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Humidity? Too cold fridge? Problems with bloom

Hello!

I'm new to this, so will welcome any advice.

I'm tempering by hand, using a double pan, recently using tempering aid but have also used the "adding extra chocolate to seed" method.

I have fairly consistent results (after buying several thermometers of increasing accuracy and price!).

The inconsistency is that some chocolates gain a white (sugar?) bloom, not a butter one, when stored for a week in a sealed plastic container.

For this question I'll add specific information: Callebaut 54%, tempering aid, heat to 45C, cool to 34C (adding the aid then), stir well.

I then pour into polycarbonate moulds, put into a freezer for a few minutes, then knock them out. By the time I have put them into a box they have condensation on them.

I have the same problem if I use a fridge and not a freezer.

I've just bought a hygrometer so I can see the humidity in the room, and a dehumidifier which I plan to use tomorrow.

Perhaps I'm cooling them too much, so any advice about temperature would be useful. Perhaps it's just too humid - it's certainly not too hot in the room right now! Should I keep them in a sealed box with silica gel?

It's just so disappointing, I thought I'd started to get the hang of all this!

Thanks

Tony

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Chocolate is very nuanced.  Welcome to the learning curve. :D

You mention you are getting bloom, but is this bloom happening after the condensation?  That could be the problem in general.  Condensation will aid in pulling the sugars out and when they dry you'll easily have sugar bloom.

AFAIK, I've never seen cold effect bloom. It can create cracking as chocolate shrinks as it cools. Humidity and your tempering methods are more a possibility.

In general your tempering methods need to be exacting. Tempering is usually a raising of temperature, a lowering of temperature, then a raising of temperature (not too much--dependent on kind) again.  Extended tempers can even repeat the reduce and raise.  

Was your blooming happening before you added agents to it?  Did the same occur when you were doing the seed chocolate?  You mention these tempering aid's (not familiar) but what is your main chocolate you are using.  Is  the whole thing a semi-sweet?  Probably some of the easiest chocolate to work with is in this range.

Lots of fantastic resources and books out there.. You can find many recommendations for Pierre Wybauw, the CIA's book Chocolate Confections, or even some more soft books like Making Artisan Chocolates or Chocolate Obsession might help.

Keep a log, record what variables you can, and keep up the trials.  It's not easy but once you find the rhythm and reason you'll forget a lot of the early setbacks. :D

Thanks for your reply Andy.

The tempering aid is Mycryo®, but I did have the same problem tempering without the Mycryo®.

I have been following the tempering system of heat, let cool, warm a bit while stirring, but the Mycryo instructions leave the last warming stage out - presumably as the mycryo is pure crystals of cocoa butter so it seeds quickly.

I do wonder what temperature I should cool the molded chocolate so it shrinks from the mold but does not get too cold to cause the condensation.

Any ideas?

Thanks again,

Tony

it is actually not correct to talk about 'tempering' because it's not the temperature but mainly the crystals that we need in chocolate and those right crystals form when you give the chocolate movement or motion. 

if you pour melted cacaobutter on table and you let it cool down...and then heat up a little then what dou you see? nothing. it has not crystallized. why? but when you move your finger in it it will. why? because of the movement you gave.

so it's the movement or motion you give that is important to create and line up crystalls the way we need ;-)

cheers.

rene

I make chocolate in Costa Rica.  We hand temper our chocolate and use a chest freezer to cool the chocolate.  Being a very warm humid environment, we encountered the same thing.  The best way to avoid condensation on your chocolate is to move the chocolate from the mould into the air tight container before leaving the freezer.  Once the chocolate is broken out and placed in the container it can be removed to warm gradually to the ambient temperature.  Once the chocolate warms up it can be removed and packaged.  No cold surfaces touching warm humid air means no condensation.  Give it a try!

Hi,

Thanks, Paul,

Sounds sensible advice.

There is a lot to learn in this activity!

All the best,

Tony

Thanks Paul,  Yes im using this procedure and i am getting the condensation because we pack them right after we get them from the freezer.

hi.

what i would not use is the freezer because mould is warm and because of that when you put it in the freezer there will be moisture already inside the mould and bloom afterwards for sure.

also after closing the box you have different temperature and humidity in the box and fridge/freezer so there will be moisture in the box that causes bloom. chocolate does not like rapid temperature changes and moist. that is why there are humidity controlled fridges for chocolate and pastry that are +12+15C and ideal +18C in the prep.room. in normal fridge you risk always with high moisture and odors that affect taste and also the temperature is bit too low. but there might be something else too because i have kept in early years my chocolate in box or open in fridge and didn't have bloom.

and another thing is using double pan...that means a lot of moisture right into your chocolate. better use microwave.

when you pre-crystallize chocolate by hand then use so called 'marble' that means pre-crystallizing on table...preferably on stone plate/slab because there you add MOVEMENT needed for the chocolate crystals and that is the essential thing for best characteristics of the product...not the thermometer reading. 

this is what i do when i dont have machinery:

+45C->2/3 on marble->move /fold->stir back with 1/3->sample.

when sample on your pallet knife hardens in 2-3 minutes then you are in business :)

good luck :)

rene

Thank you for your reply Rene.

I have been getting a good "snap" to the chocolate, with it hardening well and with a good shine - the bloom appears after a few days.

I will try altering the temperature in the fridge, I have one for my normal cooking and another one I can use for the chocolate - so I can have this at a higher temperature.

I will also try using a microwave and not a double pan.

Thanks again,

Tony

Freezers are notorious for condensation--no more than 5 mins tops.

You didn't say how thick your molds are, this is important.

You also didn't say if your bloom was fat bloom or sugar bloom.  Sugar bloom will feel sharp and gritty when you rub it with your fingers, fat bloom will feel greasy.  Sugar bloom is the culprit with humidity issues

What might be the culprit with fat bloom is "latent heat build-up".  This is where the chocolate is poured too thick and the core or center can't cool down fast enough.  You see this a lot in molded figures like easter bunnies or Santas.  This is how I deal with it:

When I do solid bars, and mine are no more than 1/4" thick, (6 bars to a mold) I do it in two steps::

First, I pour in about half, vibrate, scrape clean, and depending on room temp, may or may not pop them in the fridge.  When solid, I pour the next or top layer, scrape clean and repeat.

Let us know when you do your next batch

That's good to know, Edward and thanks for the tip.

I've been making casings for praline, so the thickness presumably is not a problem - but may be if I do thicker moldings, so I'll remember your tip.

The problem is definitely sugar bloom, I've made a couple of more batches so will see what happens.

This is what I've tried. Firstly I have used a microwave instead of twin-pan to cut down on steam. I have taken the temperature in the fridge and raised it a bit (ok for the chocolates, but not so good for dairy products - so I've stuck the thermometer in the salad tray at the bottom of the fridge to see what the temperature is like there - just waiting for it to settle down.

The humidity has been high here (I live in a rural part of the UK, we have had a lot of rain recently and now it's getting warmer. I'm now able to measure the humidity and it has been up to 90% - I have bought a dehumidifier, the kitchen is small so it can easily bring the humidity down.

Of course now I've changed several variables at once - so perhaps it will be more difficult to isolate the culprit - but if I get good results I can stick at whatever works.

I really would like to thank you and Rene for your help.

I will come back to give an update in a few days - but in the meantime welcome any other ideas.

Thanks again

Tony

@Edward.

no need to do that if you have well pre-crystallized chocolate. after moulding for 10min +8+10C fridge and that's it :)

What creates moisture/condensation- is when you have a difference between your room temperature and fridge(if an open type one) is more than 5C. 

I personally would not put chocolate in a freezer even for 5 minutes because you are 'shocking' the chocolate, where's HAS to be slowly cooled going from 16C down to 13C and then again 15/16C for about 40 minutes- that's ideal life- what 'chocolate guru's' are saying. 

I have this problem at work every year where chocolates coming out of the cooling tunnel are wet, covered with condensation, which I personally think is to do with the humidity in the room, which in some rainy summer days is more than Rh. 

I would highly recommend go to Maplin shop and buy this- http://www.maplin.co.uk/humidity-and-temperature-probe-meter-220815 . Do some measures on a daily basis and you'll find that maybe it is really a matter of buying a dehumidifier or changing your fridge onto a small cooling system, that can be custom made and does not require huge capex. 

Regards, Arthur

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