Guide to Working with Cocoa Butter Silk
Welcome to the magical world of cocoa butter silk! In this guide, we'll unravel the mysteries of this delightful silky smooth butter and show you how to create shiny crisp and decadent chocolate creations. Get ready to elevate your chocolate-making skills and indulge in the hidden art of cocoa butter silk.
What is Cocoa Butter Silk?Cocoa butter silk is the enchanting transformation of cocoa butter into a velvety and silky texture. This happens when the proportion of Beta 5 crystals in the cocoa butter is high. Cocoa butter is a polymorph, which means it can set up in different crystalline structures. I know what you're thinking - you don't see any crystals in the cocoa butter. But these crystal structures are actually very small, and in untempered cocoa butter, they are present in a random and chaotic mess. However, in silk, the most desirable crystalline structure, the Beta 5 crystal, is present in a larger proportion compared to the other five crystalline forms.
Let's visualize cocoa butter as a collection of Lego bricks. Just like Lego bricks come in different shapes, not all of them can be used to form strong and uniform structures. But the Beta 5 crystal is like the perfect brick that can create very large, ordered, and strong structures. The more Beta 5 bricks there are, the stronger and more uniform the crystalline structure. So, having a lot of Beta 5 crystals means having well-tempered chocolate that is smooth, glossy, and has a strong snap when you break it apart - just like Lego bricks.
Now, let's imagine a scenario where we have a large number of differently shaped Lego bricks that have come together in a disorganized manner. The structure they form will not be uniform or strong. Similarly, when cocoa butter is not tempered, it lacks a strong structure, melts at room temperature, lacks shine, and doesn't have a strong snap.
So now that we understand what silk is - a highly ordered form of cocoa butter with a high proportion of these desirable Beta 5 crystals - how can we use it to temper chocolate? When we melt chocolate and add silk to it, we are actually changing the proportion of Beta 5 crystals in the melted chocolate, making it the dominant crystalline form. As we stir it in, we disperse those crystals throughout the chocolate, just like planting seeds in a garden. Each crystal becomes a nucleation site, allowing them to grow and multiply. In simpler terms, we are giving those crystals space to grow. As the cocoa butter cools, it chooses a crystalline form and tries to fit into the Lego block forms around it. So, if there are many Beta 5 Lego blocks, that's the shape the cocoa butter forms, resulting in more Beta 5 crystals. And that's the secret of tempering - creating the right conditions for these crystals to form, ensuring we get beautiful chocolate in the end.
Making Cocoa Butter Silk
To create cocoa butter silk, follow these simple steps:
Ensure your cocoa butter is in its solid state.
Cocoa butter silk can only be produced from cocoa butter that has been in its solid state at a temperature below 30°C for at least a week. This time allows the correct crystals to form, which are essential for the production of silk.
Set up the CocoPix.
If you have a CocoPix device, set the chamber temperature to approximately 33.6°C. The CocoPix will provide the ideal environment for creating cocoa butter silk.
Place your cocoa butter in the CocoPix Bottle.
Transfer your desired amount of cocoa butter into the CocoPix Bottle and close it securely with the stopper.
Place the CocoPix Bottle in the designated chamber.
Insert the CocoPix Bottle into the chamber set to the specified temperature. This chamber will facilitate the gradual melting and transformation of cocoa butter into silk.
Allow the cocoa butter to incubate for 12-24 hours.
Leave the CocoPix Bottle undisturbed in the chamber for 12-24hrs. During this time, the cocoa butter will undergo a transformation, acquiring its silky texture and creating those beautiful Beta 5 Crystals.
After approximately 6 hours, check the cocoa butter's progress. If it hasn't started to melt, increase the temperature by 0.1°C. If it has completely melted, lower the temperature by 1°C and start the process again with a fresh batch of cocoa butter.
Using Cocoa Butter Silk
Once you've created cocoa butter silk, it's time to put it to use in your chocolate production. Here are some tips for using cocoa butter silk:
Melt your Chocolate to approximately 45-50C.
This step is optional, the purpose of this step is to remove any unwanted crystals that may be present in the chocolate you wish to temper. It allows you to start off with a blank canvas and avoid any nasty surprises. You can use a device like the CocoPix to heat your chocolate.
Melt your Chocolate silk to approximately 34.5-35C.
Depending on whether you chose to perform Step 1 you need to cool or heat your chocolate to approximately 34.5-35C. If heating you can use a heating device like the CocoPix and if you need to cool it down from 45-50C then place the bottle in a cool area or you can pour the contents into a bowl and stir. If you are in an unusually hot environment you can also pop your chocolate into the fridge to cool it down. If you choose to use a fridge or cooler please be cautious of condensation as this can ruin your chocolate.
Ensure even distribution.
Thoroughly mix about 1-2% of cocoa butter silk into your melted chocolate to ensure even distribution throughout your chocolate. This will contribute to a consistent and even tempering. You will find that the Chocolate starts to thicken up and the temperature starts to fall rapidly. This is a good indicator that your chocolate is tempered.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some additional tips and tricks for working with cocoa butter silk:
- Be mindful of the specific composition of the cocoa butter you're using, as it may require slight adjustments in temperature and incubation time.
- Store your chocolate products in a cool, dry place to preserve its texture and quality (temperature between 18-25C and humidity less than 40%).
- Keep track of your experiments and learn from each batch. With practice, you'll develop a keen sense of timing and temperature control.
- Embrace the process and enjoy the journey. Working with cocoa butter silk is a delightful experience that allows you to truly express your creativity.
Section 4: Video Tutorial
Watch this video tutorial on making custom cocoa butter colors:
Congratulations! You've unlocked the secrets of cocoa butter silk and are now equipped to infuse your chocolate creations with a luxurious, velvety texture. With the CocoPix as your trusty companion, you can embark on a culinary adventure filled with silky delights and artistic expressions. So go forth, experiment, and indulge in the world of cocoa butter silk. Happy chocolate making!