As is the case in most subjects I know something about, I suddenly come across information that shows me just how little I actually know. In the last couple of weeks, as I work on the conch/refiner, I have been researching conching, and specifically the temperatures at which chocolate is conched. My understanding was 120-130 F at the most, and over that you can burn the chocolate. It would appear that is not the case in all circumstances. The biggest surprise is that conching is often at 70-80 C, much higher than I originally thought. I am now incorporating that into the proto-type conch design. That said, I do have to point out that I did notice that I could tell a difference in the chocolate conched at on 110 F. It was dark chocolate though, not milk chocolate.
Also, I have been meaning to put this link up. Wayne, is really big into chocolate, especially milk chocolate. He has a lot of just generally interesting stuff on this site, but what is really great is both that he has gotten into making his own and just how inventive he is. As one person put it, he is a real McGyver – duct tape! Anyway, he did not have the greatest go of chocolate making , but also used equipment he had on had, and not necessarily what I would suggest using. On the other hand, his section on tempering chocolate is absolutely wonderful. Please read it. In my spare time I will put that link in the tempering section here, plus incorporate a lot of his information.
So, I will leave you with this to ponder.
“The more I learn, the more I know; the more I know, the more I learn; the more I learn, the more I learn I didn’t know what I thought I knew. I thought I knew a lot, but now know I did not. I do know that I don’t know what I don’t know so I must keep learning what I do not know even though I do not know what I do not know. In the end, it looks like I will know nothing because the more I learn, the more I know I know less than I thought I knew. I think I would rather know nothing, and be wrong about that than know I know it all and be wrong about that!”
I think that sums up the path of Chocolate Alchemy (and maybe life)