CHOCOLATE DOCTORING Experiments in adding ingredients to mass produced chocolate to improve its flavor and texture.
WARNING Working with chocolate involves dealing with hot materials and fire. No one should do so without the supervision of a responsible adult experienced with all the processes and equipment involved. The following is provided for information only and is not intended as a recommendation to repeat these or any other experiments.
This page chronicles my experiments in altering two commonly available milk chocolates so that they more closely satisfy my particular preference for a smooth, sweet (but not sugary) mild chocolate with a non-souring aftertaste. This page will be updated regularly as the experiments progress so please check back often.
First up: The infamous Hershey's
Most of the time Hershey's milk chocolate is pretty bad: sour, chemically, and most of all extremely coarse with a grittiness that is recognizable anywhere in the world. But, occasionally the Hershey's plant accidentally gets a mix of beans that suits its processing routine and the result is a pure mild chocolate (like the 71 vintage of 2004) that would be a pleasure to eat if it weren't for the grittiness.
The easiest way to improve Hershey's texture is to pre-warm it using a heating pad. (Please see the description of such a warming system in the HOW TO EAT CHOCOLATE page.)
To figure out how to improve the chocolate itself, I called a customer relations agent at Hershey's and asked what the difference was between Hershey's Symphony milk chocolate, which is very smooth, and the standard milk chocolate, which is gritty. I was told that both were conched (a smoothing process) for the same 72 hours but that Symphony had more lecithin (an emulsifier that smooths texture) in it. With this information in hand I decided to melt some or the Hershey's 71 and add a little lecithin to it to see if that would reduce the grittiness.
Result? It didn't work. Even after careful retempering, the chocolate was as gritty as before even though I used 1/4 teaspoon of lecithin in only two ounces of chocolate. To make matters worst, not all of the lecithin dissolved so that there were a few waxy bits left in the solidified chocolate.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Dove Milk Chocolate:
Dove is a very fine grained chocolate that many people like. It's a little sharp for my tastes so I tried adding a little powdered milk and powdered sugar (homemade powdered sugar - the stuff in stores has corn starch in it to prevent caking, which would make the chocolate gritty) to it in an attempt to sweeten and mild it out a bit. Didn't work. The problem was that the only appliances at my disposal to grind the powdered milk and sugar were a food processor, a blender, and a coffee mill. None got the additives powdery fine and the resulting chocolate was extremely gritty - much worse than Hershey's.
I need to find a way to produce truly fine powders before I continue with these experiments.
Return to my main page for more chocolate articles or to browse 70 other topics: everything from Knitting Nancies and metal detectors to the strange world of lucid dreaming.