Confectionery chocolate and the most important nuances in its use
To assess why chocolate tends to react so differently, it is important to understand its production process and nuances in different conditions. The better you know and feel the chocolate, the easier it will be to work with it – Gemoss Chef-Confectioner Diāna Ozoliņa also agrees with this. Confectionery chocolate plays an important role in everyday work, therefore it is important to learn how to work with it in different conditions.
Chocolate is a world-famous product that consists of sugar and two ingredients derived from cocoa beans – cocoa paste and cocoa butter. What follows next is the free improvisation of each manufacturer using additives and additional ingredients.
After the cocoa beans are harvested, they are washed and roasted to obtain the desired aroma and taste. Roasting is a particularly important step in the production of chocolate, as it affects the acidity, bitterness, sweetness and other taste and smell nuances, and besides the roasting process is influenced by the varieties of cocoa. After roasting, the beans are mechanically peeled to separate the shell from the edible part. But the shells are not thrown away – cocoa powder is made from them that tastes and smells very similar to chocolate powder. The chocolate path continues – after peeling, the beans are crushed at a constant temperature (60-80 °C). Within this crushing process, cocoa butter is released from the beans, which is then produced to form cocoa paste. Chocolate experts know that high-quality chocolate has a light shine and crystalline structure and it is influenced by the admixture of cocoa butter. Due to its good properties, cocoa butter is also added to cosmetics, such as body creams, lip balms, etc.
Cocoa paste is a mass obtained by grinding cocoa beans. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter is also acquired from cocoa paste. If the cocoa paste contains approximately 55% cocoa butter and the remainder is solid cocoa mass, cocoa butter is obtained after pressing the cocoa paste. The melting point of cocoa butter is 33-35 °C, but crystallisation occurs at 26-27 °C, which is important to know to understand how the perfect emulsion is made. Cocoa butter is “responsible” for the shine of the chocolate.
Chocolate and couverture
Chocolate is a product made of cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar and in some cases also dairy products that are added to it. White chocolate is the only one that does not contain cocoa paste.
Couverture is a product derived from cocoa, which contains no less than 31% cocoa butter. Mostly such chocolate is available at the confectionery in blocks or callets, and after melting it acquires a smooth, beautiful texture and better viscosity. When choosing chocolate for filling or garnishing, the cocoa bean region should be taken into account as well as the taste nuances of each product. Chocolate can have very different taste and flavour properties, depending on the origin, variety, fermentation or roasting.
The importance of additional ingredients in chocolate
- Adding cocoa butter will make the product harder.
- Alkalised cocoa is added for extra flavour and viscosity.
- Sugar is added to create a sweeter end product.
- Dairy products are added to create milk and white chocolate.
Chocolate tempering is the most complicated topic, which is avoided even by the chocolatiers, and this is only because there is no single correct formula that will work for all products. Each chocolate reacts differently; there are different side effects that affect the tempering process. However, understanding the basics will make it easier to work with each product. Proper tempering will ensure high-quality chocolate shine, good crispness and tender melting, when the chocolate is eaten. Since confectionery chocolate is an important ingredient, it is worth learning from your own mistakes to achieve the best results.
Chocolate melting table
|Chocolate type||Melting point||Cooling point||Working temperature|
|White chocolate||40 °C||27 °C||28,5 °C|
|Milk chocolate||45 °C||28 °C||29 °C / 30 °C|
|Dark chocolate||50 °C||29 °C||30°C / 31 °C|
Any chocolate can be melted in two ways – either in a water bath or in a microwave oven (this is the best option as there is no risk of contact with the water). This chocolate melting table (see above) will help you understand what temperatures need to be reached to achieve the best results in confectionery making, whether it be sweets, glazing, bars or decorations.
Tempering No. 1
Melt the chocolate until it reaches the provided melting point. To cool the chocolate, add additional chocolate (in drops or chunks) and stir constantly. The temperature of the chocolate should be reduced to the desired temperature, depending on the type of chocolate, and then warmed to the working temperature.
Tempering No. 2
Melt the chocolate until it reaches its melting point and then stir on a marble or other smooth surface with a confectionery spatula to lower the temperature or cool the chocolate. Once the required temperature is reached, depending on the type of the chocolate, collect the chocolate with the help of the spatula and either warm to working temperature or add chocolate, which has been set aside in a bowl before cooling. Thus the temperature will be levelled and the chocolate will reach the desired working temperature.
May you manage to create great chocolate desserts and may this material encourage you to experiment and learn something new!