The Chocolate Life

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Hans has a very thought provoking article in Cocoa Content called "Why cocoa content matters". In it he shows a very insightful way to determine the amount of cocoa butter. Here's the essence of it:

Cocoa content only tells you how much of the bar’s weight is comprised of cocoa solids. Now, it’s important to understand that “cocoa solids” refers to the chocolate’s combined weight of cocoa butter and dry cocoa particles (i.e. cocoa powder). You can find the amount of cocoa butter from the amount of fat, though. Once you have that you can determine the percentage of the rest of the solids.
Follow these steps from the nutrition label:
1. Note the serving size, since it varies.
2. Note the Total Fat The Fat is from cocoa butter
3. Divide the Total Fat by the Serving size (Fat/Size), then multiply by 100 to get the percentage of fat
4. Subtract the percentage of fat from the cacao percentage and the difference will tell you what percentage of the bar consists of dry cocoa solids. Cocoa butter percentage + cocoa solids percentage = Total cacao percentage.
For example, consider a bar of Lindt Excellence 70%. The Nutrition Facts show the serving size as 42g, with 17g of fat. Divide 17 by 42 and multiply the result by 100, and you’ll get 40. This means there’s 40% cocoa butter. Subtract that number from 70, which in this case is 30% dry cocoa solids . (40 + 30 = 70)

What do you think of this?

Tags: butter, fat

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I can find a few problems with aerating chocolate:

1) Because chocolate expands and contracts over time, excess air reduces the density of the mass and facilitates cracking and eventual crumbling of the bar.

2) Air causes oxidation, which reduces shelf life of a product. A perfect example is whipped cream, which has a shelf life significantly less than that of its non-whipped counterpart.

3) Excess air in the bar interferes with the chocolate-tongue contact so flavor dispersal is much more uneven and erratic.

4) Density of texture would be affected so that the bar appears lighter and not as "rich" as a non-aerated bar of chocolate.

However, I found a few useful links:

Barry Callebaut

Spartak (in Belarus)

ZOMG Candy Blog

That blog is of particular interest because it provides a picture and a description of a cross sectioned (aerated) Spartak 72% dark bar. (You can find it easily by doing a control F for "spartak elite.") The air bubbles are clearly visible, which contrasts with Callebaut's micro bubbles.
You can make your own "aerated" chocolate by warming a whip cream dispensor, filling 1/3 full of very warm, untempered couverture, charging it with nitrous oxide and quickly dispensing it. It is a novelty--the taste or texture doesn't really pick me up by my ears and scream at me-- and I am still very hesitant to offer it with my customers. (Oh look, he's re-created the Aero chocolate bar...)

One thing to factor in to manufacturer-made aerated chocolate is the added cost. True, the air is free, but since chocolate is sold by weight and not by volume, manufacturers would be reluctant to pay for yet one more process, more packaging costs as well as transport/shipping costs.
Hey edward, i was just wondering how much nitrous oxide will you need to aerate a 1/3 bowl of chocolate? I think I would mix a layer of aerated choc with something else (biscuits/caramel..), for diversity's sake besides, you are absolutely right about the weight.
Interesting, Edward, but I wouldn't be surprised if your customers would love aerated chocolate if you made it for them. You're not only selling a product, but also a service, which could possibly be your own market niche. Just a thought :)

The link I provided earlier mentioned that Callebaut's aerated chocolate chunks are cheaper than "normal" chunks, presumably because of less cocoa mass and more air, yet I wondered how that could be possible to account for the expenses in equipment, labor, packaging, marketing, etc. My guess is that the money a company saves by reducing cocoa mass is invested towards all those additional production and promotion costs so that it can at least break even, presuming of course the costs are nearly identical. If not, even then the company stands to gain by the increased market presence.
I have found the most incredible chocolate. It is raw, unprocessed, organic, and breath-takingly delicious. The cocoa butter causes it to melt in your mouth the way chocolate should. Also, it makes your body buzz instead of feeling heavy... it's available at certain markets in NYC but you can also order online at My favorite flavors are Simplicity, Coconut-Almond, and SuperChoc. To die for....especially for all of you who LOVE cocoa butter.
I have a friend who is huge fan of such products and makes such chocolate himself; he uses the term "unroasted chocolate". I'm not sure that the term raw is always used correctly, especially with regard to "raw chocolate". Unless the beans used to make this "raw, unprocessed, organic..." chocolate are unfermented, it cannot formally be considered raw. Yes, they may not be cooked in the traditional sense, but the fermentation of cacao pulp causes the bean temperature to rise around 40 C and higher in some instances, and this is at or above the limit specified by many raw foodists.
Sam -

You are right, there is no "formal" definition of the term raw. Conventionally, the raw food movement uses a maximum temp of between 115-118 as the upper limit.

Daniel -

There is some variability in maximum pile fermentation temperatures and if I remember correctly Sam has written on this; max pile temps are between 115F (46C) and 125F (51C) depending on the source. So depending on the particulars of a specific fermentation process, the temps can stay below the magic 118F figure, be fully fermented, AND be "raw."

However, during drying surface temperatures (e.g., concrete pad in the sun) can easily reach 140F (60C) and no-one really pays attention to what happens to temps during drying.
It is quite amazing to see and taste the diversity of qualities when comparing single-tree nibs/chocolate (if anyone is interested, I have pix of side-by-side winnowed nibs from single tree ferments) .

Yes, please.
Winnowed nibs from three different trees on Oahu. All beans were fermented, dried, and roasted in the same manner and with the same conditions. Very different flavors when made into single tree chocolate bars.

Dan, were these trees of the same genetic stock?
The thought of single tree bars is mildly mind-numbing. How does one come across something so esoteric? Is this the ultimate frontier? Do the trees start getting names?

In all seriousness, how different are the trees? I wonder whether they are different like children can be different. The appearances are rather distinct - are the flavors? This is very exciting...
I'm very interested in this. I and a Jamaican friend taught ourselves to ferment in Jamaica and dream of experimenting with fermenting and influence on flavor. I can only be there in August due to other job requirements, out of harvest season, so I don't get enough to experiment with from a single tree. I have worked with single farmers with very small cocoa walks and really see the difference in flavors from one farm to another. You mentioned having photos and I would love to see them.


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