TIME- AND COST-OPTIMISED CHOCOLATE CONCHING
Conching is a crucial, quality-critical step in the production of chocolate. The purpose of conching is to disperse the chocolate mixture, remove moisture, degas and homogenise it. This improves the flavour and the mouthfeel of the finished product. For a long time, conching was regarded as the most work-intensive process step in chocolate production, in particular with regard to the required time, which used to be multiple days. That is why a variety of procedures have been developed in the past decades to optimise this process and reduce the required time investment. However, some of these procedures had other disadvantages such as lower throughput rates, poorer moisture removal or limited control over flow properties. Other approaches are based on thermal pre-treatment of the cocoa mass and occasionally pre-drying of the milk powder to reduce the time required for the time-consuming phases of degassing, moisture removal and flavour development, thereby reducing the actual conching process primarily to homogenisation.
Below you will find a presentation of the conching process in the Lödige Ploughshare® Mixer as a low-cost, time-efficient alternative to a conventional conche. This mixer maximises rapid air contact of the particles in the fluid bed. High frictional energy can be introduced, while the shape of the mixing tools and their systematic arrangement on the mixer shaft ensure that the mixture is gripped completely, turning it into a lump-free, homogeneous end product in less time.