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Chocolate Mold / Mould cleaning

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 12:11 PM

Okay, another industry standard practice question here -


Moulds.  The things you pour the chocolate into to get shape.  We're in the process of purchasing a mold washer, and I'm trying to determine how frequently the molds need to be washed.  This is probably the question I'm asked most frequently from customers, inspectors, auditors, and even sometimes visitors!


The chocolateirs and chocolate snobs maintain that washing the molds ruin them.  That washing takes time, and introduces water, and that it should be avoided at all costs.  Washing takes a lot of time.  And drying takes even longer.  And if we need the molds for another run?  Air dry, with an air hose, which I am not a fan of because it'll just spread whatever is in the little pools of bacteria on the molds and introduces another point of contamination.


I suspect this is similar to the dilemma a cheese QA faces when they want to age them on wood.  No way right?


I've done a lot of my own cleaning validations - all of the allergens present in our facility, indicator swabbing, and even, on a set of molds that were stored dirty, pathogen testing.  Despite the number of times we use them, molds are coming out within our limits, no allergens, no pathogens.  In between runs, we scrape any large spilled chocolate from the outer surfaces of the molds. 


We have noticed that when we run several flavorings that are oil soluble we must wash the molds, because the oil remains in the shape of the molds.  But it's very difficult to visually know when this is going to happen.  We ended up setting frequency by this indicator. 


Now that we have a mold washer, cleaning will take considerably less time, but it won't be instant.  It'll still be a large period of time when one mold set can not be used.


What do you guys know about mold washing?  Every time?  Never?  

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Mr. Incognito

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 01:46 PM

I'm not sure this is an equivalent experience but in pasta we had extrusion moulds for our various cuts.  Ours were made out of stainless I believe and we had a mould washer that we used to clean them.  They had a heated drying system on them and then we put them away and if they were still wet they would air dry the rest of the way.  


Our extrusion moulds had teflon I believe on the surface, if I remember right.


Now we had a very low water activity on the pasta, much lower than chocolate I'd believe, but that's all I know about moulds.


Good luck.


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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:28 PM



We, too, use chocolate moulds.  We wash them often, against the advice of the mould manufacturers.  We use a soap that is formulated for washing polycarbonate.  Obviously you have to make sure they are absolutely dry before putting them back on the moulding line (bacteria AND sugar bloom).


How often do we wash?  We wash them every time we take them out of the moulding line.  So they might be in use for 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks -- unless they are causing visual quality defects (residue from untempered chocolate making the pieces less shiny).  


Despite all the washing, they hold up pretty well.


good luck!

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