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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

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Jim -  I appreciate your helpful reply.  My first attempt today was to use SB Chocolate's exact method.  I used a double-boiler instead of a microwave.  It failed.  I believe adding 50% seed was too much.  The mass fell below 89F and there was still un-melted seed chocolate in the bowl.  So my current attempt is melting up to 113F, then using 30% seed by weight and cool down to 86ishF.  I have had success in the past with this method and other brand of chocolate.  I had failure with the SB chocolate and this method because my max temp was 130F, not 113F.  I will find out in 1 hour if I have success or not.  Tomorrow, when it is still cool, I will try the wild crystallization method and report those results here. 

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43 minutes ago, dannysdesserts said:

Tri2Cook - How long do they stay in the fridge?  Are you making filled or solid chocolates?


I'm doing filled and leaving the shells in the fridge for about 5 minutes-ish.
 

40 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

I sometimes don't have the patience to wait - still works.


Okay, good to know. I wish I could blame it on impatience, that's not an unusual thing for me, but this one I just plain ol' somehow missed or read and forgot. Not sure which, most likely the latter.


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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OK,so I still have issues with the finished product.  The piece on the left shows is the "top" or "back" and it is still showing signs of being out of temper.  The piece on the right is the "front".  It does show signs of bad temper, it shows signs of a dirty mold!  In any case, is this another example of my tempering not working?

 

The process was: heat up to 113F, remove from heat and add seed chocolate, cool to 86ishF, warm back to 88-89F and then mold the chocolate.  Store in wine fridge  at 60F for 2 hours.

 

Any tips are appreciated!

bad bloom again.jpg

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7 minutes ago, dannysdesserts said:

OK,so I still have issues with the finished product.  The piece on the left shows is the "top" or "back" and it is still showing signs of being out of temper.  The piece on the right is the "front".  It does show signs of bad temper, it shows signs of a dirty mold!  In any case, is this another example of my tempering not working?

 

The process was: heat up to 113F, remove from heat and add seed chocolate, cool to 86ishF, warm back to 88-89F and then mold the chocolate.  Store in wine fridge  at 60F for 2 hours.

 

Any tips are appreciated!

bad bloom again.jpg

How sure are you of your thermometer?

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Just now, Kerry Beal said:

How sure are you of your thermometer?

I'm using one of those digital laser thermometers.  I point it at the surface and it reads.  When measuring I hold the button down, point the laser at the mass for continuous read.  What are you thinking or seeing from the photo?

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You do not mention putting the molds in the (regular) refrigerator as soon as the chocolate shows signs of setting.  I had similar issues until I started doing that.  Do you have a friend with a cooler kitchen than yours?  Trying the process there would eliminate the factor of ambient heat.

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29 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

You do not mention putting the molds in the (regular) refrigerator as soon as the chocolate shows signs of setting.  I had similar issues until I started doing that.  Do you have a friend with a cooler kitchen than yours?  Trying the process there would eliminate the factor of ambient heat.

Early in the morning the temperature in the kitchen could be low enough here.  Then I could try this regular fridge technique here.

 

Can you explain to me what "signs of setting" looks like?  Once the chocolate achieves this step how long does it sit in the regular fridge?

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After you fill the mold, the chocolate is very wet looking.  When it begins to crystallize, it loses that wet look and acquires a matte, not-so-shiny look; it usually starts from the outside of each cavity.   It's the same look you would have gotten when you were testing for temper with a knife.  I put the molds in the fridge when a majority of the cavities show this sign.  Kerry suggested earlier in this thread that 10-15 minutes should do it.  I sometimes leave the molds longer without ill effect.

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Jim - I will try this tomorrow morning.  After 10-15 minutes in the regular fridge would you say that my chocolates are now set and I can take them out  of the mold?

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2 hours ago, dannysdesserts said:

I'm using one of those digital laser thermometers.  I point it at the surface and it reads.  When measuring I hold the button down, point the laser at the mass for continuous read.  What are you thinking or seeing from the photo?

I'm wondering how accurate your thermometer is.

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I gather you are making solid pieces, not chocolate shells to be filled later.  I don't do this kind of chocolate molding, but I think they should be ready to unmold after 10-15 minutes.  I might leave them a little bit longer just to be sure.  You can always test to see how readily they come out of the mold and leave them longer if necessary.  I also pop chocolates in the freezer for a few minutes if they are stubborn in unmolding.  Maybe somebody with experience making solid chocolates will chime in with more advice.

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1 minute ago, Jim D. said:

I gather you are making solid pieces, not chocolate shells to be filled later.  I don't do this kind of chocolate molding, but I think they should be ready to unmold after 10-15 minutes.  I might leave them a little bit longer just to be sure.  You can always test to see how readily they come out of the mold and leave them longer if necessary.  I also pop chocolates in the freezer for a few minutes if they are stubborn in unmolding.  Maybe somebody with experience making solid chocolates will chime in with more advice.

I usually leave things in the fridge until I see signs that they are separating from the mold. For shells this is usually 10 to 15 minutes - it may be as long as 30 minutes for solid pieces.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'm wondering how accurate your thermometer is.

A non-contact infrared thermometer can be very accurate, and still very misleading.  they measure the surface temperature of whatever you point them at.  In the case of melted chocolate, it's usually a couple degrees cooler than the interior.  Depends on how much you're stiring, and what the chocolate is doing.  A normal thermometer is a better tool.  (it's the 21st century.  "normal thermometer" means quick reading digital.  Not mercury or alcohol or dial.)   

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7 minutes ago, dscheidt said:

A non-contact infrared thermometer can be very accurate, and still very misleading.  they measure the surface temperature of whatever you point them at.  In the case of melted chocolate, it's usually a couple degrees cooler than the interior.  Depends on how much you're stiring, and what the chocolate is doing.  A normal thermometer is a better tool.  (it's the 21st century.  "normal thermometer" means quick reading digital.  Not mercury or alcohol or dial.)   

Very true - I always stir then measure the surface with an IR - but I've had lots of inaccurate IRs as well as inaccurate probe thermometers. It's usually the first place to look when your tempering technique is apparently correct but you are still getting out of temper chocolate.  

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OK so my game plan for tomorrow morning is:

  • Temper using the wild crystallization method (heat to 113F, cool to 80.6F, rewarm to 88-89F)
  • Keep molds out on counter until the chocolate loses that wet look and acquires a matte finish at the edges of each cavity
  • Place 1 mold in regular fridge for 30 minutes
  • Place 1 mold in wine fridge
  • Keep 1 mold on counter to cool with fan blowing to circulate air
  • pray to the temper gods and un-mold my perfectly tempered chocolates

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7 hours ago, dannysdesserts said:

OK so my game plan for tomorrow morning is:

  • Temper using the wild crystallization method (heat to 113F, cool to 80.6F, rewarm to 88-89F)
  • Keep molds out on counter until the chocolate loses that wet look and acquires a matte finish at the edges of each cavity
  • Place 1 mold in regular fridge for 30 minutes
  • Place 1 mold in wine fridge
  • Keep 1 mold on counter to cool with fan blowing to circulate air
  • pray to the temper gods and un-mold my perfectly tempered chocolates

Could you add to find a way to  check the accuracy of your thermometer?

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5 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Could you add to find a way to  check the accuracy of your thermometer?

I did a test with boiling water as shown here.  I should have registered 210.2 and I was off by 1 degree.  I am going to purchase an additional quick read thermometer.  

 

I've done the tempering and now the items are cooling.  I should know in about 20 minutes if the regular fridge is successful.  The wine fridge takes a bit longer.  Will report back soon.ir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00LIA3N8ir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=A39DLRX81

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After 40 minutes in the regular fridge the peices look ready.  The molds are clear so I looked at the bottoms and most of them had "pulled away" from the mold.  A few of them had a dark spot in the middle.  I un-molded them.  They released from the molds and I placed them in a 76F room with a fan blowing across them.  40 minutes later they still looked great but were completely soft!  The wine fridge batch hasn't cooled long enough yet.

 

Any thoughts on why the regular fridge items didn't stay in temper?  I'm starting to wonder about this chocolate...

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You know, Danny, chocolate is tricky stuff.  And it simply doesn't do well in warm temperatures.  At 76 F, chocolate should still be solid but may start to get a little soft or glossy.  It would be better to work with and store your chocolate someplace cooler if there is any way possible.

 

Can I ask where you are located?  If you are in the tropics and it's never going to cool off, you might be better off making really great brownies or chocolate cake instead of chocolate bars or decorations that will melt. 

 

By all means, keep practicing and working to understand crystallization.  You seem very focused on temperature which is important, but not as important as proper crystallization.  I suggest sticking with the seed method and always test your temper.  

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1 hour ago, dannysdesserts said:

 They released from the molds and I placed them in a 76F room with a fan blowing across them.  40 minutes later they still looked great but were completely soft!

 

Any thoughts on why the regular fridge items didn't stay in temper?  I'm starting to wonder about this chocolate...

If you saw what I wrote about my July 4 experience, you have duplicated that in your kitchen.  It isn't a question about whether the chocolate is still in temper.  It can have all the Type V crystals in the world, but it can't cope with a warm environment.  My guess is the best you can do is to take them out of the regular fridge in the coolest part of the day, unmold them, seal them as close to airtight as you can get, then rush them into the wine fridge, and leave them there--until it's time to eat them!

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Completely agree - set the wine fridge to about 17º C (62-63 F) and use that after you take them out of the fridge. It's above the dew point so long term storage in there won't cause condensation.

 

 

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3 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Can I ask where you are located?  If you are in the tropics and it's never going to cool off, you might be better off making really great brownies or chocolate cake instead of chocolate bars or decorations that will melt. 

Pastrygirl - I'm located in Southern California but with the summer heat continuing plus my "regular" baking, the kitchen stays quite warm.  It looks like I've got a plan going forward.

3 hours ago, Jim D. said:

If you saw what I wrote about my July 4 experience, you have duplicated that in your kitchen.  It isn't a question about whether the chocolate is still in temper.  It can have all the Type V crystals in the world, but it can't cope with a warm environment.  My guess is the best you can do is to take them out of the regular fridge in the coolest part of the day, unmold them, seal them as close to airtight as you can get, then rush them into the wine fridge, and leave them there--until it's time to eat them!

Jim - yes, I did see the 4th of July post and you're correct.  I'm liking the idea of unmolding and then storing in the wine fridge.

 

55 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Completely agree - set the wine fridge to about 17º C (62-63 F) and use that after you take them out of the fridge. It's above the dew point so long term storage in there won't cause condensation.

 

 

Kerry - also the wine fridge doesn't have a compressor so it does not introduce added humidity that a compressor cooled fridge will.

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OK, SUCCESS!

First off, a huge thank you to everyone who contributed.  Pastrygirl, JimD and Kerry - you all were so helpful.  I'll recap everything here.  Maybe it will help someone else in the future.

 

Issue: trying to temper chocolate when the kitchen temperature is quite warm, 76 or more F.

 

Original Steps: I used the seeding method.  I melted 300g of chocolate "chips" over a double-boiler until the melted mass reached a temperature of 125F.  I then put in 100g more of "chips" into the melted chocolate and stirred until the chips melted and the mass cooled to about 84F.  I then placed the bowl back over the double-boiler and raised the temperature to 89.7 or 90F.  I poured the chocolate into molds and cooled it in my wine fridge set at 60F.

 

Errors: 1: the manufacturer of the chocolate suggests to heat the chocolate to a maximum of 115F.  So, I was overheating per my manufacturer.  2: Kerry suggested using the wild crystallization method rather than the seed method.  3: I was not utilizing a regular fridge to cool the chocolates.  4: I was not letting the chocolate set at room temperature before placing it into the fridge (wine or regular).

 

Successful Method:  I heated 300g of chocolate "chips" to a maximum of 113F.  I then took the bowl off the heat, stir, stir, stir until the mass cooled.  It wouldn't go below 84F but I needed 80.6F.  I placed the bowl on top of a silicone reusable ice pack.  This helped to cool down to 80.6F.  I then placed the bowl back onto the hot water and stir, stir, stir until the temperature reached 88.5F.  Took it off the heat and molded it into 3 molds.  They stayed on the counter top in a 76F room until the chocolate wasn't shiny and the edges started to look set.  This was not too long (I didn't time this part).  Then, one mold stayed on the counter top in 76F room with a fan blowing on it.  One went into the "regular" fridge for 40 minutes and one went into the wine fridge for 2 hours (at 60F).  The regular fridge chocolates setup in 40 minutes, the wine fridge chocolates setup in 2 hours and the counter top chocolates were placed into the regular fridge because they didn't set.  Those chocolates stayed in the fridge for 3 hours.  Three hours later, all chocolates seemed perfect (even the counter top 3 hour in the regular fridge ones!).  All chocolates are now chilling in the wine fridge.  Time to pop open some bubbly!!

 

Thanks again everyone!

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If your chocolate spends too long in the fridge at too low a temperature - (even in the wine cooler which doesn't have a compressor) - when you remove it from the cool out into the room - then condensation will form on the surface of the chocolate (dew) - the sugar in the chocolate will move out into the water, then as the water evaporates you will be left with crystalline sugar on the surface of your chocolate. This is sugar bloom. 

 

Don't be surprised if the chocolates you left in the regular fridge for 3 hours develop sugar bloom.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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