Cocoa butter is available from a large number of producers worldwide and can be derived from raw materials varying widely in type and quality level. It is for these reasons that the material inside a container labeled cocoa butter can exhibit significant variation with respect to flavor, hardness and color. The most extreme flavor variation is usually found in natural cocoa butters, but unacceptable flavors have been frequently detected in shipments labeled deodorized cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter color can be an excellent indicator of potential problems. For example, shipments that are dark brown rather than golden in color warrant further testing. It can indicate improper handling during processing and storage.
The determination of cocoa butter's melting profile is more difficult and requires sophisticated instrumentation. When cocoa butter is a component in a chocolate recipe, its melting characteristics can impact significantly on the downstream processing of chocolate confections. For example, an understanding of this characteristic is important in efficient operation of a high-speed chocolate bar moulding plant or an enrobing line. Should either type of line be operating at full capacity, having a soft cocoa butter as part of the chocolate recipe can cause enrobed products to stick to cooling belts or moulded items not releasing from moulds. One possible solution, depending on the severity of the problem, is slowing of the line but the softness of the cocoa butter can reach a point where nothing can be done on-line to allow production of an acceptable finished product (4).
The above operations produce two of the major ingredients required to produce the various types of chocolate found throughout the world: chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Before discussing specific types of chocolate and their variations, the manufacturing of chocolate will be divided into four areas:
Much research has been done and work continues in an effort to 'streamline' the manufacture of chocolate with the ultimate goal being a low asset base continuous chocolate system. How successful the efforts have been to date and will be in the future is a subject that will be hotly debated in technical meetings for many years. For this publication, we review the classic chocolate making systems by discussing the four previously mentioned areas.
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