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David J.

Advanced Chocolate Class with Jean-Pierre Wybauw

28 posts in this topic

This was the first chocolate class I have taken and I had no idea what to expect. I arrived in Chicago a day early and walked down to the French Pastry School an hour early to deal with any paperwork, but I was told to return just fifteen minutes before class so I headed back to the hotel to grab some lunch. When I arrived back I found there were six of us from outside the school and the rest of the seventeen were current students of the school. We were handed a 25 page class book and signed in.

It was a good thing that I ate a large meal because we didn’t get a single break in the whole seven hours! I was warned by jcho that a break may not be forthcoming so I brought a box of crackers and a bottle of water. I was so busy the first day that I didn’t stop to eat, but I made a point of snacking a little throughout the class the next two days so I wouldn’t drop.

The six of us were taken upstairs to a learning kitchen where I quickly spotted Chef Jean-Pierre Wybauw from Kerry’s pictures. From there the whole class headed up one more floor to a classroom where we introduced ourselves and he gave an hour and a half lecture on tempering.

I had read most of what he had to say before, either here or in his book, but it all clicked and fell into place for me then. All the unstable crystals melt before the stable Beta ones do, and that was the basis of every tempering method. They may start from different places, but they basically generate either just good crystals (in the case of seeding straight from fresh chocolate), or a mix of crystal types and then melt out all but the good ones by raising the temperature into the proper range. A properly tempered batch of chocolate has a certain amount of good crystals which act as a seed when it cools. However these crystals don’t just sit there in the bowl. They generate more crystals which is why as time goes on the chocolate gets thicker. There are two ways to deal with that, the first being adding more untempered chocolate to bring the ratio back in line, and the other to hit it with a heat gun to melt out some of the over crystallization. He kept pointing out that the temperature of the chocolate may be in the correct range, but it won’t necessarily have the proper crystal seed. He also said that you have to stir the chocolate to keep it evenly heated (he was using the Mol D’art melters) as chocolate is a good insulator and the chocolate next to the heating element will be warmer than that on top. There is already a detailed discussion on the melters in another active thread so I’ll leave it at that.

What I hadn’t paid much attention to before was proper cooling. Too fast and the temperature dips down into the range where the unstable crystals form and compete with the good crystals for the cocoa butter. Too slow and the crystals form coarsely for a poor result as well. I’m not clear on the mechanism for that however. If anyone can enlighten me on the subject feel free to speak up. He has a suggestion of a working room temperature of 68F and a cooling room/fridge of 50F for the artisan who can’t afford the three temperature ranges that are used commercially. Once it starts setting at the working room temperature you move it to the cooler. Setting chocolate is exothermic so you have to watch placing too much chocolate in close proximity or it could cause some of it to go out of temper before it cools enough to fully set. He later made a point that when dipping you don’t want to place the pieces too close together, especially if they are tall, otherwise the sides could end up out of temper due to cooling too slowly. I have abused my cooling in the past by just popping it into the fridge too early, or even a shot in the freezer if they weren’t releasing easily. I’m going to be much more careful and it will probably do wonders.

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Then it was back down to the teaching kitchen to watch him temper the three 12kg melters of dark, milk, and white chocolate. That was a simple matter of tossing in callets and stirring until they stopped melting easily. Then a bit of heavier stirring took care of the rest and it was done. Having only used an automatic tempering machine before (a Rev2), I was surprised at the ease. A couple of my classmates who had the melters confirmed that it was pretty easy to temper and keep it in temper, so I am now sold on the idea.

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The class kitchen, eight tables with two students to a table.

JPW then demonstrated the first ganache which I believe was a Jasmine tea. It’s difficult to recall the order of the recipes as we made a total of ten over the three days. He stressed that he didn’t want to make it a class about ganache anyway, but rather on techniques. Over the course of the class he made the ganaches in different ways. With the Jasmine he steeped the tea in water first before adding it to the cream in order to extract maximum flavor, and another time he steeped directly in the cream. He added the invert sugar after the cream had cooled so that the water binding aspect of the sugar not be destroyed. Some times he added the glucose to the hot cream, and other times later. He always added the butter last and at room temperature. Once he chucked everything together at once in a Robo-Coupe food processor, but the recipe wasn’t the best one to demo that way. It was thick enough that the machine kept tripping its breaker, and eventually the ganache separated. That was fortunate though, as it gave him an opportunity to demonstrate rescuing a split batch. He started by taking a small amount of the ganache and whipping in cold cream. That helped but didn’t do the trick completely. So the backup plan was to refrigerate it until the outer edges started to set, then scrape it and mix it in. That brought the small bit together, and he started adding a bit of the still separated batch a little at a time, being careful to not overwork it and heat it up enough to separate again. It took a little time, but he completed the rescue. I’ve had to toss out a couple batches in the past due to this problem so it was very valuable to me. He also hand whisked and used an immersion blender to demonstrate other methods. He said that he will have another book in the future all about ganaches and I will be one of the first in line to purchase it. Later in the day he brought out his new book on Chocolate Decorations and I was indeed first in line. I pulled out cash and was ribbed by my classmates for my eagerness. JPW asked me why I was so fast to buy it sight unseen and I told him that I already had a good idea what was in it based on reports here at eGullet. That reminded him of Kerry’s mention of the site and he said that he tried but failed to find us here. I knew the huge site could be confusing so I wrote out full instructions on how to get to this part of the forum. He sounded interested enough that we might just get a visit.

Chef stated his preference for tempered chocolate in the ganache, claiming that it results in a smoother ganache. Most of the time he started with tempered chocolate from the melter and added the cream only after it cooled enough not to take it out of temper. However once he poured hot cream on solid chocolate and waited for it to cool into the range before adding butter. I thought it was a bit odd that butter crystals could temper chocolate and being a skeptical person I’m not convinced that works. I will try the pre-tempered chocolate though to see if I can determine a difference in texture.

He then gave a demonstration of creating shells in a mold. I’ve done that many times so I figured there wasn’t anything new to me, but he did go on to state that rounded cavities can be poured thinner than those with square sides as the latter needs to contract more to release. Then he added the tip to let the mold set cavities down on parchment in order to ensure the top of the cavity doesn’t thin out too much. He also had us set it on the long edge if you are creating empty cups to fill later. I flipped mine to the other side after a bit, but I don’t know if it was really required.

We made a couple more batches of ganache which were cut later with an oval cutter or the guitar cutter. For most of the recipes there was one set of ingredients per four students so you had to share the duties. A couple recipes were so large that chef just made a couple batches himself.

He showed us several different ways to pour out an even slab of ganache, involving a pastry frame, a half sheet pan with a metal bar to subdivide it, a set of caramel bars, and rolling out between a pair of bars in a sandwich of guitar sheets.

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These half sheet size flat aluminum sheets were SO useful! I’m going to have to find a source for these things.

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Especially useful for re-rolling leftover ganache when using a punch cutter

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This is our Mocha ganache

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Coating it with a layer of chocolate

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Using an extra tall oval cutter to punch three pieces before emptying. One center is left inside the cutter while the other two fall out easily due to the flaring sides. Remember to cut with the chocolate side down so it doesn’t shatter.

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Cutting a slab with the guitar cutter. Note the care to produce the least waste. The slab goes at the back of the table for ease of cutting.

Chef demonstrated the correct usage of the guitar cutter, including what to do when it gets stuck half way through a slab. After using it I now have a better idea how to build my own.

Dipping:

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JPW dips using the surface of the chocolate to pull the excess away rather than pounding the fork against the side of the bowl. This keeps the fork from being driven into soft centers. He also had a nifty way to dip by placing the center in upside down and using the fork on an end to flip it over and pull it out. He made it look so easy as he tossed a new center in the bowl with one hand while depositing the dipped center on the paper with the other. Detailed instructions for dipping can be found on Callebaut’s website under the Applications>Covering with chocolate / Coating>Dipping chocolates/petits fours/biscuits section. It reads just as he taught us.

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Using a truffle grid to achieve the characteristic points. Coat the truffles once, then a second time and roll on the grid just as they start to set. He called these Chestnuts due to the look, but they are marzipan, candied orange, orange liquor and orange compound.

Another trick I hadn’t used before was to use rubber stencils to quickly form bases for a soft piped ganache. I am on the lookout for a set of round and oval stencils. So far the only source I located on the web is in the UK. That is a VERY neat idea. The bottoms stick to the parchment just enough that they don’t shift around as you pipe. That’s a Kahlua ganache below.

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The ganache on the table is from a series of "How not to pipe". None of mine looked as good as his.

Chef demonstrated caramel making and spoke of the different methods, all covered very well in a demo and other threads in this forum so I won’t elaborate here.

Something I hadn’t thought of was the trick of adding water to tempered chocolate to thicken it up for piping decorations. I was warned so hard against moisture that I thought a drop of water would instantly cause the chocolate to seize up rock hard. Turns out that the case was overstated a bit and one can sprinkle a bit of water into a piping bag amount of chocolate to get it to a perfect piping viscosity. We were also instructed on how to properly form a small paper piping cone and form two different decorations, a form of stylized tree and a line of hearts.

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That one truffle dragged across the paper was done on purpose to show us how not to remove the fork.

One of the most useful bits of information for me was an explanation of the Callebaut coding system. The basic formulation is a three digit number, with no specific sequence. The dark chocolate in order of bitterness is 805, 811, 835, 815, and 845. If there is a letter prefix, it denotes a percentage less cocoa butter: A811 is 1% less, B811, 2% less, C811 3% less, and so on. If there is a number, that denotes a percentage more: 1811 is 1% over the standard formulation, etc. Suffixes denote the type of chocolate such as Milk or White. Additionally there is a number of little drops on the package, ranging from one to five drops. The more drops the more fluid the chocolate. JPW stated a preference for the standard formula, though I think we ended up with the “C” formulation on the last day. I ordered from gourmail.com and they had only one formulation of each of the basic types. I had always thought that the chocolate I have been using was a bit thick, so I checked it out:

Callebaut Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Belgium) D835 49%

Callebaut Bittersweet Chocolate (Belgium) L60-40 60%

Wow. The Semi-Sweet was 4% less and the Bittersweet was a full 12% less! No wonder I was having a hard time getting thin shells with it. The Semi-Sweet has just two drops on the label and the Bittersweet only one. On one website the legend states that one drop means it is good for solid molding and not much else. I will be locating a supply of the standard formulation soon. I was very pleased with the thin shells I was able to get with it in class and want to duplicate that at home.

Chef gave a short lecture on using sugar syrup for liquor centered chocolates, but given time constraints he had the school staff create a batch in favor of the students. He poured this the end of the second day and left it to crust overnight. Unfortunately the shells he poured it in were out of temper so he didn’t finish them off. I had tried it on my own at home the week prior in anticipation of many questions. One that I had based on the instructions in his book was just what the degree symbol meant in regards to the description of the alcohol. Kerry Beal assured me that it was degrees proof in another thread, and she was right. Well, mostly right. It turns out to be degrees proof European, which is different from the US system. There are at least four different measuring systems so it was good to get that cleared up. I showed him the formulation from another book which varied the amount of sugar based on the proof of the alcohol, and he wasn’t sure why it varied. He stated that sugar doesn’t dissolve in alcohol so it shouldn’t matter, and the amount he called for was to balance the sweetness in the flavor rather than to affect the forming of the sugar shell. I had brought in a few bon-bons from my second home trial for inspection. The bottoms were a bit messy and the shells were too thick, but he approved of the sugar shell thickness and the overall taste which pleased me. I had used a vanilla liquor and enrobed it in milk chocolate. I came out with a better appreciation for how gentle one should be with the syrup after it cools in order to not generate crystals which would cause lumps to form inside the center.

He gave a demonstration of using contrasting chocolate colors in molds and using colored cocoa butter wiped in the mold for color. We have an excellent demo of that in the demo thread and a pretty in depth discussion on the “Chocolates with a showroom finish” thread. He used a paintbrush here. Working the chocolate in with the brush creates crystals (by movement as you jam the bristles in) so you have to watch how much you go over each cavity or you risk loosing the shine from a good temper.

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Painting the chocolate in

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The painted trays

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Cleaning the tops

A very neat trick for production work is what I call “slam filling”. Rather than painstakingly fill each mold cavity to the correct depth with a piping bag, he used a spatula to drop a mound of ganache on the tray, filled the whole thing at once and scraped it off. Of course you are thinking that you can’t create a bottom now, and you would be right if that was the last step. Chef held the tray at an angle to the table and slammed it down, causing the fillings to shift slightly and ooze a bit out of each cavity. He then took the spatula and quickly swiped that overflow off, tapped the tray flat on the table, and each cavity was perfectly filled. The whole process saved a great deal of effort and would really save time if you were processing a dozen or more trays. I’m sure it would take a bit of practice to achieve just the right touch, but it would be well rewarded.

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Filling every cavity at once. I wasn’t fast enough on the shutter to catch the “slam”

Chef then went on to demonstrate creating 3D chocolates from two identical flat molds. He used a pair of seashell molds and the result was very nice.

Candying was discussed as an alternative to coating with chocolate and he showed us his pan with double screens to suspend the centers in the syrup. We didn’t take it any further than the discussion phase though.

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After three days of chocolate making the class had quite a few trays of truffles that hadn’t been dipped. This called for a mass enrobing using the machine. We sent hundreds of centers through this thing over the course of an hour. I’ll never have an excuse to spend $30K for one of these, but it was fun to play with once.

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The enrobing machine

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Warming up the chocolate

Chef took the last few minutes of the class to show us how to pack a box for the customer.

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The first layer – all the same height and neatly filling the bottom

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Finished results. The flavors are terrific!

To sum up, I either performed or watched a fair number of techniques that I haven’t gotten around to yet, and absorbed many new ideas and information that I wouldn’t have gotten in another year or two at my own pace. This was just the right time in my learning to take the class as I had enough experience to be able to absorb all the information, and not so much that I was already familiar with the majority of it. I heartily recommend it!

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The obligatory shot. Note the nifty jacket my wife gave me for our anniversary!

One postscript: I stayed at the Best Western River North which has a deal with the FPS, but it turned out to be a fairly noisy hotel. I could hear everything going on in the street and quite a bit in the room next door which made sleeping in problematic. If you opt to stay there get to bed early to ensure a good night sleep.

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Fabulous report!!! Thank you so much. I really, really, really want to spend a few days with Wybauw and do some hands on. Gotta save up my chocolate money.

Questions - when you describe putting the molds on parchment to prevent the top of the cavity from getting to thin are you putting it open side down? I seem to recall he usually did that, but often putting his molds over a rack with the open side down.

For making cuvettes I always put the mold on it's back in the fridge. So he is suggesting putting it on one side? Is that the picture further down showing spreading the mocha ganache?

.

I have some of the rubber stencils, I got them from Qzina in Toronto. They didn't find people wanted them so they were selling them off. I think I also saw them at McCalls Baker's Warehouse in Toronto, I can certainly check for you.

Great description of the coding system. Try the dark 815, nice thin shells, wonderfully bittersweet.

Slam filling, brilliant!

Ok, I'm going to say it again. I really, really, really need to spend a couple of days with Wybauw.

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David J.

What a great post. Thanks for the detail. I'm so jealous. I was on the wait list for that class...obviously, I didn't get in.

The rubber stencils are called "chablon" molds as well. They carry them at chefrubber.com and are about $35+/- each.

I haven't even read the whole post, but will go back and finish it now.

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Fabulous report!!!  Thank you so much.  I really, really, really want to spend a few days with Wybauw and do some hands on.  Gotta save up my chocolate money. 

Questions - when you describe putting the molds on parchment to prevent the top of the cavity from getting to thin are you putting it open side down?  I seem to recall he usually did that, but often putting his molds over a rack with the open side down. 

For making cuvettes I always put the mold on it's back in the fridge.  So he is suggesting putting it on one side?  Is that the picture further down showing spreading the mocha ganache?

.

I have some of the rubber stencils, I got them from Qzina in Toronto.  They didn't find people wanted them so they were selling them off.  I think I also saw them at McCalls Baker's Warehouse in Toronto,  I can certainly check for you.

Great description of the coding system.  Try the dark 815, nice thin shells, wonderfully bittersweet. 

Slam filling, brilliant!

Ok, I'm going to say it again.  I really, really, really need to spend a couple of days with Wybauw.

I'm glad that I can pay the forum back a bit for all the information I've gotten from here.

Yes, he suggested placing the mold cavity down on parchment. The idea is that a tiny amount of sagging chocolate would form a "foot" that would end up the same thickness as the rest of the shell. However you don't want to do it too early with a thick shell or you end up with a huge shelf. What he said it avoided was the thining you would get with a cavity up setting, which would then possibly cause the bottoms to pop out after sealing. I think we were using the straight formulation which molds pretty thin.

Good catch. The mold on its side behind the ganache is his demo for cuvettes.

I'd appreciate finding a source for the stencils. It was the neatest way to create bottoms for piped ganache and I want to try it at home.

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David J.

What a great post.  Thanks for the detail.  I'm so jealous.  I was on the wait list for that class...obviously, I didn't get in.

The rubber stencils are called "chablon" molds as well.  They carry them at chefrubber.com and are about $35+/- each.

I haven't even read the whole post, but will go back and finish it now.

I scoured that website yesterday and managed to miss it. I went back just now knowing that it was there and managed to locate it. I think what we used was a circle at 25mm and an oval at 30mm. The closest they have is 29mm circular and 39mm oval, but that is probably close enough. I'm pretty sure they all were 1mm thick.

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Great post!! I attended the JPW class at the Notter school in Orlando a few weeks before and it was everything you said. I would encourage anyone interested in chocolate to take a class taught by JPW.

Dan

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David J.

What a great post.  Thanks for the detail.  I'm so jealous.  I was on the wait list for that class...obviously, I didn't get in.

The rubber stencils are called "chablon" molds as well.  They carry them at chefrubber.com and are about $35+/- each.

I haven't even read the whole post, but will go back and finish it now.

I scoured that website yesterday and managed to miss it. I went back just now knowing that it was there and managed to locate it. I think what we used was a circle at 25mm and an oval at 30mm. The closest they have is 29mm circular and 39mm oval, but that is probably close enough. I'm pretty sure they all were 1mm thick.

i think they can custom make them to your specifications. may cost a bit more. but, a millimeter here or there isn't too big a deal. you're just piping ganache on them and dipping anyway!

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"....What I hadn’t paid much attention to before was proper cooling. Too fast and the temperature dips down into the range where the unstable crystals form and compete with the good crystals for the cocoa butter. Too slow and the crystals form coarsely for a poor result as well. I’m not clear on the mechanism for that however. If anyone can enlighten me on the subject feel free to speak up...."

My two cents (four by the time I finished this...sorry):

A common tempering problem is coarse crystals...it results in a less shiny, sometimes even slightly mottled looking surface. This can result from cooling too slowly, or from reheating off the marble too slowly while tempering in the first place. To restate what you already know, tempering is the process of forming little seed crystals in the proper form (because there are several), and allowing them to spread out as they rub up against their neighbors (hence stirring is helpful...it increases the interactions), and latch on, copying the same form. It's like the kid experiment of letting the sugar crystals grow on a string in a glass of sugar water.

Here is the problem...you would rather have a whole lot of seeds grow into small clusters before butting up against their neighbors, than letting a few seeds grow into really large crystals before butting up against their neighbors. It is just like the sugar crystals again...if they get large enough, you can see where one crystal set stops and the next one starts (because when they hit one another, they aren't generally in the same alignment, so a border formed). While this is less obvious in chocolate, the effect still can be enough to interfere with the nice reflection & subsequent shine of the surface, or even to give a mottled appearance where you can basically see where sets of crystals start and stop if you look closely enough.

Hopefully that is clear...I'm a bit tired tonight, so maybe I should have waited 'til morning.

Meanwhile, I do have one comment on the slam method of molding. It very much speeds up production, but the two things which have always bothered me about it are that it makes the seal harder to achieve when bottoming (with extra ganache all the way up the side of the shell interior, and maybe even remaining on top of the open edge)...and, that it takes a bit of care to avoid getting a bit of ganache back into your tempered chocolate when you do bottom the mold. This is only significant if you are using your tempered chocolate for some time, and filling many molds, or if you are highly concerned with the shine of subsequent molding. Depending on your batch size and order of production, you might not care.


Randall Raaflaub, chocolatier

rr chocolats

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i think they can custom make them to your specifications.  may cost a bit more.  but, a millimeter here or there isn't too big a deal.  you're just piping ganache on them and dipping anyway!

I think the idea is to keep the shell as thin as possible. Since you will be dipping the bottoms will have the base thickness plus whatever you add in the dipping/enrobing you want to keep the base thin. The two thicknesses available at Chefrubber are 1 and 2.5, and I think the latter would be a bit too deep.

Or are you refering to the width? In that case you are correct, it's just a matter of how large a truffle you want to end up with.

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"....What I hadn’t paid much attention to before was proper cooling. Too fast and the temperature dips down into the range where the unstable crystals form and compete with the good crystals for the cocoa butter. Too slow and the crystals form coarsely for a poor result as well. I’m not clear on the mechanism for that however. If anyone can enlighten me on the subject feel free to speak up...."

My two cents (four by the time I finished this...sorry):

A common tempering problem is coarse crystals...

A very clear explanation for the dullness, thankyou very much!

JPW said that it was responsible for the dark/light streaks through the chocolate, something I see in the chocolate left in the bowl.

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How do the course crystals create this striation?

As for the "slam" method of filling, I was thinking about the ganache on the sides of the shells myself. But with JPW doing it, I figured it couldn't be a really bad thing. He did say that you couldn't do it with all ganaches, and I took that to mean it had to be thin enough to shift, and thick enough not to all spill out. Perhaps it also means that it has to be thin enough to settle back down off the sides.

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David J.

Let me add my thanks for a fabulous report. I am brand new to the chocolate game so this was totally absorbing and I will be printing it out for future reference. My mind is abuzz with questions but I am sure a slower and more careful reading will answer many of them.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Those streaks are often called heat streaks. They are usually the result of one of two things:

1) temperature variations w/in the tempered chocolate itself (causes cooling rate differences and thus, crystal growth differences. surface appearance of chocolate has everything to do with the type, size, and distribution of cocoa butter crystals)

2) as cocoa butter crystallizes, it gives off heat. As it melts, it absorbs heat. Sometimes you'll have a situation where a layer of chocolate will crystallize and send out a heat 'wave' of sorts. That melts the adjacent layer completely, causing an endothermic 'wave' quickly solidifying the adjacent layer, which causes that layer to give off heat, and etc etc etc. It can result in a number of different effects in the finished chocolate, one of which is this striated ringing appearance.

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Those streaks are often called heat streaks.  They are usually the result of one of two things:

1) temperature variations w/in the tempered chocolate itself (causes cooling rate differences and thus, crystal growth differences.  surface appearance of chocolate has everything to do with the type, size, and distribution of cocoa butter crystals)

2) as cocoa butter crystallizes, it gives off heat. As it melts, it absorbs heat.  Sometimes you'll have a situation where a layer of chocolate will crystallize and send out a heat 'wave' of sorts.  That melts the adjacent layer completely, causing an endothermic 'wave' quickly solidifying the adjacent layer, which causes that layer to give off heat, and etc etc etc.  It can result in a number of different effects in the finished chocolate, one of which is this striated ringing appearance.

Back when I used to use my little sinsation to temper, when I was done I would take the last bits of chocolate and mold up as many of the little madeline shapes (my first and still favorite mold) as solid pralines. I would scrape all the remaing chocolate from the sides of the bowl and would often end up with these gorgeous little striated shells. They usually demolded promptly because they were mostly in temper. The striated streaks added a really interesting powdery texture to the taste to parts of the chocolate.

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If taken to the extreme, you can generate unusual textural differences in the chocolate that're visible as well - ie, again, if taken to the extreme, there are instances where you can see things such as the chocolate looking like shale inside (ie the rock) - has a very unusual texture to it!

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If taken to the extreme, you can generate unusual textural differences in the chocolate that're visible as well - ie, again, if taken to the extreme, there are instances where you can see things such as the chocolate looking like shale inside (ie the rock) - has a very unusual texture to it!

Yeah, that's the effect. I often find that in my bowl of chocolate that is leftover scraps for the next batch. It tastes really neat with the texture thing going on.

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David J. AWESOME! I've only started to read through what you've written but I solved one of my problems (chocolate thickening while in temper). Thanks! I am sure I will have more questions when I am able to take a closer look at this thread on monday.

Jeff

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David J thank you so much for the fantastic and indepth article! I agree with Kerry, I want to spend a couple of days with JPW also! :wink:

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Well, David, like everyone else I'm just floored by this informative post. Thanks so much! :biggrin:


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

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David J that was a wonderful post! Thank you for taking the time to do it. For me it is like a refresher course on the class I took with JPW last year--much needed and far less expensive!

Thank you again

Jennifer

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OMG, thank you David, you're awesome!

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David,

I have read and re-read this report many times and each time I seem to find new nugget to hang on to.

Finally, though I have a couple of questions:

I haven't figured out all the quote features yet, but you said:

"I have abused my cooling in the past by just popping it into the fridge too early, or even a shot in the freezer if they weren’t releasing easily. I’m going to be much more careful and it will probably do wonders.

He has a suggestion of a working room temperature of 68F and a cooling room/fridge of 50F for the artisan who can’t afford the three temperature ranges that are used commercially.

Once it starts setting at the working room temperature you move it to the cooler. Setting chocolate is exothermic so you have to watch placing too much chocolate in close proximity or it could cause some of it to go out of temper before it cools enough to fully set."

How long are we talking about before putting it in the 'fridge - a couple of minutes? Or is it a matter of judging from experience that the chocolate has started to set up?

50F is mighty high for a home fridge - mine sits at 40F or a bit lower - so far I don't think that this has been a problem so I think I will leave it rather than risk all my other food stuff bcoming potentially lethal!

You said:

A properly tempered batch of chocolate has a certain amount of good crystals which act as a seed when it cools. However these crystals don’t just sit there in the bowl. They generate more crystals which is why as time goes on the chocolate gets thicker. There are two ways to deal with that, the first being adding more untempered chocolate to bring the ratio back in line, and the other to hit it with a heat gun to melt out some of the over crystallization. He kept pointing out that the temperature of the chocolate may be in the correct range, but it won’t necessarily have the proper crystal seed.

Did you really mean "untempered" chocolate or is this just a typo? Or are you really adding untempered chocolate to disrupt the beta crystallization? Sorry, I am very new to this whole chocolate game!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Ann,

JPW wouldn't give a definitive time before placing the mold or truffles into the cooler environment because each molding may require a differing amount of time to start setting up. Variables include the chocolate temp, mold temp, room temp, and thickness of the coating. The best I could get out of him was to watch it and you will know when it is time. I believe that the time would be when it looses the wet sheen.

I agree that 50F is rather warm for a standard fridge. What I failed to add was that he also suggests a fair wind velocity in addition to ensure a good rate of heat transfer. This is something that most home refrigerators lack. I believe the chief requirement for that temperature is the restriction of a maximum 18F difference bewteen the working and cooling temperature. He is concerned about shock cooling and too rapid a cooling which might generate unstable crystals. The ideal commercial setup has three temperatures, 80.6-82.4F for working, 62.6-64.4F for initial cooling, and 44.6-46.4F for final cooling, again with only an 18F difference between each. With only two temperatures for the artisan chocolatier, and a restriction of 18F difference you have to strike a balance between too cold a working room temperature and too warm a setting temperature.

I'm not sure what to do about the fact that my own fridge is significantly colder than this other than to obtain a small fridge or cooler just for chocolate work. There is a purpose built fridge I saw for sale somewhere, but it was at least $2K and therefore well out of my budget. I think a dorm room fridge or a wine or beverage cooler would work out well. Wine coolers are typically adjustable from 48F to 61F while beverage coolers can reach 40F. At least one wine cooler advertised a fan to effectively move the air around which would seem to fit the velocity that JPW recommended. They start around $200 and are much more palatable to my budget.

Yes I did mean to say "Add melted un-tempered chocolate" if the batch you have has too many crystals in it. Think about it as a ratio. If the batch you have is getting too thick, it is because it has too many beta crystals per unit chocolate. If you add more chocolate that has no crystals you are changing the ratio to a more favorable working range. Of course you have to watch the temperature of the chocolate and the amount so that you don't either melt out all the crystals you have or swing the ratio too far. The alternative is to keep the amount of chocolate you have constant and change the ratio by melting out some of the crystals.

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Ann,

JPW wouldn't give a definitive time before placing the mold or truffles into the cooler environment because each molding may require a differing amount of time to start setting up.  Variables include the chocolate temp, mold temp, room temp, and thickness of the coating.  The best I could get out of him was to watch it and you will know when it is time.  I believe that the time would be when it looses the wet sheen.

I agree that 50F is rather warm for a standard fridge.  What I failed to add was that he also suggests a fair wind velocity in addition to ensure a good rate of heat transfer.  This is something that most home refrigerators lack.  I believe the chief requirement for that temperature is the restriction of a maximum 18F difference bewteen the working and cooling temperature.  He is concerned about shock cooling and too rapid a cooling which might generate unstable crystals.  The ideal commercial setup has three temperatures, 80.6-82.4F for working, 62.6-64.4F for initial cooling, and 44.6-46.4F for final cooling, again with only an 18F difference between each.  With only two temperatures for the artisan chocolatier, and a restriction of 18F difference you have to strike a balance between too cold a working room temperature and too warm a setting temperature.

I'm not sure what to do about the fact that my own fridge is significantly colder than this other than to obtain a small fridge or cooler just for chocolate work.  There is a purpose built fridge I saw for sale somewhere, but it was at least $2K and therefore well out of my budget.  I think a dorm room fridge or a wine or beverage cooler would work out well.  Wine coolers are typically adjustable from 48F to 61F while beverage coolers can reach 40F.  At least one wine cooler advertised a fan to effectively move the air around which would seem to fit the velocity that JPW recommended.  They start around $200 and are much more palatable to my budget.

Yes I did mean to say "Add melted un-tempered chocolate" if the batch you have has too many crystals in it.  Think about it as a ratio.  If the batch you have is getting too thick, it is because it has too many beta crystals per unit chocolate.  If you add more chocolate that has no crystals you are changing the ratio to a more favorable working range.  Of course you have to watch the temperature of the chocolate and the amount so that you don't either melt out all the crystals you have or swing the ratio too far.  The alternative is to keep the amount of chocolate you have constant and change the ratio by melting out some of the crystals.

Thank you, David. I understand it a lot better now. Sometimes it takes a 2 x 4 applied to my skull to get some of this technical stuff in there. :laugh:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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