Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tip #213: Freeze Chocolate Without Risking Bloom

The mention of freezing chocolate products not too long ago was looked upon by candy makers as taboo. The two main concerns were “the product will bloom” or “the taste will be lost.”

Today, with new freezing systems and a better understanding of how to freeze products, it has become commonplace in the industry. Some of the largest manufacturers freeze products to keep up with seasonal demands.

In this excerpt from RCI’s 2010 spring regional conference, RCI member Mike Koch, of Morely Candy Makers/ Sanders Candy, offers 4 simple steps for successfully freezing and thawing chocolate, plus maximum storage times for both filled pieces and solid chocolates.

Freezing:
1.     Prepare the product
·         Shrink wrap or wrap as tight as possible, making the package air tight.
·         Double shrink wrapping stock boxes is the best method if you use that type of packaging.
·         If you don’t have a shrink wrapper, a double layer of plastic wrap will work.

2.     Maintain a stable freezing and thawing process.
·         Most household or small commercial freezers can consistently maintain temperatures with short thaw cycles, if any.
·         Opening and closing freezers increases humidity in the units, thus the need for defrosting.
·         Larger operations should utilize freezers that have defrosting cycles.
·         Proper freezer drainage and regular maintenance is key to ensuring stability.
·         Evaluate defrosting time regularly. If this process takes too long, product packaging could get wet. If it is too short, the cost of freezing will increase due to the use of power. 

Thawing:
This may be the most important part of freezing.
1. Remove product from the freezer
·         When removed from the freezer, product should be stored at 60 degrees Farenheit, with limited humidity.
2. Create air movement around the thawing package
·         Smaller operations can remove a stock box from the freezer and place it on a counter with a small fan blowing on the package.
·         Larger operations can put a pallet on a rack with a fan blowing on one end.
·         Do not open the package or remove the wrap until the product temperature rises up to the room temperature.
·         When opened at room temperature, the product will look and taste the same as it did before freezing.

 For best results, thaw and sell frozen products within the recommended times below.
·         Filled pieces and truffles should be 3-4 months.
·         Solid chocolate pieces should be 6-8 months

Freezing is not for everyone, but for the companies that do freeze and do it right, it is a major part of their planning and operations. You cannot cut corners or hurry this process. It is a way for smaller confectioners to purchase products and reach the minimum manufacturer requirement. It will increase your shelf life a few months and will not harm the products.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

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