Ask the Alchemist #63

Not sure where else to post this but wondering if water can ruin finished chocolate (not melted)

I had packaged up a bunch of chocolate and placed in a cooler that had ice in the bottom. I didnt break the ice bag at all and most of the chocolate was either in cellophane or double bagged in cellophane and then placed in ziplock baggies for labeling/sorting purposes.

The chocolate bars however, were simply wrapped in wax paper and placed in the cooler. When I got home and unloaded the unsold/undelivered chocolate, 3 bars of chocolate were pretty well soaked with water. I quickly removed the wrapping and set the chocolate on some paper towels to sop up any excess water.

The question I have though is: did this just ruin these bars? It was milk chocolate and it was already properly setup and hardened; and it was cold water, so no melting took place. There was some discoloration where you can see the chocolate was just sitting in water, but it seems to have only affected the 2 bottom bars, one was completely submerged, but wax paper prevented a total soaking and the one above that just had the bottom soaked. The one above that just had some water from splashing around.

After this dries out, I’m going to attempt to melt and re-temper the chocolate, but use only this tainted chocolate first; so it doesnt taint anything else. Was just curious if that was the right way to fix this or not.

First off, no, you most likely did not ruin the chocolate. What you did though was to cause some version of sugar bloom. That discoloration was dissolved sugar that either washed out or re-crystallized.

The good news is that since chocolate is oil based, and you did not melt the chocolate, only the outer layer was affected. Nothing soaked in.  There should be no reason that you can not re-temper the chocolate after it is 100% thoroughly dry.

On a related note, as you found, ice is not the best way to keep the chocolate cool in hot weather. What you saw was a large amount of condensation. What I have had work for me is to first off use cold packs. Next, wrap them in thick cloth towels (bath towel sized) at the bottom of the cooler, and then also wrap your plastic wrapped or bagged chocolate in another towel on top of this. This will keep your chocolate cool in even the hottest weather and soak up any stray moisture as it forms. Keep in mind, you don’t have to keep it COLD. You just need to keep it cool, and in moderate weather, you don’t even need the ice pack. The cooler will do the job just fine. You are just trying to keep it from melting and loosing temper.

This leads me into a segue to next week’s Question. What is sugar bloom and how to prevent it. I was going to do it this week, but found that although I had a bit to say, I didn’t have solid solutions….just vague suggestions. And there is enough of that around the internet. So stay tuned and I’m going to try and give some more substantial information.

—– Submit your Questions to the Alchemist: question(youknowtoremovethisright?)@chocolatealchemy.com —–

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