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I make dark chocolate bars and thin wavers in different sizes. The temper seems to be fine since the bars release nicely from the mold after I take them out of the fridge. But the bars often have slight blemishes (You might call them cooling marks??). It's not cacao butter stains, just spots or lines where there is a little less shine. Often it's only visible when I look at the bar under a bright light, but for me, it's just not perfect. And it's frustrating because I don't know what causes it. I work with Felchlin molds that I wash with warm water, dry with soft towels and clean with cotton before each use. Before I pour chocolate in the mold, I heat the mold with the hot air blower so it reaches the same temperature as the tempered chocolate. The blemishes are worst when I make bars with the Bolivian "wild" 68% -couverture  from Felchlin. When working with the 65% Maracaibo Clasificado or the Organic 74% from Felchlin, the bars look much better. I also have less issues with milk chocolate.

I tried different things to solve the issue:

-Left the filled mold in room temperature for about 2 to 5 minutes before putting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes

-Put the mold in the fridge immediately after filling it with chocolate

-Put the mold on a cold sheet pan with a parchment paper

-Put the mold on a warmer sheet pan with and without parchment paper

None of these "remedies" solved the problem. I have attached a photo for illustration.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

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It's one of two things:

1) Most likely it's what's called a 'pull mark', and is caused by the dynamics of heat removal between your chocolate, whatever material the mold is made of, the chocolate:mould mass ratio, and the cooling environment you're using.  OR..

2) It could also be a mineral deposit, if the water you're using to clean your molds has minerals in it, those minerals will be left behind and can result in what you see.  I don't think this is it, but it could be.

To fix #1, my guess is you're going to have to do a fair bit of work i'm afraid.  i'd suggest getting a very accurate thermometer and ensuring you're chocolate, initial mold temperature, and you're cooling temperature(s) are very accurate/consistent.  Then, slowly change ONE of them slightly, recording the results until you find the combo that is suitable for your formula, your mold composition, your mold:chocolate ratio, and your cooling environment.  

It may be more work than it's worth 8-)

These may be water marks left over from washing your molds. We never wash our molds in water; we simply heat, wipe and polish. Do you have especially hard water where you live? Take a look at your molds and see if you can spot the water marks.

Thank you both for your replies. I live in California, and our water here is not hard at all. However, I know that some professionals recommend to not washing the molds, but I thought it would not be a problem with the soft water we got. What to do then if it's the water? Are these molds damaged or is there a way to get all the water marks off? Cacao butter solution? Thanks so much!

I suggest using a warming cabinet

http://www.moldart.be/chocolate_heating

for future cleaning. Once you use your molds once, and turn out your chocolate, just don't return them to the water from there. They should be fine.

Sebastian and Kristofer, Thank you for your recommendations. I'm still not entirely sure what causes the blemishes. It might be scratches. But it's strange that I don't see any spots or scratches on the molds when they are empty and clean. I will purchase a few new of these molds to see if the problem persists or not.

"water marks" are #2 in my initial post - dissolved minerals left behind as the water evaporates.  Best thing to do is to remove the offending minerals so they're not there to be left behind.  If it is mineral deposits that causing it, i'm afraid warming up the mould is only going to result in warm minerals that leave marks - the minerals may be a little more comfortable if it's cold outside, but won't help you with your problem.  Wiping and polishing will work for a short time, but what results over time is the minerals scour the moulds when you polish them, and will result in a  permanently scratched mould.

Sebastian and Kristofer, Thank you for your recommendations. I'm still not entirely sure what causes the blemishes. It might be scratches. But it's strange that I don't see any spots or scratches on the molds when they are empty and clean. I will purchase a few new of these molds to see if the problem persists or not.

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