I need assistance.
I am opening a chocolate company mostly selling truffles and maybe bars later (when I can do bean to bar (: which I am excited for!). I have a rev2 tempering machine, which is a great machine, but when I fill the molds, I cant just tip the mold over and dump the excess chocolate out into the machine (to make shells for filling) because the machine is so small. Its also a pain to fill the molds with a spoon and OMG does my current process make the biggest mess you could imagine. A 2 year old's chocolate dream actually.
So, I have decided that I need a bigger machine (bigger than my molds), with a dispenser OR a wheel. I like the wheel design that just makes a little fountain for you to fill the mold, then I can dump the excess right back into the chocolate supply.
Does anyone have any advice? I am willing to spend the money, but I am still learning and developing this small business. I absolutely love chocolate and and 100% confident that I will be successfull, so I am willing to pay, but I dont want to get suckered by some site with incredible markup prices.
I dont necessarily need a 40lb capacity, but should I spring for one anyways? What do you guys/girls think? I need expert advice.
Also, I do not have a shop. I am learning all this in my apartment. (1200 sq ft.) but dont mind a big machine. I use Cacao Barry (wish I could afford the Valrhona). I live in Colorado. Not sure what else to say. I wana make sure you have all the details needed.
Another note; All I can seem to find is the TF20.... but I dont understand how the wheel attachment could possible cost another $1400!!!??? just for the wheel? What is so amazing that makes the wheel so pricy. I mean... I NEED the wheel, so is it just demand? They know Ill pay? Is there a cheaper way to go than paying $4000 for this? If not, I will pay it, but just wana shop first.
Thank you for your help! Is there a particular savage that you recomend?
OMG.... I just looked at the savage molding workstation and it quoted at $16,000. That is so so so far out of my price range right now. Am I looking at the wrong thing? You have three?
Perfect Equipements out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada has a great entry level wheel machine. http://www.perfectinc.com/air-2.html
If you don't want to spend that much, consider a Mol d'Art melter for now (or the Italian melters - don't remember their names...). It will be less than $1000 and you can easily dump your molds into it. The only difference between that and a wheel machine is capacity and you have to stir every now and then - no biggie. Also, they come up for sale second hand more than the others. Here's a link to the Mol d'Art site but they are sold by other co.'s in the US http://www.moldart.be/chocolate_melters Remember, the prices on the website I linked are in Euro! Actually, here is the Chef Rubber site that has both the Mol d'Art and the other melters I believe... http://www.shopchefrubber.com/home.php?cat=1491
I would advise not to get ahead of yourself with equipment if you are just starting out. You'll get a much clearer idea of what you need once you've been at it for awhile.
Good luck with your research!
Thank you so much Ruth and Lana. I cant beleive how easy it is to get great professional advice on this site! You both have really given me some stuff to think about. The machines that Ruth recommended are a little above my level (I am still getting this operation started and I am Active Army working 50+ hours a week) :/ , but I hope I can get machines like those in the future! I really like the Perfect Equipments idea though!!! That was exactly what I was looking for. They quoted the Air-2 at $3275, which I can do. I was hoping to stay around $3500 or below, so with shipping it will fall right around there. The melter would be so much easier to purchase though... I guess I am going to have to choose.
I have a few questions though;
1. Can I temper the chocolate in the melter by adjusting the temp knob up, then back down, do the seeding, etc., or would I have to temper with my Rev2 and just dump it in the warmer?
2. When the chocolate is tempered and in the warmer, will it stay tempered as long as the temperature is right? How often would I have to stir it? (Not that its hard) (:
3. Does the wheel temperer (the Air-2) actually temper automatically like the Rev2 by raising and lowering the temperature?
Sorry for so many questions. I couldnt begin to tell you how much I appreciate your help though!
To answer your questions:
1) Yes, you can temper right in the melter as you stated. I have been using Mol d'Art melters for years. It takes me no time at all to temper. If you ever takes classes at any Callebaut Academy you will usually use the Mol d'Art melters.
2) Unfortunately, the chocolate will continue to get thicker the longer it is held in temper in the Mol d'Art. During busy times I hand dip about 600 pieces a day. I can keep the temper without a problem for what I have to do. You use a heat gun and play with the temp. as needed. If you have a larger melter it will keep the temper better. You will find that tempered chocolate in a wheel tempering machine will continue to thicken as well - 'tis the nature of the beast! However it will do so to a lesser degree as it is being 'stirred' continuously and has a much larger volume of chocolate. I don't stir that often when I am dipping in my Mol d'Art. Maybe every 10 minutes I give it a swirl. When I'm molding it gets stirred more often to incorporate the 'cooled' dump back into the warmer chocolate.
3) No, the Air-2 does not temper automatically. As with the Mol d'Art melters, you are in control. Once you temper on your own a few times, it becomes second nature and you can do it without any problems at all.
I'd second the Mol d'art - large enough to dump the chocolate back into. It's easy to learn to temper in them - and as Lana says you can use a heat gun and a bit of temperature adjustment to keep the chocolate fluid enough to work with.
Thank you so much everyone! You all have such great advice. It is invaluable to me and I appreciate it very much. I do remember watching a whole lot of videos to learn and they were always using those Mol d'Arts. I will probably get one of those. They are so much cheaper too.
Yes, the difference in price is due to shipping. You'll find that shipping from Europe is very expensive. I ordered mine from Europe but a bunch of us ordered as a group so it really cut down on shipping costs. I've dealt with Chef Rubber quite a bit in the past - but not for equipment. I'm sure they will provide good service though. Another option is www.dr.ca I've purchased lots of equipment from them and they ship to the US a lot.
You'll have to shop around and see who has the best price. Find your best price and then contact the co. you want to deal with and show them that you can get it cheaper. Usually they will match.
How do you temper chocolate in the Mol d'Art melters? Do you seed the melted chocolate? Do you agitate the chocolate often? Or do you just let the chocolate melt to 32C (for dark chocolate) without seeding at all?
What tempering machine did you finally buy? How do you like it?