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Confused about "couverture" chocolate

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm fairly new to chocolate making and I've been trying to figure out the best type of chocolate to use. I have read that I should use "couverture" chocolate, but I'm not sure if this term even applies anymore. Only a few chocolate makers advertise their chocolate as couverture, but every baking chocolate I have found appears to have a cocoa butter (from the nutritional facts) percentage over the 32% or more definition that Wikipedia offers:

(I would post a link here but I'm not allowed to so just look up "couverture chocolate" on wikipedia.)

In other contexts I have heard couverture defined as any good quality chocolate that doesn't use ingredients like vegetable oil.

My question is: is couverture a term I still need to look for in chocolate or can I simply buy any good quality baking chocolate?

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
If you're making chocolates, you're going to want to use couverture. I'm not sure about where you are, but here, couverture isn't really advertised. I guess it's still seen as more of a pro ingredient.

I don't have any baker's chocolate right now, so I'm not sure of the ingredients. And the website's not working for me. What are the ingredients?

Legally, to be sold as couverture, the only fat allowed is cocoa butter. Adding other fats reduces cost, but can change mouthfeel, and flavour. So if you want to make good quality chocolates, you're going to want to use couverture.
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post #3 of 10
You might want to order samples from several chocolate companies to see what type of chocolate "profile" you like as couverture can have many different tastes depending on the source of the bean.

"Couverture" just means to cover. There are many good Chocolate companies out there. Valrhona is terrific, Callebaut is good. You did not say what type of chocolates you are interested in making....(I have used bakers chocolate as well) It takes time and patience thats all.
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

I've been making truffles, chocolate-dipped candied peels, and molded ganache-filled chocolates. I have been mostly using two types of chocolate from a local grocery store, Scharffen-Berger 62% and Noi Sirius 70%. Although neither is labeled as couverture, both seem to fit the definition of couverture.

Scharffen-Berger: 36% fat; ingredients: cacao beans, sugar, cocoa butter, non-gmo soy lecithin, while vanilla beans

Noi Sirius: 35% fat; ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla

Would both of these be considered couverture?

Thanks!
post #5 of 10
To my knowledge a couverture contains at least 32 % cocoa butter .
Some couvertures can be 30-40 % .

There are also other types :
1-Ultra couverture chocolate ( higher cocoa butter , low viscosity ,delicate, satin look)
2-Compound Chocolate (vegetable oil and tempering not required, easy, no tempering required) I would not suggest this one for your chocolates.

Normally there are alot more opinions on this.....but if your technique is working for you , the chocolate is not blooming, no trouble with tempering , then I would say , ok.

Hope it works for you.

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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! It sounds like I'm using the right stuff, some people just call it by a special name.
post #7 of 10
A couverture has at least 55% COCOA content, that is, either/ or cocobutter and cocoa solids. To put it another way, couverture contains a MAXIMUM of 45% sugar content.
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post #8 of 10

If couverture chocolate mustn't contain any fat other than cocoa butter, then lecithin as an ingredient breaks the rule.

 

I've always been disappointed with the bland chalkiness of Scharffen Berger and Noi Sirius. If you want a slightly grainy chocolate that's not chalky, go with El Rey 70%. You also can't go wrong with Valrhona or Callebaut, both widely available.

post #9 of 10

I am by no means an expert in this field and find the discussion interesting, please correct me if I am wrong. I always understood that Couverture's quality is measured by the cocoa butter content with a minimum of 32% and chocolate for baking and desserts is measured for quality by the cocoa solids content, anything up to 85%. I think a lot of people are confused over cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by borderless View Post

If couverture chocolate mustn't contain any fat other than cocoa butter, then lecithin as an ingredient breaks the rule.

 

 

Lecethin, derived from soy, is usually added in amounts of less than 1%.  It has two jobs to perform.

 

Firstly it does act as an emulsifier.  Chocolate is a suspension (not emulsion) of cocoa particles and sugar solids in cocoa buter.

 

Secondly in quantities of under 1%, it mimics the addition of almost 10% cocoa butter, that is, it increases fluidity.

 

I'm not a chemist, but I don't believe that lecethin is actually a fat.

 

Lecethin free chocolate is available, but you will pay for it.  I believe Cluizel doesn't use it, and then ther are various higher end makers who don't use it either, but these are "tasting chocolates" with prices well over the $30/kg range

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