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Emulsifier
March 6, 2004
5:42 pm
conway
Ireland
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Does anyone know if chocolate makers use GM free lecithin in their chocolates, that is apart from organic producers.

I see from Chocopaedia that Bonnat do not use an emulsifier at all which begs the question is it really necessary?

March 19, 2004
4:32 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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I think that Cluizel also does not use an emulsifier. I don’t have a box right in front of me, but that’s what I recall. I think an emulsifier lends to the stability of the chocolate, and the shelf life. I really don’t know if it changes the taste.
I would like to know more about major chocolate makers that don’t bear fair trade or organic certification. Both of these things are key to the sustainability of the industry, and morally and ecologically important as well. One of these days I’ll begin to do research to this effect, but if anyone can comment, please do.
Do Valrhona, Cluizel, Domori, etc, use beans picked by modern slaves? Do they use nasty pesticides, fertilizers, disinfectants, gmo’s, and aid in the destruction of rainforests? I hope not, but I’d like to know.
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
March 19, 2004
8:19 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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There exist a website about chocolate and child slavery. Over 200 letters was written to many of the world’s great chocolate manufacturers during the year 2001. I don’t thing much has changed since then so most of the replies should be valid.
[url]http://www.radicalthought.org/[/url]

Masur

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
March 19, 2004
8:29 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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quote:


I see from Chocopaedia that Bonnat do not use an emulsifier at all which begs the question is it really necessary?


Depending on the quality of the cacao mass this is necessary. I have only heard that Bonnat and Michel Cluizel manufactures chocolate without an emulsifier.

Masur

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
March 20, 2004
4:58 pm
conway
Ireland
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February 23, 2004
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You are really raising a lot of valid questions here, however we could and should be asking the same type of questions about all the foods we consume.

My greatest concern about the safety of food is the introduction of gmo or adding gmo ingredients to foods stuffs. So hard to police and no way of knowing the long term outcome.

March 20, 2004
5:01 pm
conway
Ireland
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Yes we should be concerned about all these issues relative to all the foods we consume.

My greatest concern is gm and the lack of control and knowledge in this area. It will be too late to take action if there is a problem in the future as seeds blow in the wind and cannot be distinguished from one another.

April 23, 2005
11:55 am
marioh
Bonn, Germany
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As I visited my local Amedei provider the last time, they asked me if I could help them with a problem they have. Other customers had asked them why Amedei uses soya lecithin and other manufactures do not. They had already asked Amedei and they answered that it is not possible to make a chocolate without soya lecithin because you need an emulsifier to combine the fat and the other cacao particles. All other manufactures how do not write an emulsifier in their ingredients list would use some kind of emulsifier as well. I said, that I cannot believe that, but of course I’m not a chocolate maker, so I’m not in the position to make a final statement.
I hope someone of you is qualified enough to give me an answer to the question: Is it possible to make a chocolate without an emulsifier or not? I personally believe that it is possible (I just can not believe all the producers would somehow “lie” to the customers, especially concerning the problem of allergy). And many producers emphasise that they do not use emulsifiers.
So: What is the truth?

April 23, 2005
12:06 pm
Sebastian
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It’s absolutely possible to make chocolate w/o lecithin. It’s just more expensive. 0.3% of lecithin can have the same effect as 8% cocoa butter, meaning you can make it fluid enough to mold into nice squares. with out the lecithin, or the higher cocoa butter contents, the chocolate’s consistency is more like clay, thus very difficult for a manufacturer to put it into a mold. Cocoa butter prices fluctuate (the price of cocoa butter depends heavily on how much demand there is for cocoa powder, since the two are unavoidably related to one another), but even at it’s lowest price, 8% cocoa butter is far more expensive that 0.3% soy lecithin.

Every chocolate manufacturer I’m aware of that uses lecithin (and almost alll, if not all, do – at least in most of their products) uses GMO free lecithin if in the EU.

April 23, 2005
2:30 pm
alex_h
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how does domori do it, sebastian? in their chateau series for example there is neither any lecithin nor is there any additional cocoa butter. at least the ingredients do not list any.

April 23, 2005
4:00 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Domori’s Chateau series is their high end line, and being as such, the beans are of higher quality than the other lines. Natural fat levels are probably higher, so the texture is naturally going to be smoother regardless. Did you notice that the 75g line has extra cocoa butter and some of the Cru do too? Natural fat levels are lower, so additional cocoa butter was added to achieve a smoother mouthfeel.

It is certainly possible to make chocolate without lecithin, which brands such as Domori, Cluizel, and Bonant have proven rather well. And indeed, their chocolate is some of the best in the world. Since Sebastian has beaten me to the answer [;)] I’ll just provide a couple closing notes. Lecithin is what’s known as a “surfacant,” which means SURFace ACTive AgeNT, and these are usually organic compounds. Surfucants lower the surface tension of a substance and makes it more fluid (in the end, they serve as emulsifiers). Also, I’ve read in the past that lecithin prevents oxidation in the body, but I am not sure how it would serve as a preserving agent in chocolate. Being as such, lecithin is commoly available as a dietary supplement, but some people are highly allergic to the protein fraction of it, in much the same manner as some people are lactose intolerant (i.e. allergic to the lactose’s protein fractions).

April 23, 2005
4:40 pm
Sebastian
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Domori is either doing it by adding add’l cocoa butter, or adding lecithin and classifying it as a processing aid (and not labelling it). My guess is the former, not the latter. The fat content of beans doesn’t vary all that much (generally around 50-56%), but the higher in liquor content you go, the more fat is available to fluidize the product, and most of your 70% and up bars are going to contain over 40% fat to begin with, which means they’re probably not going to have any issues with molding it into nice eating squares, hence the need for lecithin isn’t there – they’ve taken the route, in those products, of using cocoa butter instead of lecithin.

Lecithin is available as a dietary suppliment because of some of the active components found in it – such as phosphatidyl choline/serine. It’s believed by some that these improve cognative function, and there’s some evidence to support that. Lecithin doesn’t really have much activity in the way of antioxidant protection, and is used in chocolate solely as a viscosity modifier (it’s ampiphillic – one end of it is hydrophillic, one end is lipophillic). Not all lecithin is created equal, and the higher it’s HLB value, generally speaking, the more effective it will be. Also, for what it’s worth, it’s generally accepted that because lecithin is so highly processed, no protein remains in it. Testing via todays methods generally confirms that (again, lower quality lecithin or less processed lecithin is more likely to contain it), at least based on detection limits. As testing becomes more precise, we may find that there are indeed remnant protein fractions present, and we simply weren’t able to detect them in such small quantities before. The same case is made for refined oils, such as soy and corn, for example. Soy protein and gluten arent believed to be present, nor are they currently detectable by todays equipment. Note that’s for refined oil.

April 23, 2005
8:39 pm
marioh
Bonn, Germany
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Let’s talk about mayonnaise. That’s a combination of oil and, lets say, water. You use egg yolks as an emulsifier to prevent that the mass will separate. I though that this might be similar to chocolate. There you try to combine the cacao butter with solid particles. After I talked to the stuff in the shop I imagined that I need the emulsifier, just as you need it by the mayonnaise, to prevent the mass from separating. But, as I now realise, that seems to be wrong. So I can tell the people in the shop, that it is possible to make chocolate without an emulsifier, but that it is more expensive and more difficult, right?

April 23, 2005
9:05 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Although lecithin is an emulsifier, its purpose in chocolate is to add fluidity and not necessarily for its structural properties. It’s true that emulsifiers provide structure, support, and bondage for things such as mayonnaise and vinaigrettes (in this case, mustard is typically used), but for chocolate, enough of the cacao’s moisture is removed during processing that lecithin’s structural properties aren’t neceassry in order to prevent separation. The lecithin just coats the cacao’s particles to enable more fluidity and a glossier sheen, especially for couverture.

April 23, 2005
9:07 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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And Marioh, when you do this, make sure to bring them a piece of unemulsified chocolate, such as Cluizel, to prove to them firsthand. Show them the ingredients list as well.

April 23, 2005
11:39 pm
Sebastian
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Although lecithin is an emulsifier, it’s not being used quite as such in chocolate – to emulsify something means you’re mixing two essentially incompatible things – oil and water in mayo. Lecithin is exactly what’s being used to emsulsify this product, as the egg yolk has a very high percentage of lecithin present. Chocolate isn’t an emusified product – rather it’s more like concrete, with insoluable particles suspended in fat. The role of the lecithin, then, is essentially to coat, or bind ,to those particles which are water soluable (and capable of hydrogen bonding). This effectively reduces the tension between the sugar, cocoa solids, or milk and the oil – in a nutshell, it makes them slippery. It’s acting as Monty said earlier, as a surfactant.

Interestingly, it doesn’t necessarily follow that if you add more lecithin, it’ll reduce the viscosity more (make the particles more slippery). It does so up to a point, but adding more past that actually reverses the process, and the chocolate begins to thicken again.

You’ve hit the nail on the head marioh – it’s more expensive to do it w/o, but isn’t necessarily more difficult (depends on what it is they’re making – if its a milk chocolate, for example, yes, more difficult).

April 24, 2005
12:01 am
marioh
Bonn, Germany
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Oh thanks a lot to you all! I think I always misunderstood the function of an emulsifier in chocolates. I believe that I now understand its function (at least a little) and can convince the stuff that it is not necessary for production. Really great, I have the feeling of having understood a little of the secrets of chocolate making [;)].
By the way, sometimes I ask myself were you get all these fantastic information from. You can asked more or less every question in this forum and can be sure that there is at least one person how can answer it. I’m happy that I have found this forum! So many people just as enthusiastic (or even more) about chocolate as I myself.

April 24, 2005
12:20 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Not to speak for Sebastian, but I think he’s in the industry, so he knows firsthand. If I’m wrong, then please correct me. I attend an agricultural university for my post-graduate studies, and I have learned a lot of this stuff through independent research.

April 24, 2005
4:20 pm
marioh
Bonn, Germany
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Now I knew what you are doing, so it would just be fair to tell you what I’m doing all day long (apart from eating chocolate [:p]). I’m studying Physics at the University of Bonn.
So, again, it’s really astonishing how different people from different countries come together here (how have never seen each other or knew anythink about one another) and talk about chocolate, and it will, obviously, never become boring.

April 25, 2005
1:17 am
Sebastian
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Sweet. any particular field of interest to you? I’m working on some very interesting (at least to me 8-) ) electrorheological and magnetorheological aspects of chocolate. Took me a long time to find an establishment with the required analytical equipment to do what i wanted, one of them ended up being a physics department of a university (the other was the US air force..)

April 25, 2005
7:15 am
green
Trondheim, Norway
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(A lot of physics here suddenly; I’m feeling more and more at home!)