Jan 122013
 
My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session left me with over 100 thick-shelled chocolates with too little ganache inside them, an estimated two pounds of wasted chocolate, and complete exhaustion. A quick run-thru of notes and lessons learned before I collapse:

  • Valhrona’s Tanariva milk chocolate has strong caramel undertones (overtones?), so it’s not a great choice for couverture, I think, because it will compete with most fillings and centers, except maybe those of “plain” chocolate ganache, or something salty or smoky. Yet I had a nearly full 6-lb bag of the stuff, so thought I’d make a plain chocolate ganache to fill bittersweet chocolate shells.
     
  • The Tanariva was very interesting to work with — upon stirring the melted chocolate with the cream, the mixture looked like caramel, smelled like caramel, and had a loose but caramel-like consistency.
     
  • Guittard 58% turned out to be too thick for molding. I should research best couvertures for molded chocolate work, or good percentages of cocoa butter to add if chocolate is too thick at working temperature.
     
  • If the chocolate is really thick when filling the molds, invert the molds IMMEDIATELY after filling them — don’t wait! A few of the mold’s cavities got such a thick chocolate shell they were essentially solid chocolate when done — not room for even a microdrop of ganache.
     
  • Allow at least 1 pound of tempered chocolate PER MOLD — make that 1.5 pounds. The 1.5 pounds prescribed by Liz Gutman and Jen King in their book The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook for THREE to FOUR molds barely filled two. Grr. I should have known better.
     
  • The size of the scraper should be close to the width of the mold you’ll be scraping. If using, say, a 15-inch icing spatula, the whole length of it can get covered with dripping chocolate, leaving a lot of dripped chocolate on the counter if your mold is only 6 inches wide.
     
  • Use as large a bowl as possible when pouring unused chocolate from molds back into bowl. This sounds obvious but I never think of it until it’s too late.
     
  • Have several clean scrapers on hand. And you can never have enough ladles. I’d say one ladle per mold is safest. One ladle for every two molds at the very least.
     
  • Using a large silicone mat to “protect” your countertop is not a good idea. For something that’s supposed to be non-stick, pans, parchment, and foil will all adhere to it – making sliding things around the countertop impossible. UNLESS it’s the bowl of tempered chocolate that you need to be held in place because you tempered too little chocolate and you’re scraping the ladle against the sides of the bowl trying to get every last bit of chocolate — THEN the bowl slides all over the place. But I digress. The silicone mat is not worth it here — it helps cleanup only a little bit.
     
  • Gotta find a way to create less chocolate waste — from utensils (spoons, spatulas, ladles) alone, I picked off at least eight ounces of chocolate. In the same vein, gotta be less messy with the molds — up to 1/8 inch of chocolate on the outside of the molds is not only wasteful, it makes the molds damned hard to handle and work with.
     
  • Until I have the process of molding chocolates down pat, I should have the steps listed on the wall in big print so I’ll remember to do the little but important things that I gloss over because I’m rushing to keep up with the chocolate — banging on and vibrating the molds are two key steps I often forget, which results in air bubbles on all parts of the shells.
     

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>