Hi Lana, thank you for your information, which is exactly what I was looking for. Could you clarify a few things for me. Like Gap, I have problems with the Australian heat and I am just a beginner, embarking on starting my small chocolate business - so proper freezing practice would be most helpful.
"I make several frames a week of the same flavour and then package them in bulk boxes. Each bulk box has 5 layers and holds a total of 244 chocolates"
- Did you freeze your 'frames' (I assume that these are slabs of ganache poured into frames?) without cutting into pieces, or are they cut into 244 pieces?
- If cut, are they also dipped into chocolate?
- I'm also guessing that you don't actually freeze the actual frames? I use plastic stackable frames.
-The boxes from Nashville that you use are strong enough to withstand the vacuum packing?
I have frozen slabs and balls (from silicon moulds) of ganache, so when thawed out 24hrs in fridge, then 24hrs in room temperature, I THEN cut and enrobe. I know that one can freeze enrobed pieces, but I am concerned with damage done to the surface or chocolate transfer pattern used. I would really be pleased if you have done so successfully! Thank you again for your very useful information.
I also freeze finished chocolates. I use snap n seal containers. I freeze enrobed pieces with transfer sheets (not still attached) and molded pieces with no problems. One thing to consider, some flavors intensify when frozen, such as chili peppers. I do one piece that has habanero and I don't freeze that one as it is unpredictable.
Ahhh, THAT'S what's happened to my chili chocolates! What an odd phenomenon...
Mim, I freeze finished chocolates - either in bulk containers or already packaged in retail packaging.
The boxes from Nashville Wraps are strong enough to withstand vacuum sealing when full - or you could wrap in several layers of plastic wrap.
I use candy cups and always freeze my chocolates in the cups. This protects them yet doesn't leave a lot of air space as candy trays would. Air is the big no-no when it comes to freezing. I put candy pads over each layer so the tops are also protected just as they would be in retail packaging. Molded chocolates and chocolates made with transfer sheets are just as shiny when frozen and thawed properly.
When bonbons are frozen immediately after being made, the shelf life now belongs to the consumer.
Ruth and Lana, thank you both for being so helpful! I'll let you know how I go!
Lana & Ruth ~ When I have vacuum packed my finished rolled chocolates, the "vacuuming" has ended up cracking the shells. Now, I didn't have them in layers in a box, either. I am just wondering if putting them in boxes will help mitigate this problem. Do you stop the vacuum process when the bag is really tight around the box or ??? How can you tell when to stop so that I don't crack the shells? I would love to be able to vacuum seal my finished pieces. It would save a boatload of time and last minute orders would be so much easier to fill. Right now, I have opted to vacuum seal the rolled balls and that works fine.
Susan, I think what you're saying is that you put your finished pieces in a bag and sealed the bag? Yes, I can see how that would crack the shells... Put the finished pieces in a box, protected, as they would be in a retail box, and vacuum seal that. Stop the vacuum process before the box starts to indent. One of the chocolatiers in Italy - Manori - stressed this point. Don't try to take out too much air. It's important that your box is full so that there are no big air spaces in the box. If it's not full, fill it up with something. Don't leave large air spaces in your box.
Thanks so much, Lana. Yes, I do put them in a FoodSaver bag, single layer, and then vacuum seal it. This is the information I needed! Perfect!