The Chocolate Life

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Refrigeration vs. non-refrigerated?

Hello everyone. My name is Amber and I've been surfing The Chocolate Life and gleaning all sorts of wisdom and for that I thank you. You are all very kind-hearted and helpful...not to mention extremely knowledgeable. I have three questions (actually hundreds, but 3 to start with):

I am trying to set up a retail shop on a shoestring budget as I've outgrown my "friends and family" circle.

1) I am wondering about bare-bones display cases. Do they have to be refrigerated if the commercial space has a window a/c? (I'll assume yes..and if so) can you use what they call a "deli case" vs. a bakery case (as they are MUCH less expensive.?

2) Can you really temper chocolate only by using a microwave then pouring mass into a chocolate warmer/melter and adding more seed chocolate to it (on a 2/1 ratio meaning 2 melted 1 seed)? I've heard that you can, but haven't found on the internet for sure if the melter will hold the temper for long periods of time? (I currently use a very small chocovision rev 2 machine for my hobby).

3) How can extend shelf life of my cream/butter truffles? Are you supposed to refrigerate or freeze them due to the moisture/condensation problem? Also them cracking when "re-entering" normal room temperatures?

Thank you for your patience and help with yet another newbie.

Tags: Display, cases?

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Winter months for us need no cooling, just transportation. Summer months we use multiple coolers to limit humidity exposure. For the table we either do rotation of product or sacrifice a display box or make clay core dummies dipped in chocolate and sealed. Experimentation is always the best. If you search the forums here you'll find some good market threads. Since I'm on my phone it's hard to elaborate as much as I have in the past.

Thanks Andy.  That is helpful.

re 2. Indeed you can melt the chocolate in the microwave and then put it in a melter, but it's even easier to just put the chocolate in the melter, turn the heat up to around 40C, leave it overnight with the lid on, then add the seed in the morning, after turning down the heat to around 30 C. The melter will hold the temper for a long time, but the chocolate will start to thicken over time as more stable beta crystals multiply. When this happens you can push the temperature up a bit, to a maximum of 32.5C for milk, and 34.5C for dark.

I'm in a similar situation where I have just opened a small storefront but want my candies to really stand out and look awesome in a fabulous display case.  I'm willing to invest a little money to get the right case, but what I'm finding out is that the "right case" is hard to figure out.

 

I understand that for the candy it's ideal to have a cooling and humidity controlled case designed for candy.  However, a leading chocolate maker and retailer in my local area says he got rid of all his cooled cases in his shop because they produced way too much heat that it ruined the products out of the case.  I share the space with a bakery, and I can't afford to get a case that runs so hot that I have to add a hundred dollars onto my electric bill to crank up the A/C in the store to keep from impacting their products.

 

His advice was that if the A/C is sufficient in the store that should be enough to keep the display case good but my experience so far has been that it's not.  I want to keep my chocolates around 65 degrees or so; I can't keep my store that cold.  At about 72 I get people complaining that it's chilly in there and the A/C runs constantly.  I'm also in Ohio which I'm sure is about the most humid place on the planet lol.

 

I'm using a dry case now and I stick many candies in the fridge at night which of course is creating horrible condensation and giving me sticky chocolate on those.  The ganache truffles are sealed up tight before they go in so they are okay, but I'm not sure what to do about my dipped candies.  I want to improve their shelf life by keeping them cool but the fridge is just too cold and wet, and it sounds as though a cooled case might be a mess too.

 

I'd love to hear what anyone with a really small shop is doing - cooled or dry case - and how it's affecting your utility usages, and if anyone had a similar problem with a cooled case running too hot.  I'd love any advice!

 

Thanks!   (And thanks for the thread, Amber... so far very helpful!)

Shannon

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