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Molded and Filled Chocolates: Troubleshooting and Techniques


rookie
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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

I’m a dentist by trade (ironic I know) so I just grab whatever the free brushes are lying around work, I think these were just regular Colgate ones?

As a huge fan of irony, I love this.  On a (slightly) more serious note, I have found that "firm" toothbrushes work better.  Ever since dentists started recommending soft toothbrushes, the firm ones are more difficult to find.  And regarding Colgate:  Not long ago I got a batch that shed its bristles.  Not something desirable in a chocolate.  Doesn't Colgate know its target audience better than that?

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  • 1 month later...

PXL_20210421_235701524.thumb.jpg.c9c9fd6d8bad3d1f9ac5676be8bfd8bf.jpg

 

I lost about 20 bonbons from the condition shown above:  the top part broke off from the bottom, which stayed firmly in the mold.  It was a CW large dome, a mold that has given me much trouble over the years, but sometimes is fine.  This is the worst "stuck in the mold" episode in a long time, but that doesn't keep it from being annoying and embarrassing.  I suspect overtempered chocolate used for the shell (isn't overtempering one of the suspected causes of this problem?).  I am not so new to this process that I will ask the question I want to ask:  "What could have happened?"  We will never know.  But how can one tell chocolate is overtempered?  I know it gets more viscous, but this was milk chocolate, and it's always viscous.

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12 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

PXL_20210421_235701524.thumb.jpg.c9c9fd6d8bad3d1f9ac5676be8bfd8bf.jpg

 

I lost about 20 bonbons from the condition shown above:  the top part broke off from the bottom, which stayed firmly in the mold.  It was a CW large dome, a mold that has given me much trouble over the years, but sometimes is fine.  This is the worst "stuck in the mold" episode in a long time, but that doesn't keep it from being annoying and embarrassing.  I suspect overtempered chocolate used for the shell (isn't overtempering one of the suspected causes of this problem?).  I am not so new to this process that I will ask the question I want to ask:  "What could have happened?"  We will never know.  But how can one tell chocolate is overtempered?  I know it gets more viscous, but this was milk chocolate, and it's always viscous.

Ah yes - that mold! 

 

Overtempered chocolate is definitely more viscous - and if you do a temper test it firms up in an inordinately short time. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Overtempered chocolate is definitely more viscous - and if you do a temper test it firms up in an inordinately short time. 

 

 

 

Thank you for that insight.  It's difficult to make yourself stop in the middle of making shells and test for temper, but it appears to be necessary.  Do you know of any discussion or any scientific papers about overtempering that deal with this problem?  I have also noticed that sometimes shells, when they are cooling in the fridge, acquire a dusty look.  Could this be a sign of overtempering?  They usually come out of the mold without a problem, but it looks suspicious.

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4 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

is that an aerated chocolate center?

 

No, it's a layered bonbon:  bottom layer is salted caramel, then a few chopped toasted pecans, then a layer of pecan praline gianduja (pecan praline paste plus Orelys chocolate), then a pecan shortbread cookie (I call it "pecan pie").  I have made it several times, and this has never happened before.  But I usually use a "grooved dome"--similar size but grooves in the bottom.  It seems plain dome molds are more of a problem than when they have something in the bottom that makes them release better.

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Was the gianduja tempered?

 

Your shells look super thin, which most chocolatiers revere, but my theory is too thin sticks in the mold more because less chocolate is crystallizing and contracting.  This is only a theory ;)

 

But a tempered gianduja center should have also contracted slightly upon firming up so either your gianduja wasn't tempered or ... were you impatient? Try half an hour in the fridge, or longer if they're stubborn.

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12 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

It's odd... that mould seems so innocuous but it's an absolute nightmare sometimes to actually get things out cleanly

 

I think it's clear that something additional in the mold design helps, such as the indentations I mentioned in the other one.  The problem with the grooved mold is that it's quite difficult to decorate.  I can't use the technique of painting various colors to get a marbled effect then airbrushing another color behind them because the painted colors run down into the grooves.  Perhaps a dome with a single indentation running between one edge and the other would be enough to allow for release (without ensuing insanity).  Here is a photo of the grooved dome (CW1091):

 

cw1091.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

@pastrygirl, I think you may be correct about the thinness of the shell.  I'm not sure this photo will show it, but the shell is wonderfully thin--wonderful for taste appeal, not so wonderful for contracting and coming out of the shell.

 

PXL_20210422_164605651.thumb.jpg.36bf77bbc00aa7d79ee9ff37e9d13d43.jpg

It's like the perfect storm!

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While I can sympathize with the desire to force them out of the mold and get on with your life, the next time you have a mold that doesn't seem to release, put it in the fridge and walk away.  Not 10 minutes but a  few hours or even overnight.  Glaring at it and muttering "I'll deal with you 🤬 later" may or may not help.

 

Worst case scenario, they're still stuck.  Best case they're fine and it was just chocolate being a pain.

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On 4/22/2021 at 10:12 AM, Jim D. said:

PXL_20210421_235701524.thumb.jpg.c9c9fd6d8bad3d1f9ac5676be8bfd8bf.jpg

 

I lost about 20 bonbons from the condition shown above:  the top part broke off from the bottom, which stayed firmly in the mold.  It was a CW large dome, a mold that has given me much trouble over the years, but sometimes is fine.  This is the worst "stuck in the mold" episode in a long time, but that doesn't keep it from being annoying and embarrassing.  I suspect overtempered chocolate used for the shell (isn't overtempering one of the suspected causes of this problem?).  I am not so new to this process that I will ask the question I want to ask:  "What could have happened?"  We will never know.  But how can one tell chocolate is overtempered?  I know it gets more viscous, but this was milk chocolate, and it's always viscous.

 

I personally wouldn't be able to get shells that thin with overcrystallised chocolate, it's like sludge :D

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11 hours ago, keychris said:

 

I personally wouldn't be able to get shells that thin with overcrystallised chocolate, it's like sludge :D

 

Yeah, I only get that thin shells with like Zephyr or something that has like the lowest viscosity ever.

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It would be nice to think of the comments on my thin shells as a compliment, but alas, I realize that is the not the case.  When I making shells, I now dump the contents into my new Mol d'Art melter.  When the chocolate in the tempering machine gets low, I check the temp in the Mol d'Art and add that chocolate to the machine, which thins out the chocolate.  So if I made these shells at the beginning of the whole process, the shells might have been thin because the chocolate was just starting to crystallize (be in temper).  And if I made them after some Mol d'Art chocolate was added, the same thing would probably be true.  I agree with keychris that overtempering is probably not the explanation since if that were the case, the photo of the shell would have shown something quite different.

 

Thanks for the input from all who contributed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not happy with the appearance of the bases of my molded chocolates ... I'm closing them by flattening the poured chocolate on the mold with a spatula.

In handmade production, what is the best way to get a really professional look at the bottom of the bonbons?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Altay.Oro said:

I'm not happy with the appearance of the bases of my molded chocolates ... I'm closing them by flattening the poured chocolate on the mold with a spatula.

In handmade production, what is the best way to get a really professional look at the bottom of the bonbons?

Chocolate as warm as possible on the backs, scrape quickly with the tool you prefer - aimed away from you and at about 45 degrees. As few scrapes as possible, as quickly as possible to minimize scrape marks. 

 

here - go to about the 5 minute mark 

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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17 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Chocolate as warm as possible on the backs, scrape quickly with the tool you prefer - aimed away from you and at about 45 degrees. As few scrapes as possible, as quickly as possible to minimize scrape marks. 

 

here - go to about the 5 minute mark 

 

Thank you ... maybe the piping chocolate on each cavity creates the best result, but it is obviously not so practical for handmade.

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4 hours ago, Altay.Oro said:

In handmade production, what is the best way to get a really professional look at the bottom of the bonbons?

 

Multiple coats. 

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4 hours ago, Altay.Oro said:

In handmade production, what is the best way to get a really professional look at the bottom of the bonbons?

 

acetate or transfer sheet.

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8 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Multiple coats. 

 

I guess ... you mean a thin cocoa butter coat with a sprayer first and then the main layer with spatula ... right?

 

7 hours ago, keychris said:

 

acetate or transfer sheet.

 

3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

I’ve been using cut up guitar sheets, gives a really flat smoothness to the base

 

Looks promising, but I could not scrape all the chocolate cleanly under the transfer sheet in my first try ... I need to practice more ... thanks.

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The trick is not to use too much and scrape it over, then I just make sure it doesn’t overflow to the bottom, some excess is fine, usually just cleanly breaks off when I demould. The “chef’s cut” if you will

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5 hours ago, Altay.Oro said:

Looks promising, but I could not scrape all the chocolate cleanly under the transfer sheet in my first try ... I need to practice more ... thanks.

 

I agree.  Even after multiple attempts, with the mold looking as if the spaces between cavities are completely clear of chocolate, I remove the acetate sheet (either plain or a transfer sheet), and there is still a lot of chocolate.  When I empty the mold, it is very difficult to get the chocolates out since they are "cemented" to that remaining chocolate.  When it works, It's a great effect and, in particular, helps when the filling is a little too high and can't be removed (as when I use a cookie inclusion), but I need more practice.

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16 hours ago, Altay.Oro said:

 

I guess ... you mean a thin cocoa butter coat with a sprayer first and then the main layer with spatula ... right?

 

 

No.  I ladle chocolate on & scrape off the mold as usual to seal the bonbons.  After they've set and contracted a bit, I do it again to fill in that little concave spot.  And usually again, because I'm obsessive 🙄 

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