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January 3, 2005
1:50 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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April 24, 2004
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I tried to make some pralines while home at christmas. It went.., well, you know where. Here are the problems, with the hope that you may be able to find what I did wrong:

I made some marcipan, and some truffle. The truffle was made by ordinary whipping cream, and plain 50% baking chocolate (cannot afford to use real Chocolate for the first basic experiments; added some cocoa powder for the balance). I heated the cream to almost boiling, then melted the chocolate into it and left it to settle. It became a good truffle, but slightly too “weak”, I had to freeze it so it did’t dissolve when covering it. So PROBLEM 1: how can I get the truffle stiffer?
PROBLEM 2: I tried to make a white choc truffle as well, but it never became more stif than an old porridge. Is there something with white choc that makes it more difficult to get stiff?

PROBLEM 3: Covering was a nightmare. I heated the couverture (tried both the same plain choc, and a ordinary milk choc) on a deep plate over a hot water pan. The first problem was that the cover choc became to floating, it never really settled on the fillings. How can I control the viscosity of the choc? The second was that the cover choc after a while became grainy and actually was impossible to melt. Could this be due to moist entering the choc?

Does anyone have good links to “chocolate science” sites?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 3, 2005
3:33 pm
Sebastian
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Gonna need more info – what’s your ratio of cream to chocolate? The obvious answer would be to decrease your cream (increase your chocolate) to firm it up. I like to use a ratio of, say, 1 lb chocolate, 1/2 cup cream, 2 tbsp butter, and 1/4 cup liquer (creame de menthe, triple sec, whatever). Personally, I like the texture that gives, but each person is different. I’ll usually add a spot of corn syrup also for shelf life stability.

white chocolate can absorb moisture from the atmosphere more readily than it’s dark counterparts. If you’ve got a particularly old sample, it may have absorbed lots of moisture. the ‘cure’ to that is to add a drop (literally, a drop. 0.1%) of fluid lecithin. You can probably secure that at confectionery specialty shoppes. I’d stick with fluid lecithin.

Not quite sure i understand what your 3rd problem is. Graininess can be a result of getting moisture into it (double boilers can be tricky..), or taht you got it too hot if it’s a milk chocolate (y ou may be denaturing the milk proteins – take care not to go above 180ish F or so).

January 3, 2005
5:49 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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October 10, 2003
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I support Sebastian’s views – the cream/chocolate ratio is crucial here. I don’t have any experience with using cocoa powder for ‘balance’ as you said. Does it work?

The third problem, or as you describe them one problem followed by another, is often a result of over-heating (both of them). It has happened to me a couple of times some years ago when using ordinary baking chocolate. The first problem you describe is the first certain sign of over-heating is that the chocolate is too floating and doesn’t stick. The graininess is just the following step. If I remember correctly, you can just let it all stiffen again (in room temperature!) and try it all over again. Just remember that when properly melted you should still be able to see the original shape of the chocolate pieces (e.g. squares) and logos (e.g. the Freia bird) should be recognisable.

I have heard, but not been able to confirm, that the quality of the chocolate plays a part here. Just to let you know, there are two different Valrhona baking chocolate bars – considerably cheaper than Guanaja, Manjari etc and good bargain compared to baking chocolate. (About 25 NOK for 100 g, maybe less even.) One of them is 61%, the other 71%. I used the latter for some of my truffles – successfully. It is versatile but not without character.

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
January 5, 2005
8:36 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by Sebastian

Gonna need more info – what’s your ratio of cream to chocolate? The obvious answer would be to decrease your cream (increase your chocolate) to firm it up.

white chocolate can absorb moisture from the atmosphere more readily than it’s dark counterparts. If you’ve got a particularly old sample, it may have absorbed lots of moisture.

Not quite sure i understand what your 3rd problem is. Graininess can be a result of getting moisture into it (double boilers can be tricky..), or taht you got it too hot if it’s a milk chocolate (y ou may be denaturing the milk proteins – take care not to go above 180ish F or so).


Thanx for all the advice!

I used 0,67 litres of cream for three 100 g choc bars, and a few teaspoons of cocoa powder. Increasing the choc content seems to be a good idea, but then I would need to skip the cocoa powder and use a better dark choc, because the truffle tasted quite dark now. (As far as I could see, the cocoa powder did not affect the truffle other than “darken” the taste).

The white choc was new, straight from the pack, so I doubt it was absorbed moist that was the problem. May be the lower cocoa content?

The third problem was that, after bein heated and melted, some of the choc got more or less solid again, and would not melt despite the melting temperature. It also became grainy. I think I saw on another website (forgotten where[:(]) that this could be the result of absorbed moist. Or could it be that the cocoa butter recrystallises to another polymorph with higher melting point?

I will follow LoneLy’s advice and try to keep the temperature lower and the moist away the next time.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 6, 2005
1:35 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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I found the reference to moist and tempering (bottom of page):

http://www.exploratorium.edu/e…..ivity.html

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 11, 2005
6:47 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Polar, now I remember; when the same happened to me I used a new bar of baking chocolate for the new attempt. We used to eat or throw away the miserable stuff. I did the same mistake with a Cluizel 85% bar, but I succeeded when I did it all over again.
The link doesn’t work here right now so I am not able to make more sense out of this right now, but to make a guess I can imagine that cocoa butter vs vegetable fat makes a difference. You may try the Freia Dark 70% (which is not 70%) instead, I think it contains butter instead of ‘vegetable fat’. Of course you can then reduce or skip butter (I use to melt butter with the chocolate when making pralines, mousse, cake.)

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
January 13, 2005
1:53 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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August 1, 2006
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When chocolate seizes, it’s common to add vegetable oil because of the neutral flavor it imparts. Butter, otoh, would be too strong of a flavor, and you’d probably be making a buttercream, which is good only if you want to frost a cake.

January 13, 2005
9:58 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Depends on the amount of butter, eh? [8D]

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
January 14, 2005
7:06 pm
green
Trondheim, Norway
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November 19, 2004
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Yeah, I think a little butter just makes the taste even better, it doesn’t dominate or take over anything, just “spices it up” [:)]

January 15, 2005
1:32 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Yeah, but you want to incorporate enough fat in order for the emulsification to occur. Besides, butter has moisture in it too. When one makes clarified butter, one is simply evaporating the moisture and leaving behind the fat. Tasty, huh?

January 15, 2005
5:02 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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October 10, 2003
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11

… but you don’t have to clarify the butter …

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)