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'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!
Yes, that's Celsius. A bit warm, but I like a longer crystallization time, since once it leaves my kitchen, I have little control of how it's abused.
I do coat both sides (humidity is a constant battle, and it really extends the shelf life), first side as thin as possible, the second side about double that, with crushed almonds in the second side. This is mine if you want to see, though because of feedback we've started doing the chocolate a bit thicker than this picture.
Nice looking product Tim. What is that about a 1/4"?
Are you brushing both sides with water before coating?
It's odd to think that we don't want toffee/sugar products absorbing water out of the air, but a little applied doesn't expedite a softening of the product.
I'm glad you like the look of it. I think that picture is a little under 1/4" (it's about 5mm), but the added chocolate I'm doing now probably puts it at 7mm, so a bit over 1/4", though the thickness of the toffee is the same.
Yes, brushing both sides. Honestly, it might speed up softening, but I don't know; I've never kept any past about 10 days. I suspect that it wouldn't, though, since I think the seizing chocolate binds most of that water away from the toffee.
I'm curious what batch sizes you all are working in? I started at 1#, then to 3# now I'm at the max I can do by hand which is about 5.5# (two sheet pans.) I'm definitely eyeing a fire kettle for the future as I think my rotator cuff might just drop off if I do this too long hehe!
Do you all score it as well before hand? I have a pizza wheel I'll do some 4"x2" (relative) squares to aid in snapping/breaking later. I feel like that would put it at a disadvantage if I wanted to dual coat it.
I do about 5.5kg of finished toffee, which is maybe a nine pound batch of actual toffee, I think... I'm home today so I don't have my recipe handy. I'm working on aluminum foil at the moment, but next week I should finally get my silpats in (shipping to Brazil is sloooooow), which will hopefully let me do twice as much (I think I can fit thirty pounds in my large pot), so I can move to doing it every other week and free up some time for truffles, which I can't keep up on. I don't score... no particular reason, I just hadn't thought of it. Maybe I will next week, but like you implied, it might be too hard to flip the sheets.
I wish I could think about a fire kettle, but the shop isn't mine, and the owner won't even get more scoops. I hope to be ready to open my own place in a year or so, depending on capital, but I'll be opening small and growing slowly, so maybe in 5 years. Heh.
Wow Tim, you're doing great between the proverbial rock and a hard place. :)
I was wondering if the chocolate sieze was preventing water absorption. Looking forward to my next batch to give that idea shot.
You're 2x what I'm up to; how do you manage to spread that much material in the time it takes for the toffee to start setting? We were heating pans but that just takes too much time/heat/effort, but to spread one whole sheet pan you get one or two spreads attempts then--well you better like what you've done haaha!
Well, it doesn't really spread at all on aluminum foil so I pour it onto the lined sheet pans and just let it sit in a 150'C oven and it self spreads and levels. That's my bottle neck now--the oven only holds the four pans. I think with the silpats I'll be able to spread better than I can on the aluminum foil. If not, I'll be stuck at my current batch size. I also have a teflon rolling pin on the way that should make things easy... I hope; kinda winging it a lot of the time.
Silpat works but I found parchment paper worked just as well. The toffee might start pulling threads off the edge of the silpats so just be aware. That eventually annoyed me enough that I went back to parchment paper. The rolling pin is an interesting thought. I used one early on during the setup phase and it didn't help as much as an offset spatula and being fast as one could be.
You've given me a lot to think about today Tim. Thank you for signing up and participating. I really appreciate it.
I make about 14 pounds of finished product at a time. I take 5, 1/2 sheet pans lightly sprayed with Pam into a cold oven. I turn it to 350, and when it reaches that temp I turn off the oven. I do this while I'm melting the butter.
When the toffee is done I put the hot pans on the counter and put some toffee in each of the 5 pans. I can control the thickness because by using 5 pans there's room for the toffee with space left over.
As I said before, I score it and break the pieces when it's still warm, let it air dry for a bit. Then I have a tray covered in nuts. I dip the pieces, drop them on the tray, and let my husband sprinkles the nuts on the top.
Trying to visualize how large a pot you all are using. We use induction cooktops here to keep more heat out of the kitchen but you're creeping into the zone where you're going to need more output than those magnetic beasts allow for. I can't quite recall how large out pot is.. I think I'm using a 5Qt SS but I may be off.
We did a laser thermometer check of hot pans out of the oven. Within the first minute they've lost half their heat. Amazing how quick that happens. Inversely a cold pan absorbs half the toffee heat in about the same time. Using smaller pans (1/2 sheets) is smart, they can't be used as heat sinks so much due to the limited size.
Love the discussion, lots of interesting thoughts and perspectives on how we accomplish the task. Anne you're usage early on in this discussion of Toffee Hell has gotten a consistent laugh by my family. ;-)
I wasn't sure where to go on your website to ask a question so I'll do it now.
I have a question about making caramels. Boy was my arm tired the day I made toffee and caramel in the same day.
My recipe is a typical one, butter, cream, corn syrup, sugar, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla.
When I was talking to an expert at the Cargill chocolate company he said I should be using corn syrup solids. I didn't want to show my total ignorance, so I just wrote down the information. Does anyone use this product, and if so, how do you use it?
My supplier only can get in in 50 pound tubs which is way too much for me.
If anyone is interested Cargill Company has a wonderful three day course on how to start a chocolate business. It's two days of classroom and one day of hands on. If your an accomplished chocolatier the hands on might seem simple, but you can pick the experts brains.
Ah you can reach me at andy at thesecretchocolatier dot com if you have anything offsite you want to discuss, or PM me here if you need.
It looks like our recipes are very similar, I think our only difference might be cream instead of milk. Thinking back over my purchase lists.
As you may have noticed our batch sizes are not incredible. We usually keep things much smaller so we keep a good control over it all and it all stays fresh. Most all of our truffles and caramels are done in < 200 unit batches.
I've never heard of using corn syrup solids. My father-in-law controls all the caramels so I'll ask him next time I see him.