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Comparing flavor profiles of dark chocolates refined with melanger and conched with Stephan mixer in various alternative chocolate production techniques

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The use of alternative equipment for chocolate production is gaining attention in recent times in many countries. This is due to the lower cost of investment and maintenance, multi-functionality, and lower throughput. This study was conducted to investigate the applicability of two of such equipment; melanger and Stephan mixer. In the first set-up, the possibility of refining chocolate with the melanger in comparison with the conventional 3-roll refiner was explored. Whereas in the second set-up, the applicability of the Stephan mixer (aided with a vacuum pump) for a conching-like application was also investigated. From each set-up, 70% dark chocolates produced through various alternative means were then evaluated on the basis of their flavor profiles. Specific groups of volatiles such as aldehydes, ketones, terpenes and terpenoids, showed significant (p < 0.05) differences due to the different refining techniques applied. However, this effect was not reflected in terms of the overall volatile concentrations of these chocolates. For chocolates which were conched with Stephan mixer, the decreasing effect of vacuum duration and its interaction with dry conching temperature on the total volatile concentration also proved significant (p < 0.05). Finally, an agglomerative hierarchical clustering of all chocolates on the basis of their aroma volatiles revealed three distinct clusters. Nonetheless, a 112—member consumer preference testing showed statistically similar (p > 0.05) preference for these representative chocolates from the clusters. These findings stimulate various practical application possibilities for tuning chocolate flavor through alternative processing for both industries and various artisans worldwide.

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The authors would like to express their profound gratitude to the Belgian Government through VLIR-UOS for funding this project (ICP PhD 2014-001). Also a big thanks to the staff of Cacaolab bvba for their technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Michael Hinneh.

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Hinneh, M., Van de Walle, D., Tzompa-Sosa, D.A. et al. Comparing flavor profiles of dark chocolates refined with melanger and conched with Stephan mixer in various alternative chocolate production techniques. Eur Food Res Technol 245, 837–852 (2019).

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  • Dark chocolate
  • Alternative processing
  • Melanger
  • Stephan mixer
  • Flavor profile