I'm trying to figure out the best way (in terms of a nice balance of time and money) to mold chocolate bars on a relatively small scale. I've been doing quite a bit of reading, research, and asking questions, and I've seen quite a bit of conflicting information. So, what I'm looking for now is real world experience.
I'd be interested to know what people are doing who don't use a cooling tunnel, but who end up turning out chocolate with a nice snap and gloss without any obvious swirling or other finish issues.
I have a number of questions that I would like anyone who fits the above description to answer (pretty please[;)]):
1) What is the thickness of your molds, and what is the material?
2) Do you warm up your molds to the temperature of the tempered chocolate prior to depositing?
3) What is the room temperature in your molding room?
4) What do you do with the molds immediately after depositing the chocolate? (i.e., do you do a number of molds and then put them all in a cooling area, or do you put them in one at a time?)
5) Your cooling area/room/chamber...what is the temperature?
6) Do you alter the temperature in the cooling area, or transport the molds to a different area with a different temperature while they are cooling? Please explain in as much detail as possible.
7) How do you handle airflow--what machines do you use (ceiling fans, large industrial standing fans, other?), and how are they mounted (how far away from the chocolate), and at what speed do you run them?
8) How much time do you give your bars before unmolding?
9) Finally, please explain any methods that you did use previously which led to bad results.
Thank you in advance to everyone who participates. Since I'm designing a couple of rooms based on moulding and cooling, in part, I'm hoping to rule out really problematic designs ahead of time by learning as much as possible. I've read about all the theory that I can find including Minifie's, Beckett's and Chatt's books among others and am hoping that all of your experience will fill in the missing puzzle pieces.
P.S. I've closely read over this thread already:
For what it's worth, I've been using a polycarbonate mold much like this one:
I've been tempering batches of about 1kg and then molding. Generally speaking, I haven't been going the extra mile on temperature and humidity, but mostly that's just because I'm lucky to live in a spot where conditions are generally happy for solid chocolate Temperature is generally in the low 70s. I don't have any kind of vibrating table, so I usually just give the mold a few good knocks on the countertop to settle out air.
Usually I've been leaving the chocolate in the mold for 8 hours or so before removal...
Anyway, I don't know if that's helpful or not, but there it is! Obviously, my recent batches are really really small
Thanks for that. What you are doing may be small, but every little bit of personal experience is relevant to what I'm doing. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
P.S. Does anyone else have any experience to add?
February 23, 2006
I too have done relatively small batches, and I monitor the room conditions myself, keeping the humidity levels no more than 35-40%, and room temp no more than 69-70 degrees. I am embarking on a mass production scale, and am not quite sure what I'm in for but I'll keep you posted of the trials and tribulations. Also, If you're leaving the chocolate in the molds for 8 hrs, that seems to me to be way too long, you should be able to pop your molded products out within 15 min/ half hour. If you chill and set your molds properly (I flash them in the commercial refridgerator for about 15 min, then pop them out.) This is all it should take. If you are just leaving them to set at room temp, then your room temp should be a bit cooler (60 degrees) for a quicker set. Hope this helps!
Keep it Sweet!
February 23, 2006
By the way, Alan here are some answers to your questions:
1) Polycarbonate injection molds (thickness varies)
2) Room temperature, (70 or so) I wipe with cotton or cheesecloth to achieve an even better finished gloss
3)See previous post
4)It varies depending on production amount, but usually try to chill to set within a couple min.
5)Optimum is about 60-65 degrees, you can go as high as 70 but that just drags the temp. process. Switching to a 'cool' room is better for the chocs
6)I temper in a warmer environment: 70 degrees, place finished molds in a cooler room (60 degrees) or flash in refridge. for 15 min, then to the cooler room, extreme variances could be critical for the choco. it likes to take it easy, gradual change!
7) As little airflow as possible, this creates hot/cold spots in the room, see 6!
8)If flashed in fridge, about 15 min or so, (remove from fridge, to cool room, set about 15 or so min then pop out of molds)
9)See 6!! any variables in the room temp/air flow will cause blooming on parts/all of choc, I had a warm room once where I was blowing a fan on choc's to cool down better and the corner edges of the chocs that were getting the direct air from fan bloomed! They are happier in moderately cool environments!!!
Did I pass the test?? lol Hope I've helped!
Keep it Sweet!
May 29, 2005
I have a small wine cooler refrigerator that I use at home for production. The humidity can be controlled.
Some people will leave the chocolate in the moulds for long periods of time for the purpose of the chocolate to dry. Chocolate actually takes longer than 30 minutes to really, really dry.(we are talking the moleculat level!!) So to get the nice gloss and shine some people will let the chocolate stay in the moulds overnight etc.. I know a lady who will do a quick paint job (obviously very small amount of production) in each mould. Just enough to have a thin layer of chocolate...and she will set the moulds aside for 24 hours and then do a proper moulding job. The result will be a very shiny chocolate.
Hey...enjoy the world cup.!!!
September 30, 2004
October 24, 2005
1) http://www.chocolat-chocolat.com; high quality molds; about 1/8" thick.
2) We keep molds at room temp (70F)
3) Room temp 70F seems OK
4) Immediately to cooling station
5) Cooling cycles 70F to 50F to 70F, which in turns cools chocolate from 88F to 60F to 70F. Low humidity environment important.
6) From cooling area molds go back to 70F wrapping area
7) We will be experimenting with a new cooling tunnel (small) this weekend that has fan and temp control; it cost less than $200.
8) Bars are ready after about 30 minutes
9) Bad results: using Freezer for cooling, wrapping in high humidity area (condensation on bars).
> I had a warm room once where I was blowing a fan
> on choc's to cool down better and the corner edges
> of the chocs that were getting the direct air from
> fan bloomed!
Can you explain this? I've blown directly on chocolate many times without any issues with blooming. Maybe the edges cooled more quickly than the rest of the chocolate (I have seen issues with thick chocolate not cooling uniformily and causing blooming). What do you think?
February 23, 2006
Ger-All I can figure is the room was a bit too warm so invariably the fan was blowing warm air on the chocolate. It just seems to be a touchy method, I'd prefer to keep my environments consistent for consistent results. You, Ger, must have it down to a science with the fan, me not so good!
Keep it Sweet!
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