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Molded Chocolates: Technique Questions [MERGED TOPIC]

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'm not a proponent of heating the backs before backing. 

 

So you don't find that more liquid fillings leak?

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On 3/11/2020 at 10:30 PM, GRiker said:

Thanks again for all the questions and answers posted here.  I was reminded today about the quote I saw here "if it were easy, anyone could do it." It's not easy but it sure it fun and satisfying when it works.  

Great job and great summary of all the tips posted here for so many years!

 

My two comments. First, I agree with Kerry that I never heat before backing off, and I keep my room colder than most in this forum so I don't feel it is a necessary step. Second, i'm not sure you were crystal clear on your polishing. I used to use cosmetic pads, and at Melissa Coppel's suggestion, went back to cotton balls. I use two balls at a time and do at most three cavities with them, flipping it over at some point. Melissa corrected me here too on my last workshop saying that if you keep using the same cotton then you're just moving the cocoa butter from one cavity to the next. She says one ball per cavity...I'm too cheap for that, and I'm not the top chocolatier in the world.  I'm not sure why you prefer vodka over alcohol, but I use alcohol only. I think with those two tips you'll see your shine become perfect on the next round. FWIW, after I do the alcohol thing I do one final rub down with THESE fluffy microfibers that I keep fastidiously clean (no fabric softener).

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On 3/12/2020 at 1:59 PM, Kerry Beal said:
On 3/12/2020 at 9:30 AM, GRiker said:

 

So you don't find that more liquid fillings leak?

Not for that reason - no.

Some of those posted bonbons did have a few little droplets on the bottom after a while. If it's not because I didn't heat them before I sealed them, I wonder why?  too full before sealing?

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13 hours ago, gfron1 said:

i'm not sure you were crystal clear on your polishing

 

You're right that I didn't get the polish I was looking for, certainly not the kind of polish I've been seeing around here!

 

To recap, one suggestion is that I use the cotton balls over cosmetic pads.  Melissa uses one cotton ball per cavity.  You use two per three (only slightly less frugal I'll note! 😉). When I polished mine tonight, using one cosmetic pad per row (3 cavities), I couldn't believe how many I had for the trash can when I was finished.  

 

Then with those cotton balls, polish few cavities per ball - as few as my frugality will let me!

 

After that, you polish with a very clean, dry microfiber cloth - no alcohol?  Have you tried the Costco Microfiber cloths? https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-ultra-plush-microfiber-towel%2C-yellow%2C-16-in-x-16-in%2C-36-count.product.100356999.html

 

How/Where do you store your molds until you use them?  You polish them well ahead of using them right?

 

As for the alcohol vs. vodka.  Are you using 91% or 70% isopropyl, IPA?  I guess I wonder what that other % is and is it food safe...   I did think last week that maybe I'd give it a try, but alas no IPA to be found anywhere.  Sounds like you don't have any concerns about that...

 

Thanks so much for the input.  I really appreciate your suggestions.  

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To confuse things more about polishing molds:

 

When the annual eG workshop last took place in Las Vegas, we visited several chocolatiers and discovered many differences in how they prepared their molds. As described by gfron1, Melissa Coppel takes polishing to a new level. If I recall correctly, Jin Caldwell does not polish her molds at all--in fact, she does not even clean them between uses! You could not have a wider gamut than that.  Yet both produce beautiful, shiny bonbons. Andrey Dubovik washes molds in hot soapy water, adding that they don't need polishing unless you see water residue. Have you seen the shine he gets?  If not, check his Instagram photos. He loves to show off the shine by including a reflection of himself in the chocolates.  He believes the shine comes from being careful about temper--and, most notably, in working in a room that I consider quite chilly. I continue to wash my molds as Andrey says and polish them with a microfiber cloth, but I think the polishing is mostly superstition now. I think the humidity in the work space is a crucial factor as I have seen perfectly shiny bonbons go to a matte look in seconds when they are exposed to humidity.

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Now I’m going to throw another curve - Luis Amado cleans his molds with 5% acetic acid and a make up pad they make a pad. After he spritzers in the vinegar, gives it a quick heat with a hairdryer and simple swipe out with the make up pad.

 

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6 hours ago, GRiker said:

After that, you polish with a very clean, dry microfiber cloth - no alcohol?  Have you tried the Costco Microfiber cloths? https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-ultra-plush-microfiber-towel%2C-yellow%2C-16-in-x-16-in%2C-36-count.product.100356999.html

 

How/Where do you store your molds until you use them?  You polish them well ahead of using them right?

 

As for the alcohol vs. vodka.  Are you using 91% or 70% isopropyl, IPA?  I guess I wonder what that other % is and is it food safe...   I did think last week that maybe I'd give it a try, but alas no IPA to be found anywhere.  Sounds like you don't have any concerns about that...

To answer your first question, and pull in Jim and Kerry's comment - it doesn't really matter how you do it - just as long as the mold is truly clean. I believe an impeccably clean micro fiber can do the same as cotton and alcohol. And Jen Caldwell is correct...if I could have perfect temper and scraping skills as her I would likely not need to ever clean my molds...but alas.

 

I store my molds stacked vertically on a shelf. Not wrapped nor covered. Just vertical. I'm in a clean commercial kitchen though so our dust level is low since we're in constant clean mode. My heart molds that only get used once a year get wrapped in cling film between seasons.

 

And I've used both alcohols. They dissipate regardless.

 

This picture is a good example of what I"m talking about. This is from my work in the Andrey class. Look at the variation between the different colors (and hence the molds and their cleanliness). In my last Coppel class she had us all clean molds. When she got to the ones I cleaned she held them up and said, "Oh, we missed this one." I hadn't missed it. Now, it could just be how bad my eyes have gotten since I turned 50, or I often blame my big fingers for making it difficult to get into the mold to give it a really good shine, but it made it clear that what I thought was clean, wasn't. And that was with the molds in her shop, not my shop (worth considering when we think about Jen's technique.) So, I look at it this way - the alcohol and cotton is about doing the crude work of removing cocoa butter. The micro is about finishing the job. In this picture I only cleaned the red mold well...the rest would pass by my old standards, but not anymore.

Flaws.thumb.jpg.0b189c6fbf93c73e71a780adaf2bef00.jpg

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