The alkalization of cocoa. In order to modify the color and the PH of cocoa powders according to customer specifications, it is sometimes necessary to resort to alkalization.
This operation, which takes place before grinding (see diagram above), consists of wetting the cocoa grain with an alkaline liquor, usually potassium carbonate, then drying and roasting it. One of the characteristics of alkalization is to make cocoa soluble.
After grinding, the cocoa paste (natural or alkaline) is subjected to a pressure of 350-530 bar (kg / cm 2) in hydraulic presses equipped with metal filter cloths. This high-pressure filtration makes it possible to separate the liquid part: cocoa butter, and the solid part, which is in the form of a cake called “press cake” and whose fat content varies from 10% (lean cake) to 24%. (fat cake).
Pressure butter: liquid cocoa paste is:
– pressed in hydraulic presses (up to 600kg / cm2). The cocoa butter is filtered, optionally neutralized, refined, deodorized, tempered, that is to say maintained for some time at 40-45 ° C, molded and cooled. Cocoa butter, pale yellow with a characteristic odor, is used in chocolate, pharmaceuticals, and perfume.
This is the other result of the extraction of cocoa butter by pressure. The butter flows and the remaining part forms cakes. These must still contain 20% cocoa butter. Further pressing will give a so-called “lean” cocoa powder (10% cocoa butter only). If they are to be transported, the cakes are crushed and reduced to pieces the size of a walnut and bagged.
The cakes are crushed and then ground in pin mills to make the cocoa powder. After grinding, it is hot and must be cooled and stabilized at 18 ° C – 20 ° C. To do this, it passes through a tube that goes through an outer envelope in which cold water circulates.
The cocoa powder is bagged in 25Kg bags and then palletized and stored away until delivery. There is also the possibility of bagging the powder in “Big Bags” of 800Kg or 1000Kg.
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