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Molded and Filled Chocolates: Troubleshooting and Techniques


rookie
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I've tempered the main bottles, and have transferred some into smaller jars which I put in a yoghurt maker to part melt and am using the solid core to seed by shaking it. When I check it before spraying it's about 30C, however I'm waiting for the delivery of a new IR thermometer to check in case my other one has gone funky.

It's possible the small pots might have gone out of temper I suppose.

Sian

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, and that's kinda the same thing really."

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Whenever I have had the same problem, it has been because I poured the mold too soon and cocoa butter did not have a chance to dry. The more cocoa butter used the longer it takes to dry. I usually decorate the mold and let sit over night and I rarely have any cocoa butter stay in the mold. I am not an expert, but maybe this will help.

Jenny

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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pure, tempered cocoa butter should set up within 5 or 6 minutes for the amount sprayed in a mold. surely no more than 10 minutes. I've always found it's better to get the chocolate on as soon as possible after the butter has set so that the chocolate and the cocoa butter can contract away from the mold at the same time - that's what it looks like is happening in these pictures, the cocoa butter is not contracting properly and is sticking to the mold. If it is taking an inordinate amount of time to set, you've got the wrong crystals forming (it's not tempered properly).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too have suffered from less than beautiful results on far too many occasions. No pics yet, but wait for it; they'll come.

One of the phenomena I've routinely experienced, especially when molding plain chocolate shells (e.g. bittersweet 74%) is that some of the cavities come out looking stunning, while others have a dull finish. The cavities in the mold have been treated pretty much identically during my use and cleaning/polishing.

Is it likely that I either abused the molds in some way to get this or that perhaps some of the cavities weren't perfectly smooth to begin with?

I'm considering ordering a new set just to see what I can get out of them.

Steve, were you able to figure out why this happens? I have the exact same issue. And I have had it happen with brand new molds, so it's not because I've abused the molds.

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I too have suffered from less than beautiful results on far too many occasions. No pics yet, but wait for it; they'll come.

One of the phenomena I've routinely experienced, especially when molding plain chocolate shells (e.g. bittersweet 74%) is that some of the cavities come out looking stunning, while others have a dull finish. The cavities in the mold have been treated pretty much identically during my use and cleaning/polishing.

Is it likely that I either abused the molds in some way to get this or that perhaps some of the cavities weren't perfectly smooth to begin with?

I'm considering ordering a new set just to see what I can get out of them.

Steve, were you able to figure out why this happens? I have the exact same issue. And I have had it happen with brand new molds, so it's not because I've abused the molds.

I tried an experiment recently of spraying a few of my molds with plain cocoa butter. The pieces came out with a near mirror finish. I don't think this is sustainable simply due to the cost of cocoa butter. I did buy some new molds for my larger heart pieces and frankly, I'm getting good results. I believe that most of my issues related to the temper of the chocolate and how I prevent excess heat build up in the cavities as the chocolate crystallizes.

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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I too have suffered from less than beautiful results on far too many occasions. No pics yet, but wait for it; they'll come.

One of the phenomena I've routinely experienced, especially when molding plain chocolate shells (e.g. bittersweet 74%) is that some of the cavities come out looking stunning, while others have a dull finish. The cavities in the mold have been treated pretty much identically during my use and cleaning/polishing.

Is it likely that I either abused the molds in some way to get this or that perhaps some of the cavities weren't perfectly smooth to begin with?

I'm considering ordering a new set just to see what I can get out of them.

Steve, were you able to figure out why this happens? I have the exact same issue. And I have had it happen with brand new molds, so it's not because I've abused the molds.

I tried an experiment recently of spraying a few of my molds with plain cocoa butter. The pieces came out with a near mirror finish. I don't think this is sustainable simply due to the cost of cocoa butter. I did buy some new molds for my larger heart pieces and frankly, I'm getting good results. I believe that most of my issues related to the temper of the chocolate and how I prevent excess heat build up in the cavities as the chocolate crystallizes.

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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After some experiments with Bob M, I too think it's a heat transfer issue. Polishing the molds or not didn't seem to make a difference. I'm going to experiment more with methods of cooling the shells.

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  • 2 months later...

I have just begun to make molded chocolates (and just joined this forum). The first batches turned out OK (not spectacular but OK). I have a few technique questions that I will post separately, but one of my concerns is very basic: the significant difference in size of the cavities in the molds I purchased. I got 6 polycarbonate molds from J.B. Prince. In the images online, all the resulting bonbons appear to be more or less the same size, but when the molds arrived, the cavities varied from a one-bite size to two (or more) bites. The small cavities are very difficult to work with and (in my opinion) don't hold enough filling (vs. chocolate shell). I notice that many people on this forum use molds with what appear to be larger cavities. Is there a site to purchase polycarb molds that provides dimensions or capacity of the cavities? This would seem to be a basic consideration since boxing chocolates with greatly varying sizes looks a bit odd. And the molds are too expensive for me to make any more mistakes. Any help would be appreciated.

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Also worthwhile posting a link here on eG to any molds you are interested in - one of us probably has the mold or has seen it and can give you a better idea of the relative size of the cavity.

And welcome to eG by the way.

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JB Prince gives the dimensions as well, you just have to click on the item. I try to avoid anything shallower than about 18mm. You gotta have room for filling!

I guess I didn't notice that in using the word "form" J.B. Prince was providing the measurements of the individual cavity; It could, I think, be clearer--which dimension is which, for instance. I would find it more useful if vendors gave the volume of the individual cavities since that is what really matters.

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Chocolate World (another site to peruse) does give the weight of the pieces - I think if molded with solid chocolate? (results may vary depending on fillings). I consider 10 g or less pretty small, prefer closer to 15 g. Yes, shopping for chocolate molds can be dizzying. Trying to find matching boxes is even worse!

My favorite molds tend to be the rounder, easier to polish shapes with no sharp corners for bubbles to stick in, like domes, geodesic domes, and cacao pods. Also those with more cavities per mold. I recently picked up some used magnetic molds, which offer the vesatility of transfer sheets, but with only 15 cavities per mold they are not very efficient in either transfer sheets or labor.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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The catalog from Tomric, http://tomric.com/ , gives complete dimensions for every mold. Very helpful.

I have now looked through all the Tomric molds. The site doesn't say what kind of molds they are; I'm assuming polycarbonate. I am put off a bit by the statement (given for every mold I looked at) "call for availability 3-4 weeks"--so all their molds take that long to get? I am also assuming the last dimension given is the depth of the mold. The weight given really varies a lot, and in that case I am assuming "weight" is "capacity." Pastrygirl prefers molds with close to 15g capacity, but I didn't find a lot that were that large.

Not to complain too much about these mold sites, but somebody should design a website that pictures each mold next to a recognizable object that will provide perspective on the mold's true size.

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Pastrygirl prefers molds with close to 15g capacity, but I didn't find a lot that were that large.

That was just a guess, they are probably more like 10-13 grams. The last time I shopped for molds I decided 13g was my ideal size. It can be hard to visualize dimensions, I usually have to look at a ruler or even draw the shape to help decide.

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Tomric does have lots of european polycarbonate molds - however they also make their own molds, thermoformed in two different weights - for hobby and for more professional use. They don't scrape well - so make sure you get the polycarbonate molds if that's what you are after.

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Tomric does have lots of european polycarbonate molds - however they also make their own molds, thermoformed in two different weights - for hobby and for more professional use. They don't scrape well - so make sure you get the polycarbonate molds if that's what you are after.

Thanks for that tip. I have enough trouble scraping molds clean, so I don't want to make the situation worse.

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Jim - there are quite a number of eG chocolatiers in the Virginia just outside Washington area (not quite sure looking at that map how far that actually is from you). A number of them are heading up for our chocolate workshop in April. I suspect they might be a good resource for you as you start molding.

And of course we'd be thrilled if you decided to join us at the workshop. Link here to workshop.

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Out of curiosity Jim - where are you located?

I am in Staunton, Virginia (moved back to the family home after 50 years in Boston--so quite an adjustment). After renovating the house, I needed something to do, thus chocolate.

Welcome Jim D.! Staunton seems like a wonderful area; I went to their Hot Glass Festival this year; great glassblowing studio and gallery.

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Out of curiosity Jim - where are you located?

I am in Staunton, Virginia (moved back to the family home after 50 years in Boston--so quite an adjustment). After renovating the house, I needed something to do, thus chocolate.

Welcome Jim D.! Staunton seems like a wonderful area; I went to their Hot Glass Festival this year; great glassblowing studio and gallery.

I was at that festival also, took some Boston visitors to it (one of them bought some beautiful and huge blown martini glasses). I hated this town when I was growing up; it has recently acquired cachet--there is even a chocolate shop here (is that the ultimate sign that a community has arrived?). Getting ingredients for cooking remains a challenge.

Jim

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JB Prince gives the dimensions as well, you just have to click on the item. I try to avoid anything shallower than about 18mm. You gotta have room for filling!

I was once again looking through the "Chocolates with that showroom finish" thread and came across some of your chocolates (page 19). If you have the time, could you let me know what molds you used for those? That would give me an idea of what I am looking for. Thanks.

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Also worthwhile posting a link here on eG to any molds you are interested in - one of us probably has the mold or has seen it and can give you a better idea of the relative size of the cavity.

And welcome to eG by the way.

Kerry,

In trying to determine the size of molds I want, I was browsing through the "Chocolates with that showroom finish" thread and came across some of your chocolates (page 14). If you have the time, could you let me know what molds you used for those? That would give me an idea of what I am looking for. Thanks.

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