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Hello...first post here. I've decided to go into the chocolate bar business. I must confess I don't know a whole pile about chocolate other than the basics from the net. I have purchased a new selmi tempering machine and have moulds and chocolate etc. I was hoping someone could advise me on the best way to mix ingredients with my chocolate. I have a raisins and almonds going into my milk chocolate and I have toffee pieces going into the dark. Is the best option to mix them with the chocolate in the tempering machine? If yes then how do I clean the machine when changing from one chocolate to the other? Thank you in advance :)

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Steve -

You should talk to your local dealer to get specific instructions on how to clean your machine and change over from one chocolate to another (those two procedures are not the same thing).

I know that Tom B., who know Selmi well, is a member here, and he may have some guidance on those topics for you as well.

It's also my understanding (and I know Tom can provide exact dimnsions), that the maximum size of inclusion that you can add to the chocolate will be about 3mm (1/8"). If your inclusions are larger than that they can't be pumped through the machine so you can't add them to the working bowl of chocolate. You need to sprinkle them on top of the chocolate after the mold is filled and then vibrate them in. This creates a shelf life issue if the items are not completely covered as the nuts can go stale or rancid if they are not completely covered.  [ Turns out not - see Sebastian's reply below. One reason why I still read TheChocolateLife - I learn something new almost every time I do. ]

:: Clay

Hi Clay...thank you for that. Unfortunately there's no such thing as a dealer here (Ireland) so any info I can get here is a big help.

You bought directly from Selmi? Or through a dealer in some other country? Whoever you bought the machine from should be your first line of contact for training and technical support.

Contact Tom Bauweraerts here on TheChocolateLife. He works for Selmi and has chimed in on a number of discussions related to continuous tempering. There is a lot to know about using continuous tempering machines that is different from batch tempering. Selmi may be at the Salon du Chocolat Professionnel next month and if they are you might be able to get some hands-on training there.

Actually, chocolate is a fantastically poor oxygen barrier.  Ensuring they are completely covered in chocolate results in ever-so-slightly more protection vs just letting the nuts lie out on your kitchen countertop.  Counter-intuitive, i know.

Sebastian -

Good to know, thanks for that tidbit. Goes against everything I have ever heard on this subject.

Any way to process the inclusions to form an effective oxygen barrier that's not to heinous (from an ingredient perspective) or cost-prohibitive overall?

A gum arabic solution is often used to seal items such as dried fruits and nuts for panning because it stops fat and moisture migration and enhances shelf life. My guess is a similar process could be used on inclusions by spraying the proper solution with a compressor onto inclusions in a panning drum, letting the solution set on items, then dropping them into your bars/bark/whatever.

I bought directly from Selmi. :)

Thank you all for your replies . I will see which works best for me .

My staff make a couple of hundred pounds of bark (chocolate with inclusions) per month, and the easiest they have found is to temper the chocolate, and pour everything into a stainless steel bowl mix it well with a spoon, then working quickly, pour it into trays to set.

I know of other chocolatiers who make bars in the manner in which Clay describes below.  It's very time consuming, and you have to work quickly because once the chocolate goes into the molds it begins to set almost immediately.

Coppeneur does theirs in small plastic trays, and then sells the chocolate right in the tray.  That's a pretty cool way of doing things.  I was actually thinking of copying them.  :-)



Brad -

You are absolutely right that it's completely possible to take chocolate out of any temperer, add inclusions, and hand mold.

My experience in selling continuous tempering machines tells me that one of the early questions that arises is, "Can I directly deposit inclusions by adding them to the chocolate in the working bowl?" People are looking to continuous tempering machines to get away from the need to have to hand mix and pour. This is what I think Steve is looking to do.

For everyone reading this thread - what are the various different ways you handle inclusions? And what sort of tempering approach are you using (hand, small batch machine, continuous, etc)?

Dear Steve, 

We also have two Selmi's and include nibs (through the Selmi) and sometimes other inclusions (like bacon) that we mix outside the Selmi. Cleaning the Selmi is quite a task, so we prefer to keep dark and milk chocolate separate (the reason why we use two) and avoid to the max any inclusion (nib is fine because you can re-work if needed. Mixing outside the Selmi works well, but you need to be quick! 

Rainins and almonds don't go through a Selmi so you would need to mix in a bowl before it goes into a mold. 

Best and success

Rodney Nikkels



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