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Hello all and looking for a little advice on molding chocolate liquor.  I recently purchased a 50 lbs. Savage Brothers melter-tempering machine.  After running it, trying to learn how to use it.  I was wondering if using 100%, ground (25 micons) liquor would need different temperature settings than I am used to with dark chocolate on the small chocovision tempering machine.  The factory settings are melt to 110 F, drop to 82 F and rise to 88 F.  I first used 115, 82, 88 and 110, 82, 88 and another at 110, 85.5 to 88. 

 

When it cools down, I use a temperature gun and the top of chocolate is 2 degrees lower than the reading on the panel but evens out as it goes back up with the gun and the reading on the panel.  It is thicker than I am used to working with and twice as seized as globs of chocolate built up around the agitators.  The first time I thought maybe a little water was hidden after I washed, dried, and heat gun dried it, after it arrived.  Cleaned it out again, dried and let sit over night and heat gun dried again.  It did the same thing after it was sitting in temper for a couple of hours.  The temperature on the panel said 87.8 but there were other globs of chocolate around the agitators.  I remelted and seems just fine.  When I molded a few test runs, a little thick, some globbing at the outlet.  Not easy to work with and need to figure out how to use the machine efficiently.  I will call the technicians at Savage Brothers again on Monday but wondered if any of you had any thoughts.    

I am now melting a full tank and thank you  in advance.  I really appreciate it. 

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Thomas:

Every chocolate has its own tempering curve. The ones that Chocovision use are just guidelines and do not work for all chocolates.

Plus you are working with liquor that has no added cocoa butter? It's going to be a lot harder to find the proper temperatures to work with. It's an art, as much as it is a science.

The reasons you are getting different temperature readings between the infrared thermometer and the sensor inside the machine is that you're not measuring the temperature at the same place. 

Thanks Clay, with the tank full, it is holding up fine after about 5 hours.  I am only able to fit 6 molds at a time in the refrigerator (right now) to cool them down for about an hour.  As long as I leave them in until they are completely separated from the molds, they are holding their shine.  Doing some reading on the static cooling tunnels you have on the site.

Just filled some more molds and it is started to glob again and I caught it early.  87.5 is the holding temperature and it is still getting thick.  Doing another reheat. 

Are you looking at the water temp or the chocolate temp? On the Savage, it takes a bit of practice. I don't drop the temp, but rather seed. I can hold temper for at least a day. I love my machines, but it does take a while to learn how to use them.

Thank you Ruth, I have been working with the machine for 2 days now and will continue until I move it to a rented commercial kitchen.  I am molding 3.4 oz. half cacao pod to be used for drinking.   I first tried a bread proofer then table tempering and just didn't feel comfortable leaving it in the proofer overnight in the rented kitchen.  I also thought the molds might set at room temperature but will need the help of a cooling unit for a short time.  I am really only looking for a nice shine being you can not break it with your hand, it is too thick, so the snap is irreverent. 

Thomas;

 

I have two Savage machines, and me and my staff use them to make literally thousands of chocolate bars regularly.  In fact just today I molded up over 400 92g bars with them.

 

There are a couple of tricks you can use to "Fix" chocolate that you have over-tempered with them.  Chocolate globbing up around the agitator is a sign of your water temperature being too low.  It is cooling the chocolate too much, and causing it to solidify on the side of the machine.  The scraper picks it up, and causes the big lump you are getting.

 

Trick 1:  when cooling (tempering) your chocolate, don't have your water temp in the kettle so cold.

 

Trick 2: If the chocolate gets too thick in the machine, your working temperature is too low and the chocolate is over-crystalizing.  You can thin it out by pouring 4-5 litres into 8 or 10 litre bowl, heating it to 45 degrees over a double boiler and then pouring it back into the machine.  That much chocolate at that high of a temperature will not take over-crystalized chocolate out of temper.  In fact it will probably only raise the overall temperature of the chocolate, maybe 1 degree F.  I do it all the time if we need to temper chocolate quickly.  You can do this as often as you like to get the viscosity you are looking for.

 

One other thing:  Higher percentage chocolate (80% through to liquor) that has no lecithin in it will become VERY thick, and is difficult to work with even for someone experienced with those machines.  You will find that as you work with chocolate like that, your water jacket temperature will have to be about 3 degrees F LOWER than your working temperature in order to keep your working temperature consistent.  Chocolate as viscous as 80%  + creates it's own friction and heat as it's being agitated.  Having your kettle temperature and working temperature the same will almost always lead to overheated chocolate.  Dark Chocolate of lower percentages generally doesn't behave this way at all (at least that's what I have found).

 

You have chosen to start at the top of the learning curve.  Good luck with that.  All I can tell you is to expect failure and be patient.  I failed lots at first.

 

Cheers

Brad

Brad, thank you so much.  You have provided me with more information than Savage has provided me.  So far the liquor holds up well for me to fill molds, put in the refrigerator for an hour or so, and do another batch.  If I try this the third time, it is thick and a little harder to work.  I have read on another post about pouring more melted chocolate in the machine without having to run the tempering cycle again.  I am purchasing a 19.7 cu ft. commercial Kelvinator refrigerator with 10 shelves and will be able to hold 40 molds.  That will work well and pretty much empty out almost a full tank. 

I was wondering if it is necessary to hold at the melting temperature set point for 40 minutes before it starts the cooling cycle. 

I started at this point in the learning curve in order to get started and hopefully do some quality work.  When I work with 70-80% chocolate and am still using a small chocovision or table tempering as we develop a bar down the road.

Again, your advise and sharing of information is greatly appreciated. 

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