Ask the Alchemist #120


My question is im trying to make a milk chocolate bar following your recipe but i substitute the cocoa butter ,for coconut oil about 8 oz and 8oz grass fed ghee. In total 16oz of fat. Now i see the chocolate more liquid. Is the coconut oil spoil the tempering of the chocolate? Could adding moré milk powder help? Just experimenting.

I am going to assume you are using this recipe:

  • 2.0 lb Jamaican Cocoa beans
  • 22 oz Cocoa butter
  • 1 t lecithin
  • 12 oz powdered dry milk (yes, this is what the professionals use)
  • 32 oz sugar

Coconut oil melts at 76 F. That right there pretty much explains why you are seeing the chocolate act more as a liquid. When the chocolate should be a solid (anywhere under 79 F) the coconut oil is depressing the overall melting point. Ghee on the other hand melts around 95 F. You might think and hope that would counteract the coconut oil and ‘average out’ but unfortunately that isn’t the case and what you are see is what you get - a ‘chocolate’ that is much less viscous, thinner, and melts at a much lower temperature. .

Many oils can be used along with cocoa butter and not affect the tempering much. But coconut oil isn’t one of them. This page lays it out pretty well.

  • Palm oil or coconut oil based and normally contains lauric fatty acids.
  • Does not require tempering.
  • Lauric fat in the presence of enzymes like lipase (found in cocoa beans), under the right conditions (moisture, temperature), can react and produce a soapy off-note.
  • Not compatible with cocoa butter, although can be mixed in at a low percentage.

The really important thing here is the ‘not compatible’ part. It means it inhibits tempering.

What you used was a CBS or cocoa butter substitute. On the surface that sounds good, but what you really want and need if you want your chocolate to act like chocolate is a CBE or cocoa butter equivalent. The short list of those oils are shea, illipe, and sal nut oils as well as palm, mango kernel fat and palm oil.

There is also a class of fats and oils classified as CBR or cocoa butter replacers. They are non-lauric containing fats like palm oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil and cottonseed oil. They sort of meet in the middle. They do not require tempering and are partially compatible with cocoa butter. “Partially compatible” – that’s another way of saying it depends on how much you use as to whether your tempering will still be possible.

Going back to your recipe, your addition of the ghee might allow you at least have a chocolate product that solidifies at room temperature, but I’m really not sure. Adding more milk powder is where I would start but it may be that all you end up with is a solid that has a very oily mouth feel.

In any case, yes, your tempering is fully ruined because you used a lot of an oil that is ‘not compatible’ with cocoa butter and inhibits tempering. There is nothing you are going to be able to do about that with the recipe as is. There just isn’t enough cocoa butter there to form a solid crystal structure. You have only about 15% where you really closer to double that AND not have other non-compatible oils (CBS) in there actively trying to thwart your efforts.

In short, add milk powder. You really have little to lose – just some milk powder.

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