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For the past 3 months I've explored, enjoyed and been successful with a butter toffee.  Where I consistently have issues is the chocolate layer shearing from the toffee during the breaking up of toffee stage.

Let's explore what's been done..

  • I began like many do and let the chocolate melt on the surface of the hot toffee.  This worked somewhat well but had some unpredictable outcomes. It would shear from 5% to 30% depending on batch and regardless the chocolate would bloom within the week.
  • I then went to the toffee cooling method; I would pour the toffee, score it multiple times, cool it, come back to it later, wipe off any excess butter sheen (and it's been pretty minimal) then use a microwave to prepare the chocolate.  This seemed to bring down my shearing to 0% to 15%.  However much of the time the chocolate would bloom again within the week.
  • Lastly I've gone to preparing it, scoring, cooling, wiping and then using tempered chocolate to coat the top and I get a 15% to 35% shearing.

I'm good at troubleshooting, I've got an engineering background so walking through steps and analyzing the situation runs in my blood but this.. this is head to wall bashing frustrating.

If you make toffee professionally what step am I missing?  I have my toffee down to a rhythm, no separation, beautiful quality, flavor, color--but this lack of chocolate adhesion drives me nuts.  I'm about to just start scoring and breaking then enrobing squares but that makes the time of prep go up which I'd rather not do on most of the line I'm working on.

I feel there is a tip or trick I've not been privy to--that eludes me--driving me up a wall heheh!

Tags: chocolate, shearing, toffee

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Hey Tim, I've tried part one of your suggestions--I let it sit in a 150'c / 302'f oven and it spread a little. I had to jiggle it to the corners to help move it around.  How long do you use the oven for?  I started w/ 5m.

Is yours convection or standard?  Few finer points I had not thought through.

It seemed to work well enough though. Looking forward to trying the couple tsps of water brushed on then tempered chocolate.  Oooh experimentation!

It's a deck oven. I warm it to 150'C/300'F and turn it off, then leave the trays for about twenty minutes or so. Sometimes the corners get a bit bubbly, but they settle down once they come out. 

Ok. We have a convection oven and I left it on. Maybe not the best idea.  It's amazing I can tell there is a difference in the sugar setting up.  Look forward to seeing how it rests over the next day.

I spread about a tsp, maybe a little more with a brush over the cooled toffee (wiped any excess butter) until the water got a little tacky then immediately ladled on our tempered chocolate.

I let it set up about an hour and just got finished fiddling with about half of it.  I'm still seeing quite a bit of sharding. Underneath the tempered chocolate it's a little soft still.  How long do you let your slab rest before you break into it?

If I switch from breaking it to knifing it, cutting into it, that's working pretty well.

I'm walking away from it for the night.  See if that moist-ish layer between the toffee and chocolate dries/soldifies/whatever and will try again in the morning.  If you have any further input on that stage, awesome.

I am waiting on the edge of my seat here to see how it went, this is a very interesting discussion.  I have not made toffee in my shop yet, but have been working on a recipe for it, but now I'm having second thoughts. There hasn't been much call for it here but I always want to try new things to keep my creative juices flowing. I can't wait for the next chapter.

ahaha. Christopher, small batches take you places.  We have a tasters circle we bring in to vet our ideas. Make a few small batches, get an idea of the process and potential workload, if you like it, if more importantly customers like it, then bam-zoom. ;-) You're in trouble for creating a sensation. hehe.

Latest update on this test batch.. I had to use a knife to cut along my score lines, I was seeing more sharding than I would have liked but when cutting it I only saw a small amount of toffee/chocolate separation.

I have to try this again though.  Because I was basically cooking my toffee longer in the oven I had a higher % of butter separation than I am used to.  This could be creating an issue with the test if even after a good and through wiping the excess I feel it could be throwing a bit of this off.  I also want to try not scoring it.  Scoring can pool butter which may increase the sharding.

So positive signs but inconclusive.  More experimentation!

I don't know why it's not sticking for you now... so many variables. I haven't really tried any changes at all since I hit on my solution, so I can't suggest what else to try. I can break it whenever I need to and have good results; anywhere from an hour after coating to three or four days.

You know, with all the problems you guys are having, I hate to say this.  But, I've never had this issue.  I've made toffee two ways.  One,  I scatter half the amount of chopped chocolate and nuts on a silpat.  Pour the toffee over as evenly as I can without spreading.  Then scatter the other half over that.  Let set and break into pieces.

The second way: Pour the toffee in a thin layer on a silpat and let harden.  I usually have my tempering machine working while making the toffee.  I spread a thin layer of chocolate on one side, then top immediately with chopped nuts.  After setting up, I flip it over and repeat.  I then break into pieces.  I don't usually have a lot of oil form on the top.  I have occasionally brush with cocoa powder, but have found it's not necessary.  
None of this helps I'm sure, I just can't think of anything that is causing such problems.  

Tim, yea I have a few more thoughts to work through.  I employed multiple new ideas in one go and that's never a great idea. You should only change one thing per round so you can keep better control. 

Robyn, your first method works fine with me. But since we have a naked product.  All I use is sea salt, I can't cover the streaking bloom that happens from an untempered product. If I use nuts then my nut allergy crowd would go nuts, hehe! That lead me to wanting to have a tempered solution.  I'm amazed you've never had a separation problem with tempered chocolate.  You've got a low porosity buttered surface with a slathering of a tempered chocolate which by nature releases.  

Searching online nearly everyone who uses tempered chocolate has a chocolate/toffee separation issue that drives them back to an untempered idea.

It could also be the chocolate that's being used.  White chocolate doesn't give me this problem at all. Tempered or not.

It's a strange and fickle beast. If anyone does not have this problem, feel very very lucky that your environment, recipe, and/or product choices have coincided to not create a problem. :D

Andy, have you tried different chocolates? If white works, maybe try a different chocolate, either brand or type?

I think you should try scoring while the toffee is still hot. This should help. If you find any pooling of the butter you can always wipe it off with a paper towel. I agree with Ruth that you might need to try a different chocolate.

Am I the only one out there that dips actual pieces and not the whole sheet? It is more time consuming but when I break these pieces into smaller pieces for bags or boxes I don't get any shearing.

Ruth, white just isn't chocolate haha. I mean it's cocoa butter with <1% solids.  I expect it to behave differently.  I could try some other chocolates but if I vary that's going to mess with the backbone of our operation or if I use the higher end that we use in our truffles it's liable to make my costs bend a bit out of proportion.  I'll keep down this line a few more iterations before I'm done.

Anne, I score mine and to some degree that's helped as if it does break off oddly its just around the scored edges I've made.  I have threatened that if I continue to fail at this that I'll end up scoring/cutting and then having the kitchen finish them on enrober days. I handle all of our costs based off a COG+L (cost of goods + labor & overhead) spreadsheet I've made and if I hand dipped each unit then broke it, the labor value exceeds percentages I like to keep on most of our products.  

If only I could have made this like Robyn with a nut in it, then I could have handled this a few ways hehe. The fact that it's such a simple product (deceptively) creates more problems.

I've got a number of batches I have to crank out this week. Once I take into account some of the addendum's made with Tims observations I'd like a few more cracks at it before I throw in the towel. In the end this can be a large multivariate problem and it only takes a few variables I feel to create issues.  Here I thought 6 months ago I was doing something that'd be easy. Haha!

It's hard if your not using any nuts. Is your store nut free or do you just have a lot of people that can't eat nuts but want toffee?


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