Chocolate Glossary: Chocolate Terms & Definitions

Bain Marie: Bain marie is a fancy term for a hot water bath. it commonly refers to a piece of equipment that is similar to a double boiler It melts chocolate over warm water, to create a gentle and uniform heat, so it will not burn or scorch the chocolate..

Baking Chocolate: Baking chocolate, also referred to as baker's chocolate, cooking chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, is a type of chocolate that is prepared or manufactured for baking. It is used as an ingredient in desserts and in baked goods. It is typically prepared in unsweetened, bitter-sweet semi-sweet and sweet varieties.

Bean to Bar Chocolate: A "bean to bar" chocolate maker uses an in-house process turing raw whole beans into finished chocolates.

Bittersweet Chocolate: Bittersweet chocolate gets is name from it's deep, strong, tangy and slightly bitter flavor. It is generally used for baking or for making all types of desserts, pastries, and confections. Bittersweet chocolate is usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.

Cacao (kah-kow): Not to be confused with "Cocoa" (ko-ko). "Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree. Cacao pods grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Chocolate Bloom: When the cacao butter in chocolate separates out from the other ingredients, floats to the top, and crystallizes, it appears as white dots and streaks, or as a dull, gray film on the chocolate.. This effect is one of the main concerns in the production of chocolate. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients.

Chocolate Callets: Chocolate callets refer to small disc shaped pieces of couverture chocolate.

Chocolate Liquor: A bitter liquid or paste produced when cacao beans are roasted and ground, and usually used as a baking ingredient. The chocolate liquor is cooled and molded into blocks (unsweetened baking chocolate). The term chocolate liquor has nothing to do with alcohol in any way but refers to the nibs being in the liquid state when they are ground.

Chocolate Molds or Moulds: Chocolate molds (or moulds) are hollow containers used to give shape to liquid chocolate when it cools and hardens. Molds can be made of plastic, rubber, silicone or special polycarbonate materials. Molds come in a vast selection of shapes and sizes. You can find molds for any holiday or occasion.

Chocolate Melanger: A melanger is a stone grinder used to grind cocoa bean nibs to chocolate liquor. This is an ideal tool for chocolatiers who want to make chocolate from bean to bar or cocoa nibs to cocoa liquor.

Chocolatier: This term usually refers to a person who works with chocolate or creates chocolate products and confections.

Cocoa: "Cocoa” is a tricky term because it often refers to “cocoa powder,” which is ground up cacao that has had some of the fat removed, but it is also sometimes used generically as a catch-all for anything derived from cacao, and therefore the cacao itself, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.

Cacao Beans: The majestic cacao bean is the source of all things chocolate! Cacao beans come from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Large football shaped fruits, called cocao pods, grow off the trunk and limbs of the tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a pale-yellow, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It is used to make chocolate, as well as some ointments, toiletries, and pharmaceuticals. Cocoa butter has a cocoa flavor and aroma. Cacao butter adds smoothness and flavor to chocolate and is the main ingredient in white chocolate.

Cocoa Butter Percentage: The higher the percentage of cocoa butter in the chocolate or cocoa, the better the mouth feel and flavor! Mass market chocolates and cocoa powders often have much lower cocoa butter percentages than fine chocolate and high-quality cocoa powders because cocoa butter is an expensive ingredient.

Cocoa Nibs: Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks in a process called winnowing, and broken into smaller pieces. Cacao nibs have a chocolatey taste, but they're not as sweet as chocolate, which can make them more versatile. Cocoa nibs may be eaten out of hand, or ground into chocolate liquor, which itself may be used for chocolate making or pressing to extract the fat of the cocoa bean, called cocoa butter.

Cocoa Powder: A chocolate powder made from roasted and ground cacao seeds.

Cocoa Solids: Cocoa solids are a mixture of many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. When sold as an end product, it may also be called cocoa powder or cocoa. In contrast, the fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter.

Compound Coating or chocolate-flavored coating: An inexpensive chocolate substitute where cocoa butter is replaced with less expensive vegetable fat. In many countries it may not legally be called "chocolate". Compound coating cannot be tempered. It is also sometimes referred to as Confectioner's Coating.

Conching: Conching is a process done via a conche, which is a surface scraping mixer and agitator that evenly distributes cocoa butter within chocolate, and may act as a 'polisher' of the particles. It also promotes flavor development through frictional heat, release of volatiles and acids, and oxidation.

Couverture Chocolate: Couverture chocolate is a very high-quality chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter (32–39%) than baking or eating chocolate. This additional cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering, gives the chocolate more sheen, a firmer "snap" when broken, and a creamy mellow flavor.

Crystallization: Cocoa butter can crystallize into six polymorphic forms designated as I–VI according to their stability and different physical characteristics such as gloss, hardness, and melting point. Uncontrolled crystallization of cocoa butter typically results in crystals of varying size, some or all large enough to be clearly seen with the naked eye. This causes the surface of the chocolate to appear mottled and matte, and causes the chocolate to crumble rather than snap when broken. The uniform sheen and crisp bite of properly processed chocolate are the result of consistently small cocoa butter crystals produced by the tempering process.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is a slightly bitter chocolate. It contains a high percentage (> 60%) of cocoa solids, and little or no added sugar. Dark chocolate has a rich, intense flavor, and is found in chocolate bars, candies and baking chocolate.

Enrobe: To fully coat candies, centers and/or confections with chocolate.

Enrober: A specially designed machine, which receives lines of assorted centers (nuts, nougats, fruit or whatever desired filling) and showers them with a waterfall of liquid chocolate.

Fat Bloom: Fat bloom in chocolate is the cocoa butter that has separated creating a whitish coating on the surface of the chocolate. Bloom can be 'repaired' by melting the chocolate down, stirring it, then pouring it into a mould and allowing it to cool, bringing the sugar or fat back into the solution.

Ganache: Chocolate ganache is normally made by heating cream, then pouring it over chopped chocolate of any kind. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth, with liqueurs or extracts added if desired.

Lecithin: Lecithin is an emulsifier, and decreases the viscosity of chocolate. It is generally used within mass-market chocolate to allow a reduction in the amount of necessary cocoa butter for a given formulation. Lecithin, when added, is generally added during the end of the conching process.

Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate is chocolate made with milk, in the form of added milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk. Milk chocolate is generally sweeter and creamier than dark chocolate.

Mouth feel: A technical term that describes one of the characteristics of well-tempered chocolate. it should feel creamy and smooth in your mouth (not chalky).

Raw Chocolate: Raw chocolate is chocolate which is produced in a minimally heated and processed form. It is made from un-roasted cacao beans (beans are dried naturally) and cold pressed cacao butter. Natural sweeteners are generally used, including: Coconut sugar, Xylitol, Agave nectar, Maple syrup, Stevia. Cane sugar, or Honey. Highly processed or refined sugars are not used. Milk and dairy products are not added to raw chocolate, therefore it is usually vegan. Soy is also usually avoided (soy lecithin is often used in mainstream chocolate) so raw chocolate is also soy free. It is also naturally gluten-free.

Roasting: Carefully roasting cocoa beans is the most important part of flavor development for the chocolate maker. Cocoa beans are roasted to develop the characteristic aroma and taste of chocolate. The length of the roasting process and its temperatures vary, though for those familiar with coffee roasting, cocoa roasting times and temperatures can generally be said to be significantly longer and lower.

Seed chocolate: `Seed` chocolate is any pure tempered chocolate that is used to begin the crystallization process during tempering.

Semi Sweet Chocolate: Semisweet chocolate is a somewhat bitter dark chocolate, meaning that it is made with cocoa solids (cocoa butter and cocoa solids) and sugar, and typically includes vanilla and an emulsifier.

Snap: A technical term that describes one of the characteristics of well-tempered chocolate. It should break cleanly and crisply, with a sharp snap and should not be crumbly or soft.

Sugar Bloom: A white crust of sugar crystals that forms when moisture accumulates on the surface of chocolate and chocolate candies. The moisture draws the sugar to the surface where it dissolves. This is visible as white streaks and dots and causes a grainy texture. Storing loosely wrapped chocolate and candies in the refrigerator where they are exposed to too much moisture causes sugar bloom. It is not the same as fat bloom, which occurs when the cacao butter in the chocolate rises to the surface.

Tempering: Tempering chocolate is a process in which the temperature of the melted chocolate is manipulated to allow for a controlled crystallization of the cocoa butter to occur, thus allowing the cooled chocolate to have a good "snap," glossy sheen, and smooth mouth feel.

Tempering machine: A chocolate tempering machine is a countertop electronic mixing and heating pan or appliance that is designed to take all the guesswork and manual labor out of tempering chocolate. Real chocolate that is melted to make various types of candy must be tempered to be crisp and smooth.

Viscosity: A measure of the coating thickness of melted chocolate, which determines its ability to coat or enrobe confections. Melted chocolate has varying degrees of viscosity depending on its types (dark, milk, or white) and whether or not it is couverture, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than regular chocolate.

White chocolate: White chocolate, although similar in texture to that of milk and dark chocolate, does not contain any cocoa solids. White chocolate is generally the sweetest and creamiest of all chocolate types.

Winnowing: The process of removing the outer husk of the cacao bean to release the inner nibs during the manufacturing of chocolate.

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