Chocolate Trouble-Shooting Guide: Texture

Table of Contents




Flavor Problems

Molding Problems


Chocolate is an amazing food. That fact that it melts at only a degree or two below body temperature makes it hard until the moment it is eaten. When eaten, it slowly melts in smooth, undulating waves, carrying the intoxicating chocolate flavor over the taste buds and thus creating an intensely pleasurable experience.

But all manner of things can go wrong during the manufacture and handling of chocolate goods. This section of our Chocolate Trouble-Shooting Guide covers issues relating to the texture of chocolate and how to fix common problems when things go wrong.

We are intensely passionate about our chocolate. It is, after all, unlike any other substance. It is our desire that your chocolate experience be as pleasurable as making our chocolate is for us .

Greasy Surfaces
Cause: Improper tempering. No temper or insufficient seed to temper.Solution: Examine tempering procedure.
Cause: Insufficient seed to form proper temper.Solution: Increase the amount of seed chocolate during tempering.
Cause: Cooling tunnel too warm.Solution: Decrease temperature of the cooling tunnel.Discussion: If the chocolate is not cooled fast enough, the chocolate will “overtemper,” since the cocoa butter crystals have too much time to grow. This results in cocoa butter crystals that are too large instead of small, compact crystals.
Cause: Too much chocolate in cooling tunnel.Solution: Ensure that only enough chocolate is in the cooling tunnel or room that the cooler can keep up.Discussion: The warm chocolate heats the cool air in the tunnel as it cools. If there is too much chocolate in the tunnel, then the air will not be cool enough to cool the chocolate.
Cause: Incompatible fats.Solution: Ensure that incompatible fats (such as confectioner’s coating) are not interfering with the tempering. Examine recipe as well as cleaning procedures between recipes.Discussion: Remaining fats from previous recipes or from sources such as nuts are capable of migrating into or through the chocolate. It is important to ensure that the machinery be completely clean between recipes — especially when incompatible fats have been used. Isolating fats (such as sugar-glaze coating nuts) will help keep incompatible fats from migrating into the chocolate.


Chocolate Becomes Grainy over Time
Cause: The chocolate was not tempered or improperly tempered.Solution : Chocolate needs to be tempered. Reexamine tempering procedure.


Grainy Chocolate
Cause: Untempered chocolate.Soution: Chocolate needs to be tempered. Reexamine tempering procedure.
Cause: Overtempered ChocolateSolution: Reduce the amount of time chocolate is in a tempered state. Increase sheer during tempering. Cool chocolate faster after molding.


Gritty Chocolate
Cause: Water condensed on the chocolate before it was melted.Solution: Do not allow chocolate to become so cool as to encourage water to condense on it. Reduce room humidity.Discussion: As the water evaporates, it leaves sugar crystals. The sugar crystals can grow very large if lots of water is present.
Cause: Water mixed with chocolate.Solution: Examine procedures, pipes, valves, condensers, etc., that either carry water or may allow condensed water to drip from them to ensure that water does not fall into melting vats or onto the unmelted chocolate.Discussion: The processing of chocolate requires lots of water for heating, cooling, and other purposes. Unfortunately, when water comes into contact with chocolate, it causes a host of problems. For example, as the water evaporates, it leaves sugar crystals. The sugar crystals can grow very large if lots of water is present. In addition, the water can cause chocolate toseize. Inspect machinery and tools to ensure t hat water does not enter into the process.
Cause: Sugar, starch, etc., mixed with chocolate.Solution: Examine work environment and procedures and eliminate sources where sugar or other substances may enter the chocolate. This may occur by material falling directly into the chocolate or through the action of fans and blowers. It may also happen during enrobing if the centers are not strong enough, causing material to fall into the chocolate bath.


Sticky Surface
Cause: Condensation or other water source is dissolving the sugar in the chocolate.Solution: Eliminate the cause for condensation or other water source. Dehumidify room. Allow chocolate to gradually warm before moving from room to room, to avoid condensation.


Chocolate too Thin
Cause: Too much emulsifierSolution: Add chocolate with no emulsifier to dilute.
Cause: Too much cocoa butter.Solution: Add chocolate with less cocoa butter content to dilute.
Cause: Temperature too high.Solution: Reduce temperature.


Chocolate too Thick
Cause: Too little cocoa butter.Solution: Add some cocoa butter.
Cause: Too little emulsifier.Solution: Add additional emulsifier. (Be careful that lecithin which quantities above 0.4% is not created; otherwise the chocolate will thicken and have problems tempering.)
Cause: Temperature too low.Solution: Increase temperature.
Cause: Chocolate is overtempered.Solution: Remelt chocolate and retemper.
Cause: Chocolate contains too much emulsifierSolution: Reduce the amount of emulsifier present in the chocolate. Adjust recipe or add some chocolate with little or no emulsifier.Discussion: If too much emulsifier is present in the chocolate, the emulsifier will tend to bind the chocolate together instead of thinning it. Chocolate should not contain more than 0.4% lecithin.


Chocolate has a Poor Break
Cause: Undertempered chocolateSolution: Increase amount of seed chocolate during tempering. Increase agitation during tempering to break up large cocoa butter crystals.Discussion: If the chocolate is not tempered properly, a poor snap will result. Often this occurs from not enough seed crystals being introduced into the chocolate during tempering. To solve this, additional seed chocolate should be added.
Cause: Unstable cocoa butter crystalsSolution: Ensure that the chocolate was heated enough to melt all crystal forms during tempering. Ensure that the proper temperature points were hit during tempering.Discussion: If the unstable cocoa butter crystals are not removed during tempering, the chocolate will set with a crystalline structure that will result in a poor break, and the texture will deteriorate over time.

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