Tuesday November 29, 2005

With the holidays officially on us, I have been getting a few requests for "gift" items. I have done some thinking, asking people here and there, and have come up with a few items I think would make nice gifts (either for yourself or someone else) - especially for the person who "has everything" - I can virtually guarantee they don't have chocolate making kits. So here is what is now available - there are no listings in the Products page yet, but they are in the drop down menus (check the very end) of the Orders section.

72% Dark Chocolate Kit - makes 2.5 lbs - $48.00

You don't need to know much about chocolate making to use this kit. It contains all the ingredients, in the exact amounts you need, to make 2.5 lbs of fresh, home made chocolate. It includes lightly roasted Jamaican cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, sugar and lecithin to make a silky, lush dark chocolate. All that is required is to run the cocoa though your Champion Juicer (another gift?) and refine it in the Santha Wet Grinder. The Champion and Santha are not included. Neither are molds, so pick some out to go with the kit if you need them. - Note: If you have soy allergies, the lecithin may be omitted.

44% Milk Chocolate Kit - makes 4.0 lbs - $42.00

For those who love milk chocolate, this kit all the ingredients, in the exact amounts you need, to make 4.0 lbs of fresh, home made milk chocolate. It includes fully roasted Ghanan cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, dry milk powder, sugar and lecithin. This makes a full flavored, heady milk chocolate. All that is required is to run the cocoa though your Champion Juicer (another gift?) and refine it in the Santha Wet Grinder. The Champion and Santha are not included. Neither are molds, so pick some out to go with the kit if you need them. - Note: If you have soy allergies, the lecithin may be omitted. Likewise, I am trying to find an alliterative to the milk powder for those with milk allergies.

As noted says above, you need both a Champion Juicer and Santha Wet Grinder to make full use of the above kits, but you won't have to worry about learning to roast, what recipe to use or anything like that. Complete directions are also included.

For those who want to experiment a little, we are now offering a 2 lb sampler pack. It is similar to the regular Sampler pack, but with a half pound of each of our four types of cocoa beans instead of 4 oz.
The Larger Sampler pack is $32.00.

Finally, we are now offering Gift Certificates. They can be for any amount over $10.00 and do not expire during the life of the business. Nice for the person who wants to experiment but you don't know what to choose for them.

Happy chocolate making!

04:25 pm : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (5)


Posted Comments for this update:


[Fri 10:15] Brad Churchill email ~ site
John;

One thing I've tried that REALLY helped my grinder and didn't affect this batch of chocolate one bit was to melt the cocoa butter in the microwave before adding it to the sugar and other ingredients in the grinder. There was considerably less stress on the machine to get started. I didn't see this tip anywhere on your site, and thought I'd take a moment to mention it. It made a huge difference in getting the grinder kick started.


[Sun 17:53] Warwick Bergen email ~ site
Do you guys ship to Australia?
[Tue 15:21] Alchemist John ~ site
Yes, we ship worldwide. Shipping can be rather expensive, and the shopping cart system is not set up for most other countries, but yes we do. Just email me directly if you wish.
[Sun 18:48] N. Gereaux email ~
A dried milk alternative known as Better Than Soy--dry soymilk powder--is available for $10 per 26 oz. container. As someone who has eliminated all dairy from my diet for health/allergy and ethical reasons, it would be wonderful to have a milk chocolate kit available.
[Wed 06:15] Alchemist Jogn ~ site
I have tested out the "Better than Milk" soy milk powder and I like quite a bit. In a blind tasting, it was preferred over "standard" milk chocolates. Nice find.



Thursday November 24, 2005

The new continuous use, factory modified Santhas should be in around the end of the month. There will not be any with 99 hour timers. That will be next time.

I have been doing a little cleaning and updating of the site. The Tempering section has been updated with pictures and I have added a couple new chocolate recipes. In particular I have added a White chocolate and adjusted some of the current directions to include refining by the Santha.

Oh, and just because I said I would post it, aside from mouth feel, here is how I determine when the chocolate should come out of the refiner. It's viscosity starts to change and it (no offense here, men have them too) nipples up.



These three samples are one hour apart, the final one being at 12 hours. I refined it for another 3 hours after that.

08:07 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (2)


Posted Comments for this update:


[Sun 15:23] KEN LUSAR email ~
Hi friends, I'm interested in using the cocao bean in an infusion with vodka, will the vodka pick up the flavor of chocolate and if so where can I purchase the beans already processed and ready for use? T.Y. ken
[Sun 15:23] KEN LUSAR email ~
Hi friends, I'm interested in using the cocao bean in an infusion with vodka, will the vodka pick up the flavor of chocolate and if so where can I purchase the beans already processed and ready for use? T.Y. ken



Sunday November 13, 2005

I have been experimenting with the Jamaican Cocoa beans. I finally got a good shot of the beans that show off that polish of theirs.



And while we are at it, here is 7-8 lbs of the Jamaican 72% chocolate in the Santha (note the hot new color available) before and after the addition of my sugar. I will post a final picture of chocolate after refining and some photos showing how the texture changes hour by hour.



And then finally, just a little experiment to show that you can not just add "a tiny" amount of water to dissolve sugar. I hate to give absolutes, but I think I just might be safe on this one - with a qualifier or two.



You can not add ANY water to chocolate and have it flow and behave like "normal" chocolate.

09:32 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (4)


Posted Comments for this update:


[Tue 23:46] Brad Churchill email ~ site
John;

I have a question...

If the beans are carefully peeled and there is no husk, why couldn't a person forego the Champion Juicer completely and put the nibs in the Santha? If it will grind the sugar and subsequent chocolate down over a period of time, should it not do the same as the Melangeur you've linked to on your site? Have you tried it? If it works, it will sure save a whole heck of a lot of mess!!


[Wed 12:42] Alchemist John ~ site
Brad,

In theory, yes, if you hand peeled the cocoa beans, and pampered the Santha a little bit, you should be able to go directly from nib to liqueur.

But - isn't there always a but - I am not sure really why you would want to do that. Personally, I can't imagine hand peeling pounds of cocoa - my fingers would be raw. Aside from that, there are a few things to consider. I know you are just getting into this, but presently I can set up my Champion, process 5 lbs of nibs, not have a drop of chocolate anywhere, and be cleaned up within an hour. The first couple times are the worst, but it gets better - much better.

Also, I recall from some of my metal smithing days a lesson about using the right tool for the right job. You don't skip the rough finishing just to get to the final finishing faster because the final finishing just ends up taking way longer and is harder on the tool. Same thing here. If you do as you propose, you are going to work the Santha harder and probably add many hours to your refining time, and maybe even stress the motor - I don't know for sure. I have even taken to pre-grinding my sugar because it radically cuts my refining time - 1 hour dry refining the sugar in my last batch took off 5 hours in the refining time. That is significant.

Finally, just because the Santha looks like a Melangeur, does not mean it is one. Those are proportionally much stronger machines running with two motors - one for the bottom plate, one for the rollers. The Santha just has one.

So, yes, you could do as you suggested, but I think in the long run, since you already have the equipment, you would cause yourself more work and stress on the equipment. BTW, if you do try it, I would recommend melting cocoa butter you are going to add, and start that in a pre-warmed drum, heat your nibs to around 120 F, maybe pre-grind in a blender, and add them slowly. I tried nibs once "cold" and the santha locked up bexause the cocoa butter in them was too cold.

Good luck and let me know what you try and how it works.


[Thu 19:39] scott ~
John - how're you making out with the santha folks in terms of a factory modified grinder?
[Sat 04:20] Steve email ~ site
Hi Brad,

I sell raw organic cacao nibs on my xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Steve

Alchemist John here - EXCUSE ME!

Steve, why would you think it was acceptable to advertise your cocoa beans on MY site? This is MY business and I would expect comments left would help my business, not compete with it.

I have deleted your contact information, just so we are clear on this.




Saturday November 5, 2005

Wow, I realize in the world we live in, 100,000 is not a particularly large number, but I personally think it is rather neat to have had Chocolate Alchemy visited that many times in under two years. Thank you everyone. I appreciate the support.

And so this is not completely devoid of chocolate content, we are expecting new modified Santhas in within the month. A number of you have asked and I will put a note up here as soon as I know more.

I would like a little assistance, and only you who visit can help me. We are soon to implement a shopping cart with integrated shipping and billing (please hold the applause until it is in). At the same time I want to clean and tidy up the site and maybe give it a slight facelift. Noting the cart above, are there things you as customers and visitors would like to see either added or go away? You can either leave a note here or email me directly.

And here is to making 1,000,000 together!

08:35 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (6)


Posted Comments for this update:


[Sat 15:09] Zachary Goldberg ~
Search function.
[Thu 10:01] Alchemist John ~ site
You got it. Already planned and in the works.
[Sat 22:51] Heather email ~
I found this site very interesting and informative. It was certain of assistance to myself and my students. Thank you
[Tue 04:16] Jade email ~
Hello,

I liked this site also. Chocolate making seems very complicated and you must be a very patient person. Is there any way you could sell the chocolate liquer so people could just work from there?


[Fri 15:42] rebecca tobin email ~
Hi! i teach kindergarten and we are studying chocolate! We have done everything from melting/molding chocolate to estimating an entire bag of chocolate kisses. We are currently reading "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and will soon begin the biography of Milton Hershey. It goes withousout saying that we are having a fabulous (and delcious) time! Do you have any suggestions for me to make this unit even more interesting for my students? Thanks. Rebecca
[Fri 15:44] rebecca tobin email ~
How could I purchase the $20 coco bean sampeler? Also, would it be possible to purchase the beans in the pod?




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