Process 11: What’s Conching?
Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,
I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
Today, I would like to share about the “conching process”.
You must be a passionate chocolate lover if you are familiar with the term conching. Not all people are aware of this process!
Conching is a process to intensely mix chocolate. The origin of the word “conching” comes from when this blending process was done in a conch (spanish word for shell) shaped container.
The machine used is shown as below.
We mix the chocolate intensely by rolling a stone roller back and forth.
For your additional information,machine designed for conching is called “conche”.
There are two purposes to the conching process.
- To get rid of foul smells
- To produce smooth texture
- To get rid of foul smells: A refined chocolate will have its wonderful scent, but at the same time a foul smell as well. As I mentioned in the fermentation post, the fermentation produces many organic acids. Among those acids, especially the acetic acid and lactic acid are strong in odor and could ruin the wonderful scent of chocolate. Therefore, we will need to get rid of the organic acids produced during the fermentation process.
Acetic acid and lactic acid evaporates at 50-60℃, so we can decrease these acids by intensely mixing them or by spreading the chocolate until its like a thin film.
- To produce smooth texture: Although the sugars were grinded down during the refining process, we still need to mix the grinded sugar into cacao butter. As I mentioned previously, chocolate is something that has sugar scattered inside its cacao butter, but the sugar is not dissolved in it. The sugar and cacao butter have bad chemistry, as the sugar will dissolve in water but not in oil. We grinded the sugar during the refining process, but this also means numbers of sugar particle increased as well. We will need to cover these sugar particles with cacao butter, and that is when the intense mixing comes in. The more intense you mix, the more covered the sugar particles will be, resulting with a smooth texture.By intensely mixing, you can also extract the cacao butter and milk-fat from cacao and milk particles that remained after refining.
Without a proper conching done, the chocolate will have a low fluidity, causing the molding and shaping afterwards to be difficult.
Let’s call it a day now that I had the chance to share about conching.
Next time, I would like to post about “tempering chocolate”. Don’t miss it!
With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,