Definitions for Conche

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  1. Conche

    A conche 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 and release of volatiles and acids, and oxidation. There are numerous designs of conches, and food scientists are still studying precisely what happens during conching and why. The name arises from the shape of the vessels initially used, which resembled conch shells. When ingredients are mixed in this way, sometimes for up to 78 hours, chocolate can be produced with a mild, rich taste. Lower quality chocolate is conched for as little as six hours. Since the process is so important to the final texture and flavor of chocolate, manufacturers keep the details of their conching process proprietary. In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt invented the "conche" in Berne, Switzerland. It produced chocolate with superior aroma and melting characteristics compared to other processes used at that time. Legend has it that Lindt mistakenly left a mixer containing chocolate running overnight. Though he was initially distraught at the waste of energy and machine wear and tear, he quickly realized he had made a major breakthrough. Before conching was invented, solid chocolate was gritty and not very popular. Lindt's invention rapidly changed chocolate from being mainly a drink, to bars and other confections.

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