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Hi - first post here but I desperately need some help. We're having a problem with our cocao butter sticking in our molds and cannot figure it out.

The chocolate is in perfect temper prior to filling the molds.

We had an issue with the A/C in our store and it *seems* like this is when the problem started - so we tempered (or retempered) the cocoa butter. Black and white seemed to actually work - made chocolate with them and they came out fine - today, no such luck with any of the other colors. I've attached a pic as well.

So here's what we do:
Decorate the mold with the appropriate design

Let the cocoa butter sit in the mold at room temp, which is about 70 degrees F for 20-30 minutes

Pour in tempered chocolate to make the shell

Let the chocolate sit in the mold at 70 degrees F again for approx 20 minutes

Fill with ganache, wait about 20-30 minutes, seal off the bottom, wait 20 or 30 minutes, refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes and dump.

Other variables.
We're using the "elephant" air compressor with various guns
When the A/C went out - our chocolate was in our humidity-controlled storage unit

Chocolate is E. Guittard and the cocoa butter is Chef Rubber (different collections).

I'm sure that I've left out some details but if anyone can help out, I sure would appreciate it!

Thanks much for your time,
Brian 

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Are you using polycarbonate moulds?
Yes, we sure are.
You might find some answers in this thread where Norman Love answers questions:

http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/answers-to-the-top-10

I think you're right about your temp. being the issue. Good luck with a solution!
Thank you Lana!

It sounds like the answers are there but I guess I'm not really sure what Norman meant about finding the right temperature...how would one go about that? We don't wash our molds, and we don't refrigerate them after spraying so those two things were in line with his suggestions.

I'm just confused I guess on how one would go about finding the proper temps for the molds, the individual colors, etc - should we be heating things up? Cooling them down?

I thought it was interesting that he said he wasn't a fan of the organic cocoa butter - we tried those as well initially and had all sorts of problems with them.

Thanks again - that article really did help. We're actually going to pick up a couple of Badger air guns today!

Brian
Well, no luck today - we went back and tried several things including prespraying the molds with a 60/40 mix of cocoa butter to chocolate (very light coat), and also picked up a Badger gun with a can of compressed air (is that stuff safe to use? I mean it seems like it wouldn't be... - we were just making chocolate for photos so we used it).

We heated the cocoa butter to around 90 degrees F before spraying and things came out BAD...I mean BAD. The cocoa butter is sticking to the mold, and if it DOES come out - it's got zero shine. The chocolate itself has shine however when we just do a mold of that. Temper seems to be fine. Really quite baffled - is it possible for cocoa butter to go bad? We have Chef Rubber Jewel Collection mostly that we use and I'm wondering if when the A/C went out and the store got hot and humid if it fried it out?

Can anyone offer any assistance?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and help if you can!
Brian


I sure don't have all the answers, and I have had similar issues, but not as severe as yours:-). One thing I tried was letting the shell sit overnight before filling. I also put the shells in the fridge until I could see that they were releasing from the mold. I will still have one or two impressions out of 8 trays stick on occasion, but not nearly as much as before. I use Chef Rubber jewel all the time and have not had a problem. I do get my cocoa butter much warmer than you. I don't test it, just put it in the micro until it is melted and flowing good. I use a badger or Harbor Freight version of the Badger. I also like to run the chocolate a little warmer than for dipping. In re-reading Norman Love, he cautions against over crystallizing. Could that be happening? As you "reusuing" the chocolate that you tap out for the next mold? When you find the answer to the problem, please let us know.
We did some reading last night and we ARE now thinking that the chocolate might be over crystallized. This is all a new problem - we went for literally weeks with everything coming out perfectly so I'm sure it's something that we're doing. Hoping by the weekend that things will get back to normal!

Thanks for your input - I'll update again as we go along just in case it can help someone else!

Brian
Hi Brian,
I do tons of (sucessful) cocoa butter in the tropics so am working at about 72 degrees.I would prefer it cooler but use shared space and it doesn't get any cooler in summer. I work in centigrade so you will need to convert. You did not mention what temp the cocoa butter is when you are using it. Coacoa butter can appear tempered at 29C but will flake at that temp. I found it needs to be at 30.5 C to come out perfect. When you run it thru a air gun it cools it so maybe start at 31C.
I let it dry at room temp or put in my 65 F wine cooler.I leave it for about an hour, then let come slightly back to room temp.
I have an automatic tempering machine so the chocolate is perfectly crystallized. It goes in at 31.1C. I let it set up at room temp, then put it back in my wine cooler at 65 F for about 1/2 hr. I then fill and let set overnight, cap, let sit in the wine cooler a couple hrs and tap out.
Thanks for that information Melanie - very nice of you to take the time to reply. Our cocoa butter was around 90 degrees F - we're going to go back tonight and work it out! Will post again tomorrow. :)

Brian
HI Brian, I know how frustrating all this can be one day its working fine and the next it's not. .... One thing I would like to mention that if you are using the badger gun with compressed air that you should start by using the cocoa butter a little warmer as it quickly cools down while spraying. I also put the compressed air in a jar of warm water to keep the can from freezing. If its spitting any moisture out from around the gun this could cause a real problem. Best of luck too you!
Thanks Sarah - that's a good idea about putting the can in warm water. We normally use a compressor but found out that the "elephant" just isn't cutting it. We need to get a better compressor that will put out the type of pressure you get from a can! We used a can once, just because it came with the Badger but we didn't really like all the moisture that was around it...loved the pressure though.

My wife (aka Lindsay Truffler) worked tonight and we got a much better outcome than we have lately that's for sure. We had someone take the chocolate (dark) to 115 and it was held there for a few hours just because she wasn't out of work yet...when she went over she finished the temper and the cocoa butter responded much better - the molds were 98% clean. Further testing on Sunday!

Thank you all for your help, we really appreciate it!

Brian
I've had some of the same problems, mostly with my red colors (which I've heard happens a lot.)
Yesterday I tried a few things differently. El Rey says to bring the dark chocolate only to 108. My Rev Delta machine is preset at the temp as well. I've always felt that was too low. When I use to hand temper large amounts of El Rey, I always brought it up to at least 115. So, I reset the machine to melt to 115, and the temper was much better. Set extremely fast, and had great shine. I also heated my cocoa butters higher than I normally have (sorry, didn't check the temp), and had much better luck with airbrushing. I haven't gotten to the molds with the red yet, but they are already releasing, so I hope there won't be as many duds this time. It's weird, some molds released perfectly, and some had duds here and there. Most of those had only a small spot that stuck, so that is still frustrating.

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