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Properly Freezing & Thawing Chocolate Bonbons


DomDeFranco
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Hi,

 

I'm looking to start a chocolate business and thought it'd be sensible to start with one product (Bonbons), one mould and not too many flavours to start with.

 

I worked as a chef for about a decade, including some pastry work, but not much chocolate work and no moulded chocolates, so I have a bit of a steep learning curve.

 

I noticed in some other threads that other members mentioned that they now freeze their bonbons and noticed very little if any deterioration in quality if done correctly. I've looked through this forum and elsewhere online and have struggled to come across detailed information on doing this.

 

If anyone could lay out exactly how you do this, the ideal temperatures and times throughout the cooling, freezing, storing and thawing process and how you package the product, in this case bonbons, I'd be very grateful.  

 

As orders will likely be limited and sporadic to start with, i think freezing them, providing you can maintain the quality of the product, would be very helpful to begin with.

 

Thanks also to all the members of the forum who have provided so much useful information. It's been a great resourse for me so far and i hope I can return the favour in the future.

 

Thanks,

 

Dom

 

Edited by DomDeFranco
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Welcome to eG and the exciting world of chocolate. 

 

Allow 1 day in the fridge to thaw frozen bonbons before bringing them to room temp.  I store bulk pieces in rigid Ziploc boxes with layers of padding in between and boxed assortments in 2 gallon freezer bags with excess air sucked out.

 

Packaging is a whole job in itself and there is a topic dedicated to packaging sources.  The supply chain issues of late have affected candy packaging, many paper and plastic items have been in short supply and prices have increased.  Packaging options can seem overwhelming. I'd say focus on a snug fit and not too tall for whatever size mold you choose, if you plan to mail/ship things you don't want them rattling around in the box.  After that it's how much you want to spend and what you can actually get.

 

Have you already bought your molds?  Maybe someone here uses the same and can advise.  I use a lot of CW2295, a nice basic dome that's easy to clean.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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Welcome Dom. 

 

Before you start give some thought to what quantities you want to put in the each container in the freezer - you might want to put a certain number of each flavor together - giving some thought to how many you might need when you thaw. So if you were to freeze 100 pieces of lavender ganache but will be getting an order for 10 boxes each containing 1 piece of lavender - you might want to figure out he logistics of not having to thaw 100 pieces and find a use for them at once. So perhaps putting together a container with 10 pieces each of 6 bonbons - so you can make 10 boxes of 6 when you thaw. 

 

Package in layers with as little dead air space as possible in an airtight container - I like the lock-lock containers.  Some folks go 1 day in fridge first - but I go straight to freezer (temp -18ºC or lower is ideal). When I am removing from the freezer - I remove the entire container - and pop it straight into the 4º C fridge for 24 hours. Then to room temperature for 24 hours before opening the airtight container. This is all in aid of preventing condensation forming on the surface of the bonbons. The condensation will form on the outside of the airtight container only. 

 

If you open them too soon and condensation forms on the surface of the bonbon - sugar will migrate out of the chocolate into the water and when the water evaporates you will be left with sugar bloom on the surface.

 

Do a test on each of your bonbon flavors to see how they react to freezing. Some flavors get lost in the freezing process and so should be boosted before freezing - others actually heighten in the freezer (I'm thinking about you hot chilis) making them rather unpleasant after freezing. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Welcome to eG and the exciting world of chocolate. 

 

Allow 1 day in the fridge to thaw frozen bonbons before bringing them to room temp.  I store bulk pieces in rigid Ziploc boxes with layers of padding in between and boxed assortments in 2 gallon freezer bags with excess air sucked out.

 

Packaging is a whole job in itself and there is a topic dedicated to packaging sources.  The supply chain issues of late have affected candy packaging, many paper and plastic items have been in short supply and prices have increased.  Packaging options can seem overwhelming. I'd say focus on a snug fit and not too tall for whatever size mold you choose, if you plan to mail/ship things you don't want them rattling around in the box.  After that it's how much you want to spend and what you can actually get.

 

Have you already bought your molds?  Maybe someone here uses the same and can advise.  I use a lot of CW2295, a nice basic dome that's easy to clean.

Thanks very much pastrygirl for the quick reply!

 

I have bought some CW2116 moulds, so slightly taller than the CW2295. I have sourced some nice looking packaging that will print a logo with a 24 order minimum, but i'm still looking into the inserts to stop them moving around too much.

 

Do you think using a vaccum sealer would work instead of freezer bags?

 

Thanks for the advice. :)

 

Edited by DomDeFranco
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52 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Welcome Dom. 

 

Before you start give some thought to what quantities you want to put in the each container in the freezer - you might want to put a certain number of each flavor together - giving some thought to how many you might need when you thaw. So if you were to freeze 100 pieces of lavender ganache but will be getting an order for 10 boxes each containing 1 piece of lavender - you might want to figure out he logistics of not having to thaw 100 pieces and find a use for them at once. So perhaps putting together a container with 10 pieces each of 6 bonbons - so you can make 10 boxes of 6 when you thaw. 

 

Package in layers with as little dead air space as possible in an airtight container - I like the lock-lock containers.  Some folks go 1 day in fridge first - but I go straight to freezer (temp -18ºC or lower is ideal). When I am removing from the freezer - I remove the entire container - and pop it straight into the 4º C fridge for 24 hours. Then to room temperature for 24 hours before opening the airtight container. This is all in aid of preventing condensation forming on the surface of the bonbons. The condensation will form on the outside of the airtight container only. 

 

If you open them too soon and condensation forms on the surface of the bonbon - sugar will migrate out of the chocolate into the water and when the water evaporates you will be left with sugar bloom on the surface.

 

Do a test on each of your bonbon flavors to see how they react to freezing. Some flavors get lost in the freezing process and so should be boosted before freezing - others actually heighten in the freezer (I'm thinking about you hot chilis) making them rather unpleasant after freezing. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for replying so quickly Kerry!

 

Thanks for all the detailed temperatures, and I'll definitely test them all first to see how they react to freezing.

 

Do you know of a way of individually wrapping the bonbons and taking them out as you need them? I was thinking maybe of cling filming them and then placing them in ziplock containers and defrosting them as i need them. I was hoping I could let customers pick their own flavours on the website but maybe logistically that might be a bit tricky to start with.

 

Thanks again :)

 

Dom

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31 minutes ago, DomDeFranco said:

 

Do you think using a vaccum sealer would work instead of freezer bags?

 


You're welcome.  Yes some people vacuum seal

 

Check mod pac for trays.

 

I think trying to fill assortments to order is a pain especially if everything is frozen.  If people are sending a gift they don't necessarily know what the recipients favorites are, they just want a nice presentation and yumminess.  You could offer a couple of different assortments - caramels, fruits & nuts, all dark, etc.

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1 hour ago, pastrygirl said:


You're welcome.  Yes some people vacuum seal

 

Check mod pac for trays.

 

I think trying to fill assortments to order is a pain especially if everything is frozen.  If people are sending a gift they don't necessarily know what the recipients favorites are, they just want a nice presentation and yumminess.  You could offer a couple of different assortments - caramels, fruits & nuts, all dark, etc.

Thanks pastrygirl,

 

That makes a lot of sense. As you say, most people will be buying them as gifts rather than for themselves.

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One addition to all the wise advice you have received in this thread:  I tried vacuum-packing chocolates and ended up with imploded bonbons (not a pretty sight).  You can use a vacuum sealer only if you can regulate its pressure in very small increments.  People speak of using some models of the Food Saver, but after my experience, I never tried again.  Instead, I use an impulse sealer.  I place individual boxes of chocolates in a bag intended for use in sous vide applications (so, fairly thick) and then seal them with the impulse sealer.  They are waterproof and probably as close as it is possible to get to airtight without vacuuming.  I then go through the process others have described (refrigerate, then freeze).  After doing this for several years, I have not had an issue.  I make extra bonbons for Christmas sales and freeze boxes (12" x 12") in this way in October, and I can see no difference when I open them for boxing in December.  I am a huge fan of impulse sealers and use mine for keeping cut onion odor out of the rest of the fridge, keeping bread fresh much longer, etc.

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12 hours ago, Jim D. said:

One addition to all the wise advice you have received in this thread:  I tried vacuum-packing chocolates and ended up with imploded bonbons (not a pretty sight).  You can use a vacuum sealer only if you can regulate its pressure in very small increments.  People speak of using some models of the Food Saver, but after my experience, I never tried again.  Instead, I use an impulse sealer.  I place individual boxes of chocolates in a bag intended for use in sous vide applications (so, fairly thick) and then seal them with the impulse sealer.  They are waterproof and probably as close as it is possible to get to airtight without vacuuming.  I then go through the process others have described (refrigerate, then freeze).  After doing this for several years, I have not had an issue.  I make extra bonbons for Christmas sales and freeze boxes (12" x 12") in this way in October, and I can see no difference when I open them for boxing in December.  I am a huge fan of impulse sealers and use mine for keeping cut onion odor out of the rest of the fridge, keeping bread fresh much longer, etc.

Thanks for the advice Jim, much appreciated.

 

The Vacuum sealer i have is a fairly cheap one. I can't regulate the pressure on it but i have a feeling it isn't using as much pressure as the professional grade ones. I'll have a little test with my vacuum sealer and if it's a disaster i'll eat some squished bonbons and get myself an impulse sealer! :)

 

Thanks again.

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I vacuum seal my boxes of chocolates before they go to the fridge-then-freezer. Works great. I just try to get most of the extra air out. Trick is to cancel the vacuum and start sealing before the box starts to deform. So if your vacuum sealer has a cancel & seal button you should be all set to experiment with freezing your bon bons.

 

I recommend that you get Peter Greweling’s chocolates & confections book, it is a great reference for scientific information, process, and recipes. 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0470424419/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_WEYKCQZJWPAYM3DN9N5J

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50 minutes ago, curls said:

I vacuum seal my boxes of chocolates before they go to the fridge-then-freezer. Works great. I just try to get most of the extra air out. Trick is to cancel the vacuum and start sealing before the box starts to deform. So if your vacuum sealer has a cancel & seal button you should be all set to experiment with freezing your bon bons.

 

I recommend that you get Peter Greweling’s chocolates & confections book, it is a great reference for scientific information, process, and recipes. 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0470424419/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_WEYKCQZJWPAYM3DN9N5J

Thanks for the reply curls!

 

I dug the vacuum sealer from the back of the cupboard (last time i used it was for the Christmas Turkey) and it has a Vacuum/Seal Button, Cancel and Seal Only. Hopefully if I'm quick on the trigger I can Cancel the Vacuum Seal and quickly press the Seal Button.

 

Thanks for the recommendation. I've been stalking the forum for a while before I posted, so I've purchased the Notter and Greweling books. I was in 2 minds about getting Fine Chocolates Gold, but at £84 on Amazon here, that will have to wait. I tried to request it at my local library, but they said it was too expensive and too niche to order in. :(

 

I came across these courses on making bonbons, not sure if anyone has any experience with them?

 

Thanks Again :)

 

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1 hour ago, DomDeFranco said:

 I've been stalking the forum for a while before I posted, so I've purchased the Notter and Greweling books. I was in 2 minds about getting Fine Chocolates Gold, but at £84 on Amazon here, that will have to wait. I tried to request it at my local library, but they said it was too expensive and too niche to order in. :(

 

I came across these courses on making bonbons, not sure if anyone has any experience with them?

 

I follow that guy on Insta, he def does nice work but I have not tried any of his classes.  While it is helpful and inspiring to see how others do it, I think you have to put in the hours of practice to understand the material before getting into advanced decorating.  It sounds like you're starting essentially from zero and budget is a factor, so I'd say learn as much as you can from those two books then see what your pain points are.  What have you made so far?  What chocolate are you using and how do you temper it?  Do you already have an airbrush?

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1 hour ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I follow that guy on Insta, he def does nice work but I have not tried any of his classes.  While it is helpful and inspiring to see how others do it, I think you have to put in the hours of practice to understand the material before getting into advanced decorating.  It sounds like you're starting essentially from zero and budget is a factor, so I'd say learn as much as you can from those two books then see what your pain points are.  What have you made so far?  What chocolate are you using and how do you temper it?  Do you already have an airbrush?

Absolutely. I was thinking of doing a course at some point in the future. I think his course on fillings with all the AW readings for each recipe looked particularly interesting. 

 

While i've never worked with moulded chocolates before, I have done PDF, truffles and hand dipped ganache before for petit fours, as well as chocolate decorations for deserts, so i'm not starting completely from scratch with chocolate.

 

I've been using the microwave for tempering and seeding with callets, but I'm looking to use silk and sous vide to test how that would work in a production capacity (as well as i can anyway).

 

Budget is definitely a factor, I've already bought some moulds and an air compressor and have ordered a spray gun, although that will take up to 3 weeks to arrive.

 

I've made some simple bonbons with no cocoa butter decoration and I'm concentrating on different types of ganache and caramels for fillings just now. I'm thinking of using Amedei as I'm half Italian :) and was looking into trying a bean to bar company based in Scotland but I'll have to see how their chocolate works out. I'm thinking I may have to use a a more fluid chocolate for the shells.

 

While i'm asking a lot of questions ,i don't intend to start out doing anything too crazy. 6 flavours to start with, then take it from there.

 

Thanks for laying out some of the things to think about pastrygirl. 

 

Thanks again. :) 

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43 minutes ago, DomDeFranco said:

I'm thinking of using Amedei as I'm half Italian :) 

 

You have certainly chosen one of the finest chocolates in the world--and with some of the highest prices.  From Wikipedia:  "One of their products, Amedei Porcelana, is known as the world's most expensive chocolate."  I have never tried it but have read one rave review after another.  The Amedei website (which gave me the U.S. English version) says their dark is $32 per pound.  I might suggest you begin with something less expensive for your experiments (Callebaut is a possibility).

 

I am enrolled in the Savour online classes and like them very much.  Kirsten Tibballs (the school's primary teacher) is full of enthusiasm for her craft and has lots of inventive ideas.  She provides recipes for everything and will even answer questions from students.  And there is the added bonus (for a U.S. citizen) of her wonderful Australian accent.  I love hearing her pronounce the word "saucepan" as if it had only one syllable.

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8 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

You have certainly chosen one of the finest chocolates in the world--and with some of the highest prices.  From Wikipedia:  "One of their products, Amedei Porcelana, is known as the world's most expensive chocolate."  I have never tried it but have read one rave review after another.  The Amedei website (which gave me the U.S. English version) says their dark is $32 per pound.  I might suggest you begin with something less expensive for your experiments (Callebaut is a possibility).

 

I am enrolled in the Savour online classes and like them very much.  Kirsten Tibballs (the school's primary teacher) is full of enthusiasm for her craft and has lots of inventive ideas.  She provides recipes for everything and will even answer questions from students.  And there is the added bonus (for a U.S. citizen) of her wonderful Australian accent.  I love hearing her pronounce the word "saucepan" as if it had only one syllable.

Yeah, it is expensive. I've been using callebaut for my experiments so far like you suggested.

 

I've been working through the chocolate academy videos, although a lot of them seem to be available for free elsewhere.

 

I'll definitely look into savour.

 

My Scottish accent would entertain you as well I'm sure. Haha 😃

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