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Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004



Fun Shoe

Thumposaurus posted:

It the quick tour of the place I got the other day they have a climate controlled room that the choclatier and cake decoratior work out of. That's a really nice plus. The one small inn I worked for inn the past I was expected to make all the bon-bons for in room amenities in the same 80°+ kitchen everything else was being done in.

That sounds super sweet. I still remember sitting in the stockroom at the bakery with the back door open to the screen door rolling truffles in the middle of an Iowa winter because it was the only place I could find in the bakery that was cool enough to give me a decent working life for them.

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Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



Oh yeah it was really nice having a space to just concentrate on doing the chocolate work while doing the stage today.

It went really well should have an answer one way or another by next week.


This will be the kinda poo poo I'll be producing when(not if!) I get the job.

sneakyfrog
Mar 16, 2011




Fan of Britches

solid thread pal. looks good.

deeter
Oct 21, 2005


I hope you don't mind my butting in, but I started making my own chocolate about six years ago and you've started almost exactly where I did, down to the same style of grinder even. I loved the hobby though and it grew into me opening up a little chocolate factory about a year and a half ago. I'm still learning, and John's site has been invaluable for that, but I'd be happy to share what I've picked up along the way if you're interested!

Mister Sinewave
Feb 9, 2008



What does cocoa butter taste like? I've never seen straight cocoa butter.

I see some parallels to coffee roasting, which I've been doing for a long time. That George Foreman roaster is a great find, and that temp probe mod you did is really clever.

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



deeter posted:

I hope you don't mind my butting in, but I started making my own chocolate about six years ago and you've started almost exactly where I did, down to the same style of grinder even. I loved the hobby though and it grew into me opening up a little chocolate factory about a year and a half ago. I'm still learning, and John's site has been invaluable for that, but I'd be happy to share what I've picked up along the way if you're interested!

Butt away!
I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences in scaling up production. It's something I'm considering a little bit down the road.

It depends on what kind of cocoa butter.
The really refined deodorized stuff doesn't taste like much. The non deodorized stuff has a slight chocolate aroma and taste.

Some people want just the flavor of the bean to shine through so they'll use the deodorized stuff so as to not have any additional flavors.

The George Foreman thing was a great find. I had to go to the drug store next to that thrift store and had a feeling I should go in and check on what they had.
I'm lucky the basket is made out of a pretty cheesy metal it's sturdy enough but it was pretty easy to drill out.
I'm going to get a longer probe so I can get more in the center mass of the beans.

I've been using this thermoworks dot thermometer for about a year now it's been the best thermometer I've ever used. Well worth the money.

deeter
Oct 21, 2005


Thumposaurus posted:

Butt away!
I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences in scaling up production. It's something I'm considering a little bit down the road.

I'm still a pretty small operation, my batches are usually 10 or so pounds per run, and I run a batch or three a week to keep up. Things are going in a good direction though so I've been planning my next step up in production capabilities, and the next item on the list is another grinder. I only have one right now and my batches run for anywhere from 24-36 hours, so it slows me down sometimes. I picked up a Spectra 11 when I first opened the shop, and I'll probably get another one when that time comes. It's a great machine and I really like it. Like I mentioned, my first grinder was like yours, with the conical stones, and it got the job done but it wasn't super efficient. I'm liking the cylindrical stones a lot more - they generate a lot more shear and friction and my grind times came down by at least 25% on average.

Be careful with the freezing. Using silk speeds up the tempering process for sure, but the fat crystals take time to form and freezing them could stop the crystallization process before it's done and lead to bloom. Plus, you're very likely to experience some condensation when you pull the molds, which can also lead to bloom and possibly seizing unless you're in a very low humidity environment. I can't afford a commercial cooling tunnel or one of the industrial tempering cabinets, but I've had great luck with a wine fridge of all things. Set to 56F, it'll cool the chocolate, pull away the heat of crystallization and, assuming my temper was good going in, it's perfect coming out.

Also, I'm actually running a line of bars with that same Fiji right now at 75% and they're doing pretty well. I really like how it came out, great chocolate base with a nice fruit component, and a well balanced amount of bitterness.

Finally, at some point do your self a favor and get a couple pounds of the Maranon. I run it at 65% and let it rest for a few weeks, but once it's ready, it's unbelievable. Seriously, it's the best chocolate I've ever had, and I think I've tried just about every bean he sells at this point.

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



That's cool!
I'm using the fridge to help it crystallize more now just more because it's easier to get a flat spot in there than the freezer.

Once I get through this evaluation bean batch I'll look into the Maranon. I'm going to be running a batch or 2 over the weekend not quite sure which percentages yet.

The grinder works for now but until I can make the hobby into more of a business it'll have to do.

I still keep an eye on eBay and the goodwill auctions looking for a back-up one just in case.

deeter
Oct 21, 2005


Don't get me wrong, I've tempered in the fridge plenty myself, and most of the time it's been totally fine, especially when you need something set right now. There have just been a few times though where it didn't end well, either from condensation or incomplete crystallization.

I hope I didn't imply there was anything wrong with the conical stone grinder, especially at the price you got it for - that's a steal! I used my old one exclusively for about four years and it served me well, it was a great machine for me to learn on. And until I broke it, I was still using it at the shop from time to time to experiment with new beans or formulations. I was just surprised by the jump in quality from moving to a cylindrical stone, I wasn't expecting that.

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



Ideally you have a room temp/humidity that's stable enough you don't have to use a fridge to avoid the condensation issue. My Chef instructor when I was in school was really against using refrigeration to set chocolate for just that reason.

That's what's so great about this job the room is temp/humidity controlled enough that we just let the stuff sit at the room temp to set up when I was there doing the stage the other day.

Anne Whateley
Feb 11, 2007
i like nice words


Mister Sinewave posted:

What does cocoa butter taste like? I've never seen straight cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter is really easy to find if you want to pick some up, because it's used in a ton of health & beauty products, and sometimes by itself. If you buy a $5 pot, it might not be food-grade, but you can still check out the texture, smell it, and then moisturize

deeter
Oct 21, 2005


Thumposaurus posted:

Ideally you have a room temp/humidity that's stable enough you don't have to use a fridge to avoid the condensation issue. My Chef instructor when I was in school was really against using refrigeration to set chocolate for just that reason.

That's what's so great about this job the room is temp/humidity controlled enough that we just let the stuff sit at the room temp to set up when I was there doing the stage the other day.

That's fantastic! And I might be a little jealous - I can temper out in the room during the winter, but the rest of the year I have to use refrigeration.

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



Waiting to hear about jobs is the worst.
Especially when it's so slow at my current place I'm not working this week. So it's just sit around and wait.
Oh well better make some chocolate to pass the time.

This is the "factory" so far.

George Forman Rotisserie(GFR)
From there the beans are cooled and into this vintage Hamilton Beach "Salad Maker" it has a number of blades I'm currently trying out a wavy cut set of blades. All I'm trying to do is crush the beans so the husk seperates from the nib. It could be done by hand really but I got this machine for free and it seems to be doing the job just fine.

From there it goes into the winnowing bucket v2.0 to separate the husk from the nib.
The first version I built was out of 3" PVC and despite having a pretty beefy shop-vac to run it with it was too much volume of air to move.
The rebuilt version is 2" PVC.

The way it works is the vacuum is hooked to to the one port on top of the lid and switched on. The nib/husk mix is slowly poured into the chute and the vacuum controlled by two air valves pulls the husk up and over into the bucket while the heavier nibs fall out the bottom.
I'm still fussing with the "valves" that control how much husk is removed vs how much nib I'm finding I have to run it through 4 or 5 times to remove the majority of the husk. The last little bits can be removed by hand before grinding.

I did my roast threes other day but haven't had time to do much else since then. I did find out this time withthe drum roaster I ended up with the beans being 97% lighter after roasting vs 95% I got from roasting in the oven on sheetpans.

eating only apples
Dec 12, 2009

Though you reach out in compassion, I must now insist that you forget.


Lipstick Apathy

Did you get the job? How's your lil factory working out?

Thumposaurus
Jul 24, 2007



I am accepting the position!
I've gotta put in notice at my current job and then start getting up to speed on production with the new place.

I made another batch of the milk chocolate last week it turned out wonderful.
In some of the bars I molded I put a bunch of roasted cacao nibs into the chocolate before it set up. It adds an interesting crunch and bitterness to the milk chocolate.

I also got in a bunch of oil based food colorings to color some cocoa butter with.
For chocolate you have to use oil based or powdered food colors the water in the other type of food colorings will cause the chocolate to sieze.
I got some food grade titanium dioxide too. I'll use it to make the colored cocoa butters a little richer in color and to be able to make some of the cocoa butter white-white instead of the yellowie white it naturally is.
If you use the colorings with out the TD they turn out translucent.

Thanks for asking!

I'm going to try and run a batch this weekend. Maybe something darker like a 70% dark chocolate.

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Bollock Monkey
Jan 21, 2007
The Almighty

This 87% bar is one of the nicest chocolates I've had. You only needed/wanted about two squares but it was complex and delicious. I think there's a real untapped market for simple, non-traditional dark chocolate. This bar isn't glossy at all, and has a pretty rough texture that's actually really pleasing.

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