To Conch or Not To Conch

conch machine

conch machine

The SF Chocolate Salon brought out a lot of questions.  Besides the question about white sugar, which we talked in this post, people also wanted to know what is conching?  Original Beans lists conching information right on their label so it is natural the question came up in discussion.

For some chocolate makers, conching is the final step in determining the ultimate flavor and texture of the chocolate.  Without conching, the resulting product lacks the smooth texture people associate with chocolate.  Casa don Puglisi is hand ground on a stone and not conched, which you can see and feel in its rough texture.

Original designs of conch machines resembled a conch shell, hence the name.  Once chocolate liquor is produced from the cacao nibs, more cocoa butter is added back, plus sugar and any additional ingredients (vanilla, spices, etc).   The heated chocolate in the conch machine is kept warm and liquid through the friction created by the conching machine, which grinds the chocolate against a hard surface using rollers.  Conching smooths the chocolate into finer and finer particles and softens any remaining acidic tones, developing the final texture and flavor.

How long is chocolate conched?  Times vary widely, depending on equipment and the type of beans.  Basically, chocolate makers will conch until they are happy with the results or not conch at all.  So if your chocolate doesn’t say how long it was conched, don’t fret.  Just enjoy!

Drexelius Chocolates is happy to share a variety of chocolate with you…conched and not conched.  Take your pick or mix it up.  You never know what will tickle your taste buds!

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