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I'm investigating the art/science of chocolate panning for nuts, primarily hazelnuts and almonds. This would be for a small side business to our hazelnut farm here in Oregon. I'm looking at providing raw, roasted and chocolate coated nuts to start with. Raw and roasted I have under control, but chocolate panning and equipment is new except for what I've been reading. Still, looking at batch sizes of say 10 to 20 pounds of nuts, what type/brand of coating pan might be a good start? The Selmi certainly looks like a great tool but really high end and costly. Is there any good source for used equipment?

Regarding the process, what is the best approach for classes, training or literature? What are some of the best bulk chocolates to purchase, both milk and dark?


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The PMCA offers a nice panning course, covers hard, soft, and chocolate panning. Think too of a pan you can also hot pan with. Similar pan but with gas burner under to caramelize sugar around the nuts. Add a variety of seasonings and you can offer a nice seasonal variety. But then you can also season the chocolate. For chocolate, think of a cool/dry air source. Portable coolers work nice but overall warm the room so not good for continuous use. Just blowing ambient air will work if cool/dry enough, but you lose some control, especially if you're looking to add color for marbling or speckling.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
I second the PMCA/NCA panning course. It was an excellent course.

You've got to love the Selmi - a little dear in price - but it heats and cools which allows you to polish the product without any additional polishing products being added.

E-bay often has pans - I bought a Stokes pan several years ago. I noticed a group of 3 small pans that closed yesterday for about $2100.

There are a couple of companies that sell used equipment - Union Machinary being one that comes to mind.

The chocolate is probably one of those things you are going to have to experiment with to decide what you like with your product. I've been happy lately with the Belgian Belcolade milk and dark.
Thanks for the great replies. The coarse seems to be a great way to get started. I do like the idea of a headed pan for other flavorings. However, I might look at one of the off the shelf nut roasters which are propane fired. This way I can run the chocolate in one room where the ambient can be better controlled and do the roasting and flavoring in another room where the heat isn't as much of a problem.

I did actually bid on the 3 pans that were on eBay but I had to be away from my computer when the bidding closed and I got outbid in the end. Would this type of pan work for chocolate? One had ridges and the other two were smooth inside. Might like to know if another deal like this come up.

Also, is there a need to coat the chocolate after it has been panned? Is this a standard process or only used with certain types of chocolates?

Thanks again for the suggestions.

Yup, those pans would have worked fine. You use the smooth pan for the coating, then one of the ridged pans for polishing. Of course you can tape tubing inside your smooth pan, to make it ridged for polishing.

By 'coat the chocolate after panning' I assume you are asking if you need products such as polish and sealers? The whole process can be accomplished without these things.

Thanks for the reply and yes, that answered my questions. I also took a look at the Union Machinery web site for used equipment. Lots of items to choose from. What might be a good size to start with for batch sizes of 15 - 20 pounds?
Something around 20 inches is all I have experience with. You don't want to overfill the pan initially, because as you add the chocolate the amount of product 'grows'. It doesn't take too long to coat a batch, then it sits overnight anyway before polishing the next day.
Do you have any recommended suppliers for the coatings (glaze, food shellac, etc.)?
Centerchem is a great resource.  Dave Jordan's your go-to guy with them.
Thank you very much. I'll give Dave a call.
Hey Bob, how'd your education, equipment procurement, and first steps go?  We're looking into panning but probably not on the scale you are.


I have just started experiments on my new coating pan. Is there anyone out there that could help me?


I put my hazelnuts into the pan, then pour the tempered chocolate...all began to mix...and a few minutes later, everything began to stick...and I got, a big "ball' of choco-hazelnuts"...horrifying...what is the problem do you think? How to avoid that? Is it a matter of spinning speed? of amount of material in the pan?


Thank you



You need to add the chocolate slowly (and not tempered).  The product (ie hazelnuts) need to be cooled in some way while you add the layers of chocolate.  So either some dry ice, or an air conditioner blowing cold air into the pan.


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