Forum Activity for @Jim Dutton

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
10/08/15 04:49:34PM
76 posts

Using coconut oil in truffles help


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Nicole5: Thanks for that information.  Since I already have some "virgin," unrefined coconut oil (with full coconut taste), I think I'll try mixing that with milk chocolate (so we get a bit of the Almond Joy flavors) and see how it goes.  I'll keep some for a while just to check shelf life and leakage.  When I get some refined coconut oil, I'll try other flavors, such as mint and peanut butter (separately), both of which are in Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections.


updated by @Jim Dutton: 10/08/15 04:50:26PM
Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
10/05/15 03:27:17PM
76 posts

Using coconut oil in truffles help


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Nicole5:
Would the ratios of chocolate to coconut oil be the same as chocolate to cream to achieve a meltaway?  I currenly pipe my meltaways into a shell and they are very popular, but I'd like to try some that are not shelled.  I don't know how to get that meltaway texture without it being too soft.

I would be very interested in more details on how you make these meltaways.  Is there any difficulty with them once they sit in the shell for a while (such as leaking)?  I'm also curious as to what type of coconut oil you use.  I bought "unrefined, cold-pressed."  It is quite good but has a strong taste of coconut.  This is fine for fillings that I want to have a coconut flavor, but meltaways can also have other flavors, such as mint, and there is, I understand, a "deodorized" coconut oil, but I don't know exactly what to look for.

Thanks for any help.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
09/15/15 05:45:23PM
76 posts

Tempering with holely baffle


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Michael,

Thanks for those thoughts.  I had not realized you were speaking of bean-to-bar when discussing tempering.  I'm sure that makes a huge difference (particularly considering that you have no ready-made seed for the seeding methd).

That is an impressive tribute to the EZTemper (we should make sure Kerry Beal reads that).  Although many have said that it does make a difference even when one is using something like the Delta machine for "store-bought" chocolate, it would seem to have less of an impact on the latter process.  I work in such small quantities that in making a ganache, for example, I just melt the tempered chocolate slowly enough that it never goes out of temper.  But I have read enough to know that once I have the machine, I will find uses for it I never considered (you can see my resolve not to spend the money is already weakening).

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
09/15/15 04:25:45PM
76 posts

Tempering with holely baffle


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I had thought that taking the temp down to the 80s F. was not necessary when one is using already-tempered chocolate as seed.  I would be interested to know why you think that makes a difference.

I experience over-crysallization far too often (particularly when using Felchlin Maracaibo and Valrhona Opalys).  With the Chocovision tempering machines, the user cannot control the agitation since the bowl rotates constantly.  All I have found to do is raise the temp gradually and/or add untempered heated chocolate to dilute the Type V crystals.

I am also interested in the EZTemper.  Could you say more about how it has helped you?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/10/14 07:48:56AM
76 posts

adding cocoa butter when tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Even in my very-limited-production chocolatiering, I have an idea of what the Christmas insanity is like for someone who is actually in the business, so I appreciate that you took the time to respond. I will give your suggestions a try. Thanks very much.

Jim

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/09/14 07:43:08PM
76 posts

adding cocoa butter when tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Brad,

Very helpful document. You mention that one should not let the tempered (dark) chocolate go above 95F. How low can it go while one is working with it?

In connection with another post about over-tempered chocolate you wrote about melting additional chocolate then bringing it down to the working temperature to add to the bowl of chocolate that is thickening too much, and I asked a question: I was using Valrhona white chocolate and (as usual) it began to thicken as I filled molds. So I added some of the chocolate I had melted (untempered) and then cooled to 84-86 F., and it successfully thinned out the chocolate in the bowl. But it lasted only a short time, and when I added more untempered chocolate, it did no good. In my work this problem occurs mostly with white chocolate, and I am not sure what more I can do. Any ideas?

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
09/08/14 10:12:52PM
76 posts

Chocovision Rev2 default temperatures


Posted in: Opinion

Yes, you can change the temperatures in the Rev 2. Start the melting cycle, and press the up arrow to reach the temp you want (122-131 F. is higher than I have seen for most chocolates--I aim for 113-115). The machine will signal you when the selected temp has been reached. Then you must select Temper 1 or 2. If you are using already tempered chocolate as seed, it is much faster to select Temper 2 (you don't need to lower the temp, then raise it to the working temp). The machine then starts lowering temperature. You can select the temp you want as an end point. I let the machine go to its default temp (which is in the 80s), then use the up arrow to heat the chocolate (dark) up to 90 or 91. All the changes are performed with the up and down arrows.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
08/19/14 04:57:50PM
76 posts

Microwave tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I didn't mean to say a tempering machine is better than a melter. Many people like the melters because they can hold more chocolate and allow you to empty a mold much more easily. And I think it is fairly easy to adjust the temperature up and down so as to deal with over-crystallization. I myself like a tempering machine because I don't use huge amounts of chocolate at a time, and it takes less chocolate to get a tempering machine bowl to a usable level than it does for a melter. I also like that a tempering machine requires less attention and so I can do something else while the process is going on.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
08/19/14 04:28:27PM
76 posts

Microwave tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

My impression from reading (and experience) is that with time too many Type V crystals form, and the chocolate will thicken too much to be usable--even if the temperature reading has not varied at all. At that point there are options (heating up the chocolate a bit or adding some warmer untempered chocolate), but you can't just let the chocolate sit there forever. Tempering machines continually adjust the heat to slow down this process, and with melters, the user can adjust the temp manually, but the over-crystallization is likely to happen eventually--and you can only turn up the temp so far before the chocolate is out of temper.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
08/19/14 04:04:53PM
76 posts

Microwave tempering


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

If you can keep (dark) chocolate at that 90-91F. temperature, you are fine, but sometimes reality intervenes: If, for example, you are using chocolate left over from a previous session, it is very unlikely still to be in temper and must therefore be raised to high enough a temp to melt out all the crystals. I use your method (of very careful melting-though I do it over a water bath and not in a microwave) if I am doing a small amount (e.g., for a ganache or for decorating finished pieces), but it is very difficult to melt a large amount (e.g., for dipping pieces or filling molds) and keep the temp within the final working range.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
08/20/14 03:46:44PM
76 posts

Advice about specific mould


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

You might visit www.chocolateworld.be and look at their enormous selection of molds, most of which have a weight (in grams) for the finished piece provided. You will find many much less than 13g. The first molds I bought, which were Italian, came from a vendor that does not provide weights, and as there was no easy way of judging the size of a finished piece, I ended up with molds that I now think are quite small, say 10g or less, and those who tried my chocolates found them a little too "dainty." Now I look for molds that are around 15g, which offer--for polite people, at least--two bites rather than one. I myself would not go any lower than 12g and my largest is 18g, but quite a few well-known chocolatiers have single-bite pieces in their collections. To state the obvious, to fill an 18-gram shell takes more ganache than you might expect!

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/09/14 09:01:21AM
76 posts

Adding Rum into chocolate truffles


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Recipes ordinarily call for adding any liquor (or other liquid flavoring) to the ganache mixture--after the emulsion of cream and chocolate hassuccessfully been formed. The liquid should definitely not be added to the chocolate as you are tempering it. That would be just like pouring water into the chocolate--not a pretty sight.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
04/22/14 11:08:49AM
76 posts

Fruit purée brands


Posted in: Opinion

From my reading of recipes, Boiron appears to be the most widely used brand, but in the U.S. it seems to be somewhat difficult to find, at least for someone buying retail. A Google search reveals widespread availability, but when one checks more carefully, often an online store will have only a few Boiron flavors actually in stock. I've yet to find one that carries anything like the full complement of Boiron products.

I have used Ravifruit (also from France) and found it very good. Sicoly is another widely available brand--it appears to be the primary one with which some companies have replaced Boiron. Since Boiron doesn't have a significantly higher price, I am puzzled as to why suppliers are switching.

The whole question of shipping and quality is another matter, and as a small purchaser of the products, I can only trust overnight delivery to do the best job possible. I try not to think of how the pure got from France to the U.S., then from the seller's warehouse to a U.S. airport, then from Dulles Airport to my little town by truck.

You could, of course, always make your own, though you might have some slight difficulty getting a good supply of passion fruit or yuzu!

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/17/14 12:36:30PM
76 posts

Chocolate classes in Utah?


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I have been making chocolates/bon bons/pralines for a little over a year, but can offer a bit of advice-based on my positive and negative experiences--on molds. At first I didn't realize that the molds differed considerably in what size finished piece they turn out, and as a result, I initially purchased some quite small molds. A lot of people like smaller chocolates, but I found them difficult to fill and too small to provide a good taste of the filling (perhaps I am just making excuses for gluttony!). Then I learned that many manufacturers provide a guide to size by specifying the weight of the finished chocolate. I find this guide counterintuitive--it's the volume of the cavity one cares about, not the weight of the product, and nobody has explained what they weighed to determine the figure (is it the weight of a piece of solid dark chocolate or ...?)--but weight is all there is to go on and it does provide a useful aid. I have found that weights between 11 and 16 grams per piece work best for me. I have some dome-shaped molds that hold 18g, and they are particularly good for two-layer pralines or one that has a whole hazelnut submerged in a praline filling. So far no recipient has complained about the larger size, and these do not look out of proportion in a box with smaller pieces.

In the U.S. I have bought online from J.B. Prince in NYC, Tomric in Buffalo, NY, and Chef Rubber in Las Vegas. Bakedeco.com also has lots of molds, but their images are very small. J.B. Prince has good prices and quick service, but they do not provide weights to help (that's how I ended up with small molds in the beginning). Tomric has a very large selection, and they carry (or can obtain) anything from chocolateworld.be in Belgium. BUT--and it can be a big issue--most Chocolate World molds take at least the 3-4 weeks stated on the Tomric website to arrive, or longer. Just remember that when you shop online, don't go by how large or small the mold looks in the image.

As for purchasing chocolate, I use chocosphere.com. They have a huge selection and carry just about every mainstream chocolate. They also sell smaller amounts (such as 1 Kg bags) so it's possible to try various options without breaking the bank. They have good customer service and quick delivery. I have also bought from Gygi (but, as Ruth said, only Callebaut). Worldwidechocolate.com is very similar to Chocosphere in their offerings; they have free shipping on orders over $99, but the base prices are a bit higher than Chocosphere's. Their offerings are, in my opinion, somewhat more limited than Chocosphere's (for example, World Wide Chocolate does not carry 1-Kg blocks of Amedei and does not have Felchlin at all).

I think Callebaut would be a good chocolate to start. Look at their website to decide among all the choices, and note the drops system that tells you how viscous the chocolate will be when melted.

Jim

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
03/05/14 09:52:13PM
76 posts

Suppliers and pricing


Posted in: Classifieds

I am not in business but am a hobbyist, so my quantities are not huge. I also use Chocosphere. No one else (that I have found) has their broad selection. I am always looking for a chocolate I like better than the current one, but at the moment, I use:

For dark: Felchlin Maracaibo (previous choice was Valrhona Caraibe, before that, various Callebaut varieties)

For milk: E. Guittard Orinoco (previous choice was Valrhona Jivara). I am always looking for a milk that is darker than most are.

For white: I have been alternating between Valrhona's Opalys and their Ivoire. I did a little blind taste test recently with the two, and in two tests, Opalys won the first, and Ivoire the second. I have had problems with ganache made with Opalys separating more than with other chocolates, so I am now going back to Ivoire (it has slightly less fat than Opalys). I tried El Rey Icoa, but really disliked it. I also tried Cacao Barry's Zephyr, but it was very thin and did not coat molds well.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/01/14 10:34:45PM
76 posts

Adding melted chocolate to tempered chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I am adding a post to this thread on the over-crystallizing problem and ways to solve it. Today I was using Valrhona Opalys to line 8 molds. I have had problems with its thickening too much in the past, so was prepared--or so I thought. The first four molds went OK; in fact, the chocolate was a bit too thin for the first two. Then problems developed. I used Brad Churchill's suggestion (described in this thread) of melting additional chocolate, bringing it down to the working temp (84-86 F. in this case), then adding it to the over-crystallized chocolate. I was using a Chocovision Delta machine. I added half of the extra chocolate first, and that seemed to thin out the batch sufficiently for a couple more molds, but soon it thickened again. So I added the rest of the extra (still at the same temp), but this time it did very little good. I raised the temp several degrees and got the last two molds lined only by turning them upside down immediately after filling them and beating on them as hard as I could with the bottom of the scraper to make the chocolate fall out.

I am very discouraged as I thought I had conquered this problem. Does anyone have additional suggestions? I'm now thinking of thinning out the extra chocolate with cocoa butter, although I hate to tamper with the original manufacturer's recipe for the product. Another thought: would it make any difference if I tempered the original batch with Mycryo instead of chocolate from the bag? And still another idea: would stopping the rotation of the Delta bowl help with the problem? Any thoughts would be welcome.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/18/14 04:05:03PM
76 posts

Equipment advise


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

No, a larger bowl would not fit into the machine. One can purchase extra bowls (which I have done) from Chocovision, but they are just for convenience, not for quantity. The "holey" baffle gives the larger machine more effective capacity, but although I read that Chocovision was developing such a baffle for the Rev 2, that never came to be. So to get more capacity, the user can either (1) heat more chocolate separately and pour a little of it into the tempered batch--but I found it a nuisance to try to estimate how much was not too much to add or (2) heat more chocolate separately to the start point for tempering (113 F. for the dark I use), use what is tempered in the machine until the level is low, then turn the machine off and back on to start the melt cycle again, and add the extra melted chocolate to fill the bowl-it sounds ridiculous, but since the extra chocolate is quite warm, the Chocovision goes into the temper cycle right away. Obviously a larger machine would be great, but I just don't do batches large enough to make good use of it.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/18/14 09:33:40AM
76 posts

Equipment advise


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Having experience with the smaller Chocovision Rev 2, I can say that having the chocolate stirred and kept at a certain temp automatically is a great convenience. Of course, it is necessary to adjust the temp as time goes on; otherwise the chocolate just keeps getting thicker. The reason I have been considering the purchase of a melter, however, is the big disadvantage of any machine with a round bowl: it is almost impossible to empty the contents of a mold back into the tempering machine without making a serious mess. I am forced to empty molds onto parchment--which also causes a mess and takes counter space. I saw a video of someone dumping molds into a Delta or an X3210, and the machine was just about covered in chocolate. If only someone could invent a reasonably priced melter with an agitator of some sort....

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/26/14 07:49:58AM
76 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Re the warming of molds before filling: Nobody in this thread has mentioned the difficulty of doing so if the molds have been decorated with colored cocoa butter. I would be very reluctant to use any method of warming in this case as I would be afraid I would melt the decoration. It would theoretically be possible to warm the mold to the working temp of the chocolate/cocoa butter, but (I would think) it would be very tricky not to exceed that temp.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/17/14 08:05:29PM
76 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I am wondering how you account for a mold filled with the same chocolate at virtually the same moment can have one cavity that releases immediately and a next-door one that does not. I can't see how the tempering can be right for one and not for the other.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
02/17/14 12:34:38PM
76 posts

Chocolate sticking to molds


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I too have had occasional sticking of pieces in a mold. Usually some will just fall right out, with others remaining behind. Banging the mold on the counter releases some more, but sometimes there are stubborn ones. I have tried cooling them an additional amount of time, but last week, by accident, I tried something more extreme, something most experts recommend against. Since I couldn't get the chocolates out and so had nothing to lose, I put the molds in the freezer, got distracted, forgot them for at least an hour. To my surprise and relief, the stubborn chocolates fell out in perfect shape. So, with some reluctance (because so many caution against it), I suggest that you might try the freezer as a last resort.

I should add that other molds filled at the same time as the problem ones released the chocolates without any issue. There are so many variables, so many possibilities, that I doubt we shall ever know the culprit for such random issues. The mold may be too warm or too cold. The chocolate may be untempered or overtempered. The mold may be too squeaky clean or dirty (some recommend not washing molds so as to leave a film of cocoa butter). Perhaps it's cocoa butter decorations that weren't properly tempered and so stick to the mold.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/23/14 03:57:24PM
76 posts

Seeking Comments on Felchlin Dark Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

In all my internet explorations I had not come across your very useful site; I am glad you pointed it out. And I appreciate your comments on the Felchlin Cru Sauvage in particular. I was, however, surprised at your review of Valrhona's Caraibe (my current dark chocolate), namely, that it was too sweet. I am thinking that if you found that product too sweet (I found it too bitter, except perhaps with the sweetest of ganaches), we have very different palates, and I had better prepare myself for tasting Cru Sauvage. Thanks for your help.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/22/14 09:20:12PM
76 posts

Seeking Comments on Felchlin Dark Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Vera,

Thanks for those very helpful links.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/21/14 09:18:15PM
76 posts

Seeking Comments on Felchlin Dark Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I am interested in finding a different dark chocolate and am thinking of Felchlin products. Unfortunately I have not seen a source for small amounts of the chocolates, and so am seeking comments from those who have tried the two in which I am most interested.

The two chocolates are Cru Sauvage and Maracaibo. As a point of reference, I started my chocolate experience using several different Callebaut products (including their 70% dark), then moved to Valrhona Caraibe, which I am finding a little bitter for my taste (I have tasted most of Valrhona's dark chocolates and Caraibe was my favorite).

I have read good things about the two Felchlin products. Any comments will be appreciated.


updated by @Jim Dutton: 04/11/15 05:41:17PM
Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
01/20/14 11:04:45PM
76 posts

Best purees?


Posted in: Opinion

As far as I can tell from the Qzina website, they sell only Sicoly pures. For a long time, Boiron was the brand everybody spoke of, practically the standard, but I have noticed of late that many suppliers have been switching to other brands. L'Epicerie in New York switched to Ponthier a year or so ago, gourmetfoodworld.com carries Ravifruit, markys.com still sells Boiron, and perfectpuree.com (of California) sells its own product.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/22/13 04:15:59PM
76 posts

Truffle Shells (pre-made)


Posted in: Opinion

My objection to truffle shells already made is that they are (for my tastes) small. I think most if not all are 1" in diameter, and I like a larger piece than that. I actually bought a double mold for making truffle shells, not realizing they would turn out the same small size. Using it was quite an adventure--no instructions came with it, the vendor's online "help" left a lot to be desired, and other directions I found were contradictory. I experimented a few times, had a couple of successes, but it was too undependable for me, and the mold now sits unused.

I too would be interested in the brands recommended by others. I've heard good things about Valrhona. I would be particularly interested if anyone has found a shell larger than 1".

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/22/13 04:29:02PM
76 posts

champagne truffles


Posted in: Recipes

There have been discussions of this issue on the eGullet forum, such as this one: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/87881-chocolate-champagne/?hl=%2Bchampagne+%2Btruffle#entry1775172

The conclusion was that using champagne itself is rather difficult, and most people use marc de champagne, which according to one writer on that site is a very concentrated flavoring "gel" which pours and smells very strongly of wine.

But according to another link, Jacques Torres makes a champagne truffle, with the following description: "Jacques' Champagne Truffles, filled with Champagne Taittinger, are a mouth-watering combination of milk chocolate, fresh cream and Taittinger Brut La Franaise champagne. These champagne truffles rise above the rest due to their inclusion of real champagne. These are one of the few champagne truffles to do so."

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/13/13 08:09:56AM
76 posts

Where to buy liquid sorbitol?


Posted in: Classifieds

I am curious as to what you mean by "high quality." I doubt that any vendor is going to acknowledge that his product is of other than high quality.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/12/13 07:56:04PM
76 posts

Where to buy liquid sorbitol?


Posted in: Classifieds

I see that you are in the U.S., so you can find it at Chef Rubber: http://www.shopchefrubber.com/Sorbitol-Liquid-4-Liter/. I don't know about the quality of the product.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/16/13 03:20:21PM
76 posts

Ganache Separation Difficulties


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks, Tom, for those ideas. I had heard the trick of adding some cold milk previously but not tried it, but I will do so--when needed (as I stated earlier, I have heated some cream and beat the ganache into it).

Why do you think the heated cream (at 41C/105F) is too hot for the tempered chocolate (at 29C/84F), whereas cream at 85C/185F is not?

I am interested to hear that you do not follow the advice of tempering the chocolate when slabbing it, as I have much better luck using the method of pouring hot cream over room temp. chocolate (which, of course, if it is coming from the bag, is already in temper).

Thanks again for the help.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/16/13 08:19:26AM
76 posts

Ganache Separation Difficulties


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks for the reply, which I found very interesting. Previously I had been doing what you recommend, that is, bringing the chocolate and the cream (plus flavorings) to the same temp., then mixing them. This sometimes worked, but sometimes did not. Some time ago I posted this issue on another forum, and a knowledgeable contributor wrote, "I try to never have my ganaches go under 35 degrees [95 F.] when I work them because under that temperature cacao butter sets....If you are using a chocolate that is at 55 degrees [131 F.] then your liquids can be at 28 [82 F.] ish you will have an end result in theory around 35 degrees. Other way, if your chocolate is at 35 degrees your liquids around 40 ish [104 F.], same result." As you can see, this is a different approach, and since it is what Peter Greweling recommends, I have been following it.

But because I have been having trouble (only with white chocolate) with this method, I will again try what you suggest and see what happens. Thanks again.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
12/11/13 04:18:41PM
76 posts

Ganache Separation Difficulties


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I have been experiencing separation of ganache and have sought in vain for answers. When I make ganache by pouring hot cream over chocolate, then stirring, all goes well. But when I temper the chocolate to 84-86 F. (for white) and add cream plus flavorings at 105 F., the emulsion seems to be forming, then breaks with a mass and a separate pool of yellowish liquid. An immersion blender doesn't help, nor does the food processor. The only technique that has worked is to heat several tablespoons of cream and slowly mix the broken ganache into it with a whisk. This has worked every time (so far), although the result does not have the silky texture it should have.

I use several books for making ganaches, but the technique is basically from Peter Greweling (Chocolates & Confections). He states that a slabbed ganache should always be mixed with tempered chocolate. It is his recommended temperatures that I am using. The issue has occurred when I use Valrhona's Opalys white, although sometimes that chocolate (tempered) performs perfectly and mixes without a hitch. The Valrhona bag gives 84 F. as the desired working temperature.

What could it be? Temperature is a consideration, but I am using a Thermoworks infrared thermometer and also a Thermapen to check it. I am tempering with Mycryo, which I use for small batches. The recipe I was using most recently was Greweling's "toucans" (passion fruit ganache), with the change of tempering the chocolate before mixing it with the cream and passion fruit pure (because I was going to slab the ganache).

Any help would be most appreciated.


updated by @Jim Dutton: 04/12/15 12:10:49AM
Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/13/14 10:18:46PM
76 posts

Why does chocolate overcrystalize


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks for the reply, even though the news was not quite what I hoped for. When you speak of "adding a little (0.05-0.1%) more lecithin" I assume you mean a little more than is already in the chocolate. That's what I was concerned about--especially white chocolate always seems to have lecithin in it.

Jim Dutton
@Jim Dutton
05/13/14 08:00:18PM
76 posts

Why does chocolate overcrystalize


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I am adding a question to this older topic as it is more or less the subject of my latest chocolate issue.

I have been using Felchlin Maracaibo for dark and Valrhona Opalys for white. During the winter both behaved fine. For my Easter 2014 batch of chocolates, I was able to prepare several molds with the Opalys when it thickened up to the extent that there was barely any space for the ganache in some of the cavities. I raised the heat several degrees, and that did not appreciably help. This job was done at the beginning of April, not particularly warm or humid. A few days ago, the same thing happened with Maracaibo, and raising the temp even above 90F did not help. It wasn't quite as thick as the Valrhona had been, but for a dark chocolate, it was really viscous. This time we were experiencing some warm, humid weather--though I was running the AC to try to prevent the thickening.

On another forum a chocolatier from Richmond, Va. (about 100 miles from me) wrote that she had experienced a similar thickening of chocolate on the same day and attributed it to the humidity. She mentioned adding some cocoa butter.

So today, aware of the possibility of humidity, I turned up the AC full blast. I added cocoa butter to the Opalys, and it was perfect. My recently ordered hygrometer arrived, and revealed the humidity to be around 20-25%. So I'm thinking I may have found the issue. The problem is that it is not consistent (the first thickening of Opalys was not on a humid day). Tomorrow I'll be using Maracaibo and will try the same routine to see if it helps. I won't add cocoa butter, however, unless it turns out to be necessary.

My question relates to the humidity issue: Assuming that is the problem, is the chocolate I used on the humid days permanently "humidified" or will it return to its previous state once it is out of the humidity? I don't want to have to add cocoa butter to the chocolate from now on, nor do I wish to discard the chocolate.

Incidentally I was tempering the chocolate in a Chocovision machine. Someone at that company recommended raising the working temp for the Valrhona to the 90F range, but that seemed a bit high to me (Valrhona recommends 84F).

Thanks for any guidance.

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