Need some professional opinions! Chocolate Tempering
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My thoughts would be that you are putting the cart before the horse. I feel that you should develope what kind of coating you are going to use and then find a vessel to keep it warm. I would hate for you to spend a lot of money on a quazi tempering machine. Then find out you only need a dbl. boiler. I'm thinking that you may be needing some sort of choco coating. Something like the choco fountains use. Tempered true choco will be quite hard to keep up with. The choco might even bloom, turn gray, if using a frozen babana. There are ingredients that you can add to chocolate like butter, oil, etc. that will only require you keep it warm. Warm is not that hot. I'm sure that someone will jump on with a recipe for a coating, ganache type of dip. Might want to check out the choco fountain sites for a product or recipe. I personally have never use one.
Thanks everyone for the input... The most important part of this operation is keeping the chocolate usable for a long amount of time, without needed to stop and wait for more chocolate to get ready. I was hoping a double boiler method would be the way we could go, having never done it before, I wanted to check and double check before I actually bought a machine.
Panini, I think you are right on the money. We need a system like a fountain that will keep chocolate useable. I had actually considered using a fountain and sliding the bananas through, but I didn't think it would be appropriate or something that is partially outdoors with the possibility of bugs, dust, etc. We are looking at using the Chocoleys chocolate. They sell machines also, which would make it an easy transaction to buy both chocolate and the machine in one purchase. I guess my main question is... Do you think a melter/warmer would suffice for this type of operation. It does sound like a temperer is more equipment then we need. If we could get the machines for a decent price, we could even get an extra one and maybe do white chocolate too.
Again, thanks everyone for the input!
Hello, Jennifferg -
I don't know if this information is too late for you, but I thought I'd share what I do at fairs and festivals in our candy trailer. I thought I was going to need some fancy machine to do dipped strawberries for our business about 3 years ago, when I discovered the "compound chocolates" work best in the festival environment, and are easier to deal with. I only use soup warmers to melt and hold my compound chocolate for the whole day, and it is the perfect height for dipping bananas if you wanted. I found that my soup warmer can hold chocolate at 95 degrees F if I wanted at the lowest setting, so I know that it will never overheat my chocolate. And, I would never use a crock pot, as it would get too hot on the warm setting. If you don't want to melt that much chocolate in the soup warmer, then you could ladle out what you need into a tall metal bain marie (used in those warmers in a buffet line), and dip away. Just pour out the chocolate when done.
You would probably want to use a compound chocolate for your bananas - it is easy to use, and your workers who are less skilled in the art of chocolate won't mess it up (unless they drop water in it!). Frozen bananas are sold here in California at the two Renaissance faires I do, and I believe that is what the vendor uses - he calls them Monkey Tails. He also dips them ahead of time, and just sells them already done off of a little cart that is basically a cooler with dry ice inside (think of the ice cream man walking down the street with his cart).
Hope this helps!
Kristen in California
Depending on what you're charging for the bannanas, you have a lot of options available.
The compound chocolates would work well for the sitution you describe, but they aren't cheap, almost as much as real chocolate. Compound is mix of cocoa powder, sugar and vegetable fats, in other words chocolate without cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is difficult beast that requires tempering--it also has the snap, gloss shine and mouthfeel that compounds lack.
To use compund, you just shoot for around 34 celcius and the deed is done. A warmer like Trooper linked is ideal--but this is a warmer, not an automatic temperer.
The revoltion 2 will work in your situation using "drip feeding", that is, adding no more than 1/3 of around 32 C.melted chocolate to the already tempered chocolate in the bowl, the amcd is similiar but a bit larger, and uses a lightbulb for the heat source. There is no "best" machine, each one has it's pros and cons. In any case dipping frozen bannanas in tempered couverture will result in a very heavy coated, rock-hard object, frozen chocoalte is hard to bite into....
How thick do you want the coating to be? If you use real chocolate, it will be very heavy/thick unless you thin it out with an oil of some kind.
Also, why frozen bannanas? A ripe, room temp one will be enoyabe to eat, no?