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Interested in a device to make tempering in a Santha or Cocoatown grinder easier?

At Madre Chocolate, we've been trying to figure out how to easily temper largish (5-10 lbs) batches of chocolate in an existing appliance that we already have like a KitchenAid mixer, Santha, or Cocoatown grinder/conch so that we don't need to buy another machine and take up valuable counter space for tempering. 

We've had pretty good luck with some minor mods to a spare Santha we have to get good tempering results, and an electronics wizard friend of ours has offered to design and build a temperature controller with adjustable tempering curves programmed in that would control a heating element (heat gun or hair dryer) and a cooling element (fan) plugged into it based on a temperature probed affixed to the axle of the grinder. We offered to see how much interest there is here on TLC forums in a kit for $100-200 for just such a device. This would be a just a controller with a temp probe and you would provide the grinder/mixer and heating and cooling devices. The controller would give alarms at times for adding seed and when the chocolate is tempered.

If you would be interested in something like this to make tempering larger batches of chocolate with less counter space, please let us know by replying to this post what features you would want in such a device.

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Nat:

A very interesting possibility ... I think a number of people would go for it.

Over at TCHO they developed just such a controller (though I think they use an IR temp sensor) and they use it during the refining/conching process to control the temp of the mass. This enables them better consistency in the finished results and they can force the temp to a specific place to volatilize a specific aromatic component.

While you're at it, how about hooking up a speed controller to the motor?

:: Clay
This would be very interesting, especially in the Cocoatown Grindeurs. It would be nice to have a plug in play device to the heating/cooling system whereby you could set the parameters and it will let you know when to seed and when it is tempered, the rest is done for you (or you could set the parameters ahead of time).

Very interesting indeed.

Erin,

I happened by this post.  I know I am a few years late, but I'm curious about your process. Have you developed this idea further?  Do you have anything in the works?

Jessica

Hi Jessica. I believe that Madre is now using a commercial tempering machine, so I'd guess that they haven't done any further work on this idea.

I tempered for a while using a santha with one of the wheels removed, a thermometer, and a space heater/fan. I usually started with melted chocolate and would dump it into the room temperature santha. The process was basically to cool the chocolate down with the fan and seed chocolate. Once it was in temper, I'd just monitor the temperature and adjust as necessary using either the fan or the heater. 

It worked pretty well, except that it added a lot of bubbles to the chocolate.

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