Feasibility of a coarse conching process for dark chocolate
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Coarse conching means that the conventional way of producing chocolate mass—roller refining followed by conching—is inverted. A low fat pre-mix is conched and pre-ground first, providing efficient removal of water and undesired flavour components. Thus, downstream particle-size reduction can be performed by alternative equipment, e.g., ball mills. It had been demonstrated before that the process works well for milk and white chocolates. The current project aimed at optimizing process settings for producing high-quality dark chocolates. This was executed first by applying an experimental design on a standard recipe. Products were examined regarding their physical and sensory properties. A large impact of the type of cocoa raw material was found. At optimized settings, it was possible to achieve product properties similar to a conventionally made reference. In a second step, the learning was applied for challenging an industrial reference. Due to specific product properties, further variations in recipe and process layout were necessary. Again, the impact of cocoa raw materials in combination with process settings was dominant. Minor changes of the recipe were necessary to develop a product which could hardly be distinguished from the reference by a sensory panel. Finally, it was concluded that even high-quality dark chocolates can be made by the new coarse conching process. Nevertheless, each individual product requires effort for adapting recipe and processing parameters.
KeywordsDark chocolate Conching Ball mill Process development Flow properties Sensory evaluation
This research paper was sponsored by Lipp Mischtechnik GmbH, Mannheim and Neubrandenburg Univ. Appl. Sci., internal research projects. Thesis by the following students/alumni made significant contributions: Christian Bärenwalde, Stefan Boede, Christopher Burk, Markus Feldkeller, Bashar Hayani, Daniel Helmholz, Sebastian Hohaus, Robert Kaiser, Norbert Klein, Franziska Müller, Rebecca Remy, Josefine Römisch, Christian Schinko, Ann-Kristin Schwarze, and Wiebke Zillinger. We would also like to thank our sensory panelists, and also Prof. Dr. Jörg Meier, Dipl. Ing. (FH) André Manske, Dipl.-Ing. Rita Schäpe, and Rolf Kretzschmar for their various and valuable support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The above-mentioned company made a contribution to the costs of the project.
Compliance with ethics requirements
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.
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