Friend of all hours, success among all audiences, sovereign ingredient. Although chocolate is capable of arousing passions and our most sincere smiles, it is also responsible for some cruel doubts in the confectionery.
Here at ICKFD, we have already talked about the difference between 100% cocoa, chocolate powder and chocolate, as well as the varieties of cocoa powder (there is the natural and the alkaline). In this post, I answer some frequently asked questions on the subject, from step by step to season chocolate to tips from the best brands. The text was based on the two videos “Everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate but were ashamed to ask”, aired on the YouTube channel (if you are not yet subscribed, click here to not miss any news!).
The theme is long and so this is just a snip of the main doubts, but whoever wants to go deeper into the world of chocolates and learn more in practice, I recommend the courses of the chocolatier Simone Izumi. And of course: lots of training!
Let’s go to the questions? (Hint: to access the recipes, just click on the photos)
Whenever I try to melt the chocolate bar it burns. Why does it happen?
The first thing you need to do is not to set the heat too high (or the microwave power). Think of chocolate as something very delicate, so the secret here is to use it in small pieces (I use it in drops) so that it melts evenly.
Another important tip is to melt the chocolate in a double boiler: the water in the pan should not touch the bowl, only the hot steam.
What brand of chocolate do you use?
I use Callebaut chocolates. To learn more about the brand, check out the post with the different varieties (in drops, with more or less cocoa, original chocolates and so on).
photo: Milkand / cover photo: Benja Kinate
Why does the homemade Easter egg have white balls? And how do you not get whitish?
It can be due to several factors, such as “sugar bloom”, “fat bloom” or error when tempering. THE Fat bloom occurs when the cocoa butter stops on the surface of the chocolate and this can happen both at the time of tempering and during the transport of the ready egg. Because of the temperature variation, it can get too hot and then cool down, causing the chocolate to appear whitish. In case of sugar bloom, the drastic change in the temperature of the chocolate causes the sugar to melt and crystallize on the surface of the chocolate.
Anyway, these characteristics do not indicate that your chocolate cannot be eaten – it will only get a little ugly …
Click here to check Antonio Nogueira’s full post on chocolate defects.
What is good quality chocolate?
It is a chocolate that does not contain hydrogenated fat, but cocoa mass (or cocoa butter, in the case of white chocolate), sugar in different proportions (milk, semi-bitter or bitter), emulsifying milk (except bitter chocolates) (lecithin soy) and some natural flavoring (usually vanilla).
Is it mandatory to season chocolate to make Easter eggs?
Yes. If you are using a good quality chocolate, from the moment it melts at more than 27˚C the tempering must be done. All types of tempering and tips on the subject are in the following posts:
Is tempering the thermal shock?
When you give the thermal shock, the chocolate starts to crystallize. The molecule that must form in chocolate during tempering is called Number V: it is able to make the chocolate shiny, hard (remember the “snap” and perfect.
The thermal shock is that you melt the chocolate, destroying the crystals already formed in the chocolate before, and then trying to form as many new number V crystals as possible so that the chocolate is as close to perfect as possible.
How to do tempering without a thermometer?
It is almost impossible to make a good temper without the thermometer. Unlike sugar thermometers, which are expensive, chocolate ones are affordable and are very worthwhile because they also serve other preparations, such as creams. In this post you can see the differences and average prices of each variety.
Can you temper Belgian chocolate without a refrigerated room?
For any chocolate. The correct tempering needs to be done in a cool place between 18˚C and 21˚C.
What is the best chocolate to melt and cover?
Good quality chocolate has an indication of fluidity. The more fluid, the better for coverage. If the melted chocolate is too thick, it is possible to use a little cocoa butter to balance the fluidity.
What to do with tempered chocolate that hardens?
You can put it together and season it again when you need it. You can store the chocolate in a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer. Then, when using, just chop, melt and season.
Sometimes the chocolate gets sandy when it melts in the microwave. What does that mean?
It means your chocolate has burned. To prevent this from happening, decrease the microwave power and pause every 30 seconds to mix it.
Is white chocolate really chocolate?
Good quality white chocolate contains only butter as an ingredient that comes from cocoa. Moreover, it is produced with a lot of milk, sugar and emulsifiers. Some countries do not consider white chocolate a chocolate because it does not contain cocoa fiber (dark part). US law, for example, only allows the nomination of “white chocolate” if the product contains at least 20% cocoa butter.
Is it okay to keep the chocolate in the fridge?
An already opened chocolate package does not need to be kept in the refrigerator, but closed and stored in a dry place. Ready chocolate eggs and chocolates can be packaged and stored in a cool, dry place, too. If the products are for sale, the ideal is to keep them in a refrigerated environment between 18˚C and 21˚C.
Need to season fractional chocolate?
No, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing. To begin with, fractionated chocolate is not, in fact, chocolate, but a mixture full of hydrogenated vegetable fat with sugars and other unrecognizable ingredients. Here on the blog has a complete post on the subject, take a look!
Does white chocolate need to be seasoned?
Yes, any chocolate needs to be seasoned.
How to color white chocolate?
There are specific dyes for chocolate, found in stores specializing in confectionery. To check the store nearest you, we have made a list of some stores in Brazil here.
How to make chocolate not sweat in the fridge?
Leave less time. When the tempering is done correctly, the chocolate needs a few minutes in the refrigerator. If this time elapses, it is normal for moisture droplets to form, so remove the shape of the chocolate as soon as it is whitish.
Is it possible to replace chocolate bars with chocolate powder or 100% cocoa in a recipe and vice versa?
It depends a lot on the percentage of cocoa and the type of chocolate that the recipe calls for. As powdered chocolate varies between 30 and 70% cocoa (the rest is sugar), it would be necessary to make a rule of three to try to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe or increase the amount of powdered chocolate, but the recipe nonetheless will never be exactly right with this replacement.