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Humidity problems in Chocolate Manufacturing

 

Crispy, crunchy, chocolates that sets taste buds tingling
It is necessary to observe stringent humidity and temperature controls during chocolate manufacturing, right from when the cocoa is bought in, to packing and shipping as chocolates tend to absorb moisture. A chocolate once spoiled by moisture cannot be restored to its original condition.
 
Moisture concerns during . . .

Drying of cocoa beans

Cocoa beans have a moisture content of 60% during fermentation. This has to be reduced to 7.5% by drying, Traditionally, drying was done by spreading the beans in the sun but now drying rooms and heated tables are used where temperatures can be strictly controlled. The beans should be dried in such a manner that it allows the completion of the chemical reactions without the development of mold.

Beans are continually turned to help prevent mold and provide sufficient aeration. Once the beans are dried, which usually takes one to two weeks; they are scooped into bags and from there the beans go to the chocolate manufacturers.

Chocolate coating

Chocolate coatings are applied to the entire material by two ways: either formed by hand or cast in starch or rubber molds and then dipped by hand or enrobed mechanically. Setting of chocolate is controlled by conditioning the air in the dipping room. The conditions usually recommended for achieving uniform distribution are 50% RH at 24 - 27°C temperature.

Such precise condition can only be maintained by a Desiccant Dehumidifier. Chocolate covered nuts can benefit morefrom using dry airto speed drying, as high temperatures melts the product. Coated chocolates with a high quality glossy surface finish can be obtained with the aid of dry air from Desiccant Dehumidifiers.

Packaging

Controlling the moisture of air in packing rooms is very essential as moisture causes chocolates to lose their lusterorshow sugar bloom.

Improper storage of chocolates results in blooming

The whitish discoloration 'bloom' isfat and sugar crystals that rise to the surface if the chocolate absorbs moisture during storage. Such chocolates do not look nice even though they might be eatable. Now-a-days, with the opening of super market the storage time at retailer has increased considerably.

It is important that the chocolate or candy does not lose its quality during this time. The additional benefits of conditioned storage are:

  • No blooming
  • Insects are rendered inactive at temperatures below 9°C
  • Chocolates remain firm
  • Loss of color, aroma and flavour is minimized

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