Forum Activity for @Lee2

Lee2
@Lee2
03/22/14 07:20:36AM
33 posts

Opinions on recent genome news?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Seems Mars and friends have mapped the chocolate genome. Of course scare-monger sitesare screaming chocolate will be all GMO by the year 20xx, and other more staid sitesare saying it's nothing we haven't been doingie selection and breedingjust with more knowledge about what to select for.

Anyone know more? Care to comment? I'd love to hear opinions! Thanks,

Lee


updated by @Lee2: 04/14/15 01:18:22PM
Lee2
@Lee2
03/06/14 08:33:46AM
33 posts

hollow chocolate molding


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

I'd also find out how he's cooling them. How big is the cooling environment? How cold? How are the molds spaced in the fridge? How long is he cooling for? Heat dispersal in chocolate molds can be very tricky. Knowing where cracks are forming would be useful.I still hope your your sake someone with experience with this kind of mold weighs in. I mold lots of chocolate every day but I don't work with this particular type of hollow mold. So my advice is fairly general.Best of luck!
Lee2
@Lee2
03/06/14 12:37:07AM
33 posts

hollow chocolate molding


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

I have no experience with that type of mold but what I do know is thickness won't stop chocolate from cracking. The times I've seen cracking was with very thick chocolate, in fact. Due to uneven cooling, in that instance. So I'd be looking at cooling problems rather than viscosity. Molds can be really tricky and almost all the trouble comes from cooling and heat dispersal. Lots of folks will say to put a fan in your fridge haha.

Good on you for taking up your father's legacy!

Lee2
@Lee2
03/03/14 05:21:15PM
33 posts

AS / SAN plastic Molds vs PC Molds


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

Thanks for your input! I went ahead and ordered three AS plastic molds. We'll see how they perform.Call me crazybut I would never use the same mold for 25 years. Plastic, as I understand, all leaches chemicals to one degree or another, a process I'm led to believe increases with age.It may be urban myth, but I've also heard that in the aftermath of the BPA scandal, if you can call it that, manufacturers rushed to remove BPA from their processes and swapped in other chemicals in this BP series.Anyway, for fun I've gone ahead and ordered one mold made of wood to see if that's a possibility. Yes, wood!
Lee2
@Lee2
02/26/14 09:41:30PM
33 posts

AS / SAN plastic Molds vs PC Molds


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

Been shopping for molds.

I've noticed molds in "AS" in addition to the standardpolycarbonate (PC). Anyone have molds made ofAS plastic? If I'm making the connection right, according to Wikipedia, AS is a B short of ABS, which last I checked wasn't food grade or even non-toxic. (That said I did chew no a fair amount of lego as a kid and I'm just fine today lol)

It's interesting because the place I'm seeing the molds sells two versions of just about every shape, cheaper in AS, pricier in PC (22 vs 35, not dollars but you get the idea).

Thanks!

Lee

Edit: I now seethis, so maybe even the polycarb molds have BPA, a famous good-times toxin. EWG also says avoid polycarbonate.

Edit 2:I see now that ABS is only "made" of toxic stuff, and is very stable as a finished product. Acrylonitrile styrene (AS) or styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) is seemingly an equally safe relative. Maybe its time to start looking at these puppies :P


updated by @Lee2: 04/13/15 09:27:09AM
Lee2
@Lee2
02/25/14 08:04:19PM
33 posts

Botulism


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

Ah ha, well caught! The cinnamon was air dried at ~70C for 24 hours while in a rough powder form. so I'm thinking it will be very low H2O by now.

Thanks for raising that point!

Lee2
@Lee2
02/24/14 08:15:27AM
33 posts

Botulism


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

It's surprising indeed! I'm not surprised about the water activity, however. So it looks like between lack of water and presence of oxygen, I'm ok in terms of botulism. On to steaming...

Thanks Sebastian!

Lee2
@Lee2
02/22/14 11:13:55PM
33 posts

Botulism


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

In terms of botulism, whether chocolate contains / is a barrier for oxygen is critical in my view. Botulism only becomes a health hazard when the related bacteria find themselves in an anaerobic, low-acid environment. So if the interior of a piece of dark chocolate is low oxygen and no new oxygen can get it, the bacteria can quickly use up the available oxygen and begin producing botulinum toxin.

However you are saying chocolate is not a barrier for oxygen. How do you know this? I'm not doubting you here, just curious to know where I might find more detailed information.

As to other bacteria, of course there are always concerns, although it's my understanding as well that chocolate is by and large an inhospitable environment for most things, hence the 2-year shelf life. Again, could be mistaken! Your mention of steam sterilization is very useful though, thanks. I'll look into that further.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/22/14 02:56:43AM
33 posts

Botulism


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

Sorry for the nasty title. I'm currently making a chocolate with a cinnamon inclusion. The cinnamon is from a local source, and I've cleaned and processed it myself. This species of cinnamon actually grows as a root, however, so there's probably no way of getting 100% of whatever was on it underground off. And it is basically raw.

I know things like garlic cannot be stored in oil due to concerns about botulism. Chocolate is largely oil (40%+ cocoa butter?), so I'm wondering if there's any concern here. How much oxygen is in chocolate? Is the pH low enough to prevent production of the toxin?

Haven't seen any info online, and only see one other poston TCL which admittedly says chocolate allows oxygen to "pass through" whatever that means lol

Anyway, jokes aside, botulism isn't funny, so if anyone knows something I'd love to hear it!

Thanks

Lee


updated by @Lee2: 04/12/15 02:02:51AM
Lee2
@Lee2
02/22/14 01:54:23AM
33 posts

Every time I use my molds for chocolate bars, they bloom.


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Keep searching on this site, there are several discussions that talk about this. I faced these problems too up until the last week or two!

What I've learned about molding is:

  • Crystals give off heat as they grow. Chocolate becomes solid due to crystallization. In a mold, often heat has trouble escaping. That's why people tell you to refrigerate once you see clear signs crystallization has gotten off to a good start. Note that simply putting the full mold in a cold place / the fridge might not be enough for very thick pieces, since it'll just warm up the immediate area it's in. Some recommend putting a fan in your refrigerator :D
  • Cocoa butter left on the mold from the first batch of chocolate will stick to the next batch if you don't melt it by heating the mold up before pouring in the second batch. Obviously don't heat it too far above 30C or the chocolate you pour in might go out of temper. I have a dish drier that runs at a constant ~50 degrees or so, so I put the one mold in there while I'm pouring another. I guess putting it under a lamp would also work. You just need enough heat for the cocoa butter to warm up so it can integrate into the next chocolate rather than stick on the surface and look nasty.
Lee2
@Lee2
03/19/14 06:27:37AM
33 posts

which is the best grinder/melanger to buy??


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

Have you asked over at the chocolate alchemy forum (aka chocolate talk proboards)? They have a whole thread for Premier Wonder owners.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/25/14 06:19:30AM
33 posts

which is the best grinder/melanger to buy??


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

I'm in the same position as you I'm afraid. No idea! Based on what I've read here on TCL and the user's thread on the chocolate forum at proboards it seems like a winner. Price is right too! Seems to me overheating is not a big deal. Just rig a fan to blow on the motor.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/24/14 08:25:19AM
33 posts

which is the best grinder/melanger to buy??


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

The Premier Wonder gets the thumbs up from various people including Chocolate Alchemy ... I'm pondering getting one.http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/melanger-necessary?xg_source=activity&id=1978963%3ATopic%3A130514&page=3#comments

Lee2
@Lee2
02/17/14 05:12:27PM
33 posts

Static electricity and molds


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

Thanks Clay,

I'd read of people using wristbands. I'll look around the workshop today to see if there's something I can ground myself on besides the kitchen faucet since where I live that would be a 2$ option ;-)

Using paper towel to wipe. I see others like makeup pads but are those food grade? Cosmetics aren't nearly as regulated as food industry goods. So I'm very hesitant.

Anyway I'm headed in to work early to do some experiments. Thus baffles me because I work in an environment that's regularly over 70% humidity and can't imagine what kind of static I'd be facing of I were in a 'normal' chocolate making environment.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/17/14 09:55:08AM
33 posts

Static electricity and molds


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

I mold most of my chocolate and thus far have to wash each one with soap and water after every use to avoid left behind cocoa butter marking up the next batch. I do this because the usual method, wiping/polishing, creates static electricity which makes the chocolate fly all over the place as it's going from the syringe into the mold.

Anyone know a solution to this static problem?

A thought: The molds I'm using are not polycarbonite which a quick google seems to suggest has anti static properties (google polycarbonite static and it's all about anti static stuff).


updated by @Lee2: 04/12/15 03:39:49PM
Lee2
@Lee2
02/26/14 05:03:54PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

Time to buy a warning cabinet/other box that's a stable 32C!
Lee2
@Lee2
02/25/14 08:31:34PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

Read here (second bullet point)http://www.thechocolatelife.com/xn/detail/1978963:Comment:204165

As to the "how" ... Put it under a lamp? Hair dryer? I use a dish drier, thanks to having the good fortune to live in a country where they're so common I've never paid for one haha. Just be careful not to overheat, since you might warp the mold. Nevermind what it'll do to your tempered chocolate ;-)

Lee2
@Lee2
02/20/14 10:55:13PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

Are the stubborn ones at in the middle of the mold? If some come out but not others, to me that says your cooling process is not happening evenly.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/20/14 10:54:15PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

Sorry to take so long to return with results, been busy. However I can safely say that, for me at least, pre-warming molds is done in order to ensure cocoa butter left by the previous batch is liquid before new chocolate goes into the mold. As a liquid it becomes part of the new chocolate, whereas as a cool solid, it "sticks" to the new chocolate and doesn't integrate, becoming an off-color mark on the surface of the new chocolate once it leaves the mold.

Now that I've "discovered" this (after ignoring advice on pre-heating for several months lol) I do it with 100% of my molds and the dirty mold problem I had before has been solved 100%.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/17/14 06:29:38PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

I can say with some certainty that I've never had a problem with molds beingtoo clean lol. Unless it's a weird shape, chocolate will always come out of a mold if it's tempered right. In my experience :-D

Lee2
@Lee2
02/17/14 10:07:12AM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

Since poo-pooing the notion of heating molds I have read that not doing so may cause the chocolate to 'stick' to the molds in such a way that they release nicely and look good but leave butter behind which is sufficient to mar the next round. Related experiment currently in progress...

Lee2
@Lee2
02/05/14 10:37:56AM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

I would also say you can make your own with an old fridge, or even a cabinet/box/etc. Put a lamp or other small heat source inside. Get yourself an STC-1000 to control the temperature. There are lots of people using these for beer making, etc. Google it and you'll find how-tos for using temperature controllers. It's like a 20$ device :D

Lee2
@Lee2
02/05/14 10:36:12AM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

I'm suspicious about the "need" to preheat moulds. I moulded chocolate all Dec and Jan at 10-15C temperatures, never preheated any moulds, and it worked great. Using Belcolade 73% dark.

Now that it's 25C+ where I'm working I do one mould, then watch it as I start the next. Once it starts to look like it's firming up in spots, I put it in a bag, and then into the fridge for 10 minutes. Then I take it out again and let it sit for at least another 10 minutes. Again, no preheating.

Another thing I've found is that moulds have to be 100% clean before you put anything in them. I use a high cocoa butter chocolate which is probably not the best for moulding and it makes a mess of the mould no matter how well tempered it is. Chocolate comes right out looking great but the butter it leaves behind will ruin the next batch if I don't reclean it.

Lee2
@Lee2
01/26/14 03:37:56AM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

According to Callebaut, moulds should be as close to room temp (20 C) as possible, but they also recommend slight preheating. So, around 25 C?

They go on to say that cooling is best done at 10-12 C, followed by time in the fridge. Circulation during the cooling phase is important, although this winter when it was between 10-15 C in my workshop (there is no heating in this country lol) I rarely had blemishes even though I had no special ventilation so I'm thinking at that temp as long your 10 C space is not too small, you'll be fine.

Source:http://goo.gl/BIjVFC (first result, PDF format)

Lee2
@Lee2
01/25/14 11:33:39PM
33 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


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

I mould 75% of our products and our moulds are relatively deep. I often have the same problem as you. In my experience almost all imperfections are caused by inability to cool properly. Crystallization created heat, and that heat gets trapped by the mould. At least this is my current understanding. I'm always wondering if i should heat or cool the moulds before filling.Both seem to work, but not always...
Lee2
@Lee2
01/09/14 06:53:32PM
33 posts

My Hazelnut Praline Paste is Gritty


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

Another choice is to go the other way. Make it even corser and sell it as 'chunky' or 'rustic' ;-)
Lee2
@Lee2
01/08/14 06:24:23PM
33 posts

Drying out chocolate


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

Quite right about help via forum!I'm not adding anything to the chocolate, which is 73% from Belcolade with 42% cocoa butter. Anyway you've already answered my basic question, which is very helpful. (lecithin probably won't let go of the water)Meanwhile my other problems have moved here hahahttp://www.thechocolatelife.com/m#/m/discussion?id=1978963%3ATopic%3A197656That's the mobile link, if it gives you problems the topic is "Tempering Chocolate - Soft chocolate due to too fast tempering?"
Lee2
@Lee2
01/08/14 06:35:42AM
33 posts

Drying out chocolate


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

Thanks for the quick reply!

I've thought of the possibility of overseeding / overtempering. When this thick stuff does solidify it doesn't seem well tempered at all though. Unless light color + softness after cooling are also symptoms of having overseeded?

Also, in an over-temper situation, wouldn't re-heating somewhat to reduce crystallization, and then returning to working temp basically solve it? When faced with this thick stuff I have tried that, getting the temp >34 C to melt maybe half of the thick stuff, then stirring until it was back in the 32 C zone... Zero success with that so far, I just get peanut butter again haha.

Lee

Lee2
@Lee2
01/08/14 01:38:29AM
33 posts

Drying out chocolate


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

I've recently started a chocolate company in Taipei, Taiwan. Perhaps a foolhardy venture since Taipei is famously hot and humid pretty much year-round, but I'm up for the challenge.

Every couple of weeks while tempering I get one batch that thickens up like peanut butter. It's this consistency while around 32-33 C, but will happily return to a smooth liquid state if I heat it back up to 45C. I do all tempering "by hand," ie seeding with an immersion mixer. Works great 99% of the time.

My current understanding of what's going on is that the chocolate has gotten humid and the higher water content is causing it to be unworkably thick at "working" temperature. So my question is, provided I'm right that humidity is to blame, can chocolate be dehumidified? If I keep it at 50C for 24 hours will the water content decrease enough to make it workable again? Or longer? Logic says if the chocolate is room temp +10 or +20C then ... if there is water in there it's gotta evaporate, at least a little.

Edit: Using a 73-27-42 from Belcolade so it seems to me it should always be very liquid at 32 C...

Any experience or thoughts would be appreciated! :) Thanks,

Lee


updated by @Lee2: 04/12/15 05:16:27AM
Lee2
@Lee2
01/07/14 09:40:56PM
33 posts

Hi from Taipei


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

First let me say thanks for accepting my membership. I filled out some of the questions rather glibly before knowing it would be approved by a human of all things haha. Oops!

Just opened a chocolate business in Taipei, Taiwan, last month. Going well so far. Looking forward to adventures in high humidity / temperature come summer! (It should start in a month or two haha)

Seems there's a great community here on TCL, looking forward to being a part of it. I hope to start into bean to bar in the next six months and tree to bar within 5 years (we have cocoa trees growing in Taiwan if you can believe it!). Fun! So I will need to learn a lot and you guys seem to know a lot so ... looking forward :)

Lee


updated by @Lee2: 04/13/15 03:25:14PM
Lee2
@Lee2
02/26/14 05:28:50PM
33 posts

Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Absolutely agree! That is the logic behind my pricing (and eating!) too. That said, some 'groceries' (well put!) are pretty involved. We do a candied ginger that starts with organic young ginger and after peeling, chopping, candying, drying, and getting it into a bite sized chunk of chocolate that actually looks pretty... Let's just say I'm overjoyed when people will pay top dollar for it!

As to weirdest inclusion, where I live the only one doing novel chocolate making is... me, so if I want something weird I have to make it. I haven't actually tried it before but I have turmeric root paste waiting in the fridge to become ganahe ... Should be interesting.

Lee2
@Lee2
02/25/14 08:05:03PM
33 posts

Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

That is cool. The place I live is known for fragrant woods (Taiwan), maybe I should give it a shot :D

Lee2
@Lee2
02/25/14 06:22:57AM
33 posts

Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Say what, wood???