Post by samaritanxocolata on May 26, 2011 21:32:42 GMT -5
Hola from Costa Rica. I recently "inherited" a small chocolate business that was just getting off the ground, but unfortunately did not receive the "secret" of the handmade chocolate that was created to withstand the warm temperatures of the tropics without melting. The consistancy was almost "fudgey" at warm temperatures, and had a "crack" at lower tempertures. I have nearly perfected the "standard" chocolate making process which would be excellent in a more moderate climate, but it still melts too quickly here at "room temperture" which is about 95 degrees (f). Any suggestions on how to make it withstand the warm climate and not melt until it hits your mouth? Would I increase or decrease the cocoa butter content? Would I actually use a bit of water and allow it to seize on purpose to create the fudge effect? Do I heat it to a soft crack (sugar) temp of 250-280? What would that do to the cocao butter? Wouldn't it separate from the other cocao solids? Please help...need to work out these issues and get the business back up and running soon. thanks!
You need to change your "room temperature" (i.e. air conditioning). Cocoa butter melts at about 94F and there is no secret to maintaining temper in tropical heat. It simply doesn't work. Unless, of course, you make a substance that is not actually "chocolate." According to her website, the former (murdered) owner of Samaritan Xocolata used only 75% cacao and 25% sugar and her chocolate had a self-described "fudgy consistency." The fudgy consistency means it wasn't tempered. You should be able to achieve that by cooling it at a lower ambient temperature.
Last Edit: May 27, 2011 10:23:31 GMT -5 by deborah
Actually, cocoa butter's melting point is much lower than 94 degrees. This is why it melts in your fingers (finger tips are RARELY body temperature). Cocoa butter actually melts at around 84 degrees.
The only solution would be to add palm kernel oil or some type of wax, such as carnuba or parafin to the chocolate to prevent it from softening. However, the challenge you run into with these solutions is you need temperatures in excess of 120 degrees to melt the palm kernel oil, otherwise it will have the same waxy feeling as if the chocolate contained wax. that's a real problem, considering body temperature never gets that high, and nor does the temperature inside your mouth!
The challenge you are faced with in making a fine, properly tempered eating chocolate in your environment have been the bane of existence for MANY manufacturers for many years.
If you can solve it, you'll be wealthier than you can imagine.
Oh... and don't heat your chocolate to 280 degrees. You'll burn it long before it gets to that temperature.
As far as adding water to your chocolate goes.... Well... technically you "can" do it as long as the water is the same temperature. However the challenge comes when it's time to mold your chocolate into bars. You have a VERY short window of time before the chocolate solidifies, and the first thing that water does to chocolate when you add it is make it so thick and viscous that you can't pour it into molds. You have to work by hand, and work VERY quickly with small batches.
My recommendation is to spend the money on a good air conditioning unit with an extra fan on the condensor (or it will ice up).
Facing similar problems, I have opted for a small AC in a small room for tempering and vacuum sealed packaging. Am in Drake, el 50m, in-house temps mid 70s to high 80s, occasionally in the 90s; but the humidity is really high, 45% to high 90s every single day. These are terrible conditions for the storage of chocolate, I may have to make a "cool/dry box".
And the drying of beans is rather tricky with saturated air, and roasted beans start reabsorbing moisture as soon as removed from the oven.
I like the tropics, but this chocolate business is a bear.
For another tropical example; air dried hardwood (quira) after several years will stabilize at ~22%, about 2x what would be seen in a dryer climate.