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I have seen a couple of references to people using Kenwood mixers to conche cacao for product R&D. Anyone know what mixers are involved (Chefs?) or whether and attachment is used? or how exactly its working??

I've tried mixing cacao in the 703 Kenwood Chef with mized results. The primary problem appears to be the lowest mixing speed is too high. Furthermore the K head does not move close enough to the bowl.

I'm hoping I can use my trusty old 703 for doing a bit of concing R&D work.

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It can be used as a very ineffective conche - it's no where near 'modern' conching capabilities, but you'll get some work out of it.  The key will be to temperature control the bowl, achieve the right consistency by controlling your fluids, and determine what the best way to add your emulsifier is.  But yes, it can be done to a certain extent.
How exactly is it done? Just using the K beater? I thought conching included some grinding?

As far as I know there are two components to conching, to round the particles off for better mouth feel (the 'grinding' component) and to drive off unwanted volatile compounds (the heating/mixing component). These two usually occur in concert but with the Kenwood, as you say, there would be no grinding component.


The thing with conching though is that you need to know what you want to achieve by doing it. I work with some beans that I don't conche (anymore than what occurs in the time it takes to grind a batch down to 15-30 microns - heating/mixing/griding) and some that are more acidic that I find benefit from what I would call a medium conche and others that are very acidic that need a damn good conche. There is a lot of personal taste in this too.


To further complicate this the flavour and mouthfeel of chocolate will change quite dramatically over the three weeks after you make it so you have to follow your chocolate's flavour/mouthfeel carefully for about three weeks before you get good feedback on what you have done to it.


To do the heating/mixing part of conching in a Kenwood though you would need to heat it with an IR lamp or other heating appliance.


That makes sense.


Using a non grinding conche process would also decouple the grinding from the oxidisation / volatiles evaporation processes. This would give full control of the two variables. I'm very interested in lowering acidity as acidity needs balancing off with sugars.


So the thing to do is grind down to your optimal mouth feel then conche a variety of durations. Making sure the product is tested at the duration from crafting you feel a customer is most likely to consume the chocolate.


I presume it possible to do this conching in one mixer removing part of the cacao liquor at various time intervals to get a series of different volatiles.


Any idea what process is involved once the chocolate is resting? Some kind of crystalisation?

Your point is correct. That grinding and conching has to be decoupled.


Has anybody used the chocokneader attachment provided with the deluxe melanger? It is a simplified conching tool for the deluxe melanger. Can anyone test it and post the results?

When you use the choco kneader attachment, it just mixes the chocolate liquor around and there is no grinding action.



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