One of Americans’ most beloved flavors is chocolate. In fact, a recent study by the Chocolate Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) found that 50% of adults named chocolate as their favorite flavor, followed by strawberry/other berry flavors at a distant 13% of adults. CMA has conducted this survey regularly for more than 15 years, with chocolate always at the top of the list. This flavor remains popular because of the emotions involved with the eating experience, CMA says.
Before formulating with Americans’ top flavor, bakers need to know the differences between chocolate and compound chocolate coatings, and any potential problems that may arise when formulating with these ingredients. These problems include wet finish, fat bloom, cracking, greasiness, dull appearance, dark spots, streaky surface and waxiness.
In addition, consumers’ tastes for sugar-free chocolate also have grown. Bakers interested in creating bakery foods using these ingredients also need to be aware of product specifications for sugar-free chocolate, chocolate and compound chocolate coatings.
What is chocolate?
| Bakers can choose either chocolate or compound chocolate coatings to add cocoa flavor to their bakery foods. Compound chocolate coatings contain hard vegetable or tropical fats (lauric or non-lauric fats) instead of cocoa butter. |
• Eating chocolate – Contains 28% to 32% cocoa butter, and can be milk chocolate or sweet dark chocolate.
• Couverture chocolate – Chocolate for industrial use. It is ideal for truffles, bakery foods, nutritional bars, dipped foods and shaped chocolate products. Bakers often use couverture chocolate for dipping and enrobing applications, due to this chocolate’s high fat content of 28% to 32%.
• Compound chocolate coatings – Less expensive than couverture chocolate. Hard vegetable or tropical fats are used instead of cocoa butter,
• Baking chocolate/bitter chocolate – Has a low cocoa butter content and high chocolate liquor content. It does not have any sugar.
• Cocoa powder – The powder that remains after cocoa butter has been removed from chocolate liquor. Cocoa powder contains some cocoa butter, from 0% to as high as 24%.
When formulating with chocolate, the amount of chocolate liquor, sugar and cocoa butter—or fat substitute—affects sweetness, bitterness, smoothness, flow characteristics and appearance. Therefore, it is imperative that bakers know exactly what type of chocolate is best suited for their bakery products, and what are the specific requirements of that chocolate.
Many problems can occur when formulating bakery foods with chocolate, especially when the ingredient is used for enrobing. If the percentage of cacao in the chocolate is incompatible with the percentage of cacao in the bakery food, drying and cracking occur, one supplier says.
“An example would be if a recipe was made with 55% cacao chocolate and the baker tried to use 70% cacao chocolate. It’s not going to perform the same,” the chocolate supplier says. “If bakers are making a ganache with a chocolate that has a higher percentage than what is called for in the recipe, they are going to have to add some additional sugar and water to offset that, because there are so many solids in the higher percent.”
An incompatible cacao percentage also imparts a different flavor profile in the bakery food, the supplier says.
Chocolate enrobings also can lead to greasiness. Greasiness often occurs when cream is not boiled rapidly enough before it is mixed with chocolate. This causes excess water in chocolate, which in turn gives moisture to whatever bakery food it is enrobing.
This causes the bakery food to remain moist, and the chocolate not to dry, therefore creating a greasy appearance. One supplier says that bakers must remember to boil the cream rapidly and then pour it over the bakery food at a temperature of 90˚F to 100˚F.
If the bakery food still does not dry, and the chocolate looks greasy, bakers should reduce their cream. If the bakery food and chocolate are cracking, bakers need to add more cream, the supplier says.
Similar to chocolate, compound chocolate coatings have problems too. Because compound coatings are formulated from lauric or non-lauric hard butters, instead of cocoa butter, bakers have to adjust their production formulas.
Compound chocolate coatings sometimes have dull appearances due to their fat systems. Depending on the cocoa butter replacement, the chocolate must be heated and cooled to a certain temperature, one chocolate manufacturer says. Dull appearances in this ingredient also are attributable to warm cooling tunnel temperature. Compound chocolate coatings require cold cooling tunnels, the manufacturer says. In addition, if humidity in the cooling tunnel and packaging room is too high, this moisture absorption also will dull the coating.
The fat system also is responsible for greasiness or waxiness that may occur. Non-lauric fats, such as partially hydrogenated soy, soy/cottonseed and cottonseed/soy are more greasy and waxy than palm kernel fat systems, because non-lauric fats have extended and flatter solid fat melting profiles, one chocolate manufacturer says.
In addition, bakers must know the melting points of the fat system in each compound chocolate coating. The higher the melting point, the more waxy the coating. Non-lauric compounds are more greasy and waxy than palm kernel compound chocolate coatings, the manufacturer says.
Formulating sugar free
When formulating with sugar-free chocolates or sugar-free compound chocolate coatings, moisture plays a significant role. Moisture migrates from sugar-free ingredients to bakery foods, contributing to viscosity issues and problems with re-melting.
Bakers must reduce the moisture in any of their dry ingredients going into the fat system. This is not an initial problem, but occurs when enrobers are running, and then stop, forcing the chocolate or coatings to hold for a period of time, releasing the moisture.
One manufacturer of sugar substitutes offers a sugar-free sweetener with a low moisture content that is developed for the baking industry. It contains half the calories of sugar.
Although chocolate is one of America’s favorite flavors, it also is a complicated ingredient to work with. Bakers must ensure that they know what types of chocolate or compound chocolate coating is best for their bakery foods, and the requirements of that type of chocolate, before formulation.