Next level production!
Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools
Still taking advice on fridge and Air-4
Im actually working with a high viscosity formula. From your experience what has been the best comapny to work with? As I won't be able to test any machine, what do you think will be the safest bet?
The company im looking at makes chonces for Hersheys and a few other large scale producers. There is also a video on their site of them using it.
Thanks for your help!
So the time has come for me to step up production. I have been using the ECGC 12-SL from Cocoatown and tempering by hand. The bars have been great but the machine is not fit for this leve of production. I suggest working with another company than Cocoatown as the owner was completely useless in helping me solve the problems of extreme wear issues with plastic and metal wearing into the chocolate. The machine helped me get to this point and for that im grateful, its just a little unfortunate that finding a melange this size of good quality is so hard to find.
I am currently looking at stepping up to the
We shelled out to figure things out with them only to be met with horrible service and lots of headache.
I will make a more prominent post about Cocoatown later to warn people of their fraudulence.
For now happy chocolate making!
Thanks for the reply Brad.
What are the machines you are using so we can think about making that move.
We are fine with replacing needed parts on machines destined for chocolate making, but at this point it looks like every part on the machine needs constant replacing.
Thanks for your insight!
Are you talking about the embedded washers (ie. they run through the stones). They can be seen here in the image I attached, its the best image I could find.
If so, they are not removable. Ours ground down into a batch and we ended having to get more stones shipped to us. I think the stones should have metal wahers and then it woukld be metal on metal to have the least wear.
Let me know if they are removable or not, id be sursprised if they were and that they would be sending beta material.
Anyway hope we figure these issues out fast
If it was your first batch it might just mean that your wiper (the white peice attached to the cetral axle is too close to the wall of the drum which is creating friction and it needs to be shortened (undo the nut holding the wiper arm and turn the wiper one twist tighter to make it shorter).
We ordered another axle to see if our problem resolves itself, we just received it yesterday so we are putting on another batch.
Good luck friend!
We have now been working with the cocoatown unit for about 8 months and as production increased we have recently run into some problems. I am wondering if these are common and if they have been experienced by anyone else or if we are potentially using same mal-ingredient that might be making the friction increase.
About 2 months ago we showed up to our shop to find out the delrin inserts had ground off into the chocolate, making a whole batch (8lbs) of chocolate go to waste. We contacted cocoatown and they shipped up a new pair of stones.
We carefully watched the following batches with the new stones and saw the same wear pattern developing on the delrin inserts. We also have been noticing that the underside of the metal axle has been slowly wearing away as well. This means we have both plastic and metal grinding into our chocolate.
Now after getting in contact with the company we have been told that we need to pay to ship the parts affected back to the company for them to test them and then they will see if they want to cover them under warranty. Not so good for a new company just getting off the ground...
So has anyone had an issue like this with cocoatown?? We are now going to do what we can to continue producing but it looks like we might be looking into the Santha machines.
If anyone has any advice that would be highly appreciated.
Evan and Brianna
Hello again chocolate lifers!
So just back from another round at the factory and I want to share some of our experience and get some feedback.
So we are starting an herbal chocolate business and we are in the midst of testing/refining our process so we can be selling asap. Tonight we noticed challenge which we think we have remedy for but I will run you through the journey of our latest batch.
This is our process;
We use a cacaotown melange to grind our raw nibs for 48 hrs. At hour 24 we add our sugar and herbs. Our ratio is 64 oz of nibs to 18 oz of butter with 32 oz of sugar and 160 grams of dried powdered herbs. That makes a 60% herbal chocolate bar.
When we arrived, the chocolate was quite thick in the melange but we figured we would see where we were at once tempered and warmed to working temperature.
We brought the chocolate up to 120* then started to temper by hand on our granite slab. We seeded about 50 grams of chocolate at about 95* and continued to reduce the temperature on the slab. This is when it started to thicken up on us and once we got to proper temperature it was hardly workable. After raising it back up to 90* it was still very hard for us to pour it into our molds. We ended up having to spread it into the molds with our flat spatula, forming many bubbles which we were unable to remove through agitation.
Then we placed the polycarbonate molds into the fridge and waited about 25 minutes. We couldnt get the bars out of the molds even with vigorous whacking on the table.
My thoughts are that we need to add more butter. Were hoping that adding maybe another 5 oz might give us the proper viscosity we are looking for. Does this sound like it would remedy our thickness issue as well as our ability to get them out of the molds??
The chocolate tastes great but the production needs some more fine tuning and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hello dear chocolatiers!
So our venture with chocolate is well underway and we are now in the process of dialling in our recipes for our final product.
We are using a Cocoatown ECGC-12SL (which is running great!) and we are wondering; How long we should be grinding it?
We are using raw nibs and grinding for 24-28 hrs with great texture results but there is still quite a bit of bitter (tannin??). From my research after grinding many manufacturers would now conch for up to 4 days to let some of these bitter compounds evaporate. If we just kept grinding for an additional day or so would we come up with a less bitter product? We like some bitterness but we need to reduce it a bit.
After tempering (which we do by hand on granite). We then pour into our molds and place in the fridge (because we seem to get untempered chocolate when we just leave the molds out to harden, any advice on if we can do something so that we dont need to refrigerate would be great). After about 15 minutes in the fridge we pull them out and remove them from the molds. This is where we are having some trouble keeping the bars from breaking. Is it because we are trying to remove them while cold? How can we make sure the chocolate comes out easily from the polycarbonate molds??
Any and all advice greatly appreciated.
Evan and Brianna
Dude im not sure why you are so sensitive and harsh but im sure it would be much appreciated by many if you took a little more time to love and be humbled in this life. Your words would go much farther into peoples awareness and your help be welcomed if you shared with more care. Im not going to waste any time refuting or challenging your petty insults and will instead bring up your somewhat helpful advice and see what we can figure out together, cause we are all trying to make awesome chocolate here, arent we??
I only say lecithin binds with water as on chocolate alchemy the administrator on there mentioned it for that specific reason. I cant find the specific quote on his site anymore but further research led me to descriptions on a cosmetics site stating "lecithin iscapable to bind water & fats (prevents fat-water separation)"... Which, by definition, is an emulsifier. I imagine thats what the administrator was meaning but didnt lay out a full description. So I guess better to say that it actually binds fat and water, which is why im wondering if that will help the chocolate to temper more easily while using more water based sweeteners??
Many thanks for all the advice fellow chocolatiers.
Thank you very much Clay. This is what I was hoping to hear from a forum. I have spent many hours on forums and although it is wise to link people to already worked information it is also wise to just help someone out who has multiple/slightly specific questions. So thanks for the reply.
Im going to pick up some sunflower lecithin and just give it a go (using a very small amount) as im sure the market around here, Coastal BC, will be turned away by the word soy no matter how non GMO it is. Some companies seem to be working with it with no problem so I will do my rounds of testing. As the sweeteners are watery im hoping the lecithin will bind with the water enough to ease tempering ability.
Many thanks, I will repost what I come up with to give further insight into the journey.
Thanks for your insight.
I may be early in my development and some of the questions might not have validity in their thinking, however some do and to say "do more research" is somewhat deadendish in its support. I am doing more research continually and this is part of my research. Any insight into what I asked would be much appreciated.
I will check out chocolate alchemy and see what more I can find.
Thank you kindly
Hello everyone! First of all I would like to give thanks to all who contribute to such a wonderful site, the information has been hugely helpful for me so far. I have a few questions that havent been exactly covered or at least I havent found them. Here we go!
So I am now undertaking the wonderful journey of chocolate. I have aspirations to go all the way to bean to bar production, go down south and find my favorite little farm, have baths in cacao liqueur and eat chocolate every day forever and ever
However, I have chosen to just start out working with raw paste (i will be making mostly raw chocolate but am not limiting myself), melting down, working my recipes, tempering on stone and molding bars for sale.
Question set number 1:
Is working with paste a good way to start? Is the raw paste available from most distributors already melanged enough for commercial grade chocolate?? I will be using honey and maple syrup for sweeteners (which im hoping are shelf stable) so i dont think I will need a melanger for breaking down the sugar particles.
Question set number 2:
Does anyone have any opinion on bars?? Have you noticed people preferring bigger bars (100g +) or smaller (+-50g) in general. Im thinking of hitting about the 75g range so the bars arent too pricey and still big enough to enjoy a full chocolate experience.
Question set number 3:
Who makes the best molds around for bars?? Where is the best place to look for packaging materials in Canada? Im going to go with foil and paper as it seems to be the easiest.
Question set number 3:
Will I get more shelf life, creamier texture if I use sunflower lecithin?
Many thanks!! I am aiming to get the company off the ground asap and am super thankful for any feedback.