How to properly store chocolate
How should you store chocolate bars or chocolate couverture?
Every master confectioner and chocolatier will confirm it: For successful culinary preparations, it is essential to work with high-quality ingredients! This is essential for artisan chocolate: a noble ingredient that must be handled with care to preserve its organoleptic properties.
In order to know how to store chocolate, it is necessary to distinguish between raw chocolate (bars, couverture, etc.) and prepared chocolate (cakes, pralines, ganache, pastries, chocolate coins, mousse, etc.). Good chocolate storage definitely requires temperature, humidity and light control.
Cold, heat, moisture and light are the greatest enemies of chocolate, whether it's Milk chocolate, Dark chocolate or White chocolate So these factors should always be kept in mind if you want to store chocolate properly, whether bars, chocolate chips or chocolate beans.
This also applies to festive chocolates (Easter and Christmas chocolates) with the exception of filled pralines. Length of Shelf Life of Chocolate. First of all, a crucial question needs to be answered:
Does chocolate expire?
So-called chocolate "to nibble" and chocolate couverture have a rather long shelf life. Valrhona chocolate couverture, for example, has a BBD (best before date) of 14 months. If chocolate has been left in the cupboard and its BBD has passed, do not throw it away, it can still be enjoyed for up to several months (up to two years) after this date! If the chocolate displays some white marks, don't panic!
The flavor and texture may be affected, but there's no health risk from eating "expired" dark chocolate, let alone using it for baking! For Milk chocolate and White chocolate, on the other hand, one should be more cautious. Since they have a lower cocoa content, they have a shorter shelf life.
This also applies to festive pralines and filled confectionery (such as truffles). These need to be consumed sooner (ideally within about two weeks) as they contain water, milk or cream which make them perishable.
Once opened, Valrhona chocolate couverture can be stored in its original packaging and sealed airtight. Alternatively, a metal can (easily closed and odorless) or even a cool bag can be used. The latter solution is particularly practical when you need to transport chocolate.
Can you store chocolate in the fridge?
Some people sometimes have the reflex to keep their chocolate in the fridge. A solution that may seem all the more essential in summer when the heat is high, to prevent the chocolate from melting. Actually, you shouldn't put your chocolate in the fridge: the ideal storage temperature for chocolate is between 14 and 18 °C. However, the temperature of a refrigerator is more likely to be between 0 and 7 °C. Discover the Valrhona chocolate bar range
Why does chocolate turn white in the fridge?
Anyone who has ever stored a bar of chocolate in the fridge has certainly seen how a white film forms on the surface. This is called sugar bloom: Moisture and cold affect the sugar in the chocolate, which turns white as a result. Sugar bloom is harmless to health, but will affect the taste and aromas of the chocolate.
Keeping chocolate in the wine cellar – the ideal solution - to ensure that chocolate is neither too warm nor too cold. This not only gives you the ideal temperature for storing the chocolate, but also good humidity.
It is therefore recommended to store chocolate in a cool and dry place (50 to 55% humidity).
In addition, one should remember to wrap the chocolate well before storing it, and store chocolate away from light.
How should you store chocolate preparations?
Once chocolate is used in a patisserie, it cannot be stored in the same way it was stored before. One must consider the other ingredients of the preparation, especially milk, butter, cream and eggs. Chocolate pastries should be stored in the fridge, Unlike straight chocolate, some chocolate patisseries should be stored in the refrigerator.
This essentially applies to all preparations that contain sensitive ingredients to avoid microbial problems. Chocolate patisserie that should be refrigerated includes: truffles, mousse, ganache, eclairs, desserts, fondants.
Allow your patisserie to sit outside of the refrigerator for approx 15 minutes before consumption to allows the patisserie to reach normal temperature and regain its texture and flavors.
Some chocolate preparations can be kept at room temperature – items with less delicate preparations that need to be consumed quickly. However, you have to be careful to pack these items (airtight container, cling film, etc.).
Chocolate thalers, chocolate sandwiches, donuts, and most chocolate cakes (soufflé, brownie, muffin, etc.) can be kept at room temperature if properly wrapped. Chocolate cakes can also be stored in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze chocolate patisserie?
If you want to keep chocolate preparations longer, you can definitely put them in the freezer. The fat contained in the patisserie ensures that it can be frozen well. Make sure that it is well protected with a freezer bag or food foil.
This way you can keep chocolate patisserie for several months. However, we warn that the longer patisserie items are kept in the freezer, the more likely they are to dry out. To eat, simply remove from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature. A short warm-up in the oven can also be considered. Avoid using the microwave, however, as it tends to soften patisserie. Chocolate preservation:
Special cases require special storage conditions, this includes: tempered chocolate, which simply cannot be stored. After tempering, the chocolate it must be used immediately for shaping, decorating or coating.
Another special case is hot chocolate. If it is to be transported to be drunk later, this is best done in a mug or in a vacuum flask to hold it to keep warm. But it is better not to wait more than a few hours to enjoy it, otherwise the milk could ferment. Feel free to pass these tips on to others!
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