adding sugar and lecithin to chocolate

TerryHo
@terryho
02/04/15 07:44:31PM
11 posts

Hello everyone,

Could anyone tell me at what stage or conching/refining should I add sugar and lecithin to my chocolate? ( at the beginning of the conching/refining phase or near the end of the conching/refining?

Thank you!


updated by @terryho: 04/09/15 06:12:03AM
Mark Heim
@mark-heim
02/05/15 12:50:18AM
101 posts

Sugar before, lecithin after.

Sebastian
@sebastian
02/05/15 06:30:35AM
754 posts

To build on Marks post -  since sugar is a bunch of large crystals, you need to 'refine' it down to smaller crystals - hence the reason all of your solids should be in your refining stage - to crush them into smaller pieces.  Now, as you do that,  the surface area of your chocolate will become very high, and the cocoa butter that you ahve present will have to coat all that extra surface area.  As it does this, your chocolate becomes much thicker - it's called higher viscosity.  In order to 'thin' it back out so you can do things like pour it into a mould, you have to reduce that viscosity.  That's what lecithin does.  You'll want to add it almost at the last stage because if your chocolate is too thin (low viscosity) during conching, conching isn't as effective.  Now, most stone grinders are terrible conches, so it doesn't really matter all that much - but it does to some degree.  

 

Remember, just a little bit of lecithin (0.5%) is almost always enough - adding more of it will usually result in the chocolate thickening back up again.

Victor Kudryavtsev
@victor-kudryavtsev
02/05/15 08:59:37PM
14 posts

Lecithin should be added at the end of the process, before draining the masses, but that he would mix well. For grinding and conching cycle on melangeur in 48 hours lecithin can be added for 1.5 hours to drain. Amount of lecithin is not more than 0.4-0.5% by weight.




--
Victor Kudryavtsev
TerryHo
@terryho
02/06/15 04:06:16AM
11 posts

Thank you all for your kind answers. I also have another question that I'm trying to remove the shell of the cocoa bean from the meat ( winnowing ), but I can't remove all the chaff from it. Can anyone tell me what is the maximum percentage of chaff allowed in the final tage of winnowing before making the final chocolate?

Thank you


updated by @terryho: 02/06/15 04:07:52AM
Victor Kudryavtsev
@victor-kudryavtsev
02/06/15 06:32:18AM
14 posts

Norm is the residue of 1.5% by weight.

 




--
Victor Kudryavtsev
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/06/15 02:29:25PM
754 posts

The legal limit in most (not all) countries is 1.75% shell.  Less is better, as the more shell you have the grittier it will taste, the lower your fat will be, the faster your equipment will fail, and the higher your unwanteds (lead, mycotoxins, etc) will be.

TerryHo
@terryho
02/16/15 04:23:12AM
11 posts

Thank you for all your kind answers,

I ran into some trouble with my new patch of chocolate. First of all, after roasting my cocoa beans in my coffee roaster for 40 mins at 150C, my beans didn't smell like baking brownie and it tasted a bit sour. I tried to remove the cocoa butter from my chocolate , but my cocoa powder still taste so sour and very bitter. So I tried to mix them all together to make dark chocolate and conch it for 24 hours to remove the sourness but the sour taste still remain in my chocolate after dissolving it on my tongue.

Can someone pls tell me what have I did wrong? And how to remove the sour taste in my chocolate? Could it be the problem with my beans? My roasting? Or my technique?

Thank you,


 
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/16/15 08:04:10AM
754 posts

I'm afraid it's nearly impossible to trouble shoot with the info you've provided.  are you making chocolate from beans, or are you using cocoa powder?  both?  Do you have any sugar in your recipe?  The more details you can provide, the better responses you'll get (exact formulation, which country your beans are from, etc).

There are a *HUGE* array of flavors that are possible from cocoa beans - it could be that you've managed to get a batch that was acidified when fermented.  Does it smell like vinegar?  If so, keep conching it and use higher temperatuers with the lid off the unit.  If it's sour but doesn't taste/smell like vinegar, then you may be able to lower the sourness by adding a little bit of baking soda (1%) to try to neutralize the acids. 

TerryHo
@terryho
02/16/15 08:59:33AM
11 posts

Hi sebastian,

I make chocolate from cocoa beans and cocoa butter. The recipe I'm using is 45% chocolate liquor 15% cocoa butter and 40% sugar. It tastes sugary at first then bitter and then sour ( wine-like ) after it melted.

The beans I'm using are from Vietnam which I believe Trinitario bean type. They doesn't smell like vinegar at all, just  a plain smell. But there is a little bit of the sour taste inside the raw fermentated beans when I bite it. I thought roasting can remove the remaining sourness ( the left over acidity ) inside the bean but it didn't work. Maybe the way I'm roasting it wrong that the sourness didn't completely evaporate during roasting?

Thank you

 

Sebastian
@sebastian
02/17/15 06:35:15AM
754 posts

I'd imagine you're not doing anything wrong at all, and what you're seeing is simply the nature of the beans given their origin and the way they were fermented.  Most of Vietnamese farmers don't know how to ferment their beans - and while there are a number of concerted efforts to improve the quality, it's a slow process.  Vietnamese beans can be very good - they'll be close to west african beans in character.  It's impossible to create sourness during roasting/grinding - so it's unusual that you'd detect sour increasing over time.  

Remember that fermentation is a very, very complex science - thousands of components are formed.  Sourness is from the acids - and there are dozens of acids that are formed, and not all of them are volatile (ie not all of them disappear during roasting).  if the beans don't smell / taste of vinegar, then my bet is that you've got beans that are low in volatile acidity, but high in organic acidity (and those don't evaporte no matter what you do) simply due to the way they were fermented.  Addition of some baking soda during conching might help mitigate that.

The beautiful thing about chocolate is there's so many variables to play with.  If you've still got some beans left, roast them at 20 degrees higher temp for 20% longer time and see what you get.  One of the other challenges is that we may not be speaking the same sensory 'language' (ie you may say bitter but mean something completely different than what i mean).  It's very, very hard to trouble shoot sensory over the internet w/o first having a shared and agreed upon lexicon of what the words actually mean.

Ash Maki
@ash-maki
02/19/15 12:01:44PM
69 posts

 Hi there, I had a question for you Sabastian along the lines of something you were saying earlier. If your chocolate does smell like vinegar and as you said above it was acidified during fermentaition what tips would you tell the farmers to improve there process to ferment without acidifying? A lot of diffrent factors im sure but is there a basic mistake that gets made that imparts the taste and smell of vingar into your chocolate that could be easily corrected? 

Sebastian
@sebastian
02/19/15 05:13:39PM
754 posts

Afraid there's no short and easy answer to that ash - fermentation science is a huge area, with a relatively small pool of experts.  There's a hundred different variations on a theme, and i'm not sure i could cover them all in a short web post.  Combine the many potential fermentation variables with the fact that everyone around the world does it differently (even within the same origin, there can be an amazing lack of standardization) - and it becomes rather impossible to generalize a fix.  Really the best to do is to work on a specific location with a specific person/approach and work through the specifics of a fermentation protocol for that particular problem.  

Ash Maki
@ash-maki
02/19/15 09:57:08PM
69 posts

Thanks for the response, makes sence. Looking forward to learning more about the process for sure!

Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
02/20/15 02:11:05PM
31 posts

Thank you all. Very interesting info. After a few sucessful 20 Kg batches of "Hispaniola" and "Grenada" Trinatarios I'm running in some viscosity issues (too thick). First the hunidity level here in the Dominican Rep. is very high and I had decided to limit the added cocoa butter to 3-4%. Reading these posts, I would like to try adding emulsifier. Where can I buy organic soya lethicin ? What are the alternatives to soy lethicin?

Thanks




--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/20/15 02:26:33PM
754 posts

First off, you may want to look at the fat of your beans.  Hispaniola's are often lower fat due to the way they've been fermented (or not).  Typically you'd want a fermented bean, and the more fermenated it is, the higher fat it will be - and the better your viscosity will be.  Also pay attention to it's moisture content; if the beans are fully dried, you'll have viscosity issues.

Limit your lecithin usage to 0.5% or less.  More is not better.  Alternatives to  soy lec are sunflower lecithin, but it's not as effective.  PGPR drastically reduces viscosity, but is much different than lecithin (read up on the differences between yield value and plastic viscosity if you'r einteretsed). Also not very natural if that's important. Ammonium phosphatide works well, again not particularly natural.

Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
02/20/15 02:43:41PM
31 posts

Thks Sebastian. Yes the hispaniola beans are well fermented and dry. Remaining "natural" is crucial to me, I cannot have traces of ammonium or Polyglycerol in my recipe. Even Soy may put-off some. And I want to be as "local product" as possible.

However, I'll try adding 0.5% to my next batch.




--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/20/15 04:52:28PM
754 posts

Having built most of the infrastructure in the DR, i have some familiarity with the hispaniola beans from there 8-)  I'd encourage you to verify that the beans that are being provided to you as hispaniola are indeed fermented under the protocols you'd want, and dried appropriately.  You'd be amazed at how often beans are represented as something other than what they are.

Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
02/20/15 05:17:06PM
31 posts

Yes, I have visited many plantations in many countries and know about the reliability of isolated small production centers. The advantage of being in Santo Domingo is that I can drive up to the CONACADO center. For that particular batch, the beans were from the Monte Plata region and had been fermented 8 days in November. However, I was not impressed by the CONACADO "processing center". Very untidy, broken bags laying around, weak traceability etc. 

I know the DR has wonderful beans but have not found them yet. "Amano" does an amazing chocolate bar with beans from a region they call "Dos Rios". But there are many "two rivers" regions here. Do you know where I could buy "great" beans" in the DR? The rainy season is getting to a close and production is going to increase soon. Thks for yoru help




--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/20/15 07:10:47PM
754 posts

Talk to the good folks at Rizek SA.  They are hq'd in SD.

TerryHo
@terryho
02/26/15 05:54:24AM
11 posts

dear sebastian,

thank you for your kind answers

May I put potassium carbonate directly into the chocolate solution? If so, how much? Should I measure the PH level of the solution while adding it in?


updated by @terryho: 09/07/15 02:49:12PM
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/26/15 11:20:10AM
754 posts

Since there are so many unknowns for me - what i'd suggest you do is start by adding tenths of a percent to your  mass during conching, and evaluate it every 2 hours.  If there's insufficient change, add a few tenths of a percent more, and assess after 2 hours of conching.  Continue until you're satisified that it's either working or not 8-) 

Since pH is a measure of the -log of H+ ions in a solution of water - which chocolate has very little of - i'd not bother with a pH reading of your chocolate mass.

 

Do let us know how it goes!

TerryHo
@terryho
03/05/15 06:24:25AM
11 posts

Dear sebastian,

Potassium carbonate seems like it doesn't dissolve in chocolate well, but it dissolve very well in water. Should I mix it with a little bit of water first, making it a concentrated water solution then add it to my chocolate? Will it seize my chocolate? or it will be ok and I can conch the water out later?

Thank you

Sebastian
@sebastian
03/05/15 07:47:26AM
754 posts

there's sufficient moisture in your chocolate to allow acids and bases to work together, if that's what's really causing your taste problems.  adding water to chocolate is never advised.  Remember your goal here isn't to dissolve anything, it's to adjust for flavor.  if flavor required soluability, you'd never taste your chocolate in the first place 8-)

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