Day 6 started with a demo and lots of information about chocolate. Instead of two groups of about 20 we were merged to one big group of about 40 people.
In the morning there was a demo of the tastiest and second tastiest bonbon filling: it was a caramel filling with either white or milk chocolate incorporated in it. Of course there are plenty of other filling options, but we were showed these two for now.
They started with heating up the sugar and some water. The amount of water has to be at least 1/3 of the amount of sugar. More is ok, less isn't. Then when the sugar dissolved and the mixture turned amber colored they added some heated whipping cream. Because the temperature of the whipping cream was closer to the temperature of the sugar the sugar mixture didn't overly boil. Of course because there was still a temperature difference it will always boil, so a big pan is necessary. After that the chocolate went in and the filling was done.
Then we were showed how to work with chocolate. There are different kinds of chocolate, not only meaning white, milk and pure, but also how liquid/runny it is after melting. Some chocolate are very runny and some are just slower.
If we would like to shape the chocolate we would need to change the structure. Melted chocolate are like little balls, meaning they will not hold together and keep their shape. To turn these balls in crystals the chocolate has to be tempered. I found this very cool site with pictures showing the art of tempering chocolate: http://www.callebaut.com/usen/techniques/tempering/tempering-on-a-cool-marble-work-surface
White, milk and pure chocolate each as their own temperature scheme. We worked with pure chocolate because it takes less time then milk or white.
Basically what we did is start with getting the melted pure chocolate to 40C - 45C. This is the start temperature. Then 2/3 of the mixture went on a marble slab and we started moving the chocolate around with a spatula and a scraper. This is to cool the chocolate to 27C. When it is 27C this chocolate mixture goes back to the 1/3 that is still in the bowl and if the temperature is between 30C - 32C it is ready to be used. In emergency cases the temperature can be as high as 34C, but ideal is between 30C - 32C.
For milk chocolate the temperature scheme is 1 degree less than for pure chocolate. So you still start at 40C - 45C, bring the chocolate to 26C and end up with 30C.
For white this is another degree less. So you start at 40C - 45C, bring it down to 25C and end up with 29C.
We poured the tempered chocolate in bonbon molds, tapped out the air and then turned them upside down to swing out the chocolate. With a scraper we cleaned the mold and let the chocolate harden in the mold upside down. When the chocolate dried we filled them with the caramel chocolate mixture. We also added a cube of caramel, pieces of pecan nuts, peanut crumbs. Basically anything was possible. We also used a mixture of store bough praline which we mixed with some milk chocolate to fill the chocolate. After the filling set a bit, we poured some more chocolate on the mold to close the bonbon. The bonbon is ready when there is a bit of air between the mold and the chocolate. With one tap the bonbon should come out. It is also possible to put the mold in the freezer for a bit so it's easier to get the bonbon out.
Unfortunately it was a very warm day and we had to use the fridge/freezer a lot to have the chocolate set. We also dropped some marzipan in the chocolate and made some chocolate rice crispy bites.
The chocolate came out with special effects. Due to the humidity bonbon had some discolor marks.
They were not as pretty as we hoped but the taste was great. I can't wait to experiment with some more fillings.
I'm ready! I got a marble slab and a temperature meter. All I need now is a plastic chocolate mold, which I will get on Monday.