The Chocolate Life

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Hello everyone,

 

I've been researching how best to store my finished chocolates (fillings + couverture) for up to a week.  In my last job we had a beautiful room that was temperature and humidity controlled.  Now I'm on the other side of the world looking to start a much smaller operation.  I would love everyone's suggestions, etc. for storage. We have hot and cold weather, mostly on the dry side. 

 

Here are some options I've researched, but don't know the pros/cons:

 

--Chest freezer (but how do you control the humity?)

--Wine cooler (this option seems small and is humidity still a problem?)

--Chocolate storage cabinet (I found one on AA -- http://www.aafixtures.com/ -- but it retails for $2400.  Has anyone had success making their own?  We're pretty handy, so if we need construct something, we're up for the challenge.)

--Cooler (like the ones you take to the ballgame.  Again, humidity and temperature control?)

--other ideas?

 

I've read about freezing, but would rather not go that route for now.

 

Thanks so much for any advice!

Tags: storage

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If you have controlled the temperature and only humidity is the problem so try this
Keep chocolate in an airtight container and put dry common salt (sodium chloride-normal food salt) beside it. Spread the salt as possible but dont it comes in contact with chocolate.
So what happens
You will control the temperature with chest freezer or wine cooler, now a little amount of moisture will introduce into the container due to opening closing of container or due to atmosphere. The salt will absorb that moisture as it is a moisture absorber, thus chocolate will remain dry and cool.
its the most easy and effective way of keeping chocolate
Hey,

relating to the salt solution, rice grains are often placed in salt shakers to prevent humidity.
If you spill rice in a container, cover it with mesh fabric, place chocolate on it, it should do.
Also, I have learned at a chocolate course, you need only nice old fridge, not working, but it will still seal the chocolates inside. Also there might be boxes, you can buy with the possibility of vacuum sealing.
Also, what if you have a small closed room, and put in a dehumidifier(maybe 300$)?
Anyway, I have same issues ahead of me, as I plan to make more candies.

Good luck.
Thanks so much chocolatelake and katerina -- I'll give both ideas a try! It's good that we're coming into the colder months. I'll have more time to experiment.
Hi can u help me in chocolate making setup
Jennifer,
First, I'll be of no help, so feel free to ignore this, but I am facing the same situation. I am fortunate to be in very low humidity part of the world, and between October and March the way I solve this is that I have a north-facing room with a lot of windows, and by opening and closing the windows I'm able to keep the room at a nearly constant 60 degrees, augmented by a ductless air conditioner (and, though rarely needed) a heater. In this region, our humidity is usually 10% (ranges 8% winter-20%summer), so humidity is controlled by mother nature. I can store chocolates with even fairly high water activity (Aw) (such as truffles) in this room for 4 weeks without appreciable loss of quality, blooming, etc. (Of course, they are in air tight containers and not exposed to light.)

But as a non-commercial artisanal chocolatier, I simply shut down operation between March and October, because without a temperature controlled environment, the ambient temperature is too hot for tempering, let alone storage.

We have a commercial vineyard nearby, and I talked to them if I could maybe rent some of their lovely dark, cool space -- the problem of course is they have to control their humidity in exactly the wrong direction: they need high humidity and cool temperatures. So they actually ADD humidity. Dead end there.

I have discussed with local small construction/remodeling companies building a small room that would have the right temperature and humidity control. With the recession, they are very hungry for work. For maybe 50% more than a commercial cabinet + shipping, they might be able to build a simple room (frame/stucco with heavy insulation) that would work. Temperature control would be fairly easy with a small unit. But again...I'm very lucky I don't need to worry much about humidity.

If you find a workable solution, I hope you'll post a follow-up! Best of luck
-Bruce
Jennifer:

One of the key pieces of information missing here is how much storage space you need. I am going to assume that you don't need to worry about temperature and humidity control in the work space itself, and that you're not having problems with crystallization of your chocolates.

From the sound of it - the answer is not much, but please give me a better idea. The chocolate "storage" cabinet you refer to at aafixtures.com is really display cabinet and is really not meant for storage. Your reaction to the price makes me think you really are looking for a low-cost DIY solution. The approach to take will depend on how much chocolate you need to store at any particular time.
Hi Clay, I'm looking to store a minimum of 500/maximum of 1000 chocolates at a time, but I could do multiple units that each hold 500 or so. The workspace is temperature and humidity controlled, but there's no storage room there. A DIY solution would be the best case. Thank you for your help!

Bruce, Thanks for the reply and insight -- I'll surely post any offline solutions that I find!
There is NO room for any sort of storage in the workspace? Where do you plan to put chocolates being stored? In a space that is climate-controlled? Outside?
It's a contracted kitchen for preparing food only. The chocolate would then be stored in a climate-controlled space.
Take a look at page 22 of this catalog: http://www.alexanderindustries.net/catalog.html

It's a "speed rack" on casters enclosed on all six sides. You can place you work on sheet pans and place it inside this enclosure. As it will be in a climate-controlled space, issues with respect to temperature and humidity inside the cabinet are really taken care of by the ambient environment. If you needed to, you could add a little assist in a DIY project grafting on a little thermo-electric cooler unit.

Another possible alternative is these: http://www.restaurantequipment.com/CAMCARRIERS.html

Again, as the environment these are in is climate-controlled, the temperature and humidity issues are taken care of outside these portable units. These are nice in the sense that you can take them to and from the kitchen and the pieces are protected in transport. You can get a dolly so they are easily movable, and they stack. They even have optional removable gel-packs (camchillers). You can get ones that hold standard-sized sheet pans.

Also consider this: http://www.coolerking.com/polarfresh_filter/polar-fresh.php
Thanks so much, Clay! These links are very helpful. I found the link to the polarfresh filter on another CL post, ordered one and so far it's been great. I'll check out these solutions and will post with the final results soon. Thanks again!

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