I'm on my second batch and am curious how long others have refined / conched using it. I ran my first batch for about 20 hours. Was one lb of trinatario that I put in the wonder grinder right after winnowing. Second batch (still running) is 2 lbs of criollo beans that I again put straight into the wonder grinder after winnowing. Being my first two times making chocolate I'm not really sure but I think the refining step (particle size reduced) easily done in a few hours - definitely by 6. Chocolate looked like the last picture here: www.chocolatealchemy.com/conchingrefining.php
I'm wondering if the Wonder Grinder is a higher sheer grinder since the grinding "wheels" are skinnier than the santha?
I'm mainly interested in how long others have refined/conched using this machine.
Oh and I'm making 100% chocolate (ok, that's not strictly true - I've added a cut up vanilla bean to this second batch).
FWIW, I generally grind 1lb for about 9 hours with powdered sugar and find it suits my tastes at this point and is well refined. Basically, it's refined well if it tastes smooth and there's no residual "grittiness". I recently did one batch and moulded some at 10 hours and 15 hours and the difference in taste was marked but no difference in mouthfeel, so it's worth playing around with the time - but it all comes down to what you like in taste.
I think the Wonder Grinder would have a higher sheer because of the higher RPM of the motor - I'm assuming this means a higher RPM of the bowl - but I don't have anything to prove that . . . just a hunch.
I believe the sheer is related to the amount of force per unit area exerted on the chocolate by the rollers. I haven't seen the Santha but I think it has wider but smaller diameter rollers so I would guess the sheer would be higher (less weight per unit of width).
I believe the increased RPM would mean the refining process would take less time because the chocolate would be processed faster. I suspect it also generates more heat as well due to the increased RPM (not really more friction more friction per unit of time).
Not entirely sure what that all means but I suspect it means less time refining / conching due to both the higher sheer, RPM and temperature.
High shear and high RPM should both mean higher temperature. But with 9oz of white chocolate (total load), I measured 99.2F after 8 hours of use (for the chocolate, not the stone). The room was fairly warm (around 75F). The low temperature may have been due to the small load. Can anyone else chime in with temperatures? It seems like it would be useful to know how the running temperature differs from the Santha.
what's the normal running temp of the Santha? I'm pretty sure last I processed chocolate in my WonderGrinder (approx 30 oz) the temp was around 104 but that's just a guess from memory... I'll probably be doing a 2 pound batch of beans this weekend and can report back.
Thanks Jhoff, looking forward to some more data! As for me, first "real" batch of chocolate is in. 40 minutes after adding the extra solids (at which time I hit it with a hair dryer for 30 seconds), I'm running 106.9 F. Total batch masses 1 kg. For those who, like me, can't convert units in their heads that's a bit over 2lb. It's milk chocolate. Again not sure how much that affects temperature.
I see articles on the main page saying the Santha tends to stabilize at around 110F but can spike into the 140s without external heat.
Ok, this run stabilized at 115F-116F and has been there every time I checked for the past 10 hours. Yay! (that implies, among other things, that it will probably not suddenly burst into flames at 28 hours... Yeah, I know, no one else's has, but hey, small sample size, anything's possible!)
I don't know that it was the lecithin only. It was a large batch size (about 2kg from memory) and running mainly during a hot day. I added the lecithin before I went to bed and checked the temp at about 3am (when I was also checking on my 1yo daughter) so it may have also been cooling due to weather conditions. Having said that, I'm sure the lecithin did have an impact because it thinned out the chocolate a lot when it was added and made it run a lot smoother.
PS: it was also a batch of milk chocolate - this may have made the lecithin more effective at dropping the temperature . . . don't know
Thanks Gap, that's great info! I'll experiment with it myself, I am going to put half my batch back in to process more so I'll add lecithin and see what it does to the temperature. (Mine's milk chocolate too - Just ordered a pound of nibs, so I can get started on "the real stuff" soon!)