I've been a hobbyist chocolatier for a few years. I have an ACMC table top temperer.
Two frustrations - when dipping with 65 percent Tcho, I fully temper (up to 119,
added seed, back up to 91 for dipping), it works great for about an hour, then it gets too thick to continue dipping. I heated up to 94 but it was still too thick. I understand I could add cocoa butter, but I love the flavor of the super dark stuff, and it works so well for the first hour. For now my plan is to do smaller amounts so I use it up before it thickens, any other suggestions? I don't understand what's happening from a chemistry perspective.
Also, I've often tried not tempering since new chocolate is already in temper, right?
My understanding is that I should be able to melt it and dip at 92ish. But I find
that it won't melt unless I get it much warmer than this, and if I understand
correctly, once I get it above 94 I have to go through the whole temper process
to avoid bloom. Can you correct any of these assumptions?
Any advice appreciated.
Chocolate is a suspension of particles in a fat that crystalizes, and is crystalizing 100% of the time it is being agitated in the ACMC. If you were to stop the motor from turning, it would go solid at it's working temperature. The fluidity of chocolate can be controlled by agitation and very tiny adjustments in temperature throughout the day as you work with it. Combine that with the fact that the ACMC thermocouples aren't that accurate (I own 8 of those machines), and you have chocolate that is going solid on you while you work with it.
As it thickens, bring the temperature of your machine up one degree at a time and stir it lots. It won't happen instantly, but the chocolate will thin out without coming out of temper.
Verify your chocolate temperature with a properly calibrated thermometer, and you will most likely find that while your machine reads 91, the temperature of the chocolate at the thermocouple is probably only 88 or 89. This means you can easily go as high as 95 on that machine.
Note that controlling viscosity of your chocolate is a two way street. Once you learn to control the fluidity as you work with it, you can ALSO thicken it the same way by going in the opposite direction, and that has uses too!
I've read all these facts before, but this is the clearest explanation I've seen and I think I'm finally wrapping my mind around it - THANK YOU!
Wow. I have a Chocovision Delta and the same thing happens to me. It ends up in a ball in an hour. After checking with a thermometer, I increased temp to 93-96° but it is no help. I have no idea what to do. Did I not wait long enough? 10-20 minutes.And can I add melted, untempered chocolate to the otehr side to help? If so, how much when it is at this point? I was using Callebaut: 3/4 811NV and 1/4 823NV on this try.
I'm no expert but I'll tell you what helped me... first, much more aggressive stirring. After every 6-10 candies were dipped I'd give it a quick but aggressive stir with the dipping fork, and I didn't turn my back on it for a second. In the past, I've often run out of prepared centers before I run out of chocolate, then I turn away from the machine to scoop more truffles, and when I turn back I've got chocolate the consistency of taffy... but I'm realizing the turning motor on the temperer is not enough agitation, it takes regular stirring and if you aren't actively dipping you need to stir very frequently, if not constantly! So this time before I started I made sure I had more centers prepped than I could possibly need, and had my mom hold the baby and made sure my bladder was empty so there was no reason to neglect my chocolate!
Also, today I was getting a lot of "feet" so I dipped at a lower temp of 89, which meant I had lots of room to ease up the temp as Brad suggested as it thickened. I did not wait for it to be too thick to dip and then try to recover, this doesn't work for me either. But this time I watched like a hawk as I dipped, and as soon as I noticed the consistency was the slightest bit thicker than ideal, I scooted up one degree and stirred like a madwoman. I only got as high as 92 and was still in business when I finished my chocolate, but see above - Brad thinks we can get away with 95 depending on thermometer accuracy.
You're the best for giving me this information. I will use it on my next attempt. Thank you so much. And you, too Brad, for your help.
Glad I can help.