December 22, 2009

Chocolates

General Information to be known by a Good Chocolatier.

Putting together a good assortment of pralines or chocolates.

In the first place it is necessary to choose chocolates that present well visually, choosing a variety of shapes and colours. The appearance counts for a lot. Besides different finishes, the assortment ought to include a variety of different centers. It goes without saying that the extra effort involved in this cannot be an obstacle to the devoted chocolatier.

It might seem a little strange at first but the most difficult chocolates to make and the most expensive ones are very much the popular ones. Be aware of this and keep them marketable.

Chocolate moulds do not necessarily contain the same number of chocolates, so in order to obtain an equally numbered assortment you may have to use, for example, one 24-piece mould for one type and two 12-piece moulds for the other.

In the beginning do not overdo the size of selection you want to present in order to keep a clear picture of your production line requirements.

Always use first quality chocolate!

Use only fresh ingredients and let your suppliers know that is your first concern.

The storage of chocolate and pralines a constantly maintained cool and dry environment. Freshness must be one of your top priorities, so balance your stock control and regulate your stock turnover.

Long term planning with a clear vision of tomorrow is vital to big companies; remember that it may also be the key to your own success.

Do not forget that egg yolk contains enough lecithin to easily "fix" separating filling.

Old starch is the best possible material to pour the chocolate centers into; after each session you ought to top it up with a fifty-fifty mixture of maize-flour and rice starch (ground to powder). Store the starch as much as possible in the heat room. The forms used for the imprints in the starch are preferably made of dentists' plaster. You do of cource have to mould it into a suitable chocolate model. To make these plaster models, dissolve plaster powder in sufficient water until the water no longer absorbs the plaster, then go on to blend the substance thoroughly. Pour the substance into a former and softly shake to let out the air bubbles. When the plaster has hardened, take it out of the former and leave the models to dry out completely.

With some contruction glue, stick them to a ruler.

Processing chocolate:

Chocolate that is used for manufacturing pralines is not the same as chocolate bars. As this contains too little cocoa butter, it does not become fluid enough and is therefore only usable for a limited number of fillings. You can purchase it in shops as 'block chocolate".

Couverture
however, is the type of chocolate that is used when manufacturing
chocolates and sweets. It is available packaged in chocolate drops, chips or on 5 kg blocks, in different varieties and flavours.

The chocolate is melted in a heat chamber to a temperature of 50 degree Celsius, one day in advance. The melting can also be done in a bain-marie provided measures are taken to prevent the chocolate from getting too warm or coming in contact with water.

The chocolate has to be completely melted; in other words the chocolate must become entirely fluid; this usually occurs at +50degree C. The substance will then have turned "amorphous" and crystal-free. However, before the melted chocolate is ready to mould or enrobe with, it is necessary that a form of crystallizing or "tempering" takes place so that it will set in the proper fashion.

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