26/15 03:51:45AM
32 posts

Help with flavored oils


Posted in: Chocolate Education

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.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
02/04/15 03:35:03AM
32 posts

Rapadura sugar? Unrefined, evaporated cane juice?


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

@jack-meyer Thanks, I ordered a sample to evaulate.

@sebastian - very interesting! Where in your experience have you found the most interesting sugar, both in taste and in processing?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
02/02/15 02:21:32AM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

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!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Premier-Wonder-Grinder-Repair-Belts-and-Gears/

David Menkes
@David Menkes
02/02/15 12:23:50AM
32 posts

Rapadura sugar? Unrefined, evaporated cane juice?


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

 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!


updated by @David Menkes: 07/25/16 11:58:51AM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
02/01/15 04:58:30PM
32 posts

Whole Bean Chocolate, Raw Chocolate, etc and the law


Posted in: Opinion

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.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
02/01/15 03:40:57PM
32 posts

Whole Bean Chocolate, Raw Chocolate, etc and the law


Posted in: Opinion

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:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=163.110

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?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10049198

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_E._coli_case_from_Odwalla_juice

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.


updated by @David Menkes: 04/09/15 09:20:36AM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/30/15 10:16:21PM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

Hey Dave,

Yeah I was thinking about that - I figure there's no harm in experimenting since it's a spare baffle anyway. Will definitely post results once I try!

David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/30/15 12:53:40PM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

I ended up swapping the belt and gears on a Wonder last night and took lots of photos. Will post this weekend!

David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/29/15 04:27:22PM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

I'll definitely do that! Was actually going to do this for swapping out gears/belt on a Premier Wonder grinder as they seem to be used everywhere now.
updated by @David Menkes: 01/29/15 04:27:45PM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/29/15 01:36:41PM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

Yeah we got it for $1k and it included several baffles so we're not dead in the water by any means. Was just curious if anyone had attempted to fix one yet. Another in a long line of fixit projects...

David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/29/15 01:31:23PM
32 posts

Looking to purchase 65lb grinder/melanger


Posted in: Classifieds

As an alternative, Indi is selling theirs for $4k shipped.

Erin@indichocolate.com

David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/29/15 02:19:48AM
32 posts

Looking to purchase 65lb grinder/melanger


Posted in: Classifieds

Have you heard about Bavahni's project? He's doing a 65lb and a 100lb "Premier" grinder.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/28/15 01:15:09AM
32 posts

Rev Delta baffle sensor repair


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

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?


updated by @David Menkes: 04/09/15 08:18:24PM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
01/28/15 12:59:54AM
32 posts

polycarbonate moulds giving probs.plz help


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

Patches as in discoloration? Do you have a photo?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/15/14 06:28:13PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

Very interesting. So adding cocoa butter will keep viscosity down. How can you tell if you're grinding excessively?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/15/14 04:14:07PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

Wow thank you so much for specific roasting times/temps!

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/12/14 01:09:46PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

Right now it's literally just 70% roasted nibs and granulated sugar, added after 24 hours of grinding. Can you do a cut test on dried beans?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/11/14 01:11:13PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Production-Processing-Technology-Emmanuel-Afoakwa/dp/1466598239/

I'd heard about confectionery sugar having corn starch so I'm glad I'm using regular granulated sugar.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/11/14 12:54:54PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

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?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/11/14 12:33:26PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

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?

David Menkes
@David Menkes
04/01/14 04:24:27PM
32 posts

Bean to bar viscosity after adding sugar


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

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.


updated by @David Menkes: 04/11/15 03:15:25PM
David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/18/14 08:21:40PM
32 posts

Smallest amount of nibs that can be used in a wet grinder?


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

Thanks for the response! Yea that's what I was worried about. I guess I'll have to experiment.

David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/18/14 12:04:26PM
32 posts

Trip to the DR


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Hey Thomas - I am currently making test batches of chocolate using Conacado and would love to join you! I live in Los Angeles but will be available to travel with you. Please let me know! david@littlebrownsquares.com

David Menkes
@David Menkes
03/18/14 12:01:50PM
32 posts

Smallest amount of nibs that can be used in a wet grinder?


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

I'm just starting out and own a Premier Wonder Grinder like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Premier-Wonder-Table-Grinder-110v/dp/B004OPIBV2

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).


updated by @David Menkes: 04/24/15 10:21:52AM