Inexplicable change in chocolate strucutre- please help

08/29/16 10:00:42AM
12 posts

Dear chocolate community

I hope one of you can help me with this issue. We process our chocolate below 42 Celsius. Till now we always had great consistency. For sweetener, we use coconut palm sugar. I just started using a new coconut palm sugar which has a slightly darker appearance. It seems as everyone considers that a natural variation so I didn't think much about it. However, when I created a small test-batch, the chocolate turned out much more soft, melting much faster when touched. I am sure that it was correctly tempered. My first thought is that it might be due to humidity in the coconut palm sugar, but would that necessarily create that sort of effect? Any insights on this?

Any help much appreciated!

08/30/16 06:58:14AM
754 posts

I'm gonna bet you a dollar that it's not as well tempered as you think it is...

08/30/16 10:41:02AM
12 posts

Hi Sebastian,

what makes you say that? Since we started making chocolate we have used a very good tempering machine and never had problems. Yes, I realize it doesn't guarantee perfect tempering but we have used it with the same basic ingredients over a longer period of time and never had the issue. 

Do you think it might have to do with needing a different tempering curve?

The main issue is that at the same temperature, the chocolate is now significantly more liquid feeling and looking, and the end product of course is affected. My first thought was that there might be humidity in the sugar, but if you have any other pointers, I would love to know more. It does all leave me a bit baffled.

All the best,

08/30/16 02:49:21PM
754 posts

25 years of experience makes me say that 8-)  Unless you're using a temper meter, you're not going to be able to say with any certainty if you're tempered or not, or to what degree you're tempered.   Crystalline sugars will only vary in moisture by a few %'s max, so you're unlikely to get a significant moisture contribution from them, and even if you did, it's going to give you rheology problems instead of temper problems.  Unless you've got a 3rd variable that you didn't mention (ie oils of a different type - nuts, excess milk fats, etc) being added - it's almost assuredly a tempering problem. Thermocouples drift or go bad on those units all the time.  What worked just fine yesterday may no longer work today if you're experiencing drift in a thermocouple.

Post your exact recipe here and we'll be able to troubleshoot more effectively.  But it's tempering.

09/05/16 08:34:21PM
13 posts

Hi Sanja,

we have been using coconut palm sugar since 2009 and you absolutely need a temper meter if you are using coconut palm sugar to ensure it is well tempered. I can say the more you utilize coconut palm sugar, the more variations of coconut palm sugar you are going to get. The temper meter is a great investment , just my thoughts , I hope it helps



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