Giving the chocolate mass its class.
Conching gets its name from the conche, a shell-shaped vessel (Latin concha = shell) in which the refined chocolate powder is forcefully worked, mixed, aerated and finally made liquid. Created in 1879 by Swiss inventor Rodolphe Lindt, it considerably improved the quality of chocolate.
Conching is the final processing stage in the manufacture of conventional chocolate.
This is when that specific chocolate taste develops and the flavours of all the ingredients are fully brought out in the chocolate mass. This refining process may take up to 24 hours depending on the chocolate type.
The first stage, dry conching, is of crucial importance. It reduces the water content, while unwanted aromatic components leave the mixture and new flavours form. If dry conching goes according to plan, the overall conching time can be considerably shortened. Too much conching can actually spoil the taste of the chocolate.
The pressed mixture, which is still powdery, is continuously agitated in large conches, generating frictional heat. With additional heating, the cocoa butter in the mixture starts to melt, making the mixture granular and crumbly.
In the texturing stage which follows, the chocolate gradually becomes viscous. Adding extra cocoa butter and, especially, lecithin, makes the mass noticeably more ductile.
The fluidisation stage sets in. During this stage, all non-fats such as sugar and fat-free milk powder are fully enveloped in cocoa butter. This is what makes the chocolate feel smooth and gently melt on the tongue. At this stage it is very important to maintain exactly the right temperature at each step, or lumps may form.
When the conching process is over, the finished chocolate mass is cooled to about 45°C and stored ready for the next processing step in large tanks which are gently stirred.
Every one of our 12 RITTER SPORT chocolate masses has its own character in terms of flavour. Each one has its own ideal conching time, carefully adjusted to suit the recipe and ingredients. We think it's worth the extra effort – after all, you can simply taste it.