The Many Faces of Chocolate | Lecture 3 (2011) | Summary and Q&A

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September 21, 2011
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Harvard University
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The Many Faces of Chocolate | Lecture 3 (2011)

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Summary

In this lecture, the speaker discussed the science of chocolate, specifically focusing on the phase transitions that occur in cocoa butter. They explained how phase transitions in cocoa butter and milk lead to the solidification and formation of structures in chocolate. Additionally, the speaker discussed the process of making chocolate, including the fermentation and roasting of cocoa beans, as well as the tempering process used to create different textures and structures in chocolate.

Questions & Answers

Q: What are phase transitions?

Phase transitions are changes in the state of a material as temperature is altered. For example, water undergoes phase transitions from ice to liquid to gas at specific temperature points.

Q: How does the phase transition of milk to solid milk occur?

When an acid, such as vinegar, is added to milk, it changes the charges on the surface of proteins called casein micelles. This allows the micelles to collide and stick together, forming a solid gel-like structure interspersed with fat globules.

Q: How is the structure of milk related to its color?

The whiteness of milk comes from the scattering of light by both the fat globules and the casein micelles. Whole milk has fat globules that scatter light strongly, while skim milk contains casein micelles that scatter some light but not as much.

Q: What is the importance of temperature in making chocolate?

Temperature plays a crucial role in making chocolate. Roasting cocoa beans affects the flavor of the chocolate. During the tempering process, the temperature is carefully controlled to create the desired crystal structure in the chocolate, which affects its texture and appearance.

Q: How is chocolate made and what ingredients are used?

Chocolate is made by mixing cocoa mass with sugar and extra fat, if needed. The mixture is then refined, conched, and tempered to create the desired texture and crystals in the chocolate. Other ingredients like milk, cream, and flavors can be added depending on the type of chocolate being made.

Q: What are some examples of chocolate applications?

Some examples include incorporating chocolate into baked goods, such as cakes and cookies, creating chocolate bars and truffles, making ice cream and mousse, and even using chocolate for artistic and decorative purposes.

Q: How is chocolate tempered?

Tempering is the process of controlling the crystallization of cocoa butter in the chocolate. It involves melting the chocolate, cooling it to a specific temperature, and then gently reheating it while stirring. This helps create stable crystals in the chocolate, resulting in a desired texture and appearance.

Q: Why is temperature important during tempering?

Temperature is crucial during tempering because it affects the formation of crystal structures in the cocoa butter. Cooling the chocolate causes the desired crystals to form, while reheating it prevents unwanted crystals from forming and stabilizes the desired crystals.

Q: What is the purpose of the tempering process?

The tempering process helps create a stable, smooth, and shiny texture in chocolate. It also ensures that the chocolate sets properly and has a pleasant mouthfeel. Tempered chocolate is less likely to bloom or develop a dull appearance over time.

Q: Why is cocoa butter solid at room temperature but melts at higher temperatures?

Cocoa butter contains saturated fats, which have a higher melting point. At room temperature, the fats in cocoa butter are solid, but as the temperature increases, they start to melt and become liquid.

Takeaways

In this lecture, we learned about the phase transitions and molecular level changes that occur in the creation of chocolate. Understanding the science behind these transformations allows us to manipulate the texture, appearance, and taste of chocolate. Temperature control during the tempering process is key to achieving the desired crystal structure and overall quality of chocolate. These scientific principles can be applied to various chocolate applications, from baking to confectionery, ensuring a delightful and visually appealing chocolate experience.

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