Chocolate begins with the cocoa plant. Indigenous to South America and most produced on Africa's Ivory Coast, the cocoa plant produces a pod which contains cocoa beans. The beans are harvested and collected in bins to ferment. This process is essential to bringing out the flavors in the bean. After the beans ferment they are dried and processed into chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor contains no alcohol, it is comprised of cocoa solids (or cocoa mass) and cocoa butter. The chocolate liquor is then put through a process called conching. This process is essential to creating a smooth texture in the finished product and is the difference between European and American chocolate. European chocolate is conched for a minimum of 36 hours whereas in America most chocolate is conched for about 12 hours. A conch is a container with metal beads that act as grinders which create very fine particles of chocolate. This pure liquid chocolate is then blended with sugar, cocoa butter and/or other ingredients to create the desired taste. At Reinwald's we use three variations of imported European chocolate.
Before this chocolate can be used it must go through one final process called tempering. Chocolate has a crystalline structure. The fat in the cocoa butter can crystallize in 6 different ways as it cools (polymorphic crystallization). If the wrong crystals form you will have a finished product that looks very unappealing. You will be able to see the crystals giving the chocolate a grayish color, the chocolate will crumble instead of snap when broken and the texture will be gritty. Tempering involves bringing the temperature up to a point where all crystals melt. The temperature is then brought down to a point where only two forms of crystals are able to form. The chocolate is then agitated and heated slightly to eliminate the unwanted crystal structure, leaving only one ideal crystal structure behind. This structure allows for a perfect smooth texture, a glossy shine and a snap when broken. If the process is disrupted, it has to be started all over.Tempering is done right here at the bakery before we use the chocolate. When it is in temper the chocolate can be poured into molds, cooled, decorated, and finally enjoyed! At Reinwald's we have bunnies of all sizes and flavors for Easter. From our giant 3 foot bunny to chocolate lollipops, there is something for everyone here at the bakery. Stop by and pick one up this Easter and let the smooth texture and flavors melt away in your mouth.
Dark chocolate contains chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar
Milk chocolate contains chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder
White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk, but no cocoa mass.
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