Once you have mastered the art of tempering chocolate (using our guide to perfect tempering), the shiny and crisp results are perfect for making little chocolate truffles and shapes.
There’s a surprising amount to consider to get moulding right – from the size of the mould to the material you use. This handy guide will explain all the basics, and you’ll even be able to have a go at it yourself at home.
Does mould design affect flavour?
In short, yes! It’s perhaps one of the least impactful stages of chocolate making, but it definitely makes a difference.
Once tempered, the melted chocolate is poured into plastic bar-shaped moulds and shaken to remove any air bubbles. Larger chocolate makers have machines and conveyors that deposit exactly the right amount of chocolate into each mould, but many smaller manufacturers still do this part by hand.
Size and Shape
The main choice open to chocolate makers is one of thickness: how thick do they want their bars? Thin bars melt quickly, so the bar’s flavours emerge faster. Thicker bars, on the other hand, melt slowly, which allows more flavour nuance to come through (but might lead to a less enjoyable mouthfeel experience).
Additionally, the shape of the bar impacts our perception of flavour: “sharp” flavours, such as spice and citrus, are accentuated by pointy shapes, whereas “round” flavours, such as potato and vanilla, are accentuated by round shapes. You can read more about this cross-modal perception of flavour here.
And that’s not to mention the WOW factor of amazing chocolate moulds – for some makers it’s a work of art! Have a look at some of our more impressive moulds below.
How to mould chocolate at home
When moulding chocolate at home, there are two types of chocolates to aim for. You can go for the simpler solid bars, which are hugely rewarding and allow great scope for inclusions. Or you can aim high with the challenging hollow or filled chocolates – sure to wow your friends (if you get it right!).
Solid chocolate treats are the easiest to create at home as no fancy rotations or emptying of the mould is required.
- Before the tempered chocolate can be poured into the mould, it is very important that the mould is sparklingly clean: any chocolate reside, dust or even a fingerprint on the mould will appear on the finished chocolate, especially if it has been well tempered.
- Place the tempered chocolate into the mould, either by pouring it straight from the bowl or using a large spoon to transfer it.
- Gently shake the mould and then bang it lightly against the surface of the table to remove any air bubbles.
- Using the edge of a palette knife (or a chocolate scraper, for the prepared and enthusiastic amongst you), scrape off any excess chocolate from the surface of the mould to ensure a sharp and level base.
- Leave to cool in a cool, dark place (room temperature is normally okay). Do not place in a refrigerator, or the chocolate will cool too quickly and the surface of the chocolate will turn matte.
- When the chocolate has set completely (professional chocolatiers leave them for several days to ensure a set crystal structure!), invert the mould and, if using a solid mould, tap gently against a solid surface to release the chocolate.
- If using a silicone mould, invert it and gently peel the edges of the mould away from the chocolate whilst pushing down very lightly on the top of the mould to allow the chocolate to release.
Be careful not to touch the finished chocolate with warm or greasy hands, as fingerprints will taint your hard work!
Hollow or Filled Chocolates
Making hollow chocolate shapes is perfect for creations such as Easter eggs and bunnies, or for making chocolate truffles that can be stuffed with all sorts of wonderful fillings.
- Clean and prepare the mould exactly as before.
- Fill the chocolate moulds to two-thirds full with tempered chocolate. Then tip and rotate the mould by hand to ensure the chocolate reaches every single bit of the mould.
- Tip the mould upside down over the bowl of chocolate to allow the chocolate at the centre to pour out and create the hollow shell.
- Scrape the surface of the mould to remove any excess chocolate and leave the mould to cool at room temperature.
- If the walls of the chocolate shapes look too thin (they should be at least 1mm wide), repeat this process to add an additional layer of chocolate.
- If making hollow chocolate treats such as Easter eggs, remove each half from their moulds and use some melted chocolate to stick the halves together.
- If making filled chocolate, fill the cavity to three quarters with your filling of choice.
- Once all shells are stuffed, fill the final quarter with more tempered chocolate by pouring it over the shapes and spreading it evenly to ensure the moulds are completely filled.
- Tap the mould against the surface of a table to remove any air bubbles in the truffles before scraping the surface of the mould to remove excess chocolate and create a sharp and level base for your truffles.
- Leave to solidify completely before removing from the moulds (in the same way as mentioned previously)
Silicone vs Non-Silicone Moulds
When shopping for moulds, it is difficult to know which will provide the best results, especially when similar moulds can be found in different materials.
As a rule, professional chocolatiers and craft chocolate makers use solid plastic (polycarbonate) moulds as they keep their shape when handled, rotated, turned upside down and scraped, thereby protecting the chocolate as it sets and making them easier to use in the process.
The advantage of silicone moulds comes when trying to remove the chocolate from the moulds. Solid moulds can only be tapped to encourage the chocolate to release, whereas the silicone can be pulled and reshaped to allow the chocolate to release more easily. This is beneficial for those who have little experience making moulded chocolate (and is why we choose to use silicone moulds in our Make Your Own Chocolate Bar kits).