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I used my chocoa chocolate melter for the first time to practice my tempering.  Its a 6kg melter.  I used 2kg of 54% semi-sweet dark chocolate couverture.  The melter temp was set to 45 C (113 F), and I left it alone foR about 2 hours.  Once it was completely melted, I inserted my chocolate thermometer to get a read.  It was only at about 90 F, so I turned up the melter.  I basically had the melter at full blast at about 65 C and it took 30mins to reach 113 F on the thermometer. 

I then removed the tray from the melter, added a handful of seed, and stirred.  The temperature dropped very slowly.  2 more handfuls of seed, and 25 mins later, the thermometer still read 90 F.  At one point I noticed the 3rd handful of seed was not melting at all.  I stuck a finger in the chocolate and it was barely lukewarm, yet the thermometer still read 90 F. 

The thermometer is a basic glass thermometer.  Arent these supposed to be accurate? Shoud I invest in a infrared digital thermometer, or is there something I am doing wrong?

I appreciate your comments.

 

Donny

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Donny, 

I have a Mol d'art 6kg melter. They are made to melt slowly and evenly. Even though your chocolate had melted, the thermostat was probably still kicking on and off, and would have continued to raise the temp if given enough time. Like if you were going turn it on at night for the next morning. This gentle heating process allows the temps to reach a sort of equilibrium throughout the chocolate as it warms, allowing you to leave it completely unattended. Usually, when you're in production, you're busy with some other part of the process, so you're not just hovering over your melter, waiting for what feels like FOREVER.  But, I know that when you just want to temper some freakin' chocolate RIGHT NOW, the wait is frustrating. If you turn the thermostat all the way up and stir frequently, you can probably speed the process along a little. I never take the temps on the dial literally. I determine the temp with my thermometer and when I have it where I want it, I move the dial slowly to find the point where the thermostat just wants to click on and off. I think this is what most people do, rather than trust the temp on the dial. You'll sort of get to know your machine after some practice. When you first add the seed, you can add a larger amount, but need to be careful to add progressively smaller amounts as the chocolate gets closer to the desired temp (Otherwise you'll be going on a very aggravating fishing expedition). I am suspicious of your thermometer. An accurate thermometer is your best friend.  Get a decent digital instant read probe thermometer. I have a few made by Deltatrak.  I have some complaints about the newer design, and the fact that a couple have fritzed out on me too soon considering the $30+ price, but I have found them to be very accurate and quick (They have a very thin sharp tip that is very sensitive). I'm sure you could find something decent for 1/2 that price even. Just make sure you check the calibration. Don't waste your money on an IF thermometer. IF's only tell you the surface temp. They will not tell you what temp even 1/4" below the surface is. In my experience, the only way to get a remotely accurate reading on a liquid with IF is to be stirring so vigorously that you arm falls off. They are useful for checking the temps of molds, containers, airbrushes/sprayers etc. after you warm them to make sure they're not too warm as to cause your chocolate to go out of temper when it comes into contact with them. Hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Giovanna 

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