The first step in chocolate production is obtaining the beans. The cocoa beans are then ground into a powder, known as cocoa butter. This is a byproduct of cocoa production and is what gives chocolate its fine structure. Another crucial step in the chocolate production process is called “conching.”
Cocoa beans are ground to a powder
In factories, cocoa beans are first cleaned and de-shelled. They are then roasted to produce the cocoa liquor, which is a mixture of caramel-like molecules and bitter phenolics. After the bean is roasted, it is then ground to a powder. The result is a powder called Cocoa Cake. The world’s largest manufacturer of cocoa powder, INDCRESA sources cocoa cakes from its origin countries.
The beans are then dried in warehouses or silos. In addition to being stored in warehouses and silos, raw cocoa is also subject to strict quality control. Laboratory technicians monitor the beans and ensure they are perfectly fermented, roasted, and dried. These facilities can store up to 1000 tons of cacao beans. In some factories, raw cocoa is vacuum-sucked into giant silos.
Cocoa butter is a by-product of cocoa production
The market for cocoa butter is booming in the confectionery and bakery industry. Increasing awareness about health benefits and an increased appetite for chocolate is fueling growth. Chocolate products are also gaining popularity in the food industry, especially in developing regions. Future Market Insights reports that demand for cocoa butter is projected to reach US$ 6.7 Bn by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 3.8% between 2017 and 2031.
The burnt husks of cocoa beans contain more than 40% potash, a compound that is used as an alkali in soap making. It can also be used to produce potassium-rich fertilizer. Cocoa butter is extracted from discarded cocoa beans, which is used in making toilet soap, soft soap, and body pomade. However, while cocoa butter is widely used for cosmetic purposes, it is rarely used in baking. Because of its limited application in food products, cocoa butter is also very expensive.
Cocoa butter gives chocolate its fine structure
Cocoa butter is the fat that comes from cocoa beans. It contains a mixture of oleic, palmitic and stearic acids. When chocolate is tempered, it takes on a particular crystal structure called polymorphism. This process changes the structure of cocoa butter, causing it to crystallise into one of six different types. One of these forms, known as form V, is the most desirable for chocolate.
In the conventional process of making chocolate, sugar is mixed with cocoa butter and water. These substances would mix, resulting in a mess. Fortunately, Norton discovered a way to separate the two. This technique allows the cocoa butter to crystallise and become an eggshell-like structure. Because cocoa butter crystals are small, they are suspended in water, which helps them retain their shape and maintain their structure.
Conching is the most critical stage of chocolate production
A major function of the conching stage in the production of chocolate is to distribute the flavor substances that were present in the dry cocoa. It also reduces moisture, which improves the viscosity of the finished product. Another important function of conching is to remove unwanted acids and oxidized substances that had occurred during roasting. During this process, the power required to turn the conche shafts increases.
The conching process dates back to 1879 when Rudolph Lindt accidentally left a mixing machine to work over night. The next morning, he noticed that the chocolate had a different flavor than before. Conche, derived from the Latin word for shell, is a mechanical device that resembles a conch shell. However, modern conches are equipped with mixing blades that allow for more control over the process.
Winnowing affects the final quality of chocolate
Cocoa beans go through several steps during the manufacturing process. The first is fermentation, where naturally present bacteria and yeasts ferment the gooey pulp to produce flavor compounds. During the second stage, conching, the chocolate is roasted. In addition to temperature, the winnowing process affects the final quality of chocolate. Certain yeast strains can give the finished chocolate a new aroma and flavor.
Cocoa beans are covered in a thin shell, which must be removed. This will keep the meat intact, but will remove the shells. Winnowing has been around for centuries, and is also an important step in the production of rice and wheat. The end result is chocolate that tastes delicious and is widely available. However, not all chocolate makers use winnowing methods. Often, large chocolate manufacturers use industrial-grade machines to winnow the cocoa beans.