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In my views, artisan skills are exactly that - the combine an art form and a skill to create a wonderful product.  The skill without the art is necessary but not sufficient. 

Everyone knows that I do love my artisan skills, and do my best to practice quite a few.  However, I don't want people thinking that you can watch a few youtube clips and then produce better than shop bought quality. You need to acquire the skill and the art (which is what most shop bought produce lacks). 

I'll use this thread to map my progress towards gaining the skill of chocolateer.  

Post 1: the dreaded first attempt

Hours and hours of youtube/google research in place.  

Select what looks to be a good recipe. 

Buy ingredients - ensure they are of high quality (learned that from the cheese making).

Put the attempt off because I know it may well fail.

Sunday night - can't put it off any more because it's back to work tomorrow.  

Have a crack. 

I am amazed!  They look really good - shiny, dark (used dark Cocoa) and well moulded. Bloody hell. They look professional.  

Get too scared to try them.  Eventually crack and taste. 

* F A I L ! ! !  *

Jeez - they taste like a diet chocolate.  No depth, no creaminess or fullness (otherwise, the taste itself is okay).

Bugga.  *Andy goes off to find out what went wrong*

Stayed tuned to this channel folks.  I think I've worked it out.  I'll have another crack and post the results as soon as I get the chance.  How could something so pretty have gone so wrong??!!!

 

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 28, 2014 at 21:19

Part 3:  end result.

It's not bad.  You need to understand that it is raw chocolate (so it's a bit fudge-like).  I quite like the taste.  I've researched tempering it but am currently distracted by other shiny fings in my yard. 

I learned to keep the temperature way low (so it takes more time than originally thought) and to be light handed with the salt. I really should temper the damn stuff. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 24, 2014 at 23:16

Post 2:  on the tools.

The apprentice is still working the tools hard, with two attempts tonight.  Both using a new, only slightly more complex recipe. 

Attempt 1:  resulted in a very quick split as soon as I combined the wet and dry ingredients.  Wow, yep, you can sure tell when it splits.  I read about "mealy", I'd describe it as lumpy.  I think that's caused when the pot is just too hot.  (Add wet to dry, not dry to wet.)

Attempt 2:  Went quite grainy.  Of course, I was hideously nervous about it splitting.  I should have kept stirring for a while and then returned to the heat and tried again.  Repeat (over and over if necessary).   However, the taste is REALLY good.  

I've added milk powder and salt and made the sweetening more complex (maple, golden syrup and honey) + pure icing sugar.  I went a touch heavy on the salt this time but won't make that mistake again.  If I can get this flavour in a smooth shiny base, I will be Thor - the god of chocolate and hammering wood and stuff in the backyard.  

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 24, 2014 at 18:18

You read my mind mate. 

Comment by Stevo on March 24, 2014 at 12:14

Are you going to put some kind of fruity alcoholic cream in the middle?

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