Chocolate is a crystalline substance, and the process of tempering chocolate can be thought of as an analogy to the formation of ice crystals.
When chocolate is in a molten state, cacao fatty acids and triglycerides are in a disordered, liquid state. As the chocolate cools, the fats begin to solidify and form crystals. These crystals can take on different forms (Beta I to VI) depending on the cooling conditions and the type of chocolate.
In order to produce high-quality chocolate with a smooth texture and glossy appearance, it is important to control the formation of these crystals through a process known as tempering. Tempering involves heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures and agitating it in order to encourage the formation of a specific type of crystal structure (mostly Beta V).
This process can be thought of as analogous to the formation of ice crystals, which also involves the slow cooling and solidification of water molecules into a crystalline structure. In both cases, the process of cooling and crystallization can be influenced by factors such as temperature, agitation, and the presence of impurities.
By controlling the crystal structure of chocolate through tempering, chocolate makers can create chocolates with a consistent texture and appearance (snap and shine), as well as a desirable flavor and mouthfeel. Fatty acids composition of cacao (mainly palmitic, stearic, oleic, but other in smaller quantities) is of extreme importance as they determine the temperature used for tempering appropriately. At THRIVU, we are investigating the formation of ice and chocolate crystals to develop strategies for creating new forms of chocolate...