What is the melting point of chocolate and where does solid chocolate and melting chocolate begin, or end?
Someone will ask "can I freeze chocolate?"
My first thought is to reply with "define freeze" because the actual freezing point of chocolate is not what you think it might be.
With that said, let's work backwards from the freezing point of chocolate to the melting point.
That way we can be clear with the specific points of chocolate in Fahrenheit and in Celsius.
Oh, yes you can freeze chocolate in the freezer. I like to vacuum pack it when I do, so that when it is removed, the warmer temperatures doesn't allow the sweat to get to the chocolate itself. Just don't unwrap it until it warms up to the room temperature. You can do the same thing with plastic wrap too.
So what is the freezing point of chocolate? My first thought, is throwing some chocolate into the freezer trying to figure out at what temperature it takes to become completely frozen is just what it is...
Well, that will bring us to a no brainer degree of 32° Fahrenheit (0.00° Celsius), because, well, it is the universal freezing point. Makes sense doesn't it?
What we are really looking for, is at what point does it become solid chocolate. That's the true freezing point we are looking for. Some say the chocolate becomes or remains solid at room temperature, while others say it is at or around an actual degree, such as 84° Fahrenheit (28.88° Celsius).
Okay, so, now we have to decide at what room temperatures are we looking for? Room temperatures vary depending on who we ask and/or what climate we are in.
There is a large margin here. My grandma cranks the room temperature to 93° and dad will turn it down to 68°, or practically off! So, where does it stop?
According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language the indoor temperature is around 68 to 72° Fahrenheit (20 or 22° Celsius). So is it safe to say that the "freezing point of Chocolate" is the higher degree, say at 72° Fahrenheit (22° Celsius) to around 84° Fahrenheit (28.88° Celsius)?
it's a good start, but let's dig a little deeper with some critical thinking.
I will store my chocolate in vacuum packs at around temperatures of 62° to 68° Fahrenheit (16.6° to 20° Celsius) to ensure maximum life of the different types of chocolate. I know that when I pull my chocolates from storage, the room temperature can sometimes be higher than 72° to 79° F and the chocolate stays solid, so I know that's not the freezing point of chocolate let alone the melting point of chocolate.
What's more, based on some research over at ACS (pdf), the article Relationship between Crystallization Behavior and Structure in Cocoa Butter is "in the range of −20 to 26 °C" and that tells me that our "room temperature" or freezing point for chocolate is really close to 80° Fahrenheit (26° Celsius). This leads me to believe that changes, such as softening point of chocolate, occur above 80° Fahrenheit (26° Celsius)
The thing I think is cool about the melting point of chocolate, is that it can still be liquid at 83 °F (28 °C) as I pointed out over at my Cocoa Butter page. I couldn't get the liquid below that temperature without it beginning to solidify. Keeping in mind that I performed this self-study by slowly dropping down from a heated liquid state. Going from solid to liquid will give us different temperature ranges.
So now, we have narrowed the "room temperature" or freezing point of chocolate to 80° to somewhere below 83° Fahrenheit (26.6° to 28.3° Celsius).
Let's go a little more and say, since cocoa butter can still be in liquid state at 83 °F (28.3 °C, then around 82 °F (27.7 °C) makes since to become the higher point at the beginning stages of the freezing point of chocolate.
We have now discovered a true freezing point of chocolate to be around 80° Fahrenheit (26.6° Celsius). But this is just me and other than research, it is not scientific by any stretch.
Consider this. If you are in commercial manufacturing such as my favorite chocolate company Guittards, you may be looking for the melting point of chocolate to be at or around 93° Fahrenheit (33.88° Celsius) according to their science.
That sounds like the beginning stages of tempering for us to go by. I have not asked them yet but It will be pretty close to the same at home.
There is a large margin between there and 93° Fahrenheit (35.55° Celsius). Guittards also points out that the softening point is around 85° Fahrenheit (29.44° Celsius).
The cocoa butter crystal melting temperatures vary in chocolates, depending on how tempering methods and accuracy occurs during the melt.
The measure of polymorphic nature of cocoa butter is in scale to tempering chocolate..., with respect to how it melts in the mouth and its stability over time in storage, or on the shelf at the store.
The heating, cooling, and movement during the tempering process can produce six different polymorphic phases depending on the approach taken. The preferred phase is the β (beta) crystal formation (V Form).
As an example, a high-end dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa butter will set best with the preferred crystal V-formation when properly tempered to about 92-93 °F (33-34 °C). This particular crystal formation (when solid) will have a melting point of chocolate around 90-96.8 °F (32.2-36 °C), or just under body temperature.
Likewise, milk chocolate and white chocolates (Vanilla) set best with β (beta) crystal formation (V Form) when properly tempered to about 88 °F (31 °C), and will also have a melting point around 89-96.8 °F (31.6-36 °C).
The mouth-feel is superb and the chocolates will last for many months in storage, and should continue to have the desired melting point of chocolate right around 89-96.8 °F (31.6-36 °C).
Mom always said to eat slowly and don't gulp! She knows that we get our money's worth by letting our tongue slowly melt the chocolate.
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