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BEVERAGE

Cocoa butter provides gloss, snap & melting properties to bakery items
Tuesday, 18 April, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Bindu Naik
Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is the byproduct of cocoa bean processing industry and is obtained from the mature bean of the Theobroma cacao plant. The Latin name for the cacao tree means "food of the gods."

It is an important ingredient in the chocolate and other confectionery industries. The unique composition of cocoa butter (CB) gives the desired physical properties (gloss, snap, melting properties etc.) to the manufactured product. It's valued for its unique physicochemical properties which are given by its peculiar fatty acid composition. The larger parts of triacylglycerols (TAG) present in CB are symmetrical and contain very less amount of highly unsaturated fatty acid. The major fatty acids constituents of cocoa butter are palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid, but low amounts of lauric acid and myristic acid are also present. Increasing demand and shortage of supply for CB, poor quality of individual harvests, economic advantages and some technological benefits have induced for the development of its alternative called cocoa butter replacer (CBR). In the CBRs, the TAG compositions are similar but are not identical to genuine CB. Most of them are produced by either modification of natural fat or by their blending in different proportions. However, it couldnot satisfy the consumer and fulfil the demand of confectionery industries.

Cocoa butter is one of the stable fats in the world, giving it a variety of uses in chocolate confections, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. A unique property of cocoa butter is that it is solid at room temperature, but melts at 34-38°C, or 93-100°F, which is below the temperature of the human body. This is why chocolate melts in our mouth. The structure of the fat molecules in cocoa butter gives chocolate its glossy appearance, a hard but not greasy surface, the snapping sound when it breaks, and its smooth, creamy texture. It is naturally free of theobromine and caffeine, unlike the rest of the cocoa bean, so it is unusual to have any allergen to cocoa butter. It is high in antioxidants. The most common use of cocoa butter is in milk chocolate, white and dark chocolate, confectionery and baked goods to give them a richer flavour and smoother consistency.

The functionality of the cocoa butter is depending on its molecular composition. The tempering process used in the preparation of cocoa butter play an important role in its molecular structure of fat molecules. Cocoa butter can forms into one of six types of fat crystal structures and each structure has a different melting point, only one structure (Beta V) is beneficial for snappy, smooth-melting properties of chocolate. On the preparation of chocolate when it is tempered, is cooled carefully to a specific temperature and agitated to create stable Beta V fat crystals. These good crystals melt just below body temperature, which means the chocolate releases its flavour as soon as it warms up in our mouth. The fat crystals, which surround the cacao solids, melt as they hit your tongue, releasing the flavourful solids within on the taste buds.

Milk chocolate is a solid chocolate, generally made with at least 10% chocolate liquor, 12% milk solids, and at least 25% cocoa solids should be used.Cocoa butter, vanilla, milk fats and lecithin are also often used.

White chocolate is commonly consists of cocoa butter (20%), sugar and milk solids (14%). The melting point of cocoa butter, help in to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature. During the manufacturing process, the dark-coloured solids of the cocoa bean are separated from its fatty content. Cocoa butter is the only cacao ingredient in white chocolate. As it does not contain cocoa solids, white chocolate contains only trace amounts of the stimulants theobromine and caffeine.

Couverture chocolate, contains extra cocoa butter (about 31-38% fat), which gives it a glossy finish and allows it to flow easily. For this reason, it's typically used for coating or glazing cakes and pastries.

Mousse, a dairy-based chocolate sweet gets its creamy textures by high cocoa butter containing chocolate.

The bakery industry is traditionally one of the largest users of cocoa products for the preparation of cakes, pastries, brownies, doughnuts, pies, cookies, wafers, biscuits, biscuit and wafer fillings, frozen bakery products and so on. In bakery, use of cocoa butter is minimum or very less in amount as compared to hydrogenated fat because of economical convenience and issues related to obtaining the specific textural properties of bakery goods. But due to flavour releasing properties now a days it is used in the preparation of cocoa butter cookies like products.

The advantage of cooking with cocoa butter is its resistance to high temperatures without burning, which sets it apart from other fats that tend to burn out at 200°C. Cooking with cocoa butter in sweet recipes like in chocolate pastries gives chocolate its flavour and smoothness. In different dessert recipes such as Bavarian, add some grated food-grade cocoa butter to give it a delicious hidden chocolate flavour.

Cocoa butter can be used as a substitute of stabiliser such as a substitute for gelatin helps in making more airy and tasty desserts. It has the creamy taste of butter with a discreet chocolate flavour. We can also replace butter with cocoabutter in cakes, which decreases the amount of fat and help in making of healthier desserts. Cocoa butter can be used for frosting, glazing, and filling.

Some preparations known as confectioner's coating or summer coating are made from inexpensive solid or hydrogenated vegetable oil and animal fats, and are not derived from cocoa.

Many consider cocoa butter as the perfect confectionery fat. However, its biggest drawback is economics, which is why added cocoa butter is most common in real chocolate confections. Other confections, including chocolate-flavoured coatings, fillings and chips, as well as toffees, caramels and more, will reduce—or even eliminate—the amount of added cocoa butter through the use of vegetable fats designed to mimic cocoa butters highly desirable characteristics. These fats are aptly categorised as confectionery fats.

(The author is assistant professor atdepartment of food technology, Doon (PG) College of Agriculture Science and Technology, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. She can be contacted at binnaik@gmail.com)
 
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