Post by chocomania on Jun 26, 2006 11:06:49 GMT -5
General Understanding of Ingredients to better formulate chocolates. (according to personal preference)
Hello all, can anyone assist in helping me understand ingredients and how they react as a general rule?
Cocoa butter - more cb content makes the product less viscous? and vice versa for less cb content -more viscous?
cocoa content - higher percentage equals more flavor less sweet.
lecithin - emulsifier . what is the reaction if added earlier and if added at the last stage of conching? how come some companies like michel cluizel doesnt add lecithin? how does a chocolate taste like or its viscosity like if there are no lecithin added? would it still be stable when melting and tempering compared to those with lecithin?
vanilla/ flavoring- makes the chocolate flavor more full. how much is too much or less?
please feel free to add more info to each. thank you.
Post by sugaralchemy on Jun 26, 2006 14:50:08 GMT -5
As far as chocolate viscosity goes, here's how it works: more fat = lower viscosity when fully melted. For textural purposes, you need to think about your chocolate according to the total percentage of fat. "Couverture" chocolate is distinguished by a higher fat content, under French law 32% or higher, which means a lower viscosity and a less "pasty" feeling in the mouth as it melts. For a "good" chocolate made at home, I would suggest you want 32-40% fat content, as the lower viscosity has a very nice mouthfeel, is easier to mold cleanly, etc.
Emulsifiers (like lecithin) can help "spread" the fat better, so you don't need quite as much to obtain the same viscosity. Excessive lecithin will actually begin to increase the viscosity of your chocolate, however. I would suggest less than 0.5% of your total batch weight be lecithin if you are using it without other emulsifiers and for the purposes of reducing viscosity.
You can obviously make chocolate without lecithin. It is just generally better with it, and it normally doesn't negatively impact taste or texture. If anything, it would tend to help texture in most peoples' eyes. However, those people who want the purest possible cacao experience often omit lecithin, and it may also be omitted for concerns about allergens or GMO products. (Soy is frequently associated with both allergies and GMO.)
There are also various other emulsifiers available. In the US, the only one that may be used to reduce viscosity is PGPR. See the "Funny Ingredients" thread ( chocolatetalk.proboards56.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1146255218 ) for more details. There are also other emulsifiers used in Europe but not yet approved in the US, including CITREM and YN. Having worked with them, I can say they are excellent from a functional perspective, it is a shame they are not allowed in the US yet. They also can replace lecithin for those allergic to soy.
When calculating your chocolate's level of fat, know that cocoa butter is 100% fat and liquor is somewhere around 53% fat. Anhydrous milkfat/butter oil/ghee is also used in some chocolates, particularly white and milk, and that is also 100% fat and has the same impact on viscosity as cocoa butter, although when it hardens it results in a "softer" chocolate.
Vanilla is a complex thing. Some people reject it completely, not wanting to damage the delicate taste of their cacao. I personally tend to prefer it as I really enjoy the diversity and added complexity. Vanilla is at least as complex as cacao, there are many different types. Some cacaos and vanillas taste terrible together while that same cacao would go superb with another vanilla. The level you use depends on your taste, the cacao, the darkness, and the vanilla. Usage levels for vanilla are usually in the tenths or hundredths of a percent, so anywhere from 0.05 to 0.2% would probably be common for chocolate, but there are no clear rules here - follow your taste buds, particularly if this chocolate is for YOUR enjoyment! I would say 1-2% is getting very excessive and unlikely to bring any benefit except in unusual applications.
With vanilla, I would suggest you chop up the bean in advance and then break it down to very small particles with your sugar when you run it through a food processor. Alternatively, I bet you could just run vanilla through the Champion with your cacao. (See the above "How Dark Is Too Dark" thread.) Given well-chopped whole vanilla bean (think "vanilla bean specs" like you see in ice cream) the Santha can grind it so finely that it is invisible to the naked eye - even in white chocolate, it will darken the white chocolate slightly but even under intense light and close inspection you won't be able to distinguish a single particle. If you don't grind the bean up sufficiently, some beans are rather fibrous on the outside and will leave small visible fibers in your white or very light colored chocolates. They are almost impossible to feel on the tongue but can be visually distracting.
Hopefully this addresses your questions. It is best to think of chocolate as a "system" with everything measured in percentages. You want total fat in the 32-40% range (or more, though you do reach diminishing returns on fat content) no matter what type of chocolate you're making. This fat comes from liquor, cacao butter or even milkfat, or a mixture of the three. (I would suggest no more than 15% of your fat content be from milk - meaning that a 35% fat chocolate should probably not contain more than 5.25% total milkfat - otherwise the chocolate may be too soft.) Beyond fat, the remainder of the ingredients in your chocolate are solids - cacao solids from the liquor, sugar or a suitable substitute, dry milk, vanilla bean, etc.