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stuartlikesstrudel

Chocolateering in warm weather

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Hi everyone,

Melbourne (AUS) is having a bit of a warm spell at the moment that's looking to continue - 30+ celcius for about 2 weeks straight. I want to play around with a bit of chocolate making but it seems... foolish!

In the mornings, the ambient temperature in my house is maybe 23, and i'm wondering if this would be ok for dipping (perhaps a quick trip to the fridge to help them set up for a few minutes?). With moulded pralines, it seems the brief fridge steps that some people recommend make sense since the whole tray is done at once, but it seems impractical for hand dipping, since i'd have to either wait till a whole tray was done (and perhaps moot the point) or otherwise do tiny batches!

I guess a related question is that if i made a ganache to slab, would it even set up properly overnight? I was thinking that the crystals would still form as it cooled, but I don't know.

Any tips for working in warmer weather (where climate control isn't possible)? Am I best to just write it off over summer and pick it back up when things cool down a bit? The one positive I can think of is that it'll take longer for my tempered chocolate to cool down, so less reheating!

Cheers,

Stuart.

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22 -23 Celcius is "Do able" for dipping, but the real devil is humidity. If humidity goes up to 70%, your couverture behaves like cement, and it is sheer (deleted) to work.

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22 -23 Celcius is "Do able" for dipping, but the real devil is humidity. If humidity goes up to 70%, your couverture behaves like cement, and it is sheer (deleted) to work.

That would be my take on it too. I was going to ask about your humidity level. I know that working with chocolate in the heat in Ontario where the high humidity makes my life unpleasant is so different from working in the heat in Moab UT where the humidity can go down to 5%.

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I'm also based in Melbourne and feel your pain coming into Easter. I think air con is a must if you're hand dipping. I've found I can table temper if my room is below 24, but it is better around 22. Moulded chocolates and moulded figures can be done close to that 24 mark because you can use the fridge to "force" the issue - done properly it wont impact the final product. I've found with hand dipped, however, cooling them in a 23-24 degree room just hasn't been quick enough (maybe a fan over the top would help that though?). Air con, however, makes everything work a lot easier - especially because you can utilise the cold parts of the room (in front of the airflow) when needed.

FWIW, in previous years before I had access to air con, I did have to give chocolate making away over these warmer months or else use a friends house which had air con (they would be out for the day and return to a clean kitchen and some free chocolates, so it was a win win). Also, I have a feeling you need about 18 to crystalise a slab of ganache in normal time - so it might take longer in 23. Some slabs can benefit from time in the fridge.


Edited by gap (log)

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Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.

The humidity doesn't tend to be too bad here (or at least I don't think about it so I don't think it's so significant).

Gap, appreciate the local tips :)

I lifted a previously-made chocolate out of the freezer and just sat it at room temp for the day to see what it would be like at the end, and it was a little soft, though it stlil held structurally.

I think i'm going to give it a go anyway this time, it's only a small batch and can't go too wrong, but good to know that in general the heat will interfere, i'll just stick it out for a bit longer and plan what i'll do in a month or so!

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This is why I don't bother making candies/chocolates as X'mas presents since moving to Australia. Even if everything works out at the house, unless they go from the air-con house to the air-con car to the next air-con destination, it just won't work. A perfect batch of anything in chocolate won't make it to work in that condition with a 5 minutes walk to the tram stop, a 5-10 minutes tram ride and another 5 minutes walk to work on a hot day....

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For Christmas, I tend to make in October and freeze.

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I have a related question. I have been making various bonbons, and recently started selling them at a farmers market. Now that summer is almost here, I'm trying to think of chocolate related items or other confections that would stand up to the summer heat (it can get to 100F here in Virginia in July and August).

Some great suggestions I've gotten are fudge sauce and caramel sauce for ice cream, and homemade magic shell. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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I have a related question. I have been making various bonbons, and recently started selling them at a farmers market. Now that summer is almost here, I'm trying to think of chocolate related items or other confections that would stand up to the summer heat (it can get to 100F here in Virginia in July and August).

Some great suggestions I've gotten are fudge sauce and caramel sauce for ice cream, and homemade magic shell. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!

I live in Virginia too and have already been dealing with how to keep chocolate safe during some of the warm weather we have already had. You might be interested in this thread on farmers' markets; it has lots of ideas that might be of help.

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Thanks Jim. I did see that thread - it does have a lot of useful ideas.

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Prabha, if you want to go the confection route for the summer, why not try some of the following: salt water taffy, fudge, marshmallows, pate de fruit, lollipops, and caramels.

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Thanks Curls, those are all excellent ideas! Are fudge and caramels not affected by the hot weather? I assumed caramels would melt in the heat.

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Thanks Curls, those are all excellent ideas! Are fudge and caramels not affected by the hot weather? I assumed caramels would melt in the heat.

I've seen soft caramels and fudge at many farmer's markets and ocean-side vendors. They keep their product in the shade but I have not seen them using refrigeration or other cooling methods. So... it is possible... will need to test with your recipes. They are far less heat sensitive than chocolates but if the day is hot enough you still may have issues. Too bad you can't sell ice cream or frozen yogurt. :cool:

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Fudge would also hold up well since it is crystallized. Of course with either caramel or fudge you can adjust the firmness by cooking longer, but I think you'd probably less problems from fudge.

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I will test those out. Thanks!

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