Hi chocoholics, We're wondering who has experience with honey sweetened chocolate, and if there's a small-scale continuous tempering machine that can handle it. We're currently using a Chocovision but looking for something that can scale. Thank you Clay and everyone in advance! Stephen
A deserved update regarding the KeyChoc Infinity X2:
We've been using it for a few months, with a dosing plate. We were hoping it'd work with honey, but the pump is the issue - it doesn't work with ANY amount of moisture in there. So we revised our recipe and are using a dry chocolate for our nutbutter cups. We love the machine so far, but think the advertised numbers misleading.
- price accessibility for custom dosing ($8k including dosing plate, non-heated vibrating table, timer, freight to U.S.)
- solid hardware (looked inside, the big parts are European made)
- they apparently have a network of techs available in the U.S. for repairs (have only spoken with their one in house tech though)
- small, new company
- "20kg tank capacity" claim
- Unless your seed is in small callet or drop form, you're limited to more like 17kg of capacity, as the stirrer will push the seed up and over the edge of the bowl (our current seed wafers are very large)
- "operated with as little as 3 kgs of chocolate" claim
- This isn't accurate. As soon as there is 7-8kg left, air starts to get into the pump and dosing is useless/inconsistent.
- "tempered for up to 8 hours" claim
- 5-6 hours is a more realistic/reliable number to plan on.
- Our seed is very tempered, and their Method 1 (adding 20-30% seed to cool to set temperature) simply hasn't worked for us. Nowhere close. The method that we've found to work is to add ~2.5kg seed to 14.5kg melted, drop the temp to 29.8˚, then back up to 31.7˚. This works fine, but takes at least an hour.
The 5-6 hour limit and ability to realistically produce about 10kg of chocolate are the two main limiting factors for us. We could produce 50% more product during one cycle if the advertised numbers were accurate. Not a deal breaker, as we can run additional cycles with melters standing by, but good to know.
Clay, thanks so much for all your help.
We've been using a Delta. We don't anticipate needing perfectly tempered chocolate, and we're OK with that. The Delta actually works fine with our current honey, although we're considering something with dosing ability so that we don't have to manually spoon into cavities 900 times a day. The Keychoc X2 can do this on their entry level machines whereas FBM and Selma require you to get their bigger 220v ones. We like the continuous tempering of those, but more importantly we need dosing help and consistency at a price point we can currently afford. Different technology for sure, but if the Delta works with our honey, I don't see why the Keychoc wouldn't. Having to seed it isn't a deal breaker for us, and we end up packaging after a ~90 minute batch anyway.
Side note...I've had some other brands' honey chocolate and it tastes like they've added a lot of butter just to make it snap, way too much for my taste. I'd rather it be soft chocolate than extra fatty like that. I'm sure there's gotta be tastier ones out there though.
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It is possible to temper chocolate sweetened with honey but it's very difficult because of the water in the honey. It can be done but it requires patience.
Which Chocovision are you using? It might be possible using a larger one but be next to impossible in a small one.
The smallest continuous tempering machines have working bowl capacities of about 5kg. However, the limiting factor in these machine is not the size of the bowl but the length of the tempering pipe. The chocolate does not spend enough time in the pipe to generate and mix crystals evenly.
You really do need a much larger continuous tempering machine - and by larger I mean one with a longer tempering pipe - to reliably temper chocolate sweetened with honey. Chocolate Naive in Lithuania is successful doing so.