Monday, February 17, 2014

Chocolate Equipment and Molding Tips from the Experts

Interview with:

Thomas Elsignhorst, President
Beth Kimmerle, Marketing Director
Brian Donaghy, Executive Pastry Chef

Tomric Systems, Inc.

By Jeff Yoskowitz and Kathryn Gordon of Food Startup Help

Jeff and Kathryn, along with Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy, recently visited Tomric Systems in Buffalo NY, to tour their production plant, work with their Selmi Chocolate equipment from Italy and learn more about chocolate mold making.

Looking for a cooling tunnel for your chocolate business?  Tomric has a 12 meter one for sale that they recently used at a trade show.  Contact Sean Tucci, Technical Sales and Service Manager at

Selmi Injector Depositor Attachment in Action

Jeff:  Hello Tom, can you tell us more about Tomric? You mentioned that this is your family business.

Tom:  It’s been family owned and run for 51 years.  It was started by my great uncle who was a metal smith in Germany, and my dad began plastic mold thermoforming here in the 1960’s.  We have 2 plants in Buffalo.

Beth:  The Company sells multiple lines and strives to be a single source supplier to the confectionery industry.  For instance, ChocoMaker products are geared for the home cook, and includes Make ‘n Mold kits, chocolate fountains, and compound chocolate sold in outlets such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Walmart.  Chocolate World is our line of custom and readymade molds for the food industry, primarily for artisan chocolatiers. We are also the exclusive distributor in North America for Selmi Chocolate Machines from Italy. 

Beth’s marketing team’s design board for their ChocoMaker line.

Kathryn:  If I were a chocolatier and I wanted to get a custom mold, how does that process work?

Beth:  An artisan chocolate company submits a design, and our art department creates a mold.  They use traditional clay sculpting and plaster for detail prototype designs, but are starting to use computerized design models as well.  Lead time depends on the intricacy of the design, typically ranging from 5 days to 6 weeks.   

Tomric sponsors the World Chocolate Masters and Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie US teams

Jeff:  Brian, can you tell us about the Selmi equipment line from Italy?  You’ve got a variety of machines here. Can you talk about the line?

Brian:  We pride ourselves on carrying such an incredible line of chocolate equipment from Selmi and provide the best customer service for the machines, and help with installation through training.  The machines are very easy to work with and clean after use. 

Brian molding with the injector depositor attachment

Jeff:  How does the mold depositor attachment work on the Selmi tempering machine?

Brian:  It works with 75-80% of existing polycarbonate chocolate molds.  You can easily calibrate the depositing head to minimize excess chocolate clean up. 

Jeff:  Brian, if you put the depositor attachment onto the tempering machine, how many molds can you do an hour?

Brian:  I’ve had practice, obviously, but conservatively it is 60 molds an hour (and I’m at 90).  A chocolatier’s challenge quickly becomes the number of chocolate molds they own. 

Kathryn:  What’s this cool looking machine?  I know what a lot of them are, but don’t recognize this one!

Brian:  The micron ball refiner grinds cocoa nibs into finely conched chocolate, letting chocolatiers do bean-to-bar.  Or, you can make your own giandujias or nut butters.   

Selmi micron ball refiner – make your own nut pastes, butters, marzipans, giandujia and couverture!

Kathryn:  Brian, once and for all –as Executive Pastry Chef here, how do you recommend cleaning chocolate molds?

Brian:  Don’t, if you can avoid it.  If you have to, use only warm water and a neutral pH soap.  I like to polish my molds with a washable microfiber chamois.  Even finger nails inside a mold can scratch it.  Molds with a bit of chocolate on them can simply be stored in a Tupperware tote.

Jeff:  Do you place your molds up, or down, once you’ve lined your mold and the excess chocolate has been poured out of the mold?  I’ve seen both approaches.

Brian:  I keep the mold up – it allows the chocolate at the edge where the cap will be to create a “bevel.”  This allows a surface area for the cap to attach securely, with less trapped air underneath (and therefore, a better shelf life of the bon bon center).

Kathryn:  And Brian, do you think there is such a thing as a bad mold?  Like when a chocolatier has issues with release marks on the chocolate?

Chef Jenny McCoy with an extremely large egg mold

Brian:  Yes, occasionally, for example sometimes the angles aren’t correct, but primarily the issue is the chocolatier is depositing the tempered chocolate into too cold a mould.  They should warm the mould to 85F before depositing the chocolate, to minimize the release marks (and maximize the shine).  

Kathryn: Thank you everyone for hosting us here in Buffalo and for allowing us to tour your factory and for giving us all the great demos of all the Selmi equipment.

Slightly used cooling tunnel for sale!  Perfect for your artisan chocolate business!