Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Tips: How to Store Chocolate

Welcome to Tuesday Tips. Today's Tip is on How to Store Chocolate. First off, why are you storing chocolate? If you have truffles or bonbons, eat them as soon as possible.

The most important thing about storing chocolate is to keep it in a cool, dry place. If you have chocolate bars or chocolate for baking, wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap,  ziploc bag or plastic storage containers and put it in a dark cupboard or pantry. The ideal temperature is between 60-75 degrees. I usually just stack the bars in the pantry, but my pantry stays cool.

Stored improperly, chocolate can develop bloom (a whitish tint on the chocolate). Bloom appears when chocolate becomes too warm, causing the cocoa butter to separate out, or because condensation has taken place, melting sugar in the chocolate's surface. Don't fear, though. If bloom appears, the chocolate will be ok for baking, although it might not have the same mouth-feel for eating.

How to Store different types of chocolate.  First off, I have to say that high end artisan chocolate is different from baking chocolate or commercial chocolate. I personally NEVER store any chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer. I remember giving a good friend 10 fabulous artisan chocolate bars as a gift, only to see her toss them in the freezer for later consumption. No bag, no plastic wrap. I fear that by the time she got to them, they weren't very tasty at all. But a gift is a gift, and I knew the recipient would not take my advice on how to store.

So if you intend to store chocolate, here are more tips and info:

Since Chocolate keeps best between 65 and 75°F, away from direct sunlight, and protected from moisture, storing in a dark pantry or shelves is best. Then consume the chocolate as quickly as possible.

If you do decide to refrigerate or freeze chocolate, make sure to seal the chocolate in an airtight container (Ziploc baggies are great). Make sure to take out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn--and don't leave the chocolate in the fridge/freezer too long. Tip: Always thaw frozen chocolate in the refrigerator. If it goes straight from the freezer to room temperature, condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture.

A wine refrigerator is perfect. You can reset the temperature and keep bloom off the chocolate. Still, keep your chocolate wrapped up.

Going to use it from the regular refrigerator? Allow chilled chocolate to come to room temperature before eating or baking with it. Tip: You might want to wrap it in a dishcloth after taking from the fridge .. in order to let it reach room temperature a bit slower.
Truffles (or bonbons): OK, I NEVER store truffles in the refrigerator or freezer. I suggest you consume them as quickly as possible. Lots of artisan truffles and bonbons will have a use-by-date. There's a reason for this. Although, some ganache centers are ok if frozen; most cream and caramel centers will become grainy when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you must put them there, make sure they're wrapped up tightly, and defrost slowly (in refrigerator as above) before eating. 

If you have a lot of chocolate, here are some Ultra-Cool  (and efficient) Ways to Store Chocolate from  the Candy Blog. I think you'll love the ideas here. Ice packs and thermoses and more!

What questions or tips do you have about chocolate storage?


lisa is cooking said...

I am guilty of storing chocolate in the refrigerator, but our room temperature tends be a bit higher than 'normal' in the summer. Truffles are a different matter though--those get eaten immediately!

Brit Blaise said...

I have zero tips...until recently the chocolate in this house disappeared in less than a day. Now I'm eating the finest, plain dark chocolate which contains at least 70% cocoa. I don't each much at a time, so I need to store.

Bobbi Mumm said...

To be clear, if you gave ever me ten fabulous artisan chocolate bars I would store them properly. Just so you know...

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

I agree with Bobbi. Ditto for truffles, pralines....

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

I agree with Bobbi!