Conche (in a museum)

A conche is a surface scraping mixer and agitator that evenly distributes cocoa butter within chocolate, and may act as a 'polisher' of the particles. [1] It also promotes flavor development through frictional heat and release of volatiles and acids, and oxidation. There are numerous designs of conches, and food scientists are still studying precisely what happens during conching and why. The name arises from the shape of the vessels initially used, which resembled conch shells.

When ingredients are mixed in this way, sometimes for up to 78 hours, chocolate can be produced with a mild, rich taste. Lower quality chocolate is conched for as little as six hours. Since the process is so important to the final texture and flavor of chocolate, manufacturers keep the details of their conching process proprietary. [2]

The "conche" was invented by Rodolphe Lindt (1855-1909) in Berne, Switzerland, in 1879 producing aroma and melting characteristics in chocolate of superior quality at that time. Legend has it that he mistakenly left a mixer containing chocolate running overnight, and though he was initially distraught at the waste of energy and machine wear and tear, quickly realized he had made a major breakthrough. Before conching was invented solid chocolate was gritty and not very popular. Lindt's invention rapidly changed chocolate from being mainly a drink, to bars and other confections. [3]

Lindt's original conche consisted of a granite roller and granite trough; such a configuration is now called a "long conche" and can take a day or more to process a tonne of chocolate. The ends of the trough were shaped to allow the chocolate to be thrown back over the roller at the end of each stroke, increasing the surface area exposed to air. A modern rotary conche can process 3 to 10 tonnes of chocolate in less than 12 hours. Modern conches have cooled jacketed vessels containing long mixer shafts with radial arms, that press the chocolate against vessel sides. A single machine, called the McIntire mixer, can carry out all the steps of grinding, mixing and conching required for small batches of chocolate.


Conching process

The conching process redistributes into the fat phase the substances from the dry cocoa that create flavor. Air flowing through the conche removes some unwanted acetic, propionic, and butyric acid from the chocolate and reduces moisture. A small amount of moisture greatly increases viscosity of the finished chocolate, so machinery is cleaned with cocoa butter instead of water. [4] Some of the substances produced in roasting of cocoa beans are oxidized in the conche, mellowing the flavour of the product.

The temperature of the conche is controlled and varies for different types of chocolate. Generally higher temperature leads to a shorter required processing time. Temperature varies from around 49 C for milk chocolate to up to 82 C for dark chocolate. The elevated temperature leads to a partially caramelized flavor, and in milk chocolate promotes the Maillard reaction. [1]

The chocolate passes through three phases during conching. In the dry phase, the material is in powdery form, and the mixing coats the particles with fat. Air movement through the conche removes some moisture and volatile substances, which may give an acidic note to the flavor. Moisture balance affects the flavor and texture of the finished product because, after the particles are coated with fat, moisture and volatile chemicals are less likely to escape. [3]

In the pasty phase, more of the particles are coated with the fats from the cocoa. The power required to turn the conche shafts increases at this step.

The final liquid phase allows minor adjustment to the viscosity of the finished product, which may be adjusted depending on the intended use of the chocolate. Fats and emulsifiers are added to adjust the viscosity, and thoroughly mixed.

While most conches are batch process machines, continuous flow conches separate the stages with weirs, over which the product travels through separate parts of the machine. [3] A continuous conche can reduce the conching time for milk chocolate to as little as four hours. [4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa Chocolate Science and Technology John Wiley and Sons, 2010 ISBN 1405199067 pages 43, 65-66
  2. ^ McClements, D. Julian Understanding and Controlling the Microstructure of Complex Foods Woodhead Publishing 2007 ISBN: 978-1-4200-6573-2 , page 654
  3. ^ a b c Talbot, Geoff (ed), Science and Technology of Enrobed and Filled Chocolate, Confectionery and Bakery Products Woodhead Publishing, 2009 ISBN: 978-1-84569-390-9 chapter 2.5 Conching
  4. ^ a b Ranken, M.D.; Kill, R.C.; Baker, C.G.J. (ed.), Food Industries Manual (24th Edition)Springer - Verlag 1997 ISBN: 978-0-7514-0404-3 pages 438-439

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • conche — CONCHE. s. f. Bon ou mauvais estat d une personne à l égard de ses habits ou de son esquipage. Il est en bonne conche. ces troupes, ces Regiments estoient en bonne conche. il est venu de la guerre en assez bonne conche, en fort mauvaise conche.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • conche — ⇒CONCHE, subst. fém. Région. [P. anal. avec la forme d une coquille] A. Bassin naturel qui constitue le second réservoir d un marais salant : • Nous donnerons dans le texte la terminologie en usage dans les marais salants du Nord de la Loire et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • CONCHE — nomen loci, apud Treb. Pollionem in Vita Zenobiae, c. 30. Extr. Fertur vixisse cum liberis datâ sibi possessone in Tiburti, quoe hodieque Zenobia dicitur, non longe ab Adriani Palatio atque ab eo loco, cui nomen est Conche. Ubi Palatinum Cod.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Conche — Conche, Gebirg im westlichen Afrika, so v. w. Kong …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Conche —  Pour l’article homophone, voir Conches. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Marcel Conche, (1922 ), philosophe français Conche, ville canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador conche,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Conche — Die Conchiermaschine oder auch kurz Conche genannt (vom span. concha, „Muschel“, wegen der ursprünglichen Muschelform des Troges), ist ein spezielles Rührwerk in der Schokoladenherstellung, das den „zartschmelzenden“ Charakter des Endprodukts… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Conche — Un conche es un agitador mecánico que se emplea en la producción del chocolate con el objeto de remover la masa de cacao y poder distribuir homogéneamente la manteca del cacao a lo largo del volumen del chocolate.[1] Esta operación de agitación… …   Wikipedia Español

  • conche — (kon ch ) s. f. Nom des seconds réservoirs des marais où se fabrique le sel. HISTORIQUE    XVIe s. •   Et ayant fait une ecluse au dit jard, ils ont fait au bout d iceluy d autres grands receptacles, qu ils ont nommé conches [il s agit de marais… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • conche — I. ˈkänch noun ( s) Etymology: French, from French dialect, trough, from Old French, shell, from Latin …   Useful english dictionary

  • Conche — Con|che [ kõ:ʃə ], Konche, die; , n (Fachspr.): bei der Herstellung von Schokolade verwendeter muschelförmiger Trog …   Universal-Lexikon