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Gear pumps for manufacturing chocolate

Source:Ringier     Date:2011-09-14
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Product Manager, Industrial Maag Pump Systems AG

 IT COMES in an almost unlimited variety of forms, and its manufacturers know no limits. Combinations are created for sweet-toothed gourmets that range from the regular to the exotic, making chocolate very popular. This popular treat, the sweet drug from the advanced civilisations of Central America, has evolved over the last decade to become a food of luxury and style. The trend towards sweet indulgence in ever-changing new forms is therefore growing. The demand for chocolate with a high cocoa content is currently at a high.
To satisfy consumers' tastes, different chocolates are developed depending on the region in which they're sold. Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products – from the cocoa bean to the finest finished product – is currently developing chocolates that melt in the mouth, not the hand, even at high temperatures. Perfection, if you will. Still another popular trend at the moment is reduced-calorie chocolate.

 Heated pumps series, therminox, from Maag Pump Systems in the TX stainless steel design with stainless steel shafts


Technology determines the taste
If we take a look at modern-day chocolate manufacturing practices, it's clear that industrial production is a very technical affair. If the cocoa paste is to be transformed into chocolate, it has sugar, possibly also cocoa butter, and milk products added to it, depending on the final product. To create chocolate paste, cocoa butter is used not only as part of the cocoa paste, but also as a pure fat. Cocoa butter is obtained by pressing prepared cocoa paste.
To begin with, the cocoa beans are coarsely ground in a crusher. The shells of the "cocoa nib" are suctioned off using strong air currents for further use in other industries. The cocoa nibs, which are still coarse, are then ground in special mills to create a fine "cocoa paste". The heat generated by the pressure and friction allows the cocoa butter (approx 50%) contained in the beans to melt. The now liquid cocoa paste is very dark in colour; it has a characteristic, strong aroma and flavour and gradually thickens as it cools. At a particle size of around 100 mμ, it forms the basis for chocolate production. A delicate melt is only achieved at a particle size of less than 25mμ. If the chocolate is too coarse, it has a rough, sandy character. If the particles are too small, the chocolate sticks to the teeth.
In the next step, the cocoa paste goes into the "mixer", or mélangeur, where it is blended with the other three basic chocolate ingredients of cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder along with the closely-guarded secret ingredients in the relevant recipe, all added in precisely the right quantities, and then kneaded intensively for 30 minutes.
The fat content determines the flow characteristics, and the mixture must be of a very specific consistency when it leaves the mixer in order to achieve the best rolling results in the next stage of the processing chain. In thtrail Archives


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