Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In the summer while I'm at work I'd like to set the temperature of my small apartment higher--roughly 83 degrees as per US department of energy recommendations. I'm planning on keeping it between 76-78 when I'm home. However, I don't want my chocolate to to deteriorate. Let's assume we're talking about a thin bar of Lindt milk chocolate. It's been fine so far with the apartment set at 78*F and the chocolate in a dark cabinet. I definitely don't want to put it in the refrigerator as this is too cold for it.

What is the maximum temperature I can leave my apartment at when I'm not around to keep the chocolate reasonably stable? Should I use a cooler or box to keep the chocolate cooler than the rest of the house? Is there a cheaper/better/easier option I haven't thought of?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are three different crystal types in solidified chocolate with one of them being the prefered type. This is why we temper chocolate, because it promotes crystallization of the prefered type.

From what I recall, the ideal temperature for chocolate is 70°F and the first type of crystal in chocolate starts melting at around 82°F. So while not ideal, you should be fine with the room at 78°F. Keep in mind Lindt chocolate with milk is a little softer than their darker chocolate line.

You can simply place the chocolate in a cooler (like a coleman) along with a pop can that has been in the fridge. The cool can should prevent the chocolate from getting too hot. Switch the can with another cold one daily and that should keep the snap sound in the chocolate along with the taste.

share|improve this answer
1  
Thank you. The bit about "first type of crystal in chocolate starts melting at around 82°F" seems to be at the heart of the matter. While SJ's answer had a lot of good info in it, this answer more directly addresses my question. –  AlexMA Aug 20 '13 at 1:35

It depends on what you mean by chocolate, and how long you intend to keep it.

If you want to store chocolate for year, you may want more precautions than for a week or two.

Medium Term Storage

To store for time periods on the order of several weeks:

Bulk chocolate for cooking or baking

This applies to any chocolate that will be cooked as part of a recipe, or melted down, whether it is sweetened or unsweetened.

The only major thing that can go wrong when storing bulk chocolate is bloom, the migration of cocoa butter or sugar to the surface. This causes a dusty white appearance, and some change in texture.

The chocolate itself is perfectly fine for baking or cooking applications where it is melted, and will be fully restored to quality if melted down and re-tempered.

I would store it in the coolest part of a dark pantry (lower shelf), and not worry about it too much.

Candy

Candy is something enrobed in chocolate with other major ingredients, such as a the cannonical Snicker's bar that is well known in the US, or a Godiva Assortment, or truffles.

These are much more sensitive.

During hot or changeable weather, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator. However, they will not taste at their best at refrigerator temperatures. Bring them to room temperature before eating.

Make sure that they are sealed in an air tight package (as from the manufacturer, or a zip-type bag) to prevent migration of odors, and to prevent condensation on the surface of the candy.

Long Term Storage

Good dark chocolate should last at least up to a year, if stored properly. It likes cool, dry storage conditions.

This may not apply in your climate as you have indicated.

While some sites recommend against it, if you wrap it very tightly (perhaps in foil, then plastic wrap, and in a zip-type bag), it can be frozen, and should last a very, very long time. The wrapping is to prevent condensation and odor transfer.

When thawing it, leave it in its wrappings until it comes to room temperature, and wipe off all condensation before opening. You may get some bloom, but as previously mentioned, this is not harmful. It may not even matter in many applications, and can be reversed by melting and re-tempering.

See also:

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for all the great info. –  AlexMA Aug 20 '13 at 1:35

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.