Why do millstones wedge and how to deal with it?

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So, you have jammed melangeur stones. What to do? In this article we won’t only tell you how to «cure» jammed stones, but also how to avoid jamming in the future.

Why can melangeur stones jam?
  1. Large particles of product stuck under the millstones.

    The stones jammed at the loading stage, because you poured a too large fraction of cocoa nibs or a lot of cocoa nibs at once without pausing. Large particles fell under the stones, clogged and interfered with their normal course. Other loose ingredients can also lead to this kind of jamming. Nuts, for example.

    Unmelted cocoa liquor can also cause jamming: callets or large chunks get under the stones and stop them.

  2. Coked bushings.

    Stones can jam even if the fractions of bulk products were small, and the cocoa liquor was melted. The reason is the ingredients that caramelize and harden — sugar, milk powder and other loose stuff. While loading in a melangeur, they can get into the axial bushings where the stones are attached. The sticking of such a «caramel» reduces the diameter of the axis of rotation and when there is too much mass, the axis cannot turn.

    It sounds bad, but we remind you: there is nothing critical in jamming stones. A good professional melangeur won’t burn out or break from this.

    Unfortunately, there is still a problem: if you work with a jammed stone for a long time, then it may be abraded in certain areas. Also, the grinding time increases when one stone is not involved in the process.

A fraction is a part of loose or lumpy solid material. For example, a grain of sand.

How to avoid jamming stones?

If you have a small melangeur (up to 35 kg):

  1. It is recommended to melt cocoa butter and cocoa liquor before loading in melangeur.

  2. When loading the melangeur, move from the fattest ingredients to the hardest ones, that is, cocoa butter and cocoa liquor (or nibs) are loaded first, and sugar is last.

  3. When loading cocoa nibs into the melangeur pause for a while so it has time to grind a little and release fat. The fineness of the cocoa nibs reduces the chance of jamming, so we recommend using a crusher for cocoa beans and nuts. Watch video.

  4. Make sure the mass always covers the bushings. In this case, it will serve as a kind of lubricant, and all the dry ingredients that got into the bushings during loading will not caramelize and stop the rotation of the millstones.

This should be the minimum level of chocolate.

This should be the minimum level of chocolate.

If you have a large melangeur (from 35 kg).

The rules are the same, but there is a positive nuance: cocoa butter and cocoa liquor in the form of chips can be loaded unmelted, as large stones can easily handle them.

Such «chips» can be loaded in large melangeurs.

Such «chips» can be loaded in large melangeurs.
What to do if the stones are jammed after all?
Launch stones with your hands.

If cocoa nibs or nuts of large fractions are crowded under the stones, it will have to be wedged on your own. To do this, you need to turn on / off the melangeur and move the stones with your hands or with a silicone spatula according to the situation until the millstones start moving again.

Disassemble and clean.

Coking is «cured» by disassembling and cleaning. Yes, self-disassembly of bushings seems unrealistic, but, fortunately, there are manufacturers who give their customers video instructions on equipment maintenance.

Use the reverse function.

A great solution for wedging millstones is the function of forced reverse rotation of the bowl and grinding discs. With it you don’t have to get into the melangeur with your hands and a spatula to launch the stones. The reverse effect is similar to the slippage of a car by rocking it back and forth: hold down the button — start the rotation in the opposite direction, release the button — return it as it was. Also, the reverse can cope with light coking. The method is patented.

Watch video

The reverse function is a «lifeline» for owners of large melangeurs: getting into such a machine with bare hands is uncomfortable and dangerous, and disassembling the bushings is long and difficult. With a reverse — press the button and go on.

Jamming is not as scary as it’s painted.

But it shouldn't be provoked either. Not only because of the potential harm to the equipment, but also the time you spend on solving the problem. A list of rules will help protect stones from jamming: load nuts and cocoa nibs of a smaller fraction, make sure that the mass covers the bushings, and periodically clean it from hardened ingredients.

Melangeur with a reverse function will be a great solution for those who don't want to roll up their sleeves and get dirty with chocolate. You can choose such a melangeur on the official website of the company (pay attention to the R icon next to the model).

See screenshot.

Professional equipment for chocolate production.
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