Chocolate texture on product after refrigeration

ChocolateRegards
@chocolateregards
06/28/17 03:57:14PM
14 posts

As I work on recipes at home I use a regular refrigerator for my product which is enrobed with chocolate.  After taking the enrobed product out, there was  slight sweating.  I checked the room temp and it read 73-74F.  I turned on the house a/c and had temp at 66-68, sweat disappeared.  Aesthetically it looks fine but upon touch there is a graininess there and likely with a magnifying glass I am guessing it wouldn't look as smooth. Is it the humidity in the refrigerator that starts the problem or what is it that I need to understand and what are the remedies?  Thanks

Clay Gordon
@clay
06/28/17 04:13:31PM
1,680 posts

Do you have some way to measure the humidity inside the fridge and inside the room? There's moisture somewhere that's condensing on the surface of the product - caused by temperature differential / dew point.




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
ChocolateRegards
@chocolateregards
06/28/17 04:50:27PM
14 posts

I am going to have to get something.  Recommendations?  

Clay Gordon
@clay
06/28/17 06:39:52PM
1,680 posts

There are a bunch of options on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=humidity+gauge

I would put one inside the refrigerator and get one for the room. I would not get a dual-zone system if it is wired. Which one? I have not used any of these so I don't have specific recommendations. However, there are many inexpensive options so the risk is low.




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Greg Gould
@greg-gould
06/29/17 10:16:55AM
68 posts

My local home depot has thermometer/humidity monitors or about $15.  I have to run a dehumidifier in the summer here non stop, more than the AC, and even then I get some condensation sometimes.

Switching to a Hillards cooling cabinet instead of a fridge will also help because the temperature of the molds won't be so low as to cause condensation.

One trick I learned after using the firdge/freezer to get stuck chocolates out: wrap the mold in plastic wrap so it's airtight.  If there's no air, there's no condensation.   

Greg Gould
@greg-gould
06/29/17 10:20:10AM
68 posts

Just realized you're enrobing chocolates.  If you can find a way to go from the fridge to room temperature, with something in between like a wine cooler,that might work.

ChocolateRegards
@chocolateregards
06/29/17 01:39:55PM
14 posts

I like the wine cooler idea.  Hilliard Cooling Cabinet-I have contemplated getting one but the capacity seems so low that I hesitate to put the money into something that seems like such a short time fix.  Are they the only ones who have modified an AC motor to use in a cabinet/fridge like set up?  

ChocolateRegards
@chocolateregards
06/29/17 01:41:56PM
14 posts

My spouse does some home brewing.  Looking at his equipment options he says there is a dehumidifier of some type that he thinks could be used with the refrigerator.  I need to look at that to understand how it works. 

moragreid
@moragreid
06/29/17 04:58:42PM
5 posts

Clay Gordon:

There are a bunch of options on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=humidity+gauge

I would put one inside the refrigerator and get one for the room. I would not get a dual-zone system if it is wired. Which one? I have not used any of these so I don't have specific recommendations. However, there are many inexpensive options so the risk is low.

I use these and they are perfect.

I also use a wine fridge (actually I current have 2), but you need to find one that is able to maintain a consistent temperature. The first one I had fluctuated so badly that it couldn't really be used for chocolate OR wine.

One more edit: the humidity is surprisingly high in both fridges but I guess because the temp is higher than a normal fridge its not such an issue.


updated by @moragreid: 06/29/17 05:02:37PM
Clay Gordon
@clay
06/29/17 05:41:12PM
1,680 posts

The major issue is managing humidity if there is a temperature difference between the room and the cooler.

There are static options.

One is Cooler King from PolarFresh:
http://www.polarfresh.com

Another is HumiClear:
http://humiclear.com

The great thing about static systems is that you can retrofit them to any existing cabinet (e.g., wine fridge).

However, if you are interested in a new cooling solution with built-in humidity control, the fridges from Everlasting are very good and I can source them for you.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 06/29/17 05:41:33PM
ChocolateRegards
@chocolateregards
06/29/17 06:26:01PM
14 posts

I came across Cooler King and am trying to understand it.  It seems to be a product, good for 3 months, you place inside your refrigerator?  But it appears to be a service business as much as a product, is it similar to getting bottle water service?  I figure if that is the case the chance that we have that as an option in Montana is not great.  I will look at the other one you mentioned.

As to sourcing the refrigeration options, I would be happy to take a look.

Thank you!

Jim Dutton
@jim-dutton
06/30/17 05:57:52PM
76 posts

I don't usually attempt much chocolate-making in the humid summer months, but my business appears to be expanding, so I am trying to cope. The air conditioning in the house (I am a home-based operation) removes enough humidity to get the RH in the 40% range, but when I put the molds in the fridge (to take care of the latent heat of crystallization), the humidity is considerably higher. Before I give more serious thought to a humidity-controlled cooler, I was wondering if this very low-tech procedure would help: Once a mold is prepared with chocolate and the chocolate has begun to crystallize, I could seal the mold in a plastic bag (not vacuumed, just sealed with an impulse sealer) and put it in the fridge. This would take a little time, but it would be easy. My question is whether it would work: does a mold have to be open to the air for the latent heat to dissipate? 

Clay Gordon
@clay
07/01/17 09:47:04AM
1,680 posts

@jim-dutton

To the extent that you reduce the amount of moisture in the immediate environment that can condense on the surface - maybe. However, the labor and time involved may not be worth it.

However, airflow over the surfaces of the mold (there is a fan in the fridge that works all the time, right?) are key to removing the latent heat of crystallization and so containing the mold as you suggest would certainly slow crystallization down, could interfere with it - reducing the quality of the temper, and might not solve the moisture problem.

First thing is to know what the RH in the fridge is. If you don't want to invest a lot of $$, try something like a Moso Natural charcoal bag or something similar just to see where that takes the RH to and see if that solves your problem.




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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Jim Dutton
@jim-dutton
07/01/17 11:08:04AM
76 posts

Clay,

Thanks for the helpful response. I have the Moso charcoal bag in a wine fridge, but I have never been convinced it did any good. I'll test the RH with and without it. What you say about chilling a mold in a sealed plastic bag confirms what I suspected, so I guess that idea is out.

I have just reread Peter Greweling's section on the latent heat of crystallization. He mentions refrigerating the chocolates to help with the problem but cautions that the temp (he specifies as 51F [corrected 7/6/17: Greweling specifies 41F] as ideal) and humidity of the fridge should not be too high (easier said than done in a home situation).

Can you provide an approximate cost of the Everlasting 130 (mini cooler)? I have seen that Hilliard's also makes a chilling cabinet, and although I expected the cost to be substantial, it was higher than I anticipated.


updated by @jim-dutton: 07/06/17 07:07:33AM
Clay Gordon
@clay
07/01/17 12:29:19PM
1,680 posts

I have been told that about 55F (about 13C) is a good temperature to start with. RH about the same 50-55.

The Everlasting 130 with a glass door is about £2700 plus shipping. Stainless steel is about £100 cheaper. Takes about 60 days from completion of order. It's 220V single-phase, no 120V option, so might not work in a home environment. The load is pretty low so you might be able to use an electronic transformer designed for appliances with reactive loads (e.g., refrigerators with compressors).




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 07/01/17 12:30:12PM
Jim Dutton
@jim-dutton
07/02/17 02:02:11PM
76 posts

I have done some more reading on RH in refrigerators, and what I read is not conclusive. Apparently fridges with the door shut for a while have a very low humidity level, but when the door is opened, the RH goes up quite fast. I roughly verified these observations with my hygrometer. Are there ways in which a cooler specifically for chocolate would operate any differently? In other words, why wouldn't placing a mold with crystallizing chocolate raise the RH same as a regular fridge?

Clay Gordon
@clay
07/03/17 11:24:59AM
1,680 posts

Jim -

In purpose-built fridges the purpose is all about short recovery times. Getting back to the desired RH and temp quickly when the door is closed.

The larger Everlasting fridges, in part because they are deep and narrow, recover very quickly. It's also one of the reasons I recommend the double-door version as this reduces recovery time.

Another aspect of these purpose-built fridges is the circulation of air. It's designed to remove the latent heat of crystallization efficiently. (And the humidity.)

You can't use an external controller for temp as when you turn on the fridge (at least many commercial fridges) the first thing they do is go into defrost mode.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Jim Dutton
@jim-dutton
07/03/17 12:15:58PM
76 posts

Clay,

Thanks very much for that helpful reply.

Jim Dutton
@jim-dutton
07/27/17 04:13:35PM
76 posts

Clay,

As update on my experiments and thinking on the humidity issue and cooling chocolate:  Today I put 2 Moso bags in my regular fridge and added a small fan. I won't know until I get to the unmolding stage whether everything worked OK (it is very humid here right now, but I have the kitchen RH down to around 45%). Of course, it won't be possible, with so many variables, to know for sure whether the two measures I took made any difference or not. The Moso bags last only two years, but I contacted the company and was assured that if I take the bags out of the fridge when I am not making chocolates and seal them in a plastic bag, they should last a longer time. The fan was quite gentle (I could barely hear that it was running), so I don't expect much help from it.

My goal is to purchase the Everlasting mini. There was a 220V outlet in the house previously for a big window AC unit, so I'm hoping it would not be a huge deal to restore it--but I know almost nothing about electricity. I will spend some time investigating the various issues, including with an electrician, and then hope to proceed.

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