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Chocolate Lesson 101: Cocoa Butter

Have you ever wonder what is cocoa butter and where did it came from? Does all chocolate contain cocoa butter? Read on to learn more about this core ingredient in chocolates!

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is the fat pressed from of the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter made up of 50-55 % of a cocoa bean’s weight and is generally the most expensive ingredient in chocolate due to the high cost of extraction.

Extraction Methods

As stated by International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), pure pressed cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa mass by horizontal presses and it does not need any leaning though it is often deodorised.Cocoa butter from sub-standard cocoa bean can be extracted without deshelling by using continuous expeller presses. A solvent extraction process can be used to extract butter from the cake residue left after the expeller process. A refinement process is required for this type of cocoa butter.

Why is Cocoa Butter important and how does it affect chocolate making?

Cocoa powder and cocoa butter are mixed together again to make chocolate (along with other ingredients such as sugar and milk etc). Previously in my post on Type of Chocolates , I have pointed out that white chocolate only contains cocoa butter and not cocoa powder thus and gets its ivory color from the cocoa butter.

The function of cocoa butter in chocolate is to suspend and lubricate sugar particles. Cocoa butter lowers the viscosity of melted chocolate but does not significantly contribute to chocolate flavor, having the little flavor of its own. Cocoa butter has several unique qualities that make it a very desirable fat:

1. Cocoa butter sets to a brittle consistency at normal room temperature. Chocolate would not have its characteristic snap if cocoa butter were not brittle.

2. Cocoa butter contracts significantly upon setting. The contraction of cocoa butter as it crystallizes makes it possible for the confectioner to release chocolate easily from molds once it is set.

3. Cocoa butter is added to enhance the texture of the chocolate and is responsible for chocolate’s melt-in-your-mouth quality. Manufacturers use a varying amounts of cocoa butter to create their desired mouthfeel.

4. Cocoa butter can also differ in taste, depending on the origin. Manufactures will have to consider the flavor of the cocoa butter.

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