QUICK CONCHES FOR CHOCOLATE
The conching process is the final stage of chocolate making. For years, processing technology and processing duration, which must naturally vary to meet the required organoleptic properties, have been the subject of in-depth studies to uncover how chocolate transforms and evolves during processing.
These studies have shown that there are no chemical changes during conching, but only physical operations, the main one being the transfer of unwanted volatile substances. Naturally, this leads to variations in viscosity, creep limit and taste. At the same time, special systems have been developed in order to speed up the operation, which used to take days and now takes hours. The most advanced and widespread technology is known as “dry conching”, which involves treating a refined product low in fat in the powder state to have a greater evaporation surface.
“Dry conches” are used, which are effective in eliminating volatile substances, but they require a great amount of energy.
Energy is transmitted to the product in the form of heat and causes considerable temperature increases that are difficult to control throughout the mass.
Starting from the assumption that conches are designed to eliminate unwanted volatile substances and obtain well-structured chocolate, TECNO 3 has focused on designing a machine that offers optimal results in the shortest possible time, using less energy and carefully monitoring temperatures throughout the mass in a consistent manner.
This checking phase is essential for making high-quality chocolate, since it allows the characteristic aromas of the various types of cocoa to be preserved, which could be eliminated if temperatures are too high.
TECNO 3 has chosen fluid conching technology to achieve two of the main goals it had set itself: energy saving and temperature control. The third goal, i.e. the reduction in working time, was achieved with ventilation on chocolate, which is distributed in a thin layer that reforms constantly.
The TECNO 3 fast conche is the result of design studies studies jointly carried out by technicians and technologists. Its salient features are represented by the machine body, in which a single shaft with specially designed reels rotates to ensure intensive mixing, and by the cooling tower that allows the quick removal of unwanted volatile substances. The two units are thermostated with water circulation that comes from separate sources, with the possibility to set different processing temperatures.
The parameters that influence the process and determine its duration and the qualitative result are the mixing speed, the temperature of the mass in the conche, the quantity of paste sent to the tower, the temperature of the tower itself, the characteristics of the thin stripping layer, the flow rate and the temperature of the extracted air.
The ability to operate on a liquid mass, without relying on excessive motor power, and the efficient evaporation of the volatile substances, that is obtained with an adequate ventilation acting on thin layers of chocolate in continuous renewal, allow for a radical reduction in the processing time and in energy consumption, that result in a reduction of the production costs, respecting and fully responding to the required organoleptic characteristics.