Temper tantrums no more: chocolate production made easier

Wednesday, 01 September, 2021

Temper tantrums no more: chocolate production made easier

Tempering chocolate is a task that frays tempers, as any cooking show fan knows, but now Canadian scientists from the University of Guelph have discovered that using a phospholipid molecule in chocolate production could make all that stress unnecessary.

Chocolate manufacture includes a complex tempering procedure to direct the crystallisation of cocoa butter towards the formation of fat crystal networks with specific polymorphism, nano- and microstructure, melting behaviour, surface gloss and mechanical properties.

For a glossy snap, the crystal structures in chocolate must be just right — a structure known as Form V is the Holy Grail for the best chocolate.

Usually, this is achieved through the complicated tempering process, which involves heating and cooling to precise temperatures, but Alejandro Marangoni and colleagues explored how the tempering process could be altered. The authors found that adding a small amount of a phospholipid molecule to cocoa butter speeds up and directs its crystallisation towards Form V. When they mixed the molecule into a sample of crystallisng commercial chocolate it produced a final product with optimal hardness, gloss and microstructure — without the need for tempering.

The authors suggest that using this method in the chocolate manufacturing process could be a way to control chocolate to ensure it has the right properties and may eventually reduce the reliance on complex tempering processes.

Published in Nature Communications, the findings suggest that this could even make chocolate manufacturing cheaper as well as easier.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/deagreez

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