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Problems with tempering in new Savage Bro. machine

I've been tempering chocolate by hand on marble for years and recently purchased a 50# Savage Bro. tempering machine.  I have been unable to get a correct temper in this machine. The chocolate turns out to be very cloudy and difficult to get out of the molds.  I know the temps I have always tempered at (I make bean to bar chocolate) and they are just not working.

Anyone use this machine and have any tricks, advice?  Thank you!

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I have three of them and love them!!! Mine are not plumbed, so what I do is probably a variation of what they tell you to do. Also, my machines are several years old and the newer ones are more automatic. I put in my chocolate the night before, and use the pre-set melt temp of about 118 and set the time for 8-9 hours. In the morning, I remove the lid, start the agitator. By this time, the timer has switched to the lower pre-set temp of 95 and the chocolate is either already there, or getting there. I add seed chocolate, lower the temp to working temp of about 92 and wait for the seed to melt. Test chocolate and go to work. It would be faster if I had cold water plumbed in, but I just wait for the water jacket to cool on its own. It only takes about 30 minutes to get it in temper. After working with it, I might step up the temp as it continues to build Beta 5 crystals. Do you have any operating instructions from Savage?

The savage machines agitate the chocolate very slowly.  We make about 400, 90g bars a day using them (I have two machines), and have found that when what you just described happens (usually with thicker bars), the chocolate is over crystalized and very thick.   That crystalization actually causes heat, so the chocolate will remain warm a bit longer than it should, and cause other crystals to form in the center of the bar.

 

I have also found that when we are making bars, and if someone takes a break for a few minutes, they need to pour a lot of chocolate out and into a bowl, then back into the machine to get the cooler chocolate out of the pouring spout.  Not doing this has consistently caused streaks in the first several bars after the person's brief break is over.

 

I too really like the Savage machines I have.  They have paid for themselves many times over.

 

You can never stir your chocolate too much.

If you've got them water jacketed, and that's how you're controlling the temp, remember the thermal mass of the unit itself is high - meaning there's an aweful lot of heat or cooling capacity in the tank itself once you get to your temperature.  the impact for you, then, would be to stop heating BEFORE  you get to your target temperature, for example, knowing that the latent heat in the unit will continue to increase the temperature of your chocolate a bit.  

Alternatively, what you could do is displace the hot water in the jacket with some cold to get it to be closer to the desired temp o f your chocolate, but i've found that to be difficult.

We do have the machine plumbed and hooked up to a cold water source.  I have tried a combination of different temps.. melting to 115, dropping to 82, and holding at 88.  I have also tried holding at 86 degrees just in case the latent heat was heating it too much at the end and I tried higher @ 88.7.  One time I took the temp down to 81 but it started hardening the chocolate in the machine.

We do have instructions from Savage and I called a few times.  I think it comes down to trial and error but I need this to work now!  :)

Do you set your mold @ room temp or in the cooler?

I never like cooling moulds.

The best advice you can get, for tempering, is practice, practice, practice.  It holds true with tempering in a savage kettle as well.  Trust me, it can be done, you'll learn it, and you'll be thankful you did.  It's probably worth verifying the thermocouple on the kettle is accurate by using a calibrated thermometer, just to be certain your temps are what you think they are.

 

Here's what i have normally done (i'm afraid i don't use a lot of temperatures as i've learned to go by feel...).  Heat it up to 120 or so.  Melts out all the 'memory' (gets rid of all the crystals).  This assumes  you've got agitation on, and a 75%+ fully loaded kettle.  Turn the cold water on, until you see a crust form on the outer wall.  When you see said crust form (it'll take a while to form, but once it starts forming, it'll go quickly), turn the cold off, and the hot on.  Once you see the crust begin to release from the wall, turn the hot water off (now you've got no water flow, just residual water).  Let it continue to agitate.   These are strange directions from me, i know, i usually work to the 10th decimal place, but after doing it for so long, for me it was easier to become the chocolate whisperer and go by sight and feel.  Do it enough and you'll get to the same place, and it won't matter if your thermometer is calibrated or not 8-)

 

I'm not sure how old your Savage machines are, but mine are about 5 years old now, and they have an alarm which can be set to go off when the chocolate gets within 0.5 degrees C of the target temperature.  This accounts for the thermal mass of the water in the jacket continuing to drag the chocolate temperature down and up after the next temperature set point is set. 

 

Example:

Chocolate Temp.     Water Jacket Temp

45c                          45c

27c                          21c

31c                          31c

 

When the 27c temp alarm goes off the chocolate is actually at 27.5.  We flip the switch to the "temper" cycle and the chocolate will continue to cool to 27 while the water in the jacket heats up to the equilibrium temperature of 27.  It then continues on to 31 degrees c, slowly dragging the temperature of the chocolate with it.

 

If you wait until the cooling temperature reaches your target before starting to reheat the water in the jacket, your chocolate will do exactly as you describe - start to solidify.

 

Hope that helps.

Brad

Thanks for all the advice, it is very helpful.  

I'm still trying to get this tempered but will hopefully get it to work soon!  

Do any of you temper bean to bar chocolate in a Savage kettle?  

I'm wondering if I need to seed.

I have two savage machines and make about 450 bars a day by hand. 

I NEVER use seed - I just go through the cycle I discussed above and everything turns out just fine.

Thanks Brad.  I think I am having issues with the calibration of my machine....  

My temp has been 4 1/2 degrees off in the temper cycle!  I have talked to Savage Bro. and they reassured me that this cannot be possible... so I changed my settings back to how they were when the machine arrived and tried again....still 4 and a half degrees off.  

We have also had issues with the agitator not coming on when it is supposed to be on, with the water not flowing into the tank automatically during the start of the cool cycle, the machine sometimes does not allow the water jacket to even get as hot as the set point in temper cycle, or as cold as the set point in the cool cycle.  

Have you checked your solenoids? You should be able to hear them as they click on and off.

Sometimes we have to manually switch the valve off and back on again for the cool water to flow in...  I can hear them click on after I switch the valve.  

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