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Tempering and startup business advice
June 28, 2009
10:10 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
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Hello!

I have just managed to get some of my fledgling company’s chocolates into a small shop in a upmarket location and am starting to think about making choc on a larger scale for farmers markets etc and making in more bulk at christmas, valentines, easter etc,… last easter I did very well selling lovely easter eggs from a deli (he took 50 per cent but it was practice really and to see if anyone would buy my choc!People were very kind to me and encouraging)

Now I know this is the way I want to spend my time, even though it can be an exasperating, time consuming and temperemental substance at times, I love it and intend to keep going.

I’ve now got my environmental health certificate for making it at home, and insurance, so I’m serious and people are starting to realise that.

But it took me 2 weeks of hard labour to make the eggs using a rev 1 machine which has now broken, must have overused it!?

I have been making truffles and things since which are less tempering reliant but I have to admit I can’t temper properly by hand and I want to get back to moulding etc, making nice lollies etc.

Does anyone have any advice about the next step for me – should I invest in a larger tempering machine, or can anyone give me some good instructions on how to temper on a granite slab – how much chocolate can you do this way and how long does it take, I take it I would need to buy a melter too, but it would still be way cheaper than a tempering machine, and although I’m confident I can sell alot of chocolate one way or another, I’m reticent to get a really expensive machine when I am still such a small ‘company’.

I’m in that strange limbo between hobby and business and I don’t want to be stuck here! Can anyone relate? None of my friends are in food, let alone chocolate, I’m doing this all alone and it feels quite isolating at times, I’m glad I’ve got you to talk to though!

Thankyou in advance for your resposes,I REALLY appreciate it.

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
June 29, 2009
6:46 am
TheChocolateButterfly
TORONTO, Canada
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Forum Posts: 12
Member Since:
March 8, 2009
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Hello Trickypoo1,
I’ve been manufacturing chocolate for the last 11 years.

No one would ever believe, the capacity I can achieve with an X3210 and an alternate melter.
On an average day, I can work with 150+ pounds of Tempered Chocolate.

The secret is to use a concept called drip feeding.
It’s a plus and minus system, which works on the principal that once your chocolate is in temper; you ADD 8 ounces of melted chocolate into the tempered pool of chocolate, when you remove 8 ounces of chocolate.

This way you will always have a large pool of chocolate in temper.

You don’t have to invest large amounts of money in a melter, you can make a make-shift melter with a stainless steel rack and some mylar wrapped bubble-wrap and an heater (I use an oil filled heater), and Duct Tape. The Chocolate preferably in wafer form would be melted in Hotel pans.

Or, if you look in the Honey Industry they’re several Companies that manufacture self-contained water heated jacketed tanks; that can melt chocolate at a safe fast rate.

If you’re looking for equipment; such as vibrating tables, Depositing pumps, and Professional grade Plastic molds; then feel free and check out my Company: http://www.HakePlasticMolds.net
The Chocolate Butterfly is my Chocolate Company in Canada.

Feel free to e-mail me with all your Chocolate needs at: thechocolatebutterfly@3web.com

Regards,
Shawn Alter – Chocolatier

June 29, 2009
8:04 am
hohare
Nottingham, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 25
Member Since:
March 26, 2008
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Hi there
Firstly, where are you situated as I might be able to get your chocolates into other small shops in an upmarket location. Secondly, why not just use a microwave and bowl to temper, after all if you are only doing small quantities this should be just fine shouldn’t it?

June 29, 2009
9:28 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
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Thank you very much for the replies, Shawn and Hohare…

Shawn, your method sounds fantastic, and when I am a bit bigger I will certainly be looking at doing something similar…Maybe early next year, if Christmas goes well, I will be able to invest in an X3210 :) I have seen them and think that would be a good next step when I can afford it. How much did you pay for yours and where did you get it from may I ask? If I can find a second hand one at a good price, maybe that would be an option, any tips on where to look?

Hohare, thank you, how do you successfully temper in the microwave? I think my thermometer may not be accurate. I could cope until next valentines/easter with this method – if I could get it right! Would you mind telling me the method?

Does anyone think it is worth investing in a melter and granite slab, or will I be able to do just as much in the microwave anyway? If so, what is the method and how much can you temper at a time in this way?

I’d go out and buy a tempering machine now if I could, but I just think it’s more sensible to wait until early next year when I know I’ll be able to claw the money back quickly over valentines/easter!!
But if I see a bargain I’ll have to snap it up I guess!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
June 29, 2009
9:32 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
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Oh, and sorry Hohare, I’m down in South West London/Surrey border. I think you are up North aren’t you? Congratulations on setting up your business (I looked at your profile! :)

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
June 29, 2009
9:38 am
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 33
Member Since:
June 25, 2008
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Hi Trickypoo

you mention in your post that you are just setting up and have got insurance set up. I am in the UK too and just starting up, EHO stuff is getting sorted and need to get insurance next but have absolutely no idea where to start. Have you any information on how you went about it.

In terms of tempering large amounts I have to second what was said already we have a Rev2 and an X3210 and the X3210 is a great machine. It takes a while to get it going. My Rev2 can be fed with melted chocolate at the start which cuts time down, but this doesnt seem to work with the X3210 – unless I am doing it wrong. All in all its a great machine and it seems to hold a good temper for longer spells of time.

I like chocolate butterflys tip about drip feeding melted chocolate. I wonder if you need to wait after you add the melted chocolate. Wow 150lbs of chocolate a day – I am really impressed with that!

cheers

cocoa-girls

June 29, 2009
9:45 am
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 33
Member Since:
June 25, 2008
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Trickypoo

should have said, our X3210 was bought second hand for under £700. Best money I have spent yet! There is a 8kg table top temperer on ebay at the moment but I reckon it will go for quite a lot of money, but it might be worth a look. Its a bit big for my needs at the moment

cheers

cocoa-girls

June 29, 2009
11:50 pm
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
Offline

Thanks Cocoa-girls!

Yes, I have been monitoring the ebay auction as well as it’s just the right size for my next step, (well a bit big really but apparently the minimum melt is 3kg so maybe not so bad) and been in contact with them by email, they want around £1000 apparently but I’ll see how it goes and maybe put a bid in – well done on your X3210 bargain, I hope I can find one just like it!

My EHO certificate wasn’t too hard to get as I am doing it from home and still making choc on a relatively small scale. The insurance I got through a friend at work – it covers me for 1 million pounds public liability for farmers markets, selling in small shops etc. It was only £114 for the year! Would you like the details?

Thanks for your input – really nice to speak to other small companies. Well, I’m not really a company yet but hopefully soon!

Take care,

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
June 30, 2009
12:53 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 283
Member Since:
October 13, 2009
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quote:


Originally posted by trickypoo1

Hello!

I have just managed to get some of my fledgling company’s chocolates into a small shop in a upmarket location and am starting to think about making choc on a larger scale for farmers markets etc and making in more bulk at christmas, valentines, easter etc,…


Congratulations! Now of course the hard part begins: the daily grind of actually running a business.

quote:


But it took me 2 weeks of hard labour to make the eggs using a rev 1 machine which has now broken, must have overused it!?


Speaking of which, have you ever seen Russian Easter eggs? (To get an idea look at http://eggs-files.tripod.com) These seem to me like a potential template for making really amazing chocolate eggs – the method would be similar though somewhat different: multiple layers of depositing by running a “stylus” pipette over a moulded chocolate egg. If you get obsessed you might try something like that (although don’t worry that yours don’t look quite as spectacular as the ones on the site – this takes years of practice by a professional: in over 30 years of practice I can only get to a level which makes you see how it might be possible to create eggs like the ones you see there, still miles away from those, which are masterful)

quote:


Does anyone have any advice about the next step for me – should I invest in a larger tempering machine, or can anyone give me some good instructions on how to temper on a granite slab


The basic idea is this. Melt the chocolate. (Don’t let it get too hot; 45-50 C is fine) Then, pour around 1/2 to 2/3 of it out on the slab. Spade it around until it *just* begins to solidify. Then, working quickly, scrape it back into the bowl, stir, and voila (at least in theory). The real skill in the method is knowing where that “just begins to solidify” phase is – with time you’ll recognise it.

How much you can temper depends on the size of your slab. However, in terms of spading around, there is a practical limit somewhere around 1 – 1.5 kg (at least for me) for how much you can keep continually turning, no matter how big your palette knife.

Tempering with a slab is fast – with a medium-size amount of, say, 500 g it takes no more than about 5 minutes (admittedly, I’m guessing on the time based on my subjective feeling when I do it)

It’s a skill worth learning even if you do invest in a temperer, (which you almost certainly should) because once you have it you’ve got a versatile technique which will let you temper even small amount when necessary (I’ve tempered as little as 50 g using a mini-slab about 5 cm on a side), and a practical backup if your machine dies. Also, if you’re entering the trade as a professional, I would consider it one of the essential fundamental skills that you MUST learn in order to be fully competent. It’s not really that difficult, and as I say mostly a matter of practice. Perhaps your first attempts will be poor, but soon you’ll have it down and it will become second nature.

Resist, by the way, the temptation to try to measure things – learn to do it by “feel”. I did some experimentation and found that measuring gets in the way – and when I did it “instinctively” it worked perfectly first time, every time.

quote:


– how much chocolate can you do this way and how long does it take, I take it I would need to buy a melter too,


A cheaper arrangement is to get a stockpot and a large bowl. I have a bowl and stockpot that precisely nest, making for an easy bain-marie. The bowl can easily fit 3-4 kg of chocolate and it’s a straightforward method. However I think once you move into any reasonable production scale professional equipment would be a wise move because it will simplify your life and give nicely reproducible results.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
June 30, 2009
1:19 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
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10

Thanks Alex. I am still in two minds as to what to do, but I agree,I already felt that I should at least be able to do it by the traditional method if necessary, I would feel better if I did. i’ll look for a marble/granite slab anyway. Thanks for the instructions that is really helpful. Really, you put it in the perfect, simple terms for me. And I agree about being intuitive with the chocolate. It seems to be a medium that responds to this trait!

The only reason I was thinking of getting a proper melter is that after a few failed homemade bain maries, I have become absolutely paranoid about steam and moisture – I guess if I could find 2 perfectly matching items I’d be ok. I’ll try harder. I suppose I got lazy with my little machine to do the work for me!

I looked at the link you suggested. WOW! I love how they explain how to create the pattern. I’ll keep it in mind. My eggs were just a little more random to say the least..Maybe one day…

Thanks all. I’m calling myself ‘cloud cocoland chocolate’ by the way, don’t know if anyone get’s the reference but it’s where my head’s at most of the time!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
June 30, 2009
10:53 am
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 33
Member Since:
June 25, 2008
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11

Hi Trickypoo

yes I would love some details on your insurance. Gosh that is a lot cheaper than I would have thought.

Yes i am just starting out too its sooooo exciting. Good luck!

cocoa-girls

June 30, 2009
6:20 pm
Forest
Peak District, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 20
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August 27, 2008
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Alex…you could go to all that trouble with the Russian eggs….and I’ve tried in the past.. believe me. But you would never get the money back for all the time you put in unless you are going to stick it in a museum.

If you think there is a market for such a thing…then why not get some cocoa butter transfers done for you. Most people won’t know the difference and the cost ain’t too bad.

Trickypool…like what a few others have said. Get a chocolate melting tank/bain marie…about £150 from keylink. As long as the inside tank can come out you can use it for melting and pre-crystallisation.
Try the microwave. Do it by hand. It will make you feel more confident in the long run.

Personally, I’d forget about the marble slab method and stick to adding a seed. Simples!

If all fails…use the powdered cocoa butter (Home Chocolate Factory—-Micro?)…it’s dead easy to use.

July 1, 2009
6:24 pm
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 33
Member Since:
June 25, 2008
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13

Hi Trickypoo

thanks for the offer of information on insurance for a small home run chocolate business.My email address is shona.scylla@tiscali.co.uk. I have had a look on the web but its all a bit mind boggling

ta

cocoa-girl

July 2, 2009
9:04 am
hohare
Nottingham, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 25
Member Since:
March 26, 2008
Offline
14

You can get insurance cover through the NMTF National Market Traders Federation with Public Liability cover up to £5 million. You can use it for craft fairs, selling through shops etc and it only costs us £74 per year. Their website is nmtf.co.uk if this is any help.

July 2, 2009
9:26 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
Member Since:
March 17, 2009
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15

Hey there Cocoa-girls & Hohare, Wow, that is better than my deal, I’ll go with that next year!
I’ve temporarily mislaid the file with the details in Shona, but I’ll find it and email you over the weekend, although I don’t think they’ll be able to beat Hohare’s quote!
Thanks everyone who’s replied to my post. Hopefully I wont be bugging you with toooo many questions, but it’s nice to know there are people willing to share their knowledge out there.

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!
July 2, 2009
9:30 am
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 33
Member Since:
June 25, 2008
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Thanks Hohare

what a brilliant deal. I will get right on to it!

This form is so fabby!

Shona

July 2, 2009
6:28 pm
cocoa-girls
United Kingdom
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June 25, 2008
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sorry that last post should say ‘this forum is so fabby’!!

July 13, 2009
4:25 pm
ChocHeart
Brighton, United Kingdom
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August 25, 2008
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18

Hi Hohare

I was really in interested in the insurance you have. I have the same one from the Nat. Farmers Market, but didnt realise it covered me for selling in shops, have you been using it for that? I’m so glad I saw your post, I was about to get more insurance!!! Thanks, appreciate it.

July 16, 2009
10:00 pm
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 283
Member Since:
October 13, 2009
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19

quote:


Originally posted by Forest

Alex…you could go to all that trouble with the Russian eggs….and I’ve tried in the past.. believe me. But you would never get the money back for all the time you put in unless you are going to stick it in a museum.


Yes, it was only a suggestion if one wanted to get obsessed. I’m not quite convinced, however, that there’s no market, it’s just that your shop needs to be in a very upscale neighbourhood. On the time, sure, they take a while, but it’s not catastrophic. I can do about 3 eggs in 2 hours with the actual dyed variety, and it might be actually slightly quicker in chocolate because you don’t have to dip them in dye – merely apply the chocolate on as one would do the wax, apart for perhaps a base dip to get the background colour, if you didn’t want brown. That’s not exactly volume production, of course, but let’s say you made them all through Lent at that production rate – this gives round about 300 eggs. Not too bad if you can sell them for about £25 each, which is what I might start with. (assuming that in this case most of the costs are in the labour) The point is, it could become a “signature” item that would make your shop stand out. People would remember these, and before long you’d have a regular Easter clientele. The purpose isn’t so much the egg sales themselves, but rather all the secondary business you generate by bringing people in the door with these eggs. However, as I say again, it does require something of an obsessive mentality, and at least one employee who can dedicate 100% of their time during the Easter season to this one item.

quote:


If you think there is a market for such a thing…then why not get some cocoa butter transfers done for you. Most people won’t know the difference and the cost ain’t too bad.


These would look completely different – much less depth and texture, and in a way that you can’t avoid making it fairly obvious they’ve simply been transferred on. I’d say the visual difference would be that that I would expect between a luxury high street chocolatier and a true artisanal chocolatier. On knowing the difference, I think that the truth is more like that most people would know the difference, but wouldn’t necessarily consider the difference sufficiently meaningful to be willing to pay the greatly increased price. But some would. And again, the sheer presence of these in the shop window will bring in passerby, generating additional custom. Still, after all that, I was just bringing up an idle thought: it’s not something that I’m proposing particularly seriously.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
July 22, 2009
11:54 am
trickypoo1
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Forum Posts: 27
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March 17, 2009
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A huge THANK YOU for all your replies – I am going to temper in the microwave until after Xmas as I have been practicing and got some exellent results, feeling alot more confident about hand tempering now. Thanks for the encouragement guys!X

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject – if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!

There is no such thing as a chocolate reject - if you can fit it in your mouth, it wont be rejected!!