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Molded and Filled Chocolates: Troubleshooting and Techniques


rookie
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I agree with Kerry. Chocolate unfortunately maintains heat in itself. I don't know the word in english. Therefore you need to create a correct cooling of the shells. To control your cristalisation, ideally you can test it with a little bit of chocolate on the tip of your room temp scraper (room at approx 20/21oC) or marble or piece of paper. The absence of streaks, or... will indicate to you correct cristalisation.

Each time you fill your mold remember to stir your chocolate (this has a function). Once your mold has started to set, put in on a tray in the fridge for 1.5 min then flip it for 3 (the flipping prevents condensation to set on the chocolate).

If you have a room at 21 degrees C and immediately fill them with ganache, the fridge can then wait a few minutes. But if you put cacao butter on it, it s a safer bet to fridge it.

Better exercise for you, try adding 3 to 5% of cacao butter to your couverture. Play with that in order to have thinner shells and a better reaction of your chocolate.

For the freezer, i would avoid freezing chocolates in molds. The thrmic choc is what creates condensation. Truth be told you will never get them back to original state and most likely have a weird reaction from the ganache. If you do want to freeze your chocolates, place them in a ziploc bag, extract as much air as possible and zip it (or vacuum pack), then freeze. To bring back from freezer, take it out of the freezer, place the sealed bag in the coldest part of the fridge for 24h, then 10h in the warmest part of the fridge. Then use/eat.

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Not to sound rude but, is your chocolate cristalized when you are using it? Are you spraying cacao butter on the molds?

It doesn't appear to me that it comes from a cleaning phase but more from the chocolate itself.

As Chocolot has mentionned, take a hairdrier or heat gun (be carefull) warm up the cavities and polish with a cotton ball or makeup removable disk or cheese cloth ....

Then make sure your mold is not too cold when you cast your cristalized chocolate. Make sure your room is not too humid, nor too warm....... (all the other fun factors)

Once you casted, let the chocolate set slightly and put it in the fridge for 2 min, then put it on a tray upside down for another 8/10 min. take out and let themselves release slowly. If they come out bloomed again then you have a cristalisation issue or bad molds (but you said they werent scratched or anything)

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Like pastrygirl, when my kitchen is >71 degrees F, my chocolate shells set properly without the aid of refrigeration. I also stand my molds on edge while the chocolate is setting up. I do use the fridge for 10 minutes or less if the kitchen is warm or if I am molding bars or large figures (bunny rabbits, eggs, etc.). When I use the fridge, I always wait until the chocolate starts to set (goes from looking wet to matte) before it goes in the fridge.

And then there was the NOTL workshop where the room was sooooo cold we were all wearing our jackets... a new set of problems for working with cocoa butter and chocolates. :)

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I use only hot water to clean, then polish with a tea towel before molding. Some people don't even wash their molds!

I should point out I never wash mine either! But if you've got a layer of poorly tempered cocoa butter on there, I was just pointing out that you might want to use detergent to get that off :)

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Stop making this so difficult. Put the molds in a warm oven for a minute and wipe them clean with a soft towel. I did the math and it's exactly 1 billion times more efficient and easier than washing with soap and water.

Always speak your mind. Those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind.

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Stop making this so difficult. Put the molds in a warm oven for a minute and wipe them clean with a soft towel. I did the math and it's exactly 1 billion times more efficient and easier than washing with soap and water.

Exactly. I usually just run my heat gun over the whole mold and wipe the outside with a paper towel. Then use cotton batting to clean the cavities. I gave up on the whole soap and water thing about the second time I molded. If the "seasoning" thing is true (cocoa butter residue building up), then washing them just defeats the purpose. I have really bad water (I live next to the ocean) and there are spots left on everything when air drying, I know it would screw up the molds.

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Thanks for all the replies! Just to clarify, I put the finished tray of chocolates in the freezer for 2-4 mins just so I can pop them out of the mold. Otherwise, no matter how hard I tap, they won't come out. I only put them in the freezer after they have been filled and capped and they are completely set, not still wet. I'm thinking the tips about standing the molds on edge is for the first step? Is that for when I fill the molds initially? Usually, I pour the chocolate from the machine onto the mold, spread it evenly, tap the mold, then pour it back into the machine's bowl. I flip it upside down and tap it again to get out the rest of the excess and scrape it again, then I leave it to dry upright while I work on the ganache. It's possible the kitchen is to warm. But the chocolate sets well on the tip of a spoon. I'll try the trick about refrigeration and keeping them in the molds for a while before popping them out, maybe that will work out better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greweling also suggests refrigerating shelled molds for 5 minutes. It's not long enough to "chill" the molds, so condensation isn't a problem. I also put finished molds in to the refrigerator for up to an hour before tapping out the pieces. You can tell when the molds are ready by looking at the underside of the mold and looking for the pieces to pull away from the mold. It's easy to see when this happens. Condensation on the finished pieces can be a problem if the relative humidity is high. If so, then let the pieces come back up to room temp. Following this method gives me a consistently high shine.

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Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gary,

I wanted to thank you for bringing up the issue of refrigerating shells--and also Kerry for confirming this practice. Interestingly, it is not mentioned at all by Peter Greweling (and therefore I never thought of the refrigeration procedure). I am doing my first batch since this discussion, and I added the chilling time. What a difference! A tray of hearts, filled with Greweling's cherry kirsch ganache and made bright red with my first airbrushing attempt (fairly successful, I would say in all modesty), fell out of the mold before I could even give it a twist. Is there anything so satisfying as that sound when the pieces fall?--as long as there is something to catch them!

Many thanks for the help.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi everyone!
I have been having some trouble with capping molded chocolates. This is one of the only frustrating things that I deal with in our chocolate business. It looks as if the cap is not adhereing to the rest of the molded chocolate and it develops a small crack where they come together. I have tried everything that I can think of...heating before capping, not heating, using different utensils, using the chocolate at different viscosities, and so on. This happens with almost all of our molds no matter what the shape. Does anyone have any ideas why this is happening and how I can fix it? I end up having to cap them twice, which makes things very time consuming.
Thanks!!
Michelle
Pizzelle's Confections

I am still trying to figure out how to upload a photo.

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The chocolate that I use is El Rey 61%. After decorating and casting with chocolate, I fill with ganache and let crystallize overnight. Depending on how much chocolate I need, I either use a mol d art melter or a JKV molding machine. I heat the edges slightly with a heat gun, then ladle on the chocolate and use a palet knife to cap the molds. Then five minutes later, the cracks show. The ganache or caramel does not leak out of this crack, but this still can't be good for structure or shelf life.

I am having trouble posting a picture, so I can email it if that would help. My email is michelle@pizzellesconfections.com.

Thanks!!

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the technique you're describing doing sounds quite textbook (well, it's how I do it!)

Perhaps you're filling your ganache a fraction too high and the cap is a fraction too thin?

Edited by keychris (log)
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So extrapolating from suggestions here - it looks like we might be observing a couple of things - chocolate that is retracting 'too much' and not enough chocolate in the hole so to speak.

To prevent the too much retraction - one suggestion would be to avoid over tempered chocolate for backing off. This is also a useful thing when making the shells themselves too - over tempered chocolate doesn't shrink away from the mold as well - so makes getting them out of the mold more difficult. I think that I may have just contradicted myself here - over tempered chocolate either retracts too much or too little can't be both - hmmmm. I know that I like to back off with the most liquid, warmest chocolate possible so that I get the smoothest back - that would not be over tempered. So maybe retraction isn't the issue.

The area where the cracks are forming seems to be where the shell chocolate and the backing chocolate meet - it does look like the backing chocolate is sinking in that area as it crystallizes - so more filling might help somewhat and scraping less out as keychris suggests. Holding the scraper at 90 degrees accomplishes that as mentioned.

Rodney's suggestion about letting the chocolate set more - or perhaps banging more before scraping so more chocolate settles down against the filling before the scrape. I like to work as quickly as I can when backing off to get as smooth a back as possible.

Another thing I suggested to Michelle via e-mail was to try another technique for shell making so that there wasn't that large rim on the bottom - I suspect it might make a difference.

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I'm in agreement with Kerry on this, I think the ganache has settled, or shrank after capping, and that the cap itself is too thin.

Here's what I'd do...

-Look at my ganache recipie and see if I can formualte it a bit "thicker", or with less moisture content

-Fill my cavities slightly less

-Vibrate the molds after I've ladled on the capping chocolate.

-Scrape at 90 degrees only once

and as a backup plan

-pipe on the capping chocolate on one tray to see if there's any difference

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One comment on the shrinking after capping though - Michelle stated that she crystallized overnight before backing off and that the cracks are showing up 5 minutes after capping.

I love this sort of thing where we all look at it and trouble shoot!

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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About the issue of a flexible scraper: I have learned, from sad experience, that the slightest protrusion of the filling up to the rim of the cavity, or actually closer than few mm. down from the rim, will inevitably cause bare spots in the bottom. In fact, I just finished going over a mold of Peter Greweling's cherry kirsch ganache. The cherry pieces are very difficult to keep below the danger zone. So I go over each cavity, removing any bits of ganache that look troublesome. I know that's not the original poster's problem, but it is related to difficulties with closing chocolates. As someone else has already suggested, I give the chocolate poured over the mold a little time to settle down into the nooks and crannies and tap it on the counter repeatedly. That should help prevent those dips in the OP's pralines.

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Thanks everyone!

I will try adding more filling to the chocolates and work on not getting such a large rim on the bottom of the molds. This seems to happen whether or not the chocolate is over-crystallized. I've done tests using chocolate of different viscosities to see if anything helps. Like Kerry said, the cracking happens almost immediately after capping, so it's not an issue of ganache settling. I crystallize the ganache overnight. I'm thinking that I am pulling too much chocolate out of the molds while scraping. I will try scraping towards me and using a less-flexible scraper. Does anyone have any other tips or techniques to back-off molds?

Edited by Pizzelles (log)
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