Why We Conch: The Secret to Great Chocolate!
The conching process is a lesser known but super important part of making great quality chocolate. Artisanal and gourmet chocolatiers go through many steps in order to create great tasting chocolate that ticks all the boxes. Conching is one of these steps that really makes or breaks chocolate. Pardon the pun! It is a vital part of the bean to bar journey and makes for the best tasting chocolate.
“Okay, so what is conching?”
Chocolate conching is a process that occurs before chocolate is tempered. The conching process introduces cocoa butter to the mixture, which causes it to thicken. This helps create the rich and creamy texture of high quality chocolate.
FUN FACT: Conching is named after the word “conche”, which translates to ‘shell’. It gained its name due to the fact that the outside that holds the cacao was shaped like a conch shell. Rodolphe Lindt invented the shell shaped “conche” in Berne, Switzerland, in 1879. It produced chocolate with superior aroma and melting characteristics compared to other processes used at that time.
What Happens During Conching?
During conching, fats are mixed with sugar crystals in order to form fat droplets. These droplets then solidify into cocoa butter crystals giving the final product a smooth texture and feel when eaten. Conching is responsible for this thickening effect by reducing air bubbles in the mixture. The process is done over several hours, sometimes for up to 78 hours. We conch our chocolate for two and a half days to three days.
Conching occurs after chocolate has been melted and mixed with any ingredients needed to make it taste delicious! The conch process can take up to several days depending on how fine you want the final product’s texture. This conching process forms a thick paste that melts in your mouth creating an amazing rich flavour combination of cocoa beans.
Chocolate conching ensures that there are no grittiness or lumps left behind allowing all chocolate lovers everywhere to enjoy their favourite sweet treat without anything getting between them and perfect quality chocolate! Conching is used by many different chocolatiers, not just those who are making gourmet artisanal products, but even some of the most popular chocolate bars on grocery store shelves.
Conching typically involves mixing, grinding and rolling cocoa particles in a liquid medium either with or without added sugar until all that remains are fine cocoa solids suspended in fat. The conching process ensures there’s no undissolved lumps of sugar left present within the mix which will cause graininess when you bite into it! Conching is finished when desired flavours are achieved. The conching process shouldn’t be rushed, but if done right it results in great tasting chocolate every time!