Forum Activity for @Jim Dutton

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
08/03/17 04:10:33PM
76 posts

Quality Chocolate and Shelf Life plus need for refrigeration at retail level


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

You bring up some interesting points with shelf life. What I currently do for retail sales is to make an extra box that will be for display only. The owner of the shop puts it out with a sign about the chocolates (the fillings, the ingredients, etc.), and the sign directs potential customers to inquire at the counter to purchase a box. There is a cooler at the counter, and the chocolates are kept there. Your comment on the availability to the customer is very true--this method of storing the chocolates discourages any impulse sales. Worse for sales, I seal each box in its own clear plastic bag and include a note that the chocolates should be allowed to come to room temp before opening the bag; bitter experience tells me condensation will certainly form otherwise, but I have had no issues with humidity with my method. I know that experts recommend against refrigerating chocolates, but an owner of a shop will be determined to keep them as long as needed to sell them, and I am concerned about shelf life enough to insist on refrigerating. All it takes is one spoiled ganache to ruin a reputation, and maybe even somebody's health. People are used to drugstore boxes of chocolates that will last practically forever and don't tend to think of bonbons as "spoilable." I have found my system to work well in two different shops (one a florist, the other a lunch spot), and if the staff calls attention to the existence of the chocolates, they do sell. I think one key is having the box on display so customers can see what they are getting.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/27/17 04:13:35PM
76 posts

Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration


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

Clay,

As update on my experiments and thinking on the humidity issue and cooling chocolate:  Today I put 2 Moso bags in my regular fridge and added a small fan. I won't know until I get to the unmolding stage whether everything worked OK (it is very humid here right now, but I have the kitchen RH down to around 45%). Of course, it won't be possible, with so many variables, to know for sure whether the two measures I took made any difference or not. The Moso bags last only two years, but I contacted the company and was assured that if I take the bags out of the fridge when I am not making chocolates and seal them in a plastic bag, they should last a longer time. The fan was quite gentle (I could barely hear that it was running), so I don't expect much help from it.

My goal is to purchase the Everlasting mini. There was a 220V outlet in the house previously for a big window AC unit, so I'm hoping it would not be a huge deal to restore it--but I know almost nothing about electricity. I will spend some time investigating the various issues, including with an electrician, and then hope to proceed.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/24/17 04:24:15PM
76 posts

Looking for a small guitar


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

I have a full-size Dedy. In about 30 uses, I have broken one string--and that was my fault, not the guitar's. It's not a pleasant job to replace a string, but it's not super-difficult. There is a video showing how to do it. My experience suggests that the strings are not so fragile; rather the whole issue is cutting the right ganache at the right time. By that I mean not trying to cut substances with chopped nuts or coconut or nibs, etc. and having the ganache at a consistency where it will cut cleanly but is not too firm. The time I broke a string was when I was cutting a gianduja layer--it firmed up faster than usual, and I wasn't paying close attention. With ganaches and gianduja, I watch it fairly closely until it begins to crystallize around the edges and gets that matte (rather than wet) look, and then I test around the edges of the slab (which I will eventually trim off anyway) by sticking a small knife repeatedly into the ganache. It's like testing many cakes--wait until the tester comes out almost clean. It may sound like a tedious process, but there are two things I can say definitively about a guitar: Once you break a string, you will be more careful in the future, and getting those perfect pieces with completely straight edges is very satisfying (and I don't think it is possible to duplicate that with a knife).

You might want to check out the lengthy thread on guitars on the eGullet forum. If I recall correctly, someone on that thread was planning to buy a small guitar, and people asked the poster to report on it, but there was never any more information provided.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/20/17 05:22:49PM
76 posts

A New Tempering Machine is Closer Than Ever!


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I have a Rev2 for very small jobs, but mostly use a Delta, which does some of the same things yours does (it is fairly noisy). I generally temper my chocolate by raising it to the top temp, then let it fall to around 95F, when I add a small amount of tempered seed, then let it fall further to the working point. I found that when I added the seed when the Delta beeps (at the highest point), the chocolate often gets horribly overtempered in no time at all. Adding it at around 95 means the Type V crystals from the seed get some time to do their job, but not too much. This seems to work. The down side is that, without a large amount of seed added early, it takes longer for the chocolate to cool. I don't lower the temp, then raise it again (in the traditional method, which I gather is the default for your machine and your method of tempering--though the Chocovision machines allow for following either method). Using an unorthodox time to add the seed means I have to stay close to watch the temp because the machines beep at the highest temp, then not again until the temp is 90F, when the seed is supposed to be removed--obviously too late to add seed.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/20/17 04:13:08PM
76 posts

A New Tempering Machine is Closer Than Ever!


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks for the detailed responses. I'm sure I will have more questions--do you prefer that I post them here or email them to you?

One of them will be whether you are familiar with the Chocovision machines and, if so, how they compare to yours.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/20/17 12:44:45PM
76 posts

A New Tempering Machine is Closer Than Ever!


Posted in: News & New Product Press

This is an exciting project, and I am very interested. The machine sounds similar to a Chocovision unit (perhaps the Delta). If you don't mind answering more questions publicly, what is the diameter of the bowl? (In other words, is it wide enough to empty molds into it once they are filled?) I can't quite figure out how 8 litres translates into kilos; do you have that figure? Do you (or will you) have available a comparison to other temperers?

The longest wait in any table-top machine is (for me, at least) the time between the top melt temp and the final tempering point. I have often thought that a cooling source would certainly speed things up. Would that put such machines out of reach as far as cost goes?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/03/17 12:15:58PM
76 posts

Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration


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

Clay,

Thanks very much for that helpful reply.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/02/17 02:02:11PM
76 posts

Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration


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

I have done some more reading on RH in refrigerators, and what I read is not conclusive. Apparently fridges with the door shut for a while have a very low humidity level, but when the door is opened, the RH goes up quite fast. I roughly verified these observations with my hygrometer. Are there ways in which a cooler specifically for chocolate would operate any differently? In other words, why wouldn't placing a mold with crystallizing chocolate raise the RH same as a regular fridge?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
07/01/17 11:08:04AM
76 posts

Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration


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

Clay,

Thanks for the helpful response. I have the Moso charcoal bag in a wine fridge, but I have never been convinced it did any good. I'll test the RH with and without it. What you say about chilling a mold in a sealed plastic bag confirms what I suspected, so I guess that idea is out.

I have just reread Peter Greweling's section on the latent heat of crystallization. He mentions refrigerating the chocolates to help with the problem but cautions that the temp (he specifies as 51F [corrected 7/6/17: Greweling specifies 41F] as ideal) and humidity of the fridge should not be too high (easier said than done in a home situation).

Can you provide an approximate cost of the Everlasting 130 (mini cooler)? I have seen that Hilliard's also makes a chilling cabinet, and although I expected the cost to be substantial, it was higher than I anticipated.


updated by @Jim Dutton: 07/06/17 07:07:33AM
Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
06/30/17 05:57:52PM
76 posts

Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration


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

I don't usually attempt much chocolate-making in the humid summer months, but my business appears to be expanding, so I am trying to cope. The air conditioning in the house (I am a home-based operation) removes enough humidity to get the RH in the 40% range, but when I put the molds in the fridge (to take care of the latent heat of crystallization), the humidity is considerably higher. Before I give more serious thought to a humidity-controlled cooler, I was wondering if this very low-tech procedure would help: Once a mold is prepared with chocolate and the chocolate has begun to crystallize, I could seal the mold in a plastic bag (not vacuumed, just sealed with an impulse sealer) and put it in the fridge. This would take a little time, but it would be easy. My question is whether it would work: does a mold have to be open to the air for the latent heat to dissipate? 

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
06/15/17 02:26:47PM
76 posts

Storage Issues with Selling Chocolates Wholesale


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

So far I have provided at most a few hundred pieces at a time, all boxed thus far. I am interested in your mention of "open-stock." In those situations what was done to keep heat and humidity from the chocolates? Since I wrote my initial message, I have spoken with the baker, whose shop will open in a month or so. He is planning to have a small retail area with local products, so as long as he has a cooler, that is perfect for me--it means just putting one box out for display. The restaurant is another matter. 

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
06/15/17 08:13:08AM
76 posts

Storage Issues with Selling Chocolates Wholesale


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

I have sold boxes of chocolates on a consignment basis with some success. I seal each box in plastic (not vacuumed), and the seller stores them in a cooler. I include directions to bring the box to room temp before opening the plastic, and this procedure controls condensation. I include an extra open box (covered in plastic wrap) for display so that buyers can see what they will get. I like the consignment arrangement because it gives me control over freshness--there is no incentive for the vendor to keep the chocolates beyond their estimated shelf life. It does end up costing me, but to me that is less important than my reputation, and certainly less important than health concerns for the eventual consumer.

Now I have two new reseller possibilities, a bakery and a restaurant, which present somewhat different issues. The bakery might agree to sell plastic-wrapped boxes as I have been doing (though I imagine their customers may want to buy individual pieces as in a chocolate shop), but the restaurant would want the chocolates available as customers order them from the dessert menu, not with an hour-long delay for the bag to come to room temp before it is opened. In neither case would I expect a humidity-controlled storage cabinet. I've seen what happens to chocolate exposed to humidity, and it is not a pretty picture.

If anyone has experience with the issues I mention, I would appreciative having your thoughts.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
06/05/17 07:43:32PM
76 posts

Hi from Brazil


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Robert Kray,

I saw in another thread you provided a link to an image of a bonbon speckled (quite nicely) using the HotChoc, yet in many other places Krea representatives and the Krea literature have stated that the sprayer requires a half-cocoa butter, half-chocolate mixture and, even more explicitly, that the sprayer is not intended for use with colored cocoa butter. It would be helpful to have a definitive answer to the question many chocolatiers have: can the HotChoc replace an airbrush or sprayers (such as the Fuji) when decorating molds (whether covering the cavities entirely or creating other artistic effects, such as speckling)? I should add that the HotChoc has a very large container for the spraying medium; if the company were to provide a smaller one and if the answer to my question above is positive, I think Krea would open up a new market for itself.


updated by @Jim Dutton: 06/05/17 07:44:43PM
Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
06/01/17 05:21:04PM
76 posts

Seeking Custom Thermoformed Candy Trays


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

Thanks for that tip. I have gotten in touch with FormTight, and so far the experience has been encouraging. We haven't yet gotten to the question of cost. Your order of 10K is a little scary, as I wouldn't live long enough to use that many trays. I'll see if the cost of a few thousand is beyond my reach.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/31/17 11:15:36AM
76 posts

Seeking Custom Thermoformed Candy Trays


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

I am looking for a company that will make custom trays for chocolates. I know there are lots of manufacturers of such items, but all I have contacted so far (those who bothered to reply) have very high minimums. Is it a fool's search to look for someone who will make 2000-3000 such trays?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/25/17 06:00:49PM
76 posts

White Cocoa Butter Color - Better Tasting Alternatives


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I went ahead and contacted Glarus Gourmet (as mentioned above) and had a reply from Kurt. He says that if I am tasting titanium dioxide in white cocoa butter, I am using too much. The problem is that it takes quite a bit to provide a backing for other colors or to keep dark chocolate from showing through. He is going to send me a sample of his white cocoa butter, and I can post here whether the taste is different from Chef Rubber's. More promisingly, he said there is a white c.b. substitute out there, and he is going to get more information on that. To be continued....

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/24/17 05:16:39PM
76 posts

White Cocoa Butter Color - Better Tasting Alternatives


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I completely agree with you about the offputting taste of white cocoa butter. I hate using it but need to if I want some colors (such as red) to show up when applied to dark chocolate shells. I am not sure what constraints you are under to produce a white product, but you might not be satisfied with the ivory tint of white chocolate (even though that is a great possible option, as noted earlier in the thread).

This past weekend I was at a chocolate workshop in Las Vegas and met Kurt Knobel, the owner of Glarus Gourmet, which does business online as chocotransfersheets.com. He makes colored cocoa butters (he used to make the product for a major producer before going out on his own) and seemed genuinely interested in getting customer input and suggestions on his products. You might give him a call (707-748-5658). If you do contact him, it would be very helpful if you posted here and let others (especially me!) know what you find out.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/24/17 09:54:40AM
76 posts

Dipped Caramels


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

Thanks for clarifying. I'll give that a try with pineapple purée, which scorches easily if added at the beginning of the process.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/24/17 09:48:49AM
76 posts

Dipped Caramels


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

Just to be certain I understand you: you are adding the bourbon after all the cooking is complete?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/24/17 09:22:08AM
76 posts

Dipped Caramels


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

I'm afraid I don't have the expertise to be of much help in your quest, except to say that I would not use my guitar on caramel. If you have ever replaced even a single wire on a guitar, you will know why (though I realize that knowing your caramel and its consistency might change that rule for others). I do have a question. When you say:

"my only trick was to discover the precise temp I wanted to use to get the right texture, while adding about a 1/2 cup of bourbon to the double batch"

to what temp do you cook the caramel? I have the problem that when caramel is cooked to the right consistency (in my case, for piping), it means the correct amount of liquid has evaporated. If I add liquid (I have tried pineapple purée), the proportions are thrown off and the caramel is too thin to pipe into a mold. Of course, adding flavoring liquids earlier means the flavor often gets cooks off.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/20/17 05:22:41PM
76 posts

Does anyone know good chocolate sprayers?


Posted in: Classifieds

Thanks for your help.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/20/17 05:17:29PM
76 posts

Does anyone know good chocolate sprayers?


Posted in: Classifieds

If you don't mind saying, how large a production are you speaking of? At this point, I am a small producer, so might be spraying 4 molds with a single color, then changing to a different color. My airbrush is OK for doing that (it is a siphon type, so tends to need frequent heating--I have always assumed the gravity-feed type is better when it comes to dealing with the thickening of chocolate). But the brush/compressor I have cannot do the speckling (to take one example) that I believe the Fuji is capable of. Leaving aside the issue of cost, do you think it would be overkill for what I do?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/20/17 04:58:52PM
76 posts

Does anyone know good chocolate sprayers?


Posted in: Classifieds

Thanks for that information. I have heard of others who use that brand for spraying molds. I believe it requires it own compressed air supply, not just a regular compressor, correct? Is that what you mean by a "serious piece of equipment"?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/20/17 10:32:22AM
76 posts

Does anyone know good chocolate sprayers?


Posted in: Classifieds

The sprayers being discussed (such as the Krea ones) appear to have containers holding a rather large amount of the material being sprayed. Many chocolatiers operate on a much smaller scale, particularly when spraying colored cocoa butter into molds. Does anyone know of an HVLP device with a smaller "tank"?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/25/17 12:19:39PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

Ruth,

I think AquaLab is/was the name for certain models of Decagon devices, so I should have referred to Decagon. In any event, that info is out of date because, in my recent email exchange with the company, this note was included at the end:

We are excited to let you know that we have changed our name from Decagon Devices/AquaLab to METER Group Inc.  All content will gradually migrate to our new website at METERgroup.com.  The current website www.aqualab.com will be available for the foreseeable future.

Jim

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/24/17 03:37:46PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

An update:  

I wrote to AquaLab asking about the issue of volatiles (such as alcohol) in the sample being measured and got this reply:

"The statement [included in my previous message] was quoted from the 4TE manual that used the chilled mirror sensor. I've attached the link to the manual, this statement is on page 51 section 8.4."

I replied to them, asking specifically:  "But does the statement also apply to the Pawkit, meaning that it too may not give accurate readings with high amounts of volatiles in the sample?"

And the reply to that was:  "Not at all James. Pawkit uses the capacitance sensor, there is not a chilled mirror on the Pawkit. Our Series 4TEV instrument uses the same sensor as the Pawkit."

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/23/17 09:14:59PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

Sebastian,

You said "as long as the Aw meter was made after 1999, that is, after which point they began including compensation to correct for the fact that volatiles such as ethanol impact the humidity and the humidity sensor."

On eGullet I posted on what I learned from your previous statements on alcohol and aW. Were you referring to any specific models of meters? I ask because I received a reply from Kerry Beal (she and I both have the Pawkit from AquaLabs) stating "A standard dew point  Aw meter without special filters doesn't recognize the Aw lowering effect of alcohol. From the Aqua Lab manual - ‟Samples with a high amount of volatiles condense on the mirror during the reading process, but do not evaporate from the mirror as water does. As a result the reading on samples with volatiles may not be accurate with the dew point technique.

I would like to clear up the apparent discrepancy.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/18/17 09:01:33AM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

Sebastian,

Thanks for those ideas. In regard to "The impact of the alcohol you add will be factored into any Aw reading you take," could you say more about that? Does that mean that the alcohol somehow decreases the available water? How does this happen, given the water that is part of whatever liquor is being used?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/17/17 08:19:03PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

Good point about mold in the cheese. I think the upshot of this is that it will not be possible to predict the shelf life of this ganache with any degree of certainty. I'll go ahead and make it to see what I think of the taste and keep it for a while to determine what happens over time. Perhaps it will go in the same category as the famous crème brûlée chocolate at Kee's in NYC--eat it within two day or....

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/17/17 07:32:52PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

I have Greweling's book. I am not talking about a huge alcohol content, just a routine adding of dark rum or Grand Marnier or kirschwasser, etc. Perhaps I was not clear, but my basic question is whether the measured Aw takes into account the alcohol or not. I suspect it does not, but I've never seen a definitive statement on that. Wybauw writes about adding alcohol at 15% of the weight of the ganache to affect shelf life--that's a lot of alcohol and most recipes I've seen don't approach that level.

This question is brought on by my intention to try a chocolate filling using Stilton cheese, cream, dark chocolate, and port, and I said on another forum that I would make this ganache and report back on the water activity. The port is the unknown factor.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/17/17 01:45:09PM
76 posts

Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol


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

I know that the addition of alcohol to a ganache increases shelf life, but I would like to improve my understanding of the relation of this fact to the measured activity of water. In other words, when I take a reading of the Aw of a ganache that contains alcohol, does the resulting figure include the impact of the alcohol or not? It would seem at a quick glance that alcohol, containing water, might actually increase the reading. If the Aw figure does not take into account the effect of alcohol, is one reduced to guessing what difference it makes in shelf life or is there a way to calculate it? Any clarification would be appreciated.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/24/17 10:01:06PM
76 posts

Piping issue


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

I have used previously made ganaches quite often. I don't think it is wise to try to soften them in the bag as it would lead to very uneven melting and possibly separation. I slit the bag open and spoon out the ganache in fairly small pieces into a pot placed over hot water. Stirring constantly and mashing it a bit, I let it melt. I use an immersion blender if there is any separation. I am careful not to let it get over 80F. Then I spoon or pour it into a new pastry bag and pipe into shells. I have never had any problems with a ganache using dark or milk chocolate. White chocolate requires more care: a gentle heat and definitely an immersion blender to keep it from separating. Good luck.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/03/17 07:17:29PM
76 posts

Need Opinions on Cooling Fridge or Tunnel


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

My brief search to find out what a 220V single-phase appliance actually entails for a U.S. house was not conclusive (or, more likely, I didn't understand what I read). If that conversion takes a lot of effort/expense, then don't go to the trouble of checking the price.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/03/17 01:46:30PM
76 posts

Need Opinions on Cooling Fridge or Tunnel


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

Don't go to a huge amount of trouble, but I would help if I had approximate pricing on the mini-refrigerator model. My space limitations (as well as what I'm guessing the model you recommended would cost) suggest the mini would be more my speed.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/01/17 10:50:57AM
76 posts

Need Opinions on Cooling Fridge or Tunnel


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

"a fridge designed for holding and crystallizing chocolate is going to be a better idea."

I did not know of such a fridge. Is it possible to get a link to an example?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
04/17/16 09:17:28AM
76 posts

Packaging question


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

This discussion brings up a question I have had for a long time:  What exactly determines if a container or a substance is food-safe?  What, for example, makes polycarbonate molds food-safe?  Stainless steel bars used for slabbed ganaches?  One food wrap vs. another?  A plastic sold as a tablecloth vs. a similar plastic sold as a tarp?  In the particular question in this thread, why would the tin not be food-safe?  I have not been able to find definitive information on this topic.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/19/16 09:45:07AM
76 posts

Getting Strong Ganache Flavor and Shelf Life


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

For a long time I have been working to get a strong fruit flavor in fillings for chocolates, especially from the more "timid" fruits (such as pear, peach, rhubarb, and apricot).  I have no issues with assertive fruits such as raspberry, strawberry, orange, passion fruit, yuzu, etc.  With the first group, whenever chocolate of any type, even white, is added, the fruit flavor tends to disappear.  I have used a Ewald Notter recipe that calls for two layers of filling, one with what he calls a "raspberry coulis" (actually raspberry purée with pectin as a binding agent--it's a pâte de fruit but with a looser texture).  So I tried this idea with pear and with apricot purées, and the results were delicious, with strong fruit flavor.  Then I tested the water activity of these jellies, and the results were alarming.  Their water activity level of 0.93 is well above the 0.85 usually given as a maximum for the ganache to be safe for more than three weeks (and that is assuming good storage conditions, which of course cannot be guaranteed once the product has been sold).

My point to this is whether anything can be done to lower a jelly's water activity that would also not mask the fruit flavor.  I'm going to do some experimentation when I have a chance, but any suggestions would be helpful. Adding sorbitol?  invert sugar?  cocoa butter?  Initially I made the mistaken assumption that binding the fruit with pectin would help (because it looks as if it does reduce water), but apparently such is not the case.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/18/16 08:17:41PM
76 posts

How does one make a creamy ganache with Coconut Oil?


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

I have been experimenting lately with meltaways.  I used Greweling's basic mint meltaway proportions (520g chocolate, 155g coconut oil) but made it into a coconut/banana filling for chocolates.  I used coconut oil that has a coconut taste (unrefined).  I was apprehensive that too many additives (banana purée, lemon juice, coconut rum, vanilla extract, coconut flakes) might interfere with the eutectics reaction that creates a meltaway.  They did not, and the resulting filling was somewhat softer than a meltaway, perhaps what you are seeking.  I should mention that I added 1% cocoa butter  (actually the cocoa butter "silk" produced by the EZtemper machine) to aid in the firming up of the mixture.  I stirred it over cold water for a short time until I could feel it thickening, then piped it into molds.  I am pleased with the result and plan to try it with other flavors (though in those cases using the refined coconut oil that has no taste).

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/07/16 07:26:21PM
76 posts

F/S - 280, 27–cavity PoyCarb Molds - Boston


Posted in: Classifieds

Are you willing to sell just a few of these molds, or only the whole lot?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/01/16 09:53:03PM
76 posts

Home Business Questions


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

Glad you are thinking of various possibilities.  I agree that renting space in a professional kitchen and making chocolates there is a major pain.  Be sure and check out the Mass. cottage food laws before you consider moving.  I lived in Boston for 50 years--there is a lot of regulation there.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/01/16 08:56:41AM
76 posts

Home Business Questions


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

It looks as if the California law is stricter than the one we have in Virginia.  Instead of "Candy, such as brittle and toffee," ours just says "candy."  Another part of the list here allows for "baked goods that do not require time or temperature control after preparation"--showing the intent of the law to protect the public from items such as custards that spoil easily.  It would seem that you could make nut centers (such as gianduja), caramel, fondant-based fillings, probably butter ganaches (which opens up lots of possibilities), but nothing with cream (which, of course, eliminates most ganaches).

By the way, I misspelled the website that I mentioned previously; it's forrager.com.  And here is another site I found that has "fleshed out" the California regulations a little more:  http://www.theselc.org/cottage_food_law_faq -- it has a link to a form where you can request an addition to the list of approved foods (you could specifically ask about cream ganaches).

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/31/16 10:43:15PM
76 posts

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

This seems like a quite strict interpretation of the law; are you certain that ganache-filled chocolates are excluded?  I think in most states they are permitted under the "cottage food" laws.  Of course everything is eventually perishable, but it takes a long time for a chocolate to mold.  You might want to check the website forager.com, a site that is dedicated solely to cottage food laws in the U.S.  There are sections on that site specifically dealing with each state, and you can post a question.  In dealings with my own state, I found there is a lot of misinformation about the laws.

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