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Tempering Cocoa Butter?

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22 replies to this topic

#1 gfron1

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 01:13 PM

One of the dishes at Alinea this weekend was a shot that included green apple juice or cider inside of a cocoa butter orb dusted with horseradish set in celery juice. The orb was crisp and thin. I've never worked with pure cocoa butter...can you temper it by itself? I didn't taste the sweetness of white chocolate, nor was it billed as white chocolate.

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#2 Kerry Beal

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 02:34 PM

Yup, you can temper it on marble or in a bowl. Use the same temperatures for dark chocolate.

#3 gfron1

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 02:48 PM

That's interesting - you temper as if dark not white. Now that I think through it, that would make more sense - they are more similar in content. Thanks Kerry.

Rob

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#4 Kerry Beal

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 03:06 PM

That's interesting - you temper as if dark not white.  Now that I think through it, that would make more sense - they are more similar in content.  Thanks Kerry.

Rob

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Milk and white chocolate have other competing fats (milk fat) which lowers the tempering and working temperatures. Gianduja which adds nut fat into the mix requires even lower temperatures. Dark chocolate's only fat is cocoa butter - as you noted - more similar in content.
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#5 duckduck

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 06:04 PM

I've been thinking of asking that very question. Good information to know.
Pamela Wilkinson
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#6 alanamoana

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 07:18 PM

gfron1, just curious, how thin was the shell? i can't imagine one thin enough that i would want to eat it if it was made only of cocoa butter. unless of course the other flavors were enough to overpower the cocoa butter.

sounds interesting though. neat that you got a chance to go to alinea and dine.

#7 gfron1

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 11:20 AM

Oh my goodness...I missed your question, so here is the answer 4 months late! The shell was so thin that I don't think you could have picked it up. It floated in liquid and when it hit your mouth, it shattered. And the flavors were all very strong, so the cocoa butter was just a vessel that gave mouthfeel, not taste.

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#8 alanamoana

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 03:30 PM

better late than never :wink:

thanks for responding!

that's why we pay you the big bucks (oh wait, you're a volunteer! thanks!)

#9 Jim D.

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 10:07 AM

I am posting under this old topic because I have a related question:  I am trying to be "good" and really temper colored cocoa butter before using it in molds (having had some problems with unmolding and attempting to eliminate any issues I can).  As seed, I have used both unmelted chunks of the cocoa butter from a previous tempering job and also used Cacao Barry's Mycryo (which is pure cocoa butter).  As Kerry suggested earlier, I am using temperatures for dark chocolate.  The problem is that the usual test for deciding if the cocoa butter/chocolate is tempered is not working--that is, a dab on a piece of parchment or waxed paper does not set up within a reasonable amount of time.  Waiting a long time means the cocoa butter gets too cool and needs a bit of warming.  Sometimes I just go ahead and use the cocoa butter.  I previously used the method of mostly melting the cocoa butter, then removing it from the heat and stirring in the unmelted pieces in the same container as a kind of quick-tempering process.  Usually I didn't bother to test.  Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong that the test does not work?



#10 keychris

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:06 PM

when working with colours, I just melt them to 45C, then stir until they're at 32C, then apply. Never bother with a test for them. As soon as the colour is set up enough (usually 5-10 minutes max), I put on the chocolate layer, as you want to the chocolate and the colour to contract away from the mould at the same time.

 

HTH



#11 Jim D.

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:09 PM

when working with colours, I just melt them to 45C, then stir until they're at 32C, then apply. Never bother with a test for them. As soon as the colour is set up enough (usually 5-10 minutes max), I put on the chocolate layer, as you want to the chocolate and the colour to contract away from the mould at the same time.

 

HTH

Thanks for your reply.

 

Have you ever had chocolates stick when there is cocoa butter in the mold?

 

Are you saying you don't make a point of tempering the cocoa butter or that the procedure you follow does temper it?  I know some experts say not to bother with tempering it; more (according to what I have seen on this and other forums) say it should be tempered.  I'm just trying everything I can to avoid having more ruined pieces.  With the mold I was working on today, the stuff in the molds does not look promising.  So I am going to fill one cavity with chocolate and try to unmold it.  If it doesn't work, I'll know to wash out the mold and start again rather than waste more chocolate and ganache and lose time.



#12 choux

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:44 PM

Don't wash the mold with chocolate still in it. It takes forever and lots of swearing. Stick it in freezer and they will pop out, probably won't be usable due to condensation.



#13 Jim D.

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:21 AM

Don't wash the mold with chocolate still in it. It takes forever and lots of swearing. Stick it in freezer and they will pop out, probably won't be usable due to condensation.

Thanks for that tip.  Your assessment of the amount of swearing the washing process causes is quite accurate.  I have found that with a few minutes in the freezer some stubborn chocolates will unmold, with no damage to the pieces that I can see.



#14 keychris

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 04:59 PM

Are you saying you don't make a point of tempering the cocoa butter or that the procedure you follow does temper it?  I know some experts say not to bother with tempering it; more (according to what I have seen on this and other forums) say it should be tempered.

 

It's all about crystals - the process I follow there will (should!) create the crystals required for the cocoa butter to be 'tempered'. Occasionally I'll have one piece out of a whole mold that the cocoa butter sticks a little, but not for a long time have I had problems with a whole mold. We were taught that you should always stir the cocoa butter to temperature, but every single teacher I've had has picked a different temperature to take it to. It also depends if it's being sprayed or applied with a finger - if it's spray, you can have it slightly warmer. I usually just have it at 32C when I start.



#15 Jim D.

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:41 PM

Yes, I understand about the crystals that must be there.  Today I used your technique (which is what I had been using before I decided to be more strict about tempering and testing the temper), and I don't know for sure how it will turn out, but the decorations are looking better.  The red that did not look good yesterday turned out to be as bad as I thought.  Even freezing would not make the stuff come out.  Fortunately I did as I said and tried just one cavity, so I didn't lose a whole mold.  Much hot water and "elbow grease" and soap later, the mold looks clean.  So tomorrow I try again.  As I cleaned out the red cocoa butter, I said to myself, "I'm thinking stamp collecting would have made a less stressful hobby in retirement."


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#16 gfron1

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 11:24 AM

Asking the same questions over and over again.  My first chocolates of the season were disasters because my old dehydrator was set way too high.  I bought a digital and set it at 32ºC.  A full day later and they're still not melted.  I took it up to 34º and they're getting soft but not melted.  At our eG Choco workshop last may JMA said he holds his butters at 30-32º all the time.  So here's my question.  Should I take them up to 45 and bring down to 32 shaking every now and then or just be patient until these finally get there?  Thanks.


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#17 ChocoMom

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for your reply.

 

Have you ever had chocolates stick when there is cocoa butter in the mold?

 

Are you saying you don't make a point of tempering the cocoa butter or that the procedure you follow does temper it?  I know some experts say not to bother with tempering it; more (according to what I have seen on this and other forums) say it should be tempered.  I'm just trying everything I can to avoid having more ruined pieces.  With the mold I was working on today, the stuff in the molds does not look promising.  So I am going to fill one cavity with chocolate and try to unmold it.  If it doesn't work, I'll know to wash out the mold and start again rather than waste more chocolate and ganache and lose time.

 

JimD,

 

I quit washing molds so often. My personal experience is that washing made things worse.  I found that, after washing/drying, in order to get a clean release and nice finish, I'd either have to buff each cavity with plain cocoa butter- (which was a major pain in the neck), or just polish the heck out of them after I washing- and only get marginal results.  I even experimented with different soaps, etc- still nothing good came of it. One day, when I reached my wits' end...I grabbed my hairdryer and warmed the mold, polished everything off with either cotton pads or cotton gloves, used a Qtip to go through the grooves, and now...I am a much happier person.  I've had no sticking problems whatsoever since beginning that process.  No washing.  Just blow dry, and wipe it clean.   And the results are great. My little pink Conair became my new best friend. :biggrin:

 

As for tempering the cocoa butter, I'd echo what KeyChris said. I don't test the cocoa butter, nor do I really temper it by the book. I checked the temp the first couple times to make sure I wasn't getting it too hot.  Now, I only take the estimated amount I need, use a funny looking thick spoon, and warm it over a low flame on my stove.  I stir it around with a toothpick, make sure everything is thoroughly melted and liquid-y, and then let the spoon rest on a quartz board until I'm ready to use it. Most of the time, I use the airbrush (which I heat up over the flame as well), or splatter it with a little paintbrush.   I chill the molds for about 10 min before splattering or spraying, then chill them again after spraying or splattering.  As long as I watch the clock, and take them out within 10 mins or so, I don't seem to have trouble with condensation. Not sure if any of that will help, but thought I'd throw it out there anyway.    (Unorthodox, perhaps.  But, I never went to school for this- so I just go with whatever yields the best results.)

 

Hope that helps ya!

Andrea



#18 gfron1

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 11:24 AM

I'm on my third batch of failures so I need some help.  The cocoa butter is sticking to my molds, not a dot here and there but 80% of the cocoa butter.  

 

After the first batch I figured the cocoa butter was sprayed too hot so I did a full temper on the cocoa butter - heated to 45 and dropped to 32 shaking every 30 minutes.  I stored my two airbrushes at 32 the whole time with a light hit of the heat gun as needed.  My chocolate looks to be in perfect temper based on my tests and spoon residual.  Right now I'm trying to re-temper (45/32) and I'll switch molds.  My domes have had no trouble but my non-domes are the problem.  I've had success with these non-domes in the past so I know that's not really the issue but I've got to get some chocolates out for sale.  Any suggestions?


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#19 Tri2Cook

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 01:51 PM

but I've got to get some chocolates out for sale.  Any suggestions?


Do up some nice, shiny chocolates sans the fancy cocoa butter decoration? Not being flippant, just an idea to get something on the shelf while you sort things out. If it bothers you to sell them without the pretty swirls and stuff, just call it your "limited edition classics collection" or something like that. People will buy them up because they don't want to be the only one that missed it. I know that doesn't help solve the actual problem but, not being particularly skilled in that area, I'll leave that for someone else.
 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#20 gfron1

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 02:48 PM

That's such a good, yet obvious, solution.  Thanks for the perspective.  I'll do that tonight....now back to the other issue.  Seriously, thanks.


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#21 curls

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 05:26 PM

I'm on my third batch of failures so I need some help.  The cocoa butter is sticking to my molds, not a dot here and there but 80% of the cocoa butter.  

 

After the first batch I figured the cocoa butter was sprayed too hot so I did a full temper on the cocoa butter - heated to 45 and dropped to 32 shaking every 30 minutes.  I stored my two airbrushes at 32 the whole time with a light hit of the heat gun as needed.  My chocolate looks to be in perfect temper based on my tests and spoon residual.  Right now I'm trying to re-temper (45/32) and I'll switch molds.  My domes have had no trouble but my non-domes are the problem.  I've had success with these non-domes in the past so I know that's not really the issue but I've got to get some chocolates out for sale.  Any suggestions?

Are you sure that your cocoa butter is in temper?  If it was truly out of temper, the heating, cooling, and shaking might not have brought it back into temper. Maybe try re-tempering your colored cocoa butter using some tempered & uncolored cocoa butter as your seed. Good luck!


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#22 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 02:38 PM

I've had cocoa butter get so hot that I could never get it back to useable.  Could that have happened to yours?



#23 gap

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 08:54 PM

I've seen cocoa butter being tabled (as you would with chocolate) to bring it back into temper. I know its not ideal to have to do this all the time, but maybe you could do it with this batch to bring it back to a proper temper?


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