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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%.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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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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One thing is making the chocolates in the warm weather another problem is transporting them. We will be facing the heat soon as well but we are also facing the delivery problem as well. Any good methods use for transporting chocolate and keeping it at good temperatures until delivered for some hours? Another thing is also educating the customer that  when they receive the chocolates they need to keep in a cool dry place. The other day I got a message my chocolates melted on the way to our holiday house 🙄

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I seal my chocolates, which are in individual boxes, in plastic bags and then place them in a cooler with some "ice." They have stayed fine for several hours, and the bags keep them from humidity. (I consider that my purchase of an impulse sealer and a big box of sous vide bags to be one of the best I have made since beginning chocolate work.) Just don't let the recipients open the bags immediately, or condensation will ruin the chocolates. I place a small card on top of each box suggesting the recipient let the chocolates come to room temperature before cutting open the plastic bag. Ultimately all you can do is state the handling instructions in writing and then hope your customer follows them. If you are transporting the chocolates to a retailer, that person will be motivated to keep them safe.  But we can't totally control what happens. I was told yesterday that a customer who made a big deal of surprising his wife with a box of chocolates (which I had sealed in plastic and to which I had attached the instructions), successfully sneaked them into his house--and then found a hiding place where they totally melted (they were described as flat as a pancake, a pancake decorated with colored cocoa butter).

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You can place a couple of orders from other competitors in your area and see what solutions they use, then start from there.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Teonzo the big advantage I have is that I dont have any competitors, only one and he puts them in an awful coolbag but he has a shop. The big difference is that I am only an online business so when you dont have a shop you need to make sure all the chocs get to the buyer in perfect conditions...

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I take July & August off from production and disable shipping on my website.  Last summer my kitchen never got below 75F, even overnight, all summer.  It should be better this year because some heat-producing equipment is gone, but I'm not getting my hopes up. 

 

One larger chocolate company here handles summer shipping by putting the chocolate in an insulated bag then packing that plus an ice pack into a larger insulated bag.  But ice is heavy and if you want to expedite shipping that gets expensive quickly.

 

There's one little outdoor neighborhood festival that I do in mid-June but it's $30 for a booth and a block from home so no big deal if I close early or cancel.  Instead, I'll work for wedding caterers or other another chocolatier who has AC in her kitchen, work on packaging updates, do yard work, enjoy all the days off I won't have in Q4, and dream of being able to actually afford summer travel.

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Knowing where you live would be of help, since things are pretty different from the USA to Italy to India, especially about couriers.

If you are an online business then you can't reason "locally", your products are available to people living on the opposite side of your country. Unless you live in a small island or limit sales to 50 km from where you are based, but in these cases it would make no sense to open an only online business.

The most savvy way to run a business it to run some market researches, it has not much sense to open an online business without knowing how to ship your items during half year, then going to an online forum and hoping to get the answer. You had to ask yourself these questions before opening for business, when you open for business you need to already know these answers in the full details.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Any tips for moulded chocolates in hotter weather? Normally have no problems with them coming out of the moulds but my kitchen is a constant 73-75 F at the moment and I've suddenly got cocoa butter sticking to moulds and bonbons not releasing without time in the chiller. After painting moulds i normally just let them set up at room temperature and that works fine when the room is at 66 F. Do I need to chill the cocoa butter after painting when it's hotter? Thanks x

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@sarah72, yes, go ahead and chill as needed.  Also set up fans and de-humidify as possible to keep dry air moving.  Warm & humid is the worst.

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