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Most fluid white chocolate?


pringle007
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Good question - emulisfiers (of which lecithin is one), are usually allowed at a max level of 1.0 or 1.5% - however, just becauase you can, doesn't alway mean you should. Lecithin is essentially added as a way to reduce cocoa butter - you can achieve what is called a similiar 'apparent viscosity' by adding lots more cocoa butter (which is expensive), or you can add a little bit of lecithin (which isn't). There will be some differences in other types of viscosity (i'll avoid the technobabble, but it's called plastic viscosity and yield value) by using more cocoa butter instead of replacing it with lecithin, but it certainly can be done. At the end of the day, the main reasons a mfr uses lecithin is to reduce their costly cocoa butter, or to make the product easier for them to handle.

Depending on the specifics of the product the lecithin is being added to, and the processes under which the product undergoes - there's a 'cap' on how much lecithin you can realistically add before it starts doing the opposite of what it's supposed to do. That practical limit is *about* 0.5% (disclaimer above, that will vary a little bit by specific product type and process type). Lecithin is one of those things where a little bit is a good thing, but too much of a good thing will be problematic. What happens is a phenemonon called 'bridging' - one end of lecithin like to 'stick' to water, the other end likes to 'stick' to fat. If you put too much lecithin in, it starts to 'stick' to itself and form bridge like structures.

Ball mills, or attrition mills, can be used, but are much more common in grinding the liquor vs the finished chocolate. Ball mills require a certain 'fluidity' in what you charge the system with, and because liquor is about 50% fat, there's plenty of fluidity built in to it. Because chocolates are normally much lower in fat, ball mills are typically not popular particle size reduction approaches to finished chocolate. Of course there are exceptions, i've seen it done and i've done it myself, but it's not the norm. They can generate a lot of heat if you're not careful, and if you've not selected the appropriate media, you can easily end up with a very high metal content in your chocolate due to bearing abrasion.

Sebastian,

From the literature I've read, it is my understanding that when lecithin is added in amounts of under 1%, it increases the fluidity of the chocolate, and in amounts of over 1% it increases the viscosity.

Can you confirm this?

There are high quality, albeit expensive couvertures out there that have no lecithin added. May I assume that lecithin is an "economical" additive in that it mimics the addition of more (expensive) cocoa butter?

Are ball-bearing type conches popular? How effective are they?

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Sebastian I really appreciate your explanations on viscosity. I have been using the same semisweet dark chocolate for a few years and received a batch that was much too viscous. According to the supplier there was no change in formula. They only had 1 other complaint which I found odd as it was noticeably thicker. The supplier was stumped for an explanation and thought maybe something happened in shipping. Doubtful as their bittersweet and milk chocolates were fine. I thought only cocoa butter, lecithin and moisture affected viscosity. It was really good to hear your explanations on particle size. Fascinating!

Thanks again.

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Sebastian I really appreciate your explanations on viscosity. I have been using the same semisweet dark chocolate for a few years and received a batch that was much too viscous. According to the supplier there was no change in formula. They only had 1 other complaint which I found odd as it was noticeably thicker. The supplier was stumped for an explanation and thought maybe something happened in shipping. Doubtful as their bittersweet and milk chocolates were fine. I thought only cocoa butter, lecithin and moisture affected viscosity. It was really good to hear your explanations on particle size. Fascinating!

Thanks again.

Lana - also consider, that if you're not buying direct from your supplier, but rather through a distributor - the liklihood of improper storage or out of date product increases quite a bit. Some distributors are better than others, but i've worked with distributors who had storage conditions for chocolate that were simply *abysmal* and, and as you might suspect, they exhibited much more customer complaints than other distributors...if your product isn't 'right', it may not be the manufacturer's fault - depending on what your supply chain looks like!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just reread this topic as I found it so interesting. Most likely dealing with viscosity problems in a semi-sweet couverture that didn't have these issues in the past really made the topic pertinent.

As I reread I caught something you said Sebastian and I just want to clarify. You were saying that any white chocolate - regardless of manufacturer will thicken over time. You mentioned adding a drop of liquid lecithin to help thin things out.

Now about the lecithin... is this just ordinary lecithin I can get at the health food store? I believe they come in capsules. Just pierce and drop?

I also found your comment regarding purchasing from a distributor rather than the supplier interesting. I actually buy from the supplier as I buy in quantity - but it got me thinking. My supplier (Cocoa Camino - organic/fair-trade) buys from the manufacturer (Pronatec) in Switzerland. As I purchased a pallet from Cocoa Camino - I might as well be purchasing it directly from Pronatec. I know 'prairiegirl' was mentioning doing the same thing - except through a different manufacturer. Perhaps we should start a thread for those intersted in doing bulk buying. We could give such details as what couverture you are interested in purchasing, how much and where you live.

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Lecithin *may* help - it depends on what caused the thickening in the first place - if it age/moisture absorption related, it can help a great deal. Unfortunately i'm not familiar with what the potency is in health store lecithin capsules - my guess is that it's simply off the shelf lecithin that is used industrially, and put into capsules - if that's the case, breaking the capsule and adding a tad of lecithin should work just fine. Make sure you leave the gelatin capsule out..only one way to find out 8-)

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I wonder where can I get lecithin besides the pharmacy/health food store. A while ago a lab doing experiments called me (!) to see if I had any lecithin... I just got some moisture into a batch of choc that I left unsealed in the temperer!

Here I can get it in jars of liquid and in a powdered (more like little chunk) form. But the capsules squeezed open would work just fine.

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OMgosh!! I know it is on the way! You are so kind. Do you use it for the product? I will get a great picture for you...

BTW your stand/booth looks really cool. I love the little girl in your arms while your stir. I wondered who enjoyed it more.

About the Lecithin-I can pm you an address in WIsc. Someone is coming here in Dec and can bring it. Of course, only if it is not a hassle. :unsure:

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  • 1 year later...

Sebastian, I hope you're still out there! I remembered this thread and have a question about viscocity and lecithin. I just received a new batch of Gepa chocolate (made by Weinrich I believe). I have their milk and white. It's a thick chocolate so I add 5% cocoa butter. Before it's tempered it is quite fluid (with the cocoa butter added). Looks great. Once I temper it, it is fine for about 30 minutes and then it starts to thicken until it looks like icing. This chocolate has always acted this way so I only use it for molding solids and I work fast!

I really like this white chocolate - great flavour. I would like to do more with it. My supplier special ordered the white couverture for me and the best before date is well into the future - it is fresh. I read the ingredients and noticed that neither the milk or the white have lecithin added.

Here's my question... would adding lecithin help if the chocolate starts out fluid - AND THEN thickens up?

To give as much info as possible, here are the ingredients of the white chocolate:

Organic Cocoa Butter

Whole Milk Powder

Organic Mascobado Wholecane Sugar (20%)

Organic Raw Cane Sugar

Organic Vanilla

Cocoa Min. 32%

Dairy 32%

If anyone else knows a remedy to this mysterious thickening, I would love to hear it.

Thanks!

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Hey Lana - i'm still here, just traveling a lot, so not much time to post 8-)

what you're experiencing is almost certainly being caused by the crystalline state of the sugar (lactose) in the milk powder. There's not much you can do about that (it's a function of how the mfr made it - they probably don't even realize it themselves, or how to fix it for that matter...). There's also a good chance their muscavado sugar has a higher moisture content than it really should, which may also be contributing to the problem. HOWEVER - adding lecithin will absolutely thin it out for you.

Something else to consider, if you can get some, is another type of emulsifier called PGPR. It will affect the viscosity, but in a different way. Lecithin changes something called the apparent viscosity and the plastic viscosity. PGPR will affect something called the yield value - if you're looking to use it where decorations are not important (ie if you don't use a utensil to leave a characteristic 'mark' on the top of your chocolate, for example), PGPR may be for you. It will turn it into a very, very fluid substance. You can use it in conjunction with lecithin. If you can source some and want direction on how to use it / how much to use - just drop me a line and we can walk through it.

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Sebastian - thank you so much! I had an inkling it most likely had something to do with the milk ingredients they were using but hadn't even thought of the sugar. Of course the raw sugars would hold more moisture than white sugar...

I will try the lecithin and see how that works. I looked up PGPR - it looks like it's gaining popularity as an emulsifier in chocolate. Sounds interesting. I have never heard of it before so don't have any idea about availability. If the lecithin doesn't work I'll nose around some more and get back to you about how to use it :)

Thanks again for being so willing to share your expertise. I really appreciate it!

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No problem. May need to consider a 'payment in kind' system where i share my knowledge, you share your product *wink* just kidding.

Start with 0.5% fluid lecithin in your white chocolate. You may be able to request a sample of pgpr from Paalsgard, which will probably be sufficient material to last you for many years 8-)

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No problem. May need to consider a 'payment in kind' system where i share my knowledge, you share your product *wink* just kidding.

Sounds absolutely fair to me! I will try the lecithin in the milk and white chocolates this week and report back.

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  • 2 weeks later...

HOWEVER - adding lecithin will absolutely thin it out for you.

An update on the addition of lecithin: WOW! What a difference! Thanks again Sebastian. I've tried it in both the white and milk chocolates that had no lecithin added already. I can't believe the difference a few grams of lecithin can make. It still thickens more than my other milk chocolate over time (most likely due to the brown sugar) but it is much more responsive to a quite blast of heat than it was before.

So I guess I won't be needing to try the PGPR...

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Glad it worked. Remember, there's a law of diminishing returns on lecithin - adding a little helps a lot, but adding more may actually make it worse. Be judicious in it's use! It's continuing to thicken at such a fast rate because of the physical form the milk sugars are in - i'm afraid if the mfr doesn't know about it or recognize it, there's not much you'll be able to do on your end about that one to prevent it...

Now, lets see some phots of your edible art!

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Now, lets see some phots of your edible art!

I'll post some once I've finished my Easter production. :smile:

Yes, I remember reading that the addition of too much lecithin has the opposite effect. What factors are at play in those ratios? Is it just a volume thing or does it depend on, for instance, the amount of moisture that might be present in the chocolate? ie. Will a chocolate, like the one I'm using, accept more lecithin before thickening than another chocolate that might not have as much moisture in it? I haven't used more than 0.5% - that seems to be working well for the purposes I'm using it for. I wouldn't attempt to use this chocolate for dipping though!

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The short answer is there's not a short answer - i'm actually in the jungle now doing cocoa work - my connection isn't very stable so short and sweet the answer will be! generally speaking, 'colored' chocolates (ie with cocoa mass) can accept up to approx 0.7% before you get a reversal of effect. Some whites can go higher, and factors such as surface area of your solids, moisture content, amount of naturally occurring emulsifiers in your other ingredients, when the lecithin is added, how much energy is put into the chocolate both before and after it's added, the makeup of your actual lecithin itself (not all are created equal..), etc all have a hand in determining the outcome..

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I don't know that i'd call it fun - both my feet are covered in blisters, i'm averaging 1 hr of sleep a night (it's a very complicated project i'm running), and it's so hot during the day my equipment with LCD screens aren't working 8-) I do, however, enjoy it! I just wouldn't call it fun 8-)

by the time i tell this story to my grandkids, i'll be walking uphill both ways in the snow in the jungle....

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  • 2 weeks later...
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