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Whats going on with my chocolates?? Quality Control-Appearance concerns

I was hoping that some of you could chime in on what is happening on my chocolates.  I have been in business for 4 years in the SAME location.  I am still in my certified home kitchen.

What we are finding lately (the last 3 months or so) the chocolates have not been holding their flavor very long.  Also, and the most concerning, is what appears to be a fast spreading "bloom".   So much so that I have had to pull chocolates that are only a few weeks old (in some cases only a week) and sell them as seconds or use them as samples.  

I am attaching a few pictures for you to look at.  

Humidity:  The weather has been changing from winter to spring.  THere has been some rain so I know this is adding to the humidity.

from fridge to room temperature: I have always stored my "centers" before dipping and chocolate after dipping and wrapping in a typical refrigerator.  We have 5 now.  It has always worked in the past even with the "shock" it sometimes goes thru when we pull them out of the cold into room temperature (65-68 degrees).  When choc's would start condensating we would immediately stop for the day but this only happened on the most extreme days (high rain or high heat outside).

I have since turned up my refrigerators as far as they can go to lessen the possibility of condensation.

Candy Pads: We store our chocolate with candy pads in between each layer.  We have recently switched to regular food service film between layers.  Lately wherever candy pads have touched the "bloom" (for lack of something better to call it) makes it look worse.  However the 'bloom' is down the sides of the chocolate too where the pad didn't touch.

TemperingWe have a Rev 3210.  We have only just begun making sure we are continuing  the tempering process after dipping by leaving the chocolates out for several hours before they go in the fridge.

We think we have a moisture issue which is why we turned UP the storage refrigerators to lessen the condensation.

Swirls: As long as we keep the temperature consistently between 88-90 while dipping we are usually ok but in the picture you will see that swirls are also an issue.  Especially over the last 9 months or so.  As a matter of fact they have gotten worse until recently.

Any info you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Like I said, we have pretty much been doing the same thing with the same recipe for a few years but all of a sudden we are having this problem.

Thanks!

Jennifer Davis

The Great Unbaked

p.s. this is RAW chocolate if it matters.

Tags: Bloom, appearance, control, quality

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Not having looked at the post in detail, from the pictures you've got a combination of sugar bloom and something called heat streaks.  Sugar bloom is the result of your chocolates getting wet at some point (likely condensation after cooling), and heat streaks are the result of your tempered chocolate not being thoroughly mixed/agitated, resulting in some areas being cooler than other areas within the chocolate mass itself.

Thank you. What's strange is that the " bloom" is happening so fast. Sometimes within a week. This never happened before but I think you are right about the moisture. Just wondering why now all of a sudden.

Jennifer -

If Sebastian is right, then one step would be to install a dehumidifier in the room and also to install some sort of humidity sensor so you can discover the environmental conditions that lead up to this. This will help you understand the sugar bloom issues. (I often notice a textural change in chocolate that has sugar bloomed - it can taste sandy and granular.)

As for the swirls appearing in the chocolate. Get a good fast-reading digital probe thermometer and check to make sure that the thermocouple in the Rev is actually reading properly. Replacing the probe (by replacing the baffle) could help solve that problem.

Thank you Clay!

I did get a new baffle but I still have the issue.  I am thinking about sending in my tempering machine to have them just look it over.

I am convinced it is moisture coming from somewhere on my production line.  Maybe a few places.  Here are a few more pics.  After I grind the chocolate I store it in ziploc bags which I then store until we are ready to temper.

On these pics you will see what appears to be moisture that was caused by sealing the bags too soon.  Does it look that way to you?

Also, What is the best way to store chocolate that has just come out of the grinder?

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That is fat bloom, caused by untempered, or incompletely tempered, chocolate.  Not to say there' sno moisture present (it's hard to tell from the photo), but i'd bet you your next batch of chocolate that what is visable in this photo is fat bloom.

Its untempered, fresh from the grinder

There's nothing wrong with it.  When you go to temper it, the fat will melt out and, assuming you achieve proper temper, the spots will go away.

To stop the heat streaking, once you're at temper, use a spatula to thoroughly mix up the tempered chocolate, let it sit a couple of minutes, and do it again.  You're trying to get a consistent temperature in all the chocolate.  If there's a lightbulb or some heat source that's coming on durign this time, turn it off.


For the sugar bloom, you're going to need to stop the condensation - end of story.  W/o seeing the setup myself, it's hard to say exactly what's wrong, but it will boil down to controlling your relative humidity and temperatures. There are condensation charts out there on the web that'll help you understand - at a given RH of your room or cabinet - at which point it becomes cold enough for condensation to form.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.  Great Info from you two. :)

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