Troubleshooting Chocolate Molds
Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy - Lesson 10
In the previous post I described how to use chocolate molds, but today I’m going to talk about some of the things that can go wrong when using chocolate molds.
I have to admit that it’s one of those things where you will get better with practice. Each time you do it, you will fine tune your process and will produce beautiful chocolate more consistently. Don’t give up! It’s an awesome skill to have so it’s worth the effort.
Here’s a guide to help you troubleshoot problems that you might encounter.
The Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy series is a great place to start if you’re new to tempering chocolate. Your reward will be delicious homemade chocolate candy made by YOU!
After you remove the chocolate from the mold, you find a bubble on the surface of the chocolate. Perhaps it left a hole big enough for filling to leak out or perhaps it just caused a flawed look to your candy. To see what I mean, take a look at the bubble on the beak of the owl candy below.
Here’s what might have gone wrong:
- Didn’t tap the mold enough with a wooden spoon before the chocolate set.
- Stirred the chocolate too much and created excessive bubbles.
There’s a handy hack to avoiding the appearance of bubbles that might be worth a try. Using a paintbrush, paint a thin layer of tempered chocolate in the mold cavity before you pour the chocolate in. Then if you miss a bubble or two, chances are they’ll be hidden by the chocolate you painted in.
Chocolate Not Releasing From the Mold
When you attempt to pop the chocolate out of its mold, nothing happens. So you use more force and maybe try twisting the mold like an ice tray. Still, nothing happens. What could it be?
- The chocolate has not set yet. Place it in the refridgerator for a few more minutes and try again. You’ll know this is the problem if the underside of the mold isn’t foggy (see below).
- The chocolate wasn’t tempered properly. Untempered chocolate will not harden enough to pop out of a mold easily. Check out How to Temper Chocolate to review the ways to test whether your chocolate is in temper.
- The chocolate has sugar bloom. This occurs when moisture dissolves the chocolate sugars and causes a rough, hardened texture to form in the areas affected.
Chocolate is Cracked
Chocolate sometimes comes out of the mold with cracks ranging from small to severe. Sometimes only half the candy pops out because the crack was so bad it fell completely apart.
Here are the likely culprits:
- The chocolate was exposed to too cold of a temperature for too long. Try reducing the time the chocolate sets in the refridgerator and never place the chocolate in the freezer.
- The sides of the candy are too thin. Try holding the mold upside down longer to allow the chocolate to spread evenly and coat the side of the mold better.
- The backing on the mold is too thick. By this I am referring to the final coat of chocolate on the mold that serves as the bottom of the candy. Use an offset spatula to carefully push off the excess chocolate without disturbing the filling. Also ensure that the mold itself wasn’t cold at the time of adding the chocolate backing. This will cause it to instantly set.
The chocolate comes out of the mold with tiny flecks or large spots. This isn’t the flawless shine you hoped for. The reasons are simple…and completely avoidable.
- Once again, sugar bloom could be to blame. Make sure the mold is completely dry before adding chocolate. Also, avoid condensation from forming when moving the mold from the cold refridgerator to a warm kitchen by wrapping the mold in a kitchen towel. This will allow it to ease to the warmer temperature.
- The spot could be a fingerprint. Use gloves when touching molded chocolate and never touch the inside of the mold.
- Spots were left in the mold when cleaning. Chocolate candy takes on a mirror image of the mold…including the imperfections. Be sure molds are cleaned and dried thoroughly. Always use a soft cloth or cotton ball so that you don’t scratch the mold. Plastic molds are extremely sensitive to hot water. Hand wash only.
You notice areas where the filling is leaking from the candy. It’s not due to a crack, but it’s happening near the bottom of the candy.
- Not enough space was left for the backing. Remember to leave about 3/16th of an inch for the chocolate backing.
- Filling was pulled to the surface when adding the chocolate backing. Use caution that you don’t expose the filling while using the offset spatula.
- The filling touched the upper side of the molded cavity, which prevented the chocolate backing from adhering to the sides. Be sure to work neatly and carefully when adding filling to the cavities.
Hopefully this troubleshooting guide helps you to improve the quality of your chocolate candy as you master your new skill. I have broken just about every rule we talked about here. Don’t get discouraged, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy yourself!
Do you have any troubleshooting tips to add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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