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eglies

Freezing bonbons

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I am a new start up in chocolate making. I tried to freeze a container with my bonbons and all the caps just cracked after using my simple vacuum machine. Please help! Which containers should I use and how do you vacuum pack these containers. Anyone with a picture of the container would help.

thank you

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Edited: I totally misread this. I thought they'd cracked after freezing. Sorry I'm wondering the same thing!


Edited by EmmMax Misread (log)

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On 3/9/2019 at 12:56 AM, eglies said:

I am a new start up in chocolate making. I tried to freeze a container with my bonbons and all the caps just cracked after using my simple vacuum machine. Please help! Which containers should I use and how do you vacuum pack these containers. Anyone with a picture of the container would help.

thank you

I encountered the same result when vacuum-sealing bonbons. I used a Weston sealer, which in theory (but not so much in practice) offers partial vacuuming, meaning that I stopped the pump after a short time, and still the chocolates were destroyed. I have read what Greweling describes but do not know what sort of box he was using and what kind of vacuum device. In another thread where this issue is discussed, someone recommended packing the chocolates tightly in boxes, but frankly I don't think that would work much better.

 

What I have fallen back on is an impulse sealer. I bought bags intended for sous vide and put a box of bonbons inside. I then seal the bag twice, put it in the fridge for a day, then into the freezer. When thawing, I move it from freezer to fridge for a day, then to room temp before cutting open the bag. I use this for extra finished boxes of chocolates and tell customers they must give me a day to get the boxes from freezer to them. As far as I can judge, these chocolates are just like fresh. Last October I had some time and made boxes of 50 pieces of bonbons with the crowd-pleaser fillings like salted caramel, hazelnut praline gianduja, etc. I filled the unoccupied space in the box with crumpled waxed paper, then used the method above to seal the boxes (if using this method, I recommend a very wide impulse sealer to allow for as big a box as possible). When I took these boxes out for Christmas packaging, they were as good as new. I realize there are issues with this method, mainly that while no "new air" gets into the box, there is still air in the bag, but I don't know any way for a small producer without whatever Greweling used to accomplish this.

 

By the way, I have found (on two occasions) that Greweling responds to email questions about things in his books--and in both cases has replied within a day, an impressive response from someone who must be very busy.

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1 hour ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

At Melissa Coppel she said to just wrap the box they’re packaged in with about 5 layers of plastic wrap. Maybe try that and see how it goes. 

 

This.

When you use a vacuum machine you lower the pression, causing liquids to expand. Whatever components have water (ganache, caramel, so on) will expand, cracking the chocolate shell.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

Last October I had some time and made boxes of 50 pieces of bonbons with the crowd-pleaser fillings like salted caramel, hazelnut praline gianduja, etc. I filled the unoccupied space in the box with crumpled waxed paper, then used the method above to seal the boxes (if using this method, I recommend a very wide impulse sealer to allow for as big a box as possible). When I took these boxes out for Christmas packaging, they were as good as new. I realize there are issues with this method, mainly that while no "new air" gets into the box, there is still air in the bag

 

54 minutes ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

At Melissa Coppel she said to just wrap the box they’re packaged in with about 5 layers of plastic wrap.


I'm thinking no new air getting in is the key here. Things last a pretty long time without issue in the freezer even when not vacuum sealed. Not as long as things that are vacuum sealed but Jim was talking about a no more than 2 month freezer time in his example and I'm pretty sure Melissa Coppel has sufficient turnover for things to not spend too much time in storage. I've had things in the freezer for a lot longer than 2 months where I took no extra care at all in packaging (personal stuff at home, not at work or for my chocolate work) that held up perfectly fine so I suspect as long as they're closed up well enough to not let the freezer air in during storage, they're probably gonna be just fine for a pretty good amount of time.


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

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3 minutes ago, teonzo said:

 

This.

When you use a vacuum machine you lower the pression, causing liquids to expand. Whatever components have water (ganache, caramel, so on) will expand, cracking the chocolate shell.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Yet somehow Peter Greweling manages to do it. Perhaps I will email him and see what he says about the method he describes.

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13 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Yet somehow Peter Greweling manages to do it. Perhaps I will email him and see what he says about the method he describes.

 

Uhm, big doubt: are we talking about vacuum chamber machines, or machines like Foodsaver? I thought about the first, not the second. If it's the second, then things change since it's a different process.

BTW, the method described by @Pastrypastmidnight works perfectly, I would say it's the most effective both about cost and time.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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I've done this for literally over ten thousand chocolates.

 

1. Pack the chocolates into a single compact layer in a low profile plastic box.

2. Lid on and cover with several layers of gladwrap/plastic wrap

3. 24 hours in the fridge

4. Into freezer

5. When ready to come out, 24 hours in fridge

6. 24 hours at room temperature (still fully wrapped)

7. Unwrap and enjoy!!

 

I do this because Christmas is in summer in Australia and I have to make my chocolates ahead of time (usually ~1000 a year). I often keep some frozen for 3 months. I airbrush my chocolates and they do not lose shine. All manner of fillings and they're fine (I eat plenty myself) - you honestly wouldn't know they had been frozen.

 


Edited by gap (log)
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Want to report that I contacted Peter Greweling about his directions on freezing chocolates. For the record, here is what I wrote him today:

 

Quote

There has been a discussion of freezing chocolates on the online forum eGullet, and naturally your instructions in Chocolates & Confections came up. A number of contributors (including me) have had the experience of the chocolates being crushed by the power of the vacuum. I use a Weston vacuum sealer, which is similar in concept to a Foodsaver. In your book you write that the vacuum must be a "gentle one." I am wondering (and I offered online to ask you this) if you can say more about what you mean. What sort of machine did you have in mind? Perhaps a more professional one than the Foodsaver style? My Weston is supposed to let the user stop the vacuum pump after a while, but the correct moment to stop is too difficult to select to be dependable. I also find that the machine detects air remaining in the box and keeps running for an unacceptable time. As a result of these issues, I have resorted to using an impulse sealer: I box the chocolates, using waxed paper to fill any empty space, put them in a sturdy sous vide bag, then double-seal the bag. The chocolates appear to be fine (and taste fine) even after several months of freezing, but I realize there is still some "original air" inside the bag. Obviously vacuum sealing would be preferable.

 

And here, a couple of hours later (!), is his response:

 

Quote

 

Hi Jim,

  Thank you for reaching out to me.   I agree that many of the vacuum machines pull way too much vacuum, and will crush the product, or if its an aerated product, cause them to expand and explode.   I have a home foodsaver that I can cut the vacuum at will, and so I don't let it complete its cycle.  

Best Regards,

Peter Greweling

 

 

First, once again I am impressed with how down to earth Peter Greweling is:  a Foodsaver?!  I was fully expecting a reference to some gigantic chamber vac that would require a garage to store and at least a DC power supply. Second, I guess I overthought a vacuum sealer when I bought the Weston and went for the one that had very good reviews and seemed sturdier than a Foodsaver (costs more too). The recent reviews of the latter are not kind, many people writing of leaking bags due to inadequate sealing, poor vacuum resulting in freezer burn, etc. I know, by the way, that the Weston's vacuuming cycle can be interrupted, but not before 5 seconds have passed (which is enough to cause chocolates to implode--if you have made your shells right and so they are on the thinner side 😋) and it is very difficult to know just when to stop the vacuuming.

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I don't use mine for chocolate, but on the Foodsaver you push a button to put it in manual-vacuum mode and then hold down the vacuum button for as long or as short a period as you wish. When you let go it stops, and then you use the separate "Seal" button to close the bag.

 

I played around with it a few times while trying to seal easily-squished items such as hot dog or hamburger buns, before realizing (duh) that it was easier and better to freeze the buns before vac-bagging them. I'm guessing Greweling uses his machine that way, just holding down the button long enough for the bag to form itself gently around the pieces.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Cool, I have the same vacuum sealer Greweling does! And yes, I have used it to seal boxes of chocolates without issue. The moment I see the bag touching all visible sides of the box I hit the manual seal button, no chocolates harmed and a spiffy plastic layer to prevent freezer burn and condensation.

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23 hours ago, curls said:

Cool, I have the same vacuum sealer Greweling does! And yes, I have used it to seal boxes of chocolates without issue. The moment I see the bag touching all visible sides of the box I hit the manual seal button, no chocolates harmed and a spiffy plastic layer to prevent freezer burn and condensation.

Which model of FoodSaver do you have? There are so many.

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27 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Which model of FoodSaver do you have? There are so many.

I currently have the V2430. Had another one before that, model unknown, it lasted many years before I replaced it with my current model. It is just a basic Foodsaver you find at Costco, Walmart, etc.. I originally bought it to  portion up and freeze the items that I  got at Costco. Just so happens it also works for freezing bon bon and packaging up stuff for sous vide.


Edited by curls (log)
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What is the max length of time you all consider acceptable for keeping frozen product?

 

Here's my dilemma:  I had about 50 dozen truffles (not shelled, just cocoa-dusted) tucked away in the freezer as a back-up stash.  I pulled them out today and they're older than I thought, have been frozen almost a year at -12 to -18F.  We've decided freezing for a few month is OK, is a year too long?

 

I will taste one, but assuming they taste ok and based on age alone would you:

 

a) finish boxing them and put them into the general sales inventory

b) box them and use them for the corporate gift bag order, hoping they'll be eaten quickly

c) give them to the food bank or save them for fundraiser samples

d) ew, compost

 

thanks for playing :)

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22 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

What is the max length of time you all consider acceptable for keeping frozen product?

 

Here's my dilemma:  I had about 50 dozen truffles (not shelled, just cocoa-dusted) tucked away in the freezer as a back-up stash.  I pulled them out today and they're older than I thought, have been frozen almost a year at -12 to -18F.  We've decided freezing for a few month is OK, is a year too long?

 

I will taste one, but assuming they taste ok and based on age alone would you:

 

a) finish boxing them and put them into the general sales inventory

b) box them and use them for the corporate gift bag order, hoping they'll be eaten quickly

c) give them to the food bank or save them for fundraiser samples

d) ew, compost

 

thanks for playing :)

 

if > 6 months, I'd be D. Can't afford to take risks with food safety :)

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Greweling says that vacuum-sealed chocolates can be kept frozen for 4 months without loss of quality. You have a very low temp in your freezer, so that should help. Depending on what the ingredients are, you might stretch that some, but a year might be too much. I can't imagine there is anything harmful about them, but there is the quality issue.

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I tried one, it tasted fine.  @Jim D. they are the salty caramel butter ganache, the Aw was quite low when we tested it a while back, below 0.60

 

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13 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

I tried one, it tasted fine.  @Jim D. they are the salty caramel butter ganache, the Aw was quite low when we tested it a while back, below 0.60

 

 

On reading Greweling more closely, I found:  "The shelf life clock effectively stops when the confections are frozen."  Then later: "Freezing confections greatly slows, but does not stop, the deterioration of quality." I'm not sure those statements can be reconciled. The decision has to be yours, of course, but I would probably use the frozen truffles in a situation where they would be consumed fairly soon--if that is possible, given the impossibility (discussed previously in various threads) of controlling consumer behavior.  A temperature between -12 and -18F is really low, as is the Aw reading.

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When you buy frozen white peach puree in May you are using something that has been in the freezer for almost a full year in a cold chain much worse than yours. Fruit puree is much more dangerous than a truffle with aW below 0.60. If you are confident selling stuff made with frozen purees that are well out of season, then there is no reason to not be confident selling these truffles. If they were packed well (which I suppose it's a given), they were left undisturbed at that temperature without fluctuations, they taste fine, then I don't see any reason to be dubious.
If your question is ethical then you can give them away for free (samples at markets, whatever); composting them is a waste of good food, which should be against the ethics of every professional.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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@teonzo good points, thanks.  They were well wrapped and look and taste fine so yes more of an ethical question.  I'd thought they were frozen in May or June and had no problem with that, turns out the date on the box is last December so I paused to worry. 🙄  What's 6 more months at -15F?  We haven't lost power or anything weird in that time. 

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Vacuuming

Unless you use a scientific vacuum machine both solids and liquids should not crack. The only problem is air, which expands. If you use vacuum machine on your ganache to suck the air out, before filling the bombons. Then vacuuming them should be ok.

 

Keeping frozen product

I agree with Teo.

From what I know ganache is OK for ~3 months. I can not imagine how frozen ganache could last only one month more. In the freezer there is no enviroment for an organism to survive, thus no risk of spoilage. As for the quality of a product, if you prevent the frost bite there is no way how  staying in a freezer could affect quality. Only frosting and defrosting is causing the problems, usually there's a way how to do them properly.

Saying that I think your truffles are OK even after 1 year.

 

Correct me if I am wrong please.

 

Btw where could I learn more about aW? :)

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