When you’re building your chocolate inventory you come to a fork in the road, silicone moulds or polycarbonate. I went with silicone, mostly since I didn’t know what polycarbonate was, and the merchant had silicone. Zero research went into my purchase. Did I make the right decision?
I bought my first mould in 2011 at a baking show, and bought the rest from Golda’s Kitchen and Chocolat-chocolat Inc. The majority of my collection are Fat Daddio’s moulds. I’ve used them for our Christmas chocolates for 5 years so far.
What I like about silicone moulds:
They’re fairly inexpensive, Golda’s sells them for $11.25 each and Chocolat-chocolat has my Christmas mould on sale for $3.95
They’re quiet, no whacking them on the counter to dislodge the chocolate.
They come in a variety of visually interesting shapes.
What I dislike:
Are you wondering why the moulds are wet? I just washed them. But I washed them before I put them away in January. There is a huge problem with silicone, a powdery white substance forms on it. It looks like dishwater detergent, but it’s not.
From what I read on Rowley’s Whiskey Forge, it was determined by a silicone manufacturer to be:
We actually did a chemical breakdown test on this white residue from a tray that we received back from a customer and the result of that test is below. The compound associated with the residue is Calcium Sulfate – meaning basically the residue is associated with the chemicals in hard water. Like a mineral deposit.
However, the comments on the article found that even using distilled water didn’t cure the problem, so I am at a loss.
Obviously I can’t have this white substance on my chocolates, so we have to wash and dry them again before using them which is a huge pain in the ass. It wastes a lot of my time.
On the other hand, where I live discourages making loud noises and the noise that polycarbonate moulds make is significant. (I got to try them at the McCall’s chocolate course I took with Spousal Unit. Very cool but very loud.)
It’s hard to remove air bubbles when using silicone moulds. The mould can warp in your hands if you pull it too tight, so my method is to place the mould on a cookie sheet and whack that on the counter.
Perhaps if I could go back in time I’d choose polycarbonate. On the other hand, all the whacking would upset my cats. So perhaps silicone was the best choice for me in the end.
Update Aug 8, 2016:
I emailed Fat Daddio’s about the residue and they replied:
I’m sorry to hear about your issues, it sounds incredibly frustrating.
It typically is a reaction to hard water, as well as oils that collect from whatever you’re using the molds for (the chocolates, in this case), as well as any other oily products that might be washed in the same sink sometimes.
We recommend putting the molds in boiling water, which should remove much of the accumulated oily build up. After that, washing them gently with a dish soap, like Dawn, should thoroughly clean them. You don’t have to boil them every time you use them, but every now and then it helps deep clean them.
If that doesn’t work, let me know.
(Once I try this I’ll update this post.)