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Hello everyone!

I hoping that someone can help me with this issue. I'm having a problem when pouring tempered chocolate into molds/forms. It seems as though the first few trays come out perfectly tempered but the last few do not. Just how much time do I have before the chocolate sets? I rush like crazy to get them poured but I never see anyone else rushing when I watch tutorials. What might I be doing incorrectly?

Lisa

Girasole Chocolate

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Lisa;

Without a much more detailed explanation or photos of what you're experiencing, I can only guess. However, my best guess would be that you are getting bloom and swirls on your last few trays.

If that is the case, the reason is that you're not keeping your working chocolate agitated. As a result, the chocolate on the surface while it's sitting and waiting to be used some more, is crystalizing differently than the chocolate in, say... the center of the bowl.

If you do not have a machine that can continually agitate your chocolate, you need to either:
a) have someone stirring your chocolate for you while you are working with the molds, or
b) when you're done with one mold, stir, stir, stir, and then when you think you've stirred enough, repeat, and THEN mold up some more.

I hope that helps.

Brad.
Brad,
Thank you for your help. I do have a ACMC tempering machine but what I have been doing is....I take the chocolate out of the bowl and place in a 2 galon size zip lock bag (I cut a small hole in the corner ) and fill my molds. I would say it take me about 5 minutes to complete when I have fondant centers. It takes me time to drop the fondant in the center of the chocolate and tap out any air bubbles before topping off with more chocolate. Perhaps I need to work with a smaller quantity of chocolate. I've been filling the bag with approx 1-1/2 pounds of chocolate. I now understand what some of the problem is thanks to you! Believe it or not I make some awesome chocolates with homemade centers when everything just happens to work out perfectly! LOL
Lisa
Girasole Chocolate
Lisa:

Normally, the shell molding process is done in three distinct steps. From your description it sounds like you might not be waiting between steps. You should not have to transfer the chocolate from the temperer to the mold by piping. The chocolate is crystallizing in the bag and quickly becoming unusable. Instead, leave the chocolate in the temperer and use a ladle to transfer the chocolate to the mold. Use a bench scraper or offset spatula to scrape the excess chocolate off the bottom of the molds.

The first step is to completely fill the mold cavities with chocolate to form the shell, vibrating to remove air bubbles. The chocolate is left in the mold for a short while (depends on several factors - room temp, mold temp, specific chocolate) and then the mold is inverted over the temperer allowing extra chocolate to drip back into the temperer. Scrape the surface of the mold to remove excess chocolate (back into the temperer.

The molds are set aside to let the chocolate crystallize (set up). Again, how long depends on the chocolate and the temps involved.

Once the shell is done, the center is added - how depends on what the center is. In the case of fondant just drop it in. Then fill all the mold cavities with chocolate (again using the ladle to transfer the chocolate), vibrate to remove air bubbles, and scrape the excess chocolate off.

Set aside to let the chocolate set up. When that's done, invert the molds to release the chocolate.

:: Clay
Clay;

There may be some challenges with your method if Lisa isn't using polycarbonate molds, or the hard thermoformed molds from, say, Tomric. There are millions of inexpensive molds on the market, but they don't lend themselves to the method you've outlined, as they are too flimsy, and often have ridges around the outside which prevent scraping. I have some of those exact molds in my basement, from when I was doing this as a hobby in my home.

If the only way to make her confections is to partially fill the mold, put the fondant in, and then fill it the rest of the way, I would like to suggest an alternative to piping with a baggie (which we also do in our shop for decorating brownies, and so forth):

Go to a restaraunt supply store and buy the CLEAR version of the red and yellow ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles we've all seen in at one time or another. They hold approximately 1 litre of chocolate (about 2lbs), are much thicker, and hold the heat better, while at the same time insulating the chocolate on the sides from your hands. You can snip the tip to allow whatever volume you like out, and while pouring, you can roll it, and squeeze it to circulate the chocolate and prevent swirling. When refilling, dump out the chocolate that's in it, stir your ACMC chocolate, and then refill it. When done, put it in the fridge for a few minutes, then when the chocolate has set, roll the bottle thereby breaking the chocolate inside, and dump it back into your ACMC. You'll end up with a clean bottle that's ready to use again!

We make thousands of sampling callets this way, and they turn out great!

This is a great option for those who have/use home hobbyist styles of molds, and it allows for a much cleaner shop because it isn't as messy as a piping bag.
Brad,
I do use Polycarbonate molds. What's funny is I was thinking the same thing about the difficulty if using hobbist molds. Perhaps I made a silly purchase last week when I purchased a chocolate confectionary funnel. It hasn't arrived yet so please tell me I didn't waste my money. It was my solution to the problem prior to asking for help here. Silly me!
Lisa
P.S. How do I get the chocolate in the bottles without making a huge mess? Perhaps my confectionary funnel?
Lisa:

A funnel is good for filling the bottles, a confectionery funnel is overkill for this application but could be useful if you decide to use something more liquid than fondant for centers.

You can also improvise something to keep the chocolate in the bottles warm when you're not using them. Some people like to use yogurt makers. I might be tempted to put a silpat on a buffet warmer or electric blanket and then use some sort of short tube that I could insert the bottle into to trap the warmth without making it so hot the chocolate comes out of temper. Also, you can put the funnel on this and keep it warm so that it doesn't clog up. Using the silpat makes cleanup very easy.
Clay,

I'll just put the funnel away until I learn how to make centers that require it. If using something such as a yogurt maker, how do you retain the temperture at which the chocolate was tempered....let's say at 87 degress? Is it necessary to retain a certain temp or is "warm" good enough to keep it in temper?
Lisa
That depends on the yogurt maker - temps can be imprecise. It's why I mentioned the buffet warmer or electric blanket - they have adjustable heat settings.
Thank you, I'll post pictures of some of my chocolates soon. Thank you,
Lisa
Clay,
I totally understand now. I can't tell you how much easier it will be for me to use the method of scraping excess back into pot in lieu of my current method. I'm glad I asked my silly question because it was driving me nuts and now I know! Thank you,
Lisa
Lisa;

If you've got polycarbonate molds and a machine such as the ACMC, then definitely the way to go is with Clay's suggestion.

The squeeze bottle is great for decorating, or the home hobbyist molds.

Just remember: Stir, Stir, Stir.

Cheers.
Thanks for all your help. I had no idea I was making it much more difficult than necessary. I'll post pictures of some of my creations in the coming days. Thank you again,
Lisa

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