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What is true about that? Is it really necessary to the let chocolate rest once it's out of the conching machine? If so, how much time is needed and why?

I've read this a couple of times before but I'm not sure why it should be done... or not. Supposedly to get rid of some unwanted bitterness in the chocolate?

Tags: chocolate, conching, rest

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You can let it rest in the conch if you'd like; however there's no technical benefit to doing to.  Marketers could spin up a nice story about it i'm sure.

I agree with Sebastian.


Some craft chocolate makers are of the believe that the chocolate "mellows" out after being given a rest.  They pour it out of their machines and into blocks and age them.


However..... (and this is simply the pragmatic Brad talking here)  If you have a solid block of chocolate sitting on a shelf in your shop, how long will it take for ALL of the chocolate to mellow out?  After all, It's only the surface of the chocolate that is exposed to air when it's solid.  It's not like the chocolate is pourous, or a live culture as in the case of cheese.  Anything under the immediate surface isn't affected.


Simple reasoning in this case would mean that the benefit of "aging" the chocolate would be in immediately tempering it and pouring it into bars, where a much larger surface overall is exposed to air, thereby helping reduce the tannins and astringency.


Further to that, wouldn't it be more intelligent to simply used good quality cocoa beans in the first place, and then roast them properly?  If these two steps are taken, I can assure you that the resulting nibs taste better than most 70% bars BEFORE the nibs are made into chocolate and sugar is added.  Why?  Because the majority of the astringency and bitterness has been fermented and roasted out.


Here at Choklat we don't age it at all, and it's just as good day one out of the refiner as it is having sat on a shelf in a 50lb block for 2 months.


I can see that as more craft chocolate makers emerge, they are going to, as Sebastian said, "spin up a nice story" to differentiate what they do from the others.




Well, that's a different topic altogether.  Aging tempered chocolate does have it's merits, as the kinetics of crystallization and flavor release are very tied together (i've done the studies to know the rate of change over a variety of temperatures and packaging conditions).  If you're aging bulk chocolate that will be remelted, the changes are significantly less (they still do exist, but are driven by different mechanisms and likely aren't great enough to be worth the hassle).  Chocolate is a fantastically ineffectively oxygen barrier (FAR more air penetrates chocolate than one would think).  One should never make flavor decisions on chocolate fresh out of the process, as one's consumers don't consume it in that state or age.

There's a good discussion on aging chocolate here

which Sebastian had a lot of input to as well

thank you :)!

But aging is different from just letting it rest for 24hrs for example. I was just wondering why some people suggest letting the chocolate rest for some days prior to tempering and molding. It's not like chocolate completely solidifies or anything like that but I was thinking maybe it had something to do with crystal structure or improved aroma and flavor?

As noted earlier you can certainly let it 'rest' in a conche if you'd like, but there's no benefit to doing so.  As with anything i suppose, there's an awful lot of urban legend and anecdotal stuff out there, lots of strong beliefs that aren't supported by evidence, or are simply not true.  i can't count the number of times someone has passionately stated something as fact simply because, to them, it was what they believe to be truth, and that belief translated to fact for them.  they wholeheartedly *believe* they are right.  Sadly, no matter how strongly i believe Santa Clause is real, it has no bearing on if he was actually real or not.  i don't think anyone's putting misinformation out there intentionally or maliciously - it's simply that they often don't know what they don't know.

haha I thought so, but I wanted to ask anyway to be certain about it. One never knows :) thank you again.

Brad -

We are talking something different here I think.

Here at Choklat we don't age it at all, and it's just as good day one out of the refiner as it is having sat on a shelf in a 50lb block for 2 months.

The question at hand is, in part, "Does aging affect chocolate and if so, in what way(s)?"

Are there any discernible changes that take place in your chocolate over the two months? I agree that those changes might be smaller in a large block of 25kg than they would be in a bar of 50 grams, but I have a lot of trouble believing that the two chocolates taste identical.

I have personally tasted bars from Friis Holm (made by Bonnat) and bars from Marco Colzani (C|Amaro outside of Milan in Cassago Brianza) where there were profound differences in the chocolates that could be attributed to aging. I tasted a new bar from Bryan Graham at Fruition a couple of weeks ago that was four days out of the conche. It was wildly interesting (the best thing I've tasted from the Marañon beans) but it had a distinct tannic structure and a "green" taste. Bryan gave me two bars and I am looking forward to tasting it anew, in about 2-3 weeks because I know it will be different.

But I do think it may have to do with style. Many chocolate makers like to make chocolates that don't have all the edges rounded off. They leave in acids and tannins because they think the resulting chocolates are more interesting. You don't I can make a pretty good case that your chocolate may change less via aging because of the way you roast and conche. 

It is possible to over-age chocolate and in my experience, delicate top notes are the first to go.

They are all different chocolates, one is not necessarily better than another - they appeal to different consumers.

So no, I don't think aging is a gimmick. Letting it "rest" in the conche for 24 hours and attributing some magic benefits to that rest, is.


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