Hi again, Here is a problem that I have run into a couple of times: the bars come out of the mold with crystals on the mold side surface. There is some chocolate residue left on the mold and the bar itself is "sandy". Any thoughts on this specific problem? The images tell the story.
I'm not far enough along in my experimentation to tell you for certain, but I have done a fair bit of baking: small bits of cake seem to stick to the pan the most if the cake was not sufficiently cooled when I went to remove it from the pan.
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than myself (i.e., anyone) will chime in, but my guess would be to let the bars rest longer before removal. And I wonder if a wire rack underneath your bar molds would give you more uniform cooling, which could also be at fault for the pattern I see in your picture.
I think the bars were in the molds for a sufficient amount of time (24 hrs). I am thinking that when I poured the chocolate, I put them into the fridge for 20 minutes like the Mast Brothers do. Perhaps my fridge was too cold? I had one tray that was only half filled and there was no room in the fridge so I left it on the counter. Although they did not look great, they did not have the same problem. I am trying today to do it again and I hope it will work. No fridge this time. The thing is that I have put bars diectly into the fridge before and they came out looking pretty good. This particular batch has more cocao butter than any previous batches. Maybe that is the reason? I bet the Mast Bros use a cooler that has a temp higher than my fridge. We will see. I am now going to clean the choco crud from my molds. Tedious! Wish me luck.
Post by itsallaroundyou on Oct 7, 2010 10:44:41 GMT -5
I think cooling might be only one of the problems. I have had cooling problems, but with chocolate that is in temper, the mold side usually doesn't come out that hazy and speckled, its usually the air side.
Are you certain your chocolate is in temper before pouring into molds? Are your molds clean?
i suggest doing a test temper before molding--temper your batch, instead of molding, spoon two dollops onto two pieces of foil and let one cool in the fridge and one cool at room temp. compare. this should help narrow down the culprit.
report back with pics
"If it wasn't for venetian blinds it'd be curtains for us all"
That looks like sugar bloom...when you rub it, is it gritty as opposed to "greasy"? Sugar bloom is crystal-like and fat bloom is more like grease. I suspect that the time in the fridge is too long and/or the temp too low, as you are getting sugar bloom that comes from moisture. I would either skip the fridge altogether or substantially reduce the time spent in there to, say, 5 minutes max.
You're using a polycarbonate mold (GOOD). It's good and stiff. Make sure your mold is spotlessly clean when you pour your properly tempered chocolate into it (Do a temper test first!) Quickly transfer the molded bar to the fridge, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Open the fridge, and carefully lift up the mold and look at the underside of it. Your bar is ready to come out when you see that it's pulled away from the mold.
Never leave your chocolate in the fridge for any extended period of time. It will attract condensation. Not good. That will pull sugar out of the chocolate and give it a grainy / sticky feel.
I tried again today and I think there is a problem with some of my cells in the molds?!? Maybe it is the way I have been cleaning them? I only buff out the cells with a soft cotton t-shirt material. I dull a toothpick and police the corners, then wipe it out with the cloth. No water, no soap, no nothin'. Should I rub a film of cocoa butter on there as a release agent? I tempered the batch again and felt pretty confident about the results. My test blob looked good and I retained the temp of the chocolate around 89-90. I put half of the molds in the fridge for a few minutes (5 or so) and left the other half on my basement shelf. Low and behold, the same thing happened. It does seem like sugar bloom. The residue left on the mold (which is a real pain to clean) is sort of fine sand texture. It is cocoa colored and seems to have an inconsistent pattern. Sometimes some of the cells, usually on the outer edge of a mold sheet, are fine! and most are f.u.b.a.r. Probably 80% bad. There is no difference between the molds in the the fridge and the ones on the shelf. Both have mostly bad bars with a couple or no exceptions. For some reason, one whole tray came out very nicely. It was a shelf-cooled tray. Maybe it is the temp difference between the chocolate and the mold? I usually hit the mold tray with a hair drier for a second before I put chocolate in it. I don't cook it, I do it just for a second. It is hardly warm to the touch. Ambient humidity? I am in Portland, OR and it was raining today but that was not the case last week. It was sunny and beautiful. the chocolate looks the same as it did last week. I have to think it is something about how I am dealing with the molds because I believe the chocolate is in temper when I am pouring and I have eliminated the fridge as the culprit. Any ideas?
yes, sounds like the molds to me. I am by no means an expert, but I would suggest you try the following: clean the molds using warm water (no soap) and buff with your t-shirt until you can hold them up and see no spots. Now, pour tempered chocolate in them once or twice, and allow to crystallize...just to get a nice coat of leftover cocoa butter. You can re-use the chocolate. Don't heat your molds with a hair dryer first, but you can leave them in a gas oven with just the pilot light for a little bit ahead of time, just so that they are not too cold. If that doesn't do it, I have nothing else to recommend; that's how I treat new molds (in order to get a coating to make them release nicely) and it works for me.
So, this is getting weird. I have considered the humidity and will definitely get a hygrometer. A climate controlled kitchen is a reach but I am interested to know what I am dealing with. But I am not sure if that is the only issue. I feel like if it was a humidity issue, it would be more consistent, but I am getting some okay bars and some completely crappy bars from the same mold sheet! I don't get it. What is different from one cell to another? Here are some pics that tell the story. Those two bars came from the same mold sheet and the cells were next to each other. This is a mystery to me. I am determined to figure it out and I really appreciate your input. Thank you so much. There is a lot to think about.