Hilliard's System

Hillards Little Dipper (analog)

 
Picture of Jo-Ellen Fairbanks-Schutz
Hillards Little Dipper (analog)
by Jo-Ellen Fairbanks-Schutz - Friday, 9 September 2011, 9:25 PM
 

I purchased an older, used Hillard’s Little Dipper on EBay. It was in desperate need of cleaning so I had the opportunity to get to know the machine very well.  The heat comes from 2- 100W light bulbs. I read recently that with the change to energy efficient bulbs, incandescent bulbs will eventually be available only through suppliers vs. the neighborhood store.  So if you are working with this model, you may want to have a few back-up bulbs.  The bowl is cooled by a small fan that turns on automatically when the chocolate reaches the desired high temperature. With my machine, the temperature is controlled by an analog dial whose marking leave a margin of error so I still check the temperature of my chocolate with a digital thermometer and adjust the knob accordingly. The bowl is held into position on the motor with 2 hex pins of different sizes so if you want to take the bowl out, you need to take off the back of the machine, loosen the hex nuts, and wiggle the bowl back and forth to get it off its spindle.  The machine did not come with instructions but I contacted Hillard with the model number and they were able to email the operations manual. Very Nice. The instructions say to put the chocolate in the rear of the machine and set the temperature to 100 degrees and eventually when it is melted it will travel to the front dipping area, where you must reset the machine to 88 degrees to allow the chocolate to cool and obtain temper. The adjustments to create tempered chocolate are manual. I believe that this makes the machine more of a melter than a temperer. The machine uses the tempering technique of “incomplete melting” so the lump chocolate being use must be in temper.  I found that it took a lot of time for the chocolate to melt and make its way to the front. I also had to play around with the bowl divider so that it scraped the left side but allowed the melted chocolate to flow through on the right side of the bowl.  As I coated my truffles, I found that I used the tempered chocolate very quickly and had to wait for more chocolate to melt. I have read that, to speed up production, other users of this model added melted chocolate to the rear of the bowl. I tried that but ended up knocking the chocolate out of temper and had to re-temper the whole bowl.  On more than one occasion, despite the manuals urging to keep the front of the bowl ¾ full, the chocolate would “creep” up the side of the bowl and pour onto the back of the machine creating a large mess. Cleaning the machine also causes a mess. To clean the bowl, you must remove the bowl divider but the issue is that the divider is still attached to the machine via the thermometer so it just swings to the side of the machine and for lack of better words, just hangs there making it difficult to clean. In addition the 4 scrapers which are each attached to the bowl divider with 2 tiny screws must be removed to fully clean the divider. After cleaning the machine a few times, I opted to try the manual’s directions for leaving the chocolate in the machine overnight. In the morning the chocolate had to be re-tempered.  I tried to do some molding but the bowl of the machine was too small to catch all the chocolate released when creating the molded shells. I’ve had this machine for over 6 months and have discovered it’s “quirks” but I would never trust an assistant/employee to temper chocolate with it. After reading many reviews and being so excited to find a used machine on EBay, I’ve been disappointed with my machine so far. Please take into consideration that I am still a chocolate novice and that my experience with this model of tempering machine may not be the same as yours.