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The seeding method for chocolate, an alternative to tempering


Key words Chocolate, tempering, seeding, fat crystallisation, cocoa
Latest version 2011/05/13
Completed by SP

How does it work?

Primary objective Forming the desired fat crystallisation in chocolate production without the conventional crystallisation technique called tempering.
Working principle Cocoa fat has six different crystal formations and only one is desirable in chocolate. These six formations differ in thermostability and therefore melt at different temperatures. The crystal formation wanted in chocolate production is the β-V type, which is the second most thermostable formation (melts at the second highest temperature). To achieve this formation usually a technique called tempering is used.

When using the seeding method, small amounts (1 vol%) of cocoa fat with the fat crystal formation β-VI type (the most stable) is added to completely melted chocolate that has been quenched to 34˚C before the addition. These crystals are then distributed over the liquid chocolate, the temperature is kept at 31-34˚C for a few minutes and the sample is continuously stirred. These crystals works as “seeds” and around these seeds, β-V type crystals are formed. After this, the chocolate can solidify. If the time between addition of the seeds and solidification is too long, the β-V type crystal will change to β-VI type crystals, which is not wanted. The advantages of this technique are faster crystallisation and a more dense crystal structure that can prevent or postpone the phenomenon called “fat bloom”. This phenomenon is the forming of a thin greyish covering on the chocolate surface consisting of fat from the chocolate or from the filling (1, 2, 3).

Additional effects Time reduction of solidification, less complex production.

The seeding method is a less temperature sensitive process compared with the conventional method.

Important process parameters Temperature of the liquid chocolate, time, continuously stirring.
Important product parameters vol% of “seeds”, composition.

What can it be used for?

Products Chocolate, maybe some other fat crystallisation techniques.
Operations Fat crystallisation
Solutions for short comings This technology offers a fast and easier method to crystallize cocoa fat to desired formation than the current method mostly used. It may also contribute to the reduction of the undesirable phenomenon called “fat bloom”

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Non-fat crystallising products.
Operations Everything except fat crystallisation.
Other limitations Only usable for fat crystallisation.
Risks or hazards None known risks.


Maturity This technology is available at industrial scale.
Modularity /Implementation This method can easily be implemented into the production line.
Consumer aspects A reduction of “fat “ blooming is regarded as positive.
Legal aspects None known.
Environmental aspects None known.

Further Information

Institutes SP, ETH Zurich
Companies Buhler
References 1. Zeng Y., Braun P., Windhab E, J., (2002) Tempering Continous precrystallization of chocolate with seed cocoa butter crystal suspension. 56th PMCA Production Conference

2. Svanberg L., Ahrne L., Norén N., Windhab E., (2011) Effect of sugar, cocoa particles and lecithin on cocoa butter crystallisation in seeded an non-seeded chocolate models systems, Journal of Food Engineering 104 p 70-80

3. Svanberg L., Ahrne L., Norén N., Windhab E., Effect of pre-crystallization process and solid particle addition on microstructure in chocolate model systems, (2011) Food Research International Accepted Manuscript

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Created by IeselVdP on 18 May 2011, at 10:27