Chocolate in its liquid form is a versatile confection that can serve as a coating for different desserts. The liquid chocolate-making process utilizes a chocolate coating machine and goes through a number of steps before achieving a fine, high gloss, and sharp look. What makes all of this possible is the process of tempering.
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Primary standards of chocolate coatings
The FDA has specific qualifications for classifying standard-of-identity chocolate, each of them with certain levels of cocoa solids and milk solids. For instance, sweet chocolate requires a minimum of 15% of chocolate liquor and up to 12% of milk solids. Meanwhile, semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate raise the chocolate liquor to 35%. The FDA also requires that chocolates have only cocoa butter and dairy fat as fats. Otherwise, they are not considered chocolate by US standards anymore.
The European Union, however, allows up to 5% of vegetable fats in their chocolate products. In pure and semi-sweet chocolates, cocoa solids play a major role. They provide distinctive flavors that will eventually evolve once the manufacturing process takes place. In contrast, milk chocolates have dairy solids as the main source of solids in chocolate. Depending on the dairy ingredient, the flavor profiles might be different.
Importance of tempering and advantages of using chocolate coating machines
Producers employ tempering due to the unique crystallization process of cocoa butter. They melt the chocolate out, then remove any crystal formations and cool the chocolate at an optimal temperature. It cannot be too high or too low, so stable crystals, such as beta crystals, can form and remain in place. If you compare it to regular solidification, tempering provides the best appearance and texture of the chocolate that doesn’t degrade over time. To achieve this, the chocolate tempering machine heats chocolate to 50 °C (122 °F) for the melting process and cools it down to 27 °C (80.6 °F), allowing beta crystals to form.
Chocolate coating alternatives
Due to consumers’ health concerns, the industry has been using healthy oils and fats in various food products. These also include chocolates. Manufacturers are constantly researching cheap and healthy alternative compound coatings for chocolates. Instead of cocoa butter, vegetable fats can be a low-cost alternative in producing chocolate coatings using reliable chocolate coating machines in the process. They should also deliver improved texture, taste, and stability because of increased pure fat content in vegetable oils, such as coconut oil. Vegetable-fat, compound coatings are also healthier due to the reduced sugar content. They are comparable to cocoa butter in terms of quality, even without tempering.