I attended my very first chocolates & praline level 1 class back in November 2013 and everything seemed so straight forward there. We were taught how to temper on a marble surface and students got to work with a chocolate melting tank each. The products from that class were beautiful, shiny moulded chocolates (and some enrobed pralines), so I thought I could easily replicate them at home!
Remember my previous post on making moulded chocolates (June 2014)? I was working with very basic and cheap tools and I was still able to produce some nice moulded chocolates.
But it wasn’t always that easy for me. Due to my impatient nature, I got too excited during the chocolate class with the amount of chocolate we were working with (12 chocolate tanks) and also the surprisingly beautiful products that were produced in the short 7 hour class, that I completely ignored my basics.
It isn’t hard to make shiny moulded chocolates at home, provided that you get the basics right, i.e. time, movement and temperature (Official Callebaut guide).
I completely underestimated the level of difficulty in making chocolates at home without a chocolate tank, and more importantly, the proper understanding of chocolate tempering. After my chocolate class, I bought a packet of Callebaut dark couverture and tried making moulded chocolates at home – and it wasn’t successful.
One of the main issues of my first attempt was not tempering the chocolate correctly. There are ideal working temperatures for each type of chocolate and I relied too heavily on my thermometer instead of the proper techniques of tempering. As a result, although my chocolate cooled down to the required temperature, I did not give it enough movement (i.e. constant stirring) for the required crystals to form, and these crystals are essential in enabling the chocolates to contract from the mould, and therefore have a shiny shell.
The chocolates I made that night did not contract properly from the mould and I had to bang the mould on my bench quite vigorously before the chocolates came off the mould. Of course, I had too high of an expectation for my first attempt at home without a proper understanding of chocolate tempering – I had hoped for my chocolates to unmould easily and have beautiful shine. Instead, I got dull looking chocolates with fat bloom.
I did make the mistake of making too much in my first attempt – couverture chocolate isn’t cheap and I wasn’t going to just throw them out since the taste was acceptable (if you ignore the mouthfeel?), so I decided to enrobe them in white chocolate to conceal the fat bloom.
Lesson learned: Tempering correctly is key!
Every mistake is a valuable lesson learned. I did not give up after that and sought help from the teachers at Savour (they all told me it was fat bloom after one glance). Since then, I have abandoned my thermometer when tempering and relied on the proper techniques and I was able to create some lovely chocolates for my friends and family for Christmas/New Years in December 2013!
And now? I am onto my next challenge to create coloured moulded chocolates at home, and to create some new flavours 🙂 Please leave me a comment if you have any ideas on the type of flavours or colours you’d like me to try!