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Need blooming help!!
December 12, 2006
7:11 am
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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Please help. Many of my recent batches have been disasters with either what would appear to be fat bloom appearing on the top of slabs that I have poured or the chocolate having a crumbly cake like texture despite me being really careful with temperature during tempering.
The weather here in Australia has been fairly warm but today was not overly so (low 20's).
I poured dark chocolate; used the seeding method as always and continued to seed and stir until temp was around 28?C/82?F then added almonds and checked that no temperature change had occurred. After pouring as a slab of about 1cm thickness I placed the trays in a reasonably cool room for about 10 minutes, then into the fridge for about ten minutes. When I removed them from the fridge I could already see signs of bloom around the edges and they gradually became covered with it. In all other respects the chocolate seems good - removed from tray easily, shiny on the bottom. Other batches I've made lately though have been even worse - texture almost bubbly/crumbly cake-like.
I always heat choc to about 45?C/113F then take it back via seeding to 32/89?F for dark, 28/82?F for milk and 27/80?F for white. It has been suggested that maybe my thermometer is out but I think by now I have a reasonably good idea of when the temperature is about right so I don't think it's that.
Do you think it's my method or maybe the weather??!!

December 12, 2006
11:41 am
Sebastian
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Almost everything with chocolate is related to time or temperature. Boil some water and put your thermometer in it to see if it reads 212F - that's an easy way to do a 1 point check on it's accuracy. For the milk and white, you're cooling it far too much - if by 'seeding' method you mean you're adding back to the melted chocolate some product that is already tempered, then your goal should be to lower the temperature of the melted chocolate to about 90F, be it dark, milk, or white. There will be some variation here based on the formulation, but you're going far too cold. By lowering it to 80-82, you're reforming certain crystals that will decrease your stability...you could salvage it by re-warming it to 90F again, but that's an extra step..your dark numbers look pretty good to me, but often it's a matter of a degree or two, again, depending on the formula...if your dark isn't working, try raising it's temp 2 degrees f. In addition to having a good thermometer, the other critical feature for this method to work is that you've got to be 100% positive that the chocolate you're using to seed it with is already tempered..

Good luck!

December 12, 2006
12:20 pm
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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Thanks Sebastian, I appreciate your reply. I thought that bloom was most likely to occur when the temp. was too hot which is why I always let it go a bit longer. But also I was taught the different temps for the different chocs in the course that I did (Ecole Chocolat). Also, on the various bags of choc that I buy (Felchlin, Belcolade and Lindt for instance) they show temperature graphs for each chocolate type and they are all different as I described. The first thing I will do is check my thermometer. It's an infra-red laser and I have had my doubts about its accuracy ever since my son stuck his finger in the end of it!

December 12, 2006
12:28 pm
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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Oh and I forgot to ask... how does one temper chocolate without seeding? Can it be done just by cooling it back to 32C/90F and stirring to distribute the crystals? I have used the method (tabliering if I remember correctly) where you pour some of the melted choc onto marble and cool it before replacing into the mass and stirring - which is a similar principle to the seeding method isn't it?

December 12, 2006
12:40 pm
Sebastian
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All forms of tempering involve seeding in one form or another - seeding is only the act of forming a small amount of the proper crystal type, which the rest of the fat will then use as a template to copy itself on. When most people say seeding, it's been my experience that what they mean is they melt the chocolate to 120, add some ground up tempered chocolate to the melted chocolate until the temp is around 90, then they're off. However, tabeling it or tempering ni a pot or bain marie or any of the other dozen or so ways that it can be done, also result in a seeding of the chocolate - so when trouble shooting, it's important for the troubleshooter to know which methjod you are using. The reason your graphs are different on the packaging is because of the presence or absence of milk fat, which depresses the crystallization temperatures of the cocoa butter. my very strong suspicion is, however, that the graph does not end at 80F, rather that's the mid-point of it, after which the next step should show the temperature being increased to somewhere between 86-89f...

December 12, 2006
12:55 pm
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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Yep you're right, the next step is to reheat it back up to 32C. I've tried that extra step but didn't find that it made much difference so stuck to what I've always done and what has (usually) always worked - heat to 45, cool to 32 for dark, 28 0r 29 for milk and cooler again for white. The botched batch I produced a couple of days ago was milk. I cooled it to about 29C then added some hazelnuts that I had roasted, then poured it. I checked it 10 or 15 minutes later and had my suspicions that something was amiss because it was still looking very wet and glossy. My conclusion was that the hazelnuts were still slightly warm from roasting and that they had raised the temp of the choc and knocked it out of temper. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best but sadly the next day I couldn't even get it out of the tin and it was crumbly and almost bubbly. That batch however hasn't been the only botch up just lately though- which is why I was keen to blame the weather! I have not had so many problems before....

December 12, 2006
7:23 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Hey Sebastian...here's a question for you...

Since the Cocoa Butter that comes from different areas around the world will melt and different temperatures depending on their trigliceride structure of unsaturated and Saturated fatty acids...will that change the point at which we will temper the chocolate at all? basically with the fat makeup being different in every bean do we use slightly different temperatures to acheive beta crystals when we temper?

Eager to hear,
Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
December 12, 2006
10:48 pm
Sebastian
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Certainly. Brazilian beans, for example, have a much different hardness and solid crystalline structure than, say, african beans. What does the mean to the person who's hand tempering? You're likely going to notice a difference between the two if working with them side by side, and you should use the temperatures you're all familiar with by now as a guideline only. The more you work with chocolate, the more you'll be able to 'read' it (i call it chocolate zen...). You'll be able to tell when it's changing viscosity, luster, cling to surfaces, etc - the temparatures should guide you to that place, but should never be the sole thing you rely on..

edit - i should also point out there there are things manufacturers can do to help minimize these differences, if the so choose to. Deodorization helps, and butters from different sources can be blended to provide a stable DSC reading..

December 12, 2006
11:38 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Well put...I knew you would have a good answer for that one...
Now I have read that for the most part...the closer you are to the equator the harder the cocoa butter will be(meaning it will melt at a higher temp)...now I have heard Brazilian cocoa butter refered to as a softer fat but what about where brazil crosses the equator? shouldn't the fat in the beans be harder if grown towards the top? Is that a true statement?

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
December 13, 2006
2:02 pm
Sebastian
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Sometimes - but not necessarily (how's that for a politician-like answer!). It's really a very complex scenario, and one that is not well understood. Variables such as genetics, terroir, altitude, nutrient mix, climactic conditions, post harvest treatment, etc all go into it - which makes it very difficult to support a blanket statement one way or t'other

December 13, 2006
7:27 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Thanks for your help. Do you know of any specific research on the subject? I have read in certain books but they interpret research and I like to read it for myself....if not it's ok...you helped me already but I would like to see them if possible...thanks again

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
December 13, 2006
9:27 pm
Sebastian
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Not really - everything I have is work I've done myself or built on from my predecessors... penn state or uc davis may have some published material on it.. i've not checked..

December 14, 2006
12:04 am
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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An update on my progress. It would appear that my laser thermometer is about 4 degrees off. I used my old candy thermometer and compared the two. I have been believing that the temp was around 32C when in fact it may have been up around 35C. SO! I got a better result but still not perfect probably because my candy thermometer is very difficult to read.
Is it common for others, even very experienced temperers, to wind up with fat bloom and have to start again? Keen to know.

December 14, 2006
12:26 am
Sebastian
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aye, it certainly can be! The joys and the sorrows, they go together with chocolate sometimes...as with all things, however, the more you do it, the better you become...

December 15, 2006
5:32 am
erikos
New York, USA
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I was having big problems with blooming, until I started putting the chocolates right into the fridge to cool for a few minutes. The chocolate was definitely precrystalized. I read somewhere that as the chocolate cools, it can give off a lot of heat that can cause problems with bloom.

December 15, 2006
10:46 pm
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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Yeah thanks, that is another thing I will try. I was having very few problems at all until the weather here started to warm up and so I have wondered if this was contributing to the problem. Will try going straight into the fridge and see what happens. Another thing I am finding that is interesting is that when I seed with 'largish' buttons and some don't completely melt, I remove them which is fine. But if I miss the odd one and it is left poking out of the surface along with nuts etc.- it will turn white. I guess that the surface of the button has melted and then remains untempered. What's happening in this case? Any theories?

December 26, 2006
7:09 am
rozzi
Pt. Willunga, Australia
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All problems now solve thankyou all those who offered advice. Seems my thermometer was actually around 7 degrees out for a start. That and the hot weather created the problem. Thanks Erikos for the suggestion to put straight in the fridge - it definitely is the way to go when the weather is warm.

December 30, 2006
5:02 am
foodhead
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A side note, digital thermometers can be up to 3% off, laser thermometers are that plus only measure surface temp., not total mass. I recommend using a calibrated probe thermometer for your tempering. Good luck!

December 30, 2006
7:34 am
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Just a side note about thermometers...I bought one specifically for chocolate that only has a range of like 80 Degrees...I don't use anything else when tempering...only that thermometer and it has always worked great for me.

http://pastrychef.com/Catalog/.....121450.htm

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com

Need blooming help!! | Techniques | Forum