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rookie

Molded Chocolates: Technique Questions [MERGED TOPIC]

398 posts in this topic

Last night, I JUST started reading Chocolate Obsession and read Michael Recchiuti's recommendation of using a squeeze bottle for ganache filling. He also gives a really detailed technique that minimizes mess and waste. It's my new favorite book. I had to buy it after I was in San Francisco for a week on business and made a pilgrimage to his shop in the Ferry Building. (It was a religious experience.)

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You might want to try one of these plastic confectionery funnels made by Wilton. They only cost $4 - 5 each. You can deposit tempered chocolate or liquid ganache very accurately with little muss or fuss. Any place that sells Wilton cake decorating stuff should have one or can get it.

funnels.jpg

The plunger fits down inside, plugging the hole until you lift on the ring to let your chocolate run out. Push the ring down and, voila, the choc stops. Cleanup for ganache is hot water and a damp towel. Cleanup for tempered chocolate? Let it harden, then gently squeeze the top of the funnel. The couverture inside will crack and fall out in pieces, so you can re-use it.

I've been using these things for nearly ten years and they are great. They do wear out, but hey, a new one won't set you back much.

Cheers,


Edited by stscam (log)

Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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Hold on.............it seems like theres two questions being discussed here.

1. filling your molds with tempered chocolate to create your shell.

2. filling your hallow shells with ganache.

My answer to 1. is: I use a ladle to pour my chocolate into my mold. I admit it's taken me a long time to finally figure out how to do this cleanly. I used to get the tempered chocolate everywhere!!!!

The "tricks" for me are: not pouring too much tempered chocolate on the top in the first place....so it no longer spills down the sides of the mold. That used to be so messy that I couldn't recover neatly with-out stoping to wipe everything down. So now when I rap the mold on the table to release any air bubbles there isn't chocolate spilling all over.

Then the second place I've learned to be cleaner is when I dump out the excess chocolate back into my bowl. As I've gotten more confident I'm able to turn it upside down with a faster motion, then I give the mold a firm tap while upside down for the excess to dump out and again a quick flip right siding the mold. Use a bowl large enough that you can't miss and drip outside of it. You can't work fast if you have to worry you'll drip over the sides of your bowl.

THEN I stop a second and wipe off my hands which always get something on them in that process. When my hands and all surfaces are clean (done in seconds) I then scrape my molds to clear all excess off.......including the drizzle that happens on the side of the mold (from the dirrection of your scrape). When I'm cleaning the excess off NOW (unlike before) I don't have any chocolate running down the sides of my mold, my hands are clean and so the whole process is cleaner. Also if I think about it, I'm probably taking longer to work cleaner then when I first began (longer to neatly work). A little slower equals a little cleaner.

Question 2. I like to use a pastry bag to fill my molds. But it really would depend upon how thin or thick your filling is......... Thick/cool ganache isn't going to flow thru a squeeze bottle so easily. Really thin filling you'd need to use the funnel or the squeeze bottle because a pastry bag would let your fillings leak to easily (although most of us just pinch off the end with our other hand).

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Thanks for the detailed description Wendy. I don't feel so bad that most chef's have started chocolate making by "making a mess" and I will need to practice to work cleaner!

I will also be alert to not to pour too much chocolate into the mold. (Which I am guilty of.)

I was also trying to pour the chocolate back into the x3210 chocovision machine which made it difficult to work cleanly. I am going try pouring into a big bowl.

For my fillings, I've used a pastry bag in the past to fill the molds but for my more liquid ganaches I am going to try a squeeze bottle.

Thanks!

Jeff

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Wendy, I use the funnels for accurate placement of tempered chocolate in molds where the final piece will be solid (usually .25oz bars, small hearts, etc.). When doing the shells for filled pieces, I use a ladle and smother the mold with the chocolate, then let it run out onto a sheet pan. Thus, when the chocolate solidifies all I have to do is lift it "en masse" off the pan, break it up and re-use it.

Jeff, one easy way to keep at least part of the X3210 relatively clean is to cover the feed side and rear top of the machine with a pan liner (parchment). Then, again as above, once the chocolate tempers it's an easy matter to pull it off and re-use it. I sometimes fit the right side of the sheet onto the baffle retaining screw, so at least that side is firmly anchored. This method does not work on the left side because the baffle has electrical contacts in it and you'd be insulating it from the machine.

Cheers,


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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Wendy, I use the funnels for accurate placement of tempered chocolate in molds where the final piece will be solid (usually .25oz bars, small hearts, etc.).

ditto, works well.......

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I am having this problem, maybe somebody could help me with it.

I am trying to make molded chocolates colored with cocoa butter.

All standard technique - I spray the cocoa butter in, chill, put the chocolate in, chill, fill, wait, cover with chocolate, chill, demold.

Sometimes I am getting the cocoa butter sticking to the mold instead of to the chocolate. This leaves an ugly chocolate that has the look of something untempered. (If I knew how you all posted pics, I would)

Is it a matter of cocoa butter thickness? Temperature or cooling rate? Cleanliness of molds?

Any help would be appreciated.


Edited by ejw50 (log)

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First of all, you don't want your cocoa butter to be too hot: Probably around 31ºC ± 1ºC.

Secondly, when you put your next layer of chocolate, you want to be sure it's tempered and at the upper end of the working range. If it's too cold, you might get some sticking.

I'm sure I don't have to say this, but after you've chilled the molds, be sure that they've come to room temp before adding any chocolate; otherwise, condensation can really mess you up.

Take a moment to review: Chocolates with that showroom finish


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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i would also check out the post on beta 6 cocoa butter crystals from a bit back


nkaplan@delposto.com

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The only time I had this kind of problem , was when my chocolate was too warm .Check the temperature and make sure is well tempered ( on parchment paper smir so chocolate and see how it sits and ).I wouldnt use the refgrigerator , because it will set the chocolate even if is out of temper, giving you the false sense that is tempered .I alway work at room temperature ,it works better for me.


Vanessa

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The only time I had this kind of problem , was when my chocolate was too warm .Check the temperature and make sure is well tempered ( on parchment paper smir so chocolate and see how it sits and ).I wouldnt use the refgrigerator , because it will set the chocolate even if is out of temper, giving you the false sense that is tempered .I alway work at room temperature ,it works better for me.

yeah, but the room temp in your basement workshop is like 60 degrees :laugh::raz:

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:laugh: Hahahaha right .

If I work out of my kitchen I usually crank up the ac to 68.


Vanessa

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i would also check out the post on beta 6 cocoa butter crystals from a bit back

Nicole, are you referring to the use of the packaged cocoa butter crystals that Albert Uster has started carrying? Or is there a topic regarding tempering that talks about crystallization?

At any rate, Jean-Pierre Wybauw sort of poo-poo-ed the idea of using Mycryo or any of those other products as proper pre-crystallization technique should work without these doctors. Particularly when it comes down to price, these items are very expensive.

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there was a thread not too long ago about beta 6 crystals, i am not computer savy enough to find it and link it here. i am not suggesting you should use them to temper your base chocolate, only that there is both beta 6 cocoa butter from albert ulster and beta 6 colors from chef rubber, and maybe other products by now, for color only, that are great and will take care of the "sticking" problem caused by the "less pricey" products. beta 6 is the finest level of "milling" per se of cocoa butter crystals and therefore the least likely to cause problems.


nkaplan@delposto.com

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Thanks for the tips. I will check the temperature of the cocoa butter and chocolate. I think the chocolate temper is OK, as I don't get any streaking, spots, color-change-to-white-over time thing. It doesn't seem to be all of the chocolates, just some of them - maybe 5/30 or so.

First of all, you don't want your cocoa butter to be too hot:  Probably around 31ºC ± 1ºC.

Secondly, when you put your next layer of chocolate, you want to be sure it's tempered and at the upper end of the working range.  If it's too cold, you might get some sticking. 

I'm sure I don't have to say this, but after you've chilled the molds, be sure that they've come to room temp before adding any chocolate; otherwise, condensation can really mess you up.

Take a moment to review:  Chocolates with that showroom finish

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If the stuck chocolates are all in the same area of the mold, check that you are not slightly warming the surface of the mold with how you grip it when filling or emptying out... this is not usually a problem with the actual shell but with a thin coat of colored cocoa butter the warmth of your palm is enough to make it unfriendly and stick.

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Hi everyone, I have not been on here in months (blame life getting in the way!). With the current uproar over BPA in plastics, I am worried to know that polycarbonate has very high amounts of BPA. All my good chocolate molds are polycarbonate!! I tried a search on eGullet but did not find any info on this. Granted, chocolates do not spend half as much time in the mold as, say, ice cream in a freezer container, but I am concerned about all the scraping and wiping releasing bad stuff into the chocolate.

Do you think I should be concerned? I really don't find anything else as good or as efficient as the polycarbonate molds, they are workhorses. But especially for kids BPA is very bad. Any info/links appreciated.

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Good to see you back rennicakes. I had similar thoughts when I first heard about this. I try to avoid using plastics in the microwave for this reason.

I suspect given the viscosity and low temperature of the chocolate that the risk of compounds leaching out of the polycarbonate are probably fairly small.

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Hi everyone, I have not been on here in months (blame life getting in the way!). With the current uproar over BPA in plastics, I am worried to know that polycarbonate has very high amounts of BPA. All my good chocolate molds are polycarbonate!! I tried a search on eGullet but did not find any info on this.  Granted, chocolates do not spend half as much time in the mold as, say, ice cream in a freezer container, but I am concerned about all the scraping and wiping releasing bad stuff into the chocolate.

Do you think I should be concerned? I really don't find anything else as good or as efficient as the polycarbonate molds, they are workhorses. But especially for kids BPA is very bad. Any info/links appreciated.

BPA is water soluble, so transference via chocolate is unlikely.

http://www.enn.com/health/article/37290

I personally have removed most polycarbonate items from my home, chocolate molds are problematic.

So far, the main concern is small children being exposed since they seem to be most affected by it. Fortunately, most consumers for fine chocolates are adults. Chocolate is not recommended for children under the age of 1 year.

http://geoparent.com/experts/health/babyallergies.htm

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Thanks everyone... so little heat and no water should prevent transfer of BPA. Not incidentally also a mantra for chocolate!

Will scratches/surface gouging make a difference do you think? The students can sometimes be pretty hard on the molds we have for classes. I think I should put together a sheet about chocolate mold care to hand to them.

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Thanks everyone... so little heat and no water should prevent transfer of BPA. Not incidentally also a mantra for chocolate!

Will scratches/surface gouging make a difference do you think? The students can sometimes be pretty hard on the molds we have for classes. I think I should put together a sheet about chocolate mold care to hand to them.

I've never found little pieces of polycarbonate in my chocolate, no matter how hard I abuse the molds, so I suspect that gouging is only hard on the molds.

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I was wondering if anyone has a super duper technique to "close" their molded chocolates. I hold my mold over my melter or chocovision and from the side near me , ladle chocolate on the first row. I kind of shake my mold while adding more chocolate to the next row as this continually forces the extra chocolate into the next row of shells. So between shaking and ladling I don't have too much extra to swipe off and it keeps the sides clean. Hard to explain. Then I take a good spatula and holding it at a perpendicular angle to the mold, swipe from me to the opposite edge and then it falls into the back of the bowl or back into the melter. Today my white choc was a bit thin for some reason and the ganache was dark. Although I did not overfill with ganache,there were some spots after closing as though the ganache level was too high and did not get closed. I wonder if it could be for a different reason other than overfilling ganache. Usually my technique works well. I HATE imperfect backs of any kind (on chocolates, of course!)

I have seen it done differently but couldn't perfect it another way! :wink:


Edited by Lior (log)

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I was wondering if anyone has a super duper technique to "close" their molded chocolates. I hold my mold over my melter or chocovision and from the side near me , ladle  chocolate on the first row. I kind of shake my mold while adding more chocolate to the next row as this continually forces the extra chocolate into the next row of shells. So between shaking and ladling I don't have too much extra to swipe off and it keeps the sides clean. Hard to explain. Then I take a good spatula and holding it at a perpendicular angle to the mold, swipe from me to the opposite edge and then it falls into the back of the bowl or back into the melter.  Today my white choc was a bit thin for some reason and the ganache was dark. Although I did not overfill with ganache,there were some spots after closing as though the ganache level was too high and did not get closed. I wonder if it could be for a different reason other than overfilling ganache. Usually my technique works well. I HATE imperfect backs of any kind (on chocolates, of course!)

I have seen it done differently but couldn't perfect it another way! :wink:

This is what I usually do. I close the molds & let it set up. I then take a wide knife & scrape the mold so all excess is off. To cover not perfects bottoms, I then dip the knife in chocloate & put a very thin coat over then bottom & scrape all excess off. Just like a top coat of dry wall compound to smooth everything out. I know the issues you are referring to since I also use a chocovision machine.


Mark

www.roseconfections.com

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It's a little more time consuming, but if you want you can use a guitar sheet or acetate to cap your chocolates. It makes for the most 'perfect' finish and also allows you to have more filling and a less thick base. You ladle chocolate on just one edge of the mould, put the plastic so that it covers the open surface of the mould and then, using a squeegee or triangle spatula, pull the chocolate across to the other side. Not sure how understandable that explanation is... :hmmm:

That leaves a slight dimple though so if you're really fussy you can go over it twice and then it becomes really really flat.

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