What is cocoa butter silk?

by | Jan 14, 2023 | Chocolate Facts

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You may have heard about cocoa butter silk. Maybe not. We got curious about it, so we decided to investigate this substance to find out what it is, what it does, and how it can benefit chocolate makers.

According to the experts, cocoa butter silk is a much simpler approach to tempering chocolate without all the usual fuss. Continue reading this article to learn more about this exciting new tempering technique in the chocolate industry.

First, let’s clear up a couple of things—what does tempering have to do with cocoa butter?

Tempering chocolate is a process that consists of melting and cooling chocolate to precise temperatures. It’s the cocoa butter that is actually melting and slowly crystalizing as it cools. When properly tempered, chocolate takes on a beautiful shine and, when broken, it breaks with a clean snapping sound, rather than bending. Tempering also makes it easier to remove chocolate from its mold since it contracts slightly as it cools.

Now, let’s get into a little of the science. Cocoa butter is a polymorph, which means it can connect to other cocoa butter molecules in six different ways. Each of the six structures or forms melts at a different temperature and only one of them, Form V, is what we want for properly tempered chocolate. Form I is the least stable and melts at 63.1°F, while Form VI is the most stable and melts at 97.3°F.

When the chocolate is heated and cooled, natural reactions occur and the cocoa butter molecules connect in different ways and break apart depending on the specific temperature of the chocolate. When these connections happen at just the right temperature, the cocoa butter creates the desirable seed crystals needed for properly tempered chocolate. To be sure, this is not a simple process and even experienced chocolatiers struggle to control the temperature and temper of their chocolate.

So, what exactly is cocoa butter silk?

Silk is basically a solid or soft paste made of 100% cocoa butter that is in the proper tempered form (Form V). A small amount can be added to any melted, untempered chocolate in order to temper the chocolate by providing a framework on which the remaining cocoa butter crystals form. This technique is a way of easily “seeding” your untempered chocolate without as much fuss of precisely controlled temperatures. For the bakers out there, think of it as using a yeast starter for making great bread. Only about 1-2% by weight of cocoa butter silk needs to be added to properly seed your chocolate. The benefits of silk are as follows:

  • It greatly reduces the number of steps to temper chocolate
  • It provides a smooth, even chocolate temper each time
  • It simplifies the process of tempering small or large batches

In short, Cocoa butter silk is a special type of pre-tempered cocoa butter used to kick off the tempering process. It greatly simplifies tempering and minimizes the chances of mistakes.

Let cocoa butter silk do the legwork, and you get to wow your friends with amazing chocolate.

Here is a link to a site where you can buy Cocoa Butter Silk or make it at home.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us through our social media channels.  We are @cocoterra_co on Instagram and Pinterest and @cocoterraco on Twitter and Facebook.

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