Display cases

Amber B.
@amber-b
01/17/10 08:02:31PM
10 posts
Refrigeration vs. non-refrigerated?Hello everyone. My name is Amber and I've been surfing The Chocolate Life and gleaning all sorts of wisdom and for that I thank you. You are all very kind-hearted and helpful...not to mention extremely knowledgeable. I have three questions (actually hundreds, but 3 to start with):I am trying to set up a retail shop on a shoestring budget as I've outgrown my "friends and family" circle.1) I am wondering about bare-bones display cases. Do they have to be refrigerated if the commercial space has a window a/c? (I'll assume yes..and if so) can you use what they call a "deli case" vs. a bakery case (as they are MUCH less expensive.?2) Can you really temper chocolate only by using a microwave then pouring mass into a chocolate warmer/melter and adding more seed chocolate to it (on a 2/1 ratio meaning 2 melted 1 seed)? I've heard that you can, but haven't found on the internet for sure if the melter will hold the temper for long periods of time? (I currently use a very small chocovision rev 2 machine for my hobby).3) How can extend shelf life of my cream/butter truffles? Are you supposed to refrigerate or freeze them due to the moisture/condensation problem? Also them cracking when "re-entering" normal room temperatures?Thank you for your patience and help with yet another newbie.
updated by @amber-b: 04/13/15 04:09:32AM
Bud Stockwell
@bud-stockwell
01/21/10 03:59:30PM
18 posts
Hey Amber,When I first opened my retail shop I used a non-refrigerated case. As you can imagine, it is fine if the room is a fairly constant temperature and it doesn't get above 70 degrees. We had a lot of unacceptable blooming. You won't get as much shelf life out of your product. For every one degree drop in temperature you extend your shelf life 7 days. ( I think that was the number I read.) If you're making truffles with fresh cream and butter it will be best to get a case made for chocolate as soon as possible.Good luck with things.
Amber B.
@amber-b
01/21/10 05:22:30PM
10 posts
Thank you very much Bud.I can see that a refrigerated one is a must! Someone told me I can skimp by using a wine cooler or refrigerator. I don't know what the difference between a "cooler" and "refrigerator" are, but I'm trying to find out which one doesn't have humidity. If you know, please do tell.Sincerely, Amber B.PS. Thank you for your kindness.
Bud Stockwell
@bud-stockwell
01/21/10 07:08:58PM
18 posts
I purchased my case from "Cold Core" www.cold-core.comIt has humidity control as well as being able to keep the case at the correct temperature for candy. This is a higher temp that a normal cooler which is usually 20 degrees cooler.That being said, you do want to be careful that you can afford the expenses of opening and not making any money for a prolonged period of time. Make sure you spend some time thinking about what your up-front costs are as well as your ongoing expenses. It's a big step opening a business and not always a profitable one. I've been in business for 30 years with my natural foods store and the retail chocolate shop for 3 years. I also make the chocolate for the retail store. It not the easiest biz, but it sure is fun. I'll be happy to answer what questions I can about start up.
Amber B.
@amber-b
01/22/10 08:43:49PM
10 posts
Bud,How long can I expect my truffles to last and remain "sell-able" in a refrigerated case?
Amber B.
@amber-b
01/22/10 10:42:10PM
10 posts
Bud,Can I use a "deli" case or "bakery" case? What should I avoid in refrigerated cases, or look for? Thank you.A.B.
Bud Stockwell
@bud-stockwell
01/22/10 10:47:19PM
18 posts
Hey Amber,It depends on your recipe. Does it have fresh cream and butter? if so and you don't add anything like Citric acid or potassium sorbate than according to Peter Greweling in his fabulous book, chocolate and confections, about 3 weeks. Some authors recommend freezing or refrigerating the truffles but Greweling says it effects the texture. I do not refrigerate mine for more than 5 minutes after I dip them. There is a thread on this site about freezing that I glanced at and should reread. I just know you have to be very careful to refrigerate after freezing to acclimate the truffle so it doesn't condense water and cause bloom. I don't have any issues with Citric acid but I won't use potassium sorbate. I haven't sent them out to be tested yet for shelf life. Instead I make small batches that I can sell through in about a 3 week period.
Amber B.
@amber-b
01/22/10 10:51:32PM
10 posts
thank you....if you're not supposed to refrigerate, then how do you explain the refrigerated display cases?
Bud Stockwell
@bud-stockwell
01/23/10 08:49:27AM
18 posts
A case made for chocolate keeps the chocolate at 65-68 degrees and 45% humidity. A refrigerator is usually high humidity and 40 degrees. I think a wine cooler keeps it at 55-57 degrees Fahrenheit and with an average of 60% relative humidity. If your confections are in a case that is not temperature controlled and the temperature in the room fluctuates, your confections could bloom long before the 4 weeks.
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
01/29/10 09:34:06AM
157 posts
I think humidity control is your biggest concern. If too much humidity enters the case then you're going to see some condensation over time.We store our truffle ganache in freezers, made truffles in fridgerators, and then they get moved into retail positions which have varying cases. We've been in a deli case to very old candy cases. The older the case the more you have to worry about something failing and when it fails, be prepared to have your product go mutant on you ahah.The fridge and freezer / texture argument I think is one based on the composition of your truffles. We use cream only and have never had a textural issue and texture is very important to us.We're looking into our own cases now as well and my god they are so expensive for what you seemingly get. If you find any further information out there let us know. I had started a thread over in StartupCntrl: http://www.thechocolatelife.com/group/startupcentral/forum/topics/display-case-recommendations
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
01/29/10 09:43:01AM
157 posts
As I read your other requests.. another thing that has worked well for us. You began as a hobby, and now are going directly to retail operation. If you need middle steps to prove your area and market has legs find your local farmers market communities and sell there. We've got two years of positive numbers and a loyal following. It has also given us time to find other retail positions to test out different sectors in our area. I've had enough failures in my life so far to know that I wanted to grow something that had roots and with this I think we've got it. Just a thought on growth patterns and some mitigation for feeling you may get in over your head.Microwave tempering we've never tried. The microwave causes such a fast heating that getting it into that tempering zone.. One thing we do if the need requires it is microwave the chocolate to melted then transfer to a cooktop for getting it in the zone. Clay has some good ideas on using proofing ovens to fire and forget your temper too.
Gordon Carlson
@gordon-carlson
02/14/10 03:02:26PM
1 posts
Andy,Having read your replies to Amber, you have good insight into this chocolate working business. I teach chocolate and candy making to professionals. I would like to give my thoughts on tempering in the microwave. I have done it for up to about 7-8 pounds at a time. It worked really well. I do it in small bursts, 30-45 seconds at a time on high power, stirring frequently and taking it's temp. When it starts to get close to the correct temp. I then use 1/2 power on the microwave. I can bring about 5 lbs of chopped 58% to 119d/f in about 7-8 minutes. I prefer tabling it to seeding it.A proofing oven sounds great except that most of them require water or the element will eventually burn out.Take care,Gordon
Kerry
@kerry
02/14/10 07:22:58PM
288 posts
re 2. Indeed you can melt the chocolate in the microwave and then put it in a melter, but it's even easier to just put the chocolate in the melter, turn the heat up to around 40C, leave it overnight with the lid on, then add the seed in the morning, after turning down the heat to around 30 C. The melter will hold the temper for a long time, but the chocolate will start to thicken over time as more stable beta crystals multiply. When this happens you can push the temperature up a bit, to a maximum of 32.5C for milk, and 34.5C for dark.


--
www.eztemper.com

www.thechocolatedoctor.ca
Shannon Campbell
@shannon-campbell
08/08/11 11:44:38AM
13 posts

I'm in a similar situation where I have just opened a small storefront but want my candies to really stand out and look awesome in a fabulous display case. I'm willing to invest a little money to get the right case, but what I'm finding out is that the "right case" is hard to figure out.

I understand that for the candy it's ideal to have a cooling and humidity controlled case designed for candy. However, a leading chocolate maker and retailer in my local area says he got rid of all his cooled cases in his shop because they produced way too much heat that it ruined the products out of the case. I share the space with a bakery, and I can't afford to get a case that runs so hot that I have to add a hundred dollars onto my electric bill to crank up the A/C in the store to keep from impacting their products.

His advice was that if the A/C is sufficient in the store that should be enough to keep the display case good but my experience so far has been that it's not. I want to keep my chocolates around 65 degrees or so; I can't keep my store that cold. At about 72 I get people complaining that it's chilly in there and the A/C runs constantly. I'm also in Ohio which I'm sure is about the most humid place on the planet lol.

I'm using a dry case now and I stick many candies in the fridge at night which of course is creating horrible condensation and giving me sticky chocolate on those. The ganache truffles are sealed up tight before they go in so they are okay, but I'm not sure what to do about my dipped candies. I want to improve their shelf life by keeping them cool but the fridge is just too cold and wet, and it sounds as though a cooled case might be a mess too.

I'd love to hear what anyone with a really small shop is doing - cooled or dry case - and how it's affecting your utility usages, and if anyone had a similar problem with a cooled case running too hot. I'd love any advice!

Thanks! (And thanks for the thread, Amber... so far very helpful!)

Shannon

mary amsterdam
@mary-amsterdam
01/13/13 10:14:20AM
25 posts

I think your advice about "middle steps" is very good. I began as a hobby, and have been fortunate enough to have the middle step of renting space on an hourly basis at a local bakery/gift shop where i make and sell my chocolates. it has been working well, but i am always looking for ways to grow the business and have thought about our local farmers markets. But my big question is how to do you keep the chocolate from melting? is it as simple as coolers? what about display chocolate?

Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
01/13/13 10:44:01AM
157 posts
Winter months for us need no cooling, just transportation. Summer months we use multiple coolers to limit humidity exposure. For the table we either do rotation of product or sacrifice a display box or make clay core dummies dipped in chocolate and sealed. Experimentation is always the best. If you search the forums here you'll find some good market threads. Since I'm on my phone it's hard to elaborate as much as I have in the past.
mary amsterdam
@mary-amsterdam
01/13/13 12:30:32PM
25 posts

Thanks Andy. That is helpful.

Matis Max
@matis-max
09/22/14 01:36:07AM
1 posts
Beautiful! I found similar products on this website:http://www.archiexpo.com/architecture-design-manufacturer/refrigerated-display-case-1859.html;It really help me chose the ideal solution for my place.
david ghobril
@david-ghobril
09/22/14 08:47:51AM
4 posts

I have only ever had dry cases for 21 years. The word confection means preserved. If you are displaying at room temp you formulate for that.

Susie2
@susie2
09/30/14 01:04:22PM
14 posts

#2 no. At least I can not hold it for more than 2 minutes.

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