Today’s object is the molten material below. That is: Belgian Truffle at St. Louis summer room temperature.
A friend got back from Europe and brought us a box of delicious truffles. Unfortunately, our summer normal room temperature is around 82°F with the window units running. So the truffles were running as well. Fortunately, the space-age Mylar bag contained the Truffles in a neat puddle from which I could re-form and “freeze” the confections in the refrigerator. Chocolates bloom a bit if you refrigerate them. But they still taste fine.
“Bloom”? And where does keeping my temper come in? Was I angry?
These are technical terms used by chocolatiers. You see, chocolate is actually a very complex chemical and physical substance. It is a suspension of solids in several fats that have a variety of different melting points. If they are not carefully mixed as they cool, the confection gets grainy; much like ice cream. Did you ever try to re-freeze ice cream? It is never the same, unless you stir it during the freezing process.
- Bloom: One of two physically different processes in chocolate that causes the outside to whiten.
- Temperature fluctuations well below the melting point cause one of the cocoa butter compounds to migrate to the surface.
- Moisture condensing on chilled chocolate can bring sugar crystals to the surface
- Temper: This refers both to
- The process of heating the chocolate above its top melting point (about 125°F) and stirring it constantly as it cools to just above the lowest melting point (around 82°F, depending on the blend).
- The state of having been carefully cooled this way, and then on to solid.
Unlike ice cream with its single melting point, one can carefully melt tempered chocolate to just above its lower melting point and refreeze it without losing the creamy texture. So with these truffles, we did keep our temper. Mm-mm, smooth.