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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Culinary School - Session 81: Advanced Chocolate Techniques

Culinary School: Session 81 (03.04.15)

Advanced Chocolate Techniques

Bait and switch...

Today was the first day of Advanced Chocolate. After weeks of technically edible but unquestionably unappetizing Sugar projects, I was rather geared up for indulging in all sorts of enrobed deliciousness. My dessert stomach has been empty for too long.

No such luck! While the syllabus called for Caramels and Toffee and... I can't wait... Peanut Butter Nougat, this session was dedicated to demonstrating a number of Advanced Chocolate Techniques in preparation for yet another showpiece project in a couple of week.

Chocolate Granite, Ice Chocolate, Cocoa Piping Chocolate and Food Processor Molding Chocolate... techniques that are unlikely to become a part of any pastry chef's daily repertoire, but they're all interesting, nevertheless. 

As for the day's final project... it may not be much to look at, but it incorporates all of the session's highlights.

- Ingredients Running Tally -

And so begins another stretch with a particularly singular focus - from weeks of nothing but sugar to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...

Ingredients used to date (03.04.15):
  • Flour: 24,240g
  • Eggs: 15,700g (314x)
  • Sugar: 23,170g
  • Butter: 15,440g
  • Milk/Cream: 15,780g
  • Chocolate: 3,985g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Techniques -


    Chocolate Granite

    Chocolate Granite is piece of multicolored Chocolate made to resemble a slab of granite.

    Different types of Chocolate are roughly chopped into lentil-sized pieces. The Chocolate is sifted to remove any dust that could melt quickly and cloud the final project.

    Separately, Cocoa Butter is melted until it is just warm and liquid. The Cocoa Butter is folded with the different Chocolates and placed in a mold.

    The mold is allowed to set. Once solid, the slab is rubbed against the surface of a warm sheet tray, melting the Chocolate Granite so that the surface is uniform and smooth. While the surface is still warm and liquid, it is scraped clean with a knife or a bench scraper, revealing a granite-like finish.

    Chopped Chocolates for Chocolate Granite

    Chopped Chocolates for Chocolate Granite and Mold

    Unmolded and Unscraped Chocolate Granite

    Finished Surface of Chocolate Granite

    Chocolate Granite


    Ice Chocolate

    There is a reason why many showpieces, both Chocolate and Sugar, end up having an aquatic theme: many of the easiest molding techniques produce natural, underwater-like formations.

    Ice Chocolate is one such technique, perfect if you need to make lots of Chocolate coral. 

    The technique is simple. Chocolate is brought to temper and poured over a mold that is filled with ice cubes. The Chocolate sets around the ice, which eventually melts. What remains is an abstract mold of the spaces that original existed between the pieces of ice.

    Ice Chocolate Formation


    Cocoa Piping Chocolate

    Even though simple Tempered Chocolate can be used to pipe decorative pieces, Cocoa Piping Chocolate is an alternative product that can be used to make thicker, structural pieces.

    Tempered Chocolate is simply mixed with Cocoa Powder (between 30%-60% be weight, depending on the desired thickness). The Chocolate turns into a thick paste that can be piped into various forms, which will then set hard.

    Cocoa Piping Chocolate

    Decoration with Cocoa Piping Chocolate


    Food Processor Molding Chocolate

    By using a food processor, Tempered Chocolate can be turned into a moldable dough without the hassle of melting, tempering or adding any additional ingredients. 

    Using a quality food process, Chocolate can be chopped into a fine dust. As the blade continues to spin, heat is generated through friction. This low level heat slowly melts the Chocolate and causes the dust to come together as a moldable dough. Provided that the Chocolate is not over-processed, the Chocolate never comes out of temper; however, it is pliable for a short period of time and can be molded into various forms.

    Next - Session 82: Soft Caramels, Butter Caramel, Peanut Butter Nougat and Toffee 

    Previous - Sessions 80: Pastillage Showpiece (cont.)

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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