The Chocolate Life

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Ok, so I've been making pralines as an amatuer for some time now.  I have read countless books and have worked with hundreds of pounds of chocolate thus far.  But I still ask my self about precoating truffle centers first.  I have had so many problems with chocolates cracking in the past.  Infact, today I was precoating chocolate using a dipping fork and my chocolates still cracked!  I then decided to put some thinned chocolate in my hands and roll the glorious little balls of chocolate.  Infact, I hand rolled each piece twice in the thinned chocolate to be on the safe side.  This finally eliminated the cracks.  I then dipped my chocolates and decorated and they were fine.  I was wondering about other techniques or stories that other chocolatiers have gone through.

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Are your centers at room temp when you dip them?
Indeed they are. I also never chill my centers anymore which I think used to be a problem with softness.
I'm rather late to this discussion. What do you consider room temperature. We chill our centres, as they are too soft at 72 degrees to cover. We dip ours on a wire belt, into a cooling tunnel.
You have it down pat..... you discovered the secret yourself. Twice dipped... no need to thin the chocolate and definitely not an additional coat over that. There's nothing worse than having to bite through a thick coating to get to the center.
As you go along with that method, you will get faster and faster. However, make sure that you ganache balls are not too cold; that's what causes the cracking. In case you are concerned about this, just do one thin coat and let them stand for about 1/2 an hour. Then dip the second coat and they should be beautiful. You can tell the difference between mass produced and handmade.

Good luck and if there's anything else I can do for you, don't hesitate to contact me.

Linda Grishman
www.sweetonvermont.com
Linda,
Thanks for your reply. My chocolates turned out very well but the chocolate I used for dipping I think WAS too viscous. It used to work great when I didn't pre-coat and now it's too thick (but then I had cracking). Although the taste is still wonderful, I enjoy the thinner shells. This is why I call myself an amateur! It takes a long time to master chocolate. I was using Callebaut 54.5% (3 dots for cocoa butter content). When you do your first coat do you roll them in your hand or do you dip them? I found it much easier to roll them in my hands as it reduced having a foot this way. I also had cracking when I tried dipping my first coat in the thinned chocolate. I literally had the perfect temperature/humidity that day to work with chocolate so I know that wasn't a factor.
BTW, I've been to your website awhile back looking at your classes! That's so ironic. It's a great site and maybe if I make it out to NE I'll have to stop by. I grew up in CT and lived in Maine for many years and I long to return!
Thanks again,
Lizzy Steffen
www.lizzyskitchen.com
Hi Lizzy: Never dip, just roll. And as you get more proficient at it, try rolling two together and then three. Just spread them out in our hand. The first roll doesn't necessarily even have to completely cover the ganache. That way it has some room to expand before the second roll. It's the only way I do it. Learned it years ago by accident. Just keep practicing and do your own thing.
I think you'd enjoy my class as it's hands on. No more than two people. Otherwise it's a zoo and people have to strain to see what's going on.
Keep up the good work and don't hesitate to ask questions.

Linda
Doing a double dip will help with slowing down oil migration into the shell, softening it.

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