To help you get the most out of ICAM Professional Line products, our experts have listed a number of tips guaranteeing maximum quality and excellent technical performance of all ICAM products used in patisserie, chocolate and ice cream making in order to create your best recipes. Our expert tips range from conservation to packaging; from coating to shaping, ending with tempering and its three phases: melting, cooling and heating.
Chocolate must be preserved in rooms having a controlled temperature of between 15° and 18° C with a humidity not exceeding 50/55% if dealing with bulk products, otherwise the latter will have to be adapted to the relative humidity similar to that of the product being preserved. Do not expose
chocolate to light sources (especially, white chocolate) and pay particular attention to odours as chocolate absorbs these easily both from the environment and the packing.
Packaging should be carried out in a suitable environment, at a controlled temperature not above 18/20°C and with ahumidity not exceeding 50/55%, in order to avoid the classic problems caused by temperatures.
Biscuits, cakes, nougats, dried fruit, pralines …You must pay attention to the temperature of the products to be coated and to the work environment temperature, which should not be lower than 20° C.
This is the technique to shape chocolate by using appropriate moulds. This is the case of slabs, pralines, eggs or hollow shapes. In this regard, we can supply some advice/recommendations:
• The moulds
These must be perfectly clean and dry, washed with special detergents, possibly with demineralised water, dried on stoves or with jets of forced air. They should be used at a temperature of approximately 20°/22°C so as not to cause a thermal shock to the chocolate.
It is better to use moulds in rigid polycarbonate that ensure a more efficient beating to expel any air bubbles and to spread the chocolate homogeneously.
After beating, the mould should be placed quickly in a fresh environment (lower than the work environment temperature by approximately 10°C), without humidity and provided with
air circulation for an adequate period depending on the dimensions (generally 10/15 minutes for pralines). At the end of this process you will obtain perfectly crystallized and easily extractable chocolate.
There are various methods to temper chocolate. Below you can find some indications. The tempering process is an art form which requires commitment and manual and professional skills.
A. Automatic method by using a tempering machine
Naturally, this is the recommended method, using special tempering machines. Pour the solid or previously melted chocolate into the machine’s melting tank and programme the melting and processing temperatures of the chosen chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, press the temperature button and
wait until the machine has finished tempering. The chocolate can be processed as required only after this process has finished.
B. Table method
To process, pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate coating onto a cold surface (20°C), spreading it with a spatula until you reach the pre-crystallization temperature (26°÷29° depending on the chocolate). At this point, add the other part of the melted coating (1/3), mixing it in a bowl in order to reach the
processing temperature. Mix, avoiding to incorporate air, as this would cause the mass to grow thicker. Use the chocolate for processing as requested.
C. Seeding method
Bring the chocolate mass to melt at 40°- 45°C.
Insert the chocolate in the proportion:
• 20% for dark chocolate
• 25% for milk chocolate
• 30% for white chocolate
of its weight, from the already melted chocolate mass, mix with care and do not incorporate any air. The stabilized β (Beta) crystals that are present in the chocolate that has been added will facilitate the creation of other stable crystals in the already melted mass. Bring the mixture to usage temperature, by mixing continuously.
Chocolate processing, especially when it is used in molded and coated products, is strongly influenced by the particular crystallization characteristics of cocoa butter.The aim of tempering or pre-crystallisation is to select the β (Beta) crystals of cocoa butter, that are the ones in stable form, so that the chocolate may preserve in time a perfect structure, glossiness and snap. On the contrary, chocolate “out of temper” (because of an incorrect tempering, but also due to temperature fluctuations), will be difficult to remove
from the moulds. It will be dull in appearance, with the surfacing of cocoa butter (fat bloom), a sandy or inconsistent or poor melt-in-the-mouth texture and a quick organoleptic deterioration in time.
The tempering process is divided into three phases:
To ensure the proper melting of all the crystals, bring the chocolate to a temperature of 45°- 50°C and melt it completely, making it totally fluid, without leaving any lumps. For this operation you can use dissolvers, stoves and microwave ovens; in this last case we recommend that you proceed gradually while mixing continuously to avoid burning the product.
As an indication, cool white chocolate to 26°/27° C, milk chocolate to 27°/28° C and dark chocolate to 28°/29°C, in a homogeneous way. Many of the crystals that will be formed in this phase belong to unstable typologies. Mix the chocolate mass continuously, to spread the β (Beta) type crystals of cocoa butter uniformly.
Heat again the pre-crystallized chocolate mass by increasing the temperature to 28°/29° C for white chocolate, 29°/30° C for milk chocolate and 31°/32° C for dark chocolate. In this way, only the stable β (Beta) type crystals of cocoa butter will be selected. The chocolate can now be processed and used.
Once tempered, as it cools the chocolate tends to crystallize. In order not to have to repeat the process, it is necessary to always keep the temperature within the β (Beta) type crystal stability (27°-34°C) and as near as possible to the service temperature to ensure excellent malleability.