Following is a recent post from our "Shared Journey" discussion in the Start-up Central Group:
Still struggling with the texture of our chocolate. It's better since we started using the micrometer to make sure the max particle size is sub-25 microns, but still "powdery" (not actually gritty, but definitely not smooth like it should be). Seeking the wisdom of the crowd and those who have gone before. We're doing our conching/refining in a Santha 11, if that helps. We're running some tests on (improvised) conching after refining, improving our tempering, adding cocoa butter (some of our chocolate is a lot more viscous than others). Any thoughts for which rocks to turn over first??
Since posting this I (think) I've figured out that our "sub-25 micron" chocolate really isn't. Using a micrometer to measure the maximum particle size is not incredibly precise -- and the biggest variable so far has been....me. If I stop at the first sign of resistance I'm measuring more like 30 microns. Up until now I've been using the micrometer the way I always have, but it appears that with chocolate you can very easily crush a 30+ micron particle and get a reading quite a bit below what you really have.
I'm also interested in hearing what you think about sugar as a factor (or not) in final texture. We've tried several different organic sugars, as well as highly refined table sugar, and I'm wondering if the organic sugars behave differently because of what isn't removed.
Would love to hear your thoughts, trials, and tribulations!
updated by @david-senk: 04/13/15 10:31:14PM