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Hi! We make bean-to-bar chocolate, but our milk chocolate (39%) has begun to "break", like falling apart and it's not having a decent flow. Does anyone knows why? My first guess was humidity or something concerning the cocoa butter. Pics attached.

Tags: apart, breaking, chocolate, falling, humidity, milk

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Hard to know without your recipe formulation.

Also its hard for me to see the issue from your photos - is the cocoa butter just separating when the chocolate is left sitting? Does it come back together if you temper and mould it?

it has 30% of cocoa butter plus 7% coming from the milk, once it's tempered it doesn't break anyone, so that leads to a cocoa butter issue, Is it too much fat? Weird thing is that it didn't happen before, plus it gets quite thick now.

I'd bet you a cold drink it's moisture.  You're working in a very humid environment?

Well it's Costa Rica, so yeah, pretty much :(, I work with a dehumidifier when I temper. I figured it could be moisture since it's getting very thick.

You *may* be able to mitigate it by adding fluid lecithin in 0.1% increments and mixing thoroughly. one half of lecithin will bind to water, so depending on how much water you have, how much lecithin you already have added, your particle size, etc - further additions may help mitigate the increased viscosity.

Obviously adding more cocoa butter will decrease rheology as well.  But that's expensive and has significant impact on flavor.

If i were you, and if chocolate is your main business, i'd focus on finding ways to lower the environmental RH.  CR's one of my favorite places on earth, if you need a consultant to come down....I know a guy...8-)

Yup.... Looks like water got in it to me....

Any way I can save my chocolate? :(

The first question to ask is when you heat it up to melt all of the crystals, does it go completely smooth, or are there little lumps still in it?

 

If there are tiny lumps as your picture demonstrates, then some of it will have siezed and it's no good.  If it melts completely smooth, then you may be able to get away with re-tempering it.

the chocolate in the picture is at 40C. Once it's tempered it becomes a little smoother, but still thick

40c and still that thick?  Holy cow.  I know you make your own chocolate, so it can be one of two things:

A) your recipe doesn't have enough fluid fat (cocoa butter) or,

B) You got water in it.

 

If you provide more detailed information I may be able to help. 

Well it has 30% of cocoa butter plus 7% coming from the milk.

I'm leaning towards humidity. Dammit. :(

If it's milk chocolate I don't think that is enough cocoa butter.  My milk chocolate has 39% cocoa butter and about 4% in additional milk fat. 

Keep in mind your milk fat does not add to fluidity, but rather acts as a solid and thickens your chocolate.

Even at 39% total cocoa butter, I still have to use lecithin to make the chocolate fluid enough to pour into molds, and here in Alberta it is super dry.

I would suggest you try adding cocoa butter.  Start with another 5% by weight, and even maybe 0.5% lecithin.  The lecithing will make a HUGE difference right away.

Hope that helps.

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