Temperature regulation in chocolate conching

There are several applications in the food industry among Tempco’s references, and here we’re going to focus on the conching phase in chocolate production. Chocolate conching is a fundamental step within chocolate processing, and fundamental as well is the extreme precision in temperature regulation.

Conching of chocolate is indeed an early treatment of the product aimed at making ingredients and particles of chocolate the most fine possible, to obtain that sensation of intense pleasure when tasting a chocolate bar, a praline or a chocolate candy. The operation involves different separated phases, the first one consisting in bringing the conche machine at the proper temperature required for chocolate processing. Then the conching starts, and this is an operation that produces friction, with generation of heat.

At this point the second step begins, with a thermoregulating unit that provide cooling in order to maintain a constant temperature as required by the proper chocolate processing. If indeed the temperature of chocolate rises too much, organoleptic characteristics of the chocolate can be compromised, but otherwise if the temperature gets too low, the cocoa butter within chocolate tends to solidify and therefore the chocolate processing won’t be properly done.

 

Temperature regulation is usually achieved by a thermoregulating unit equipped with two heat exchangers, a first one fed by vapor or hot water for the heating cycle and a second one using refrigerated or cold water for the cooling task. Switching valves provide the respective intervention of the exchangers, depending on what the process requires. The overall system is controlled by the PLC of the conche, that depending on the actual production step determines if cold or hot water is needed within the jacket of the conching machine.