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Cut cocoa-butter for beta-glucan hydrocolloid, suggests study

By Stephen Daniells , 12-Dec-2008

Beta-glucan-rich hydrocolloids may be able to replace cocoa-butter in chocolate products, according to new research from the US.

Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that the beta-glucan-rich C-trim30 ingredient, a hydrocolloid made by steam jet-cooking and fractionating oat bran concentrates, could replace up to 10 per cent of cocoa-butter and give a lower energy chocolate.

“Cocoa butter, which is the continuous phase in chocolates, is responsible for providing chocolate with such important qualities as unique smooth feeling, glossy appearance, and snap. However, relatively high cost and vulnerability to climatic and political changes have necessitated replacing parts of cocoa-butter in chocolates,” explained the researchers in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The C-trim ingredients were devised by ARS chemist George Inglett, who was involved with the new study. The results also indicated that incorporation of the C-trim ingredient could also lead to a lower calorie product, an important consideration given the current trend for lower-energy products.

“The use of C-trim30 as a replacement for cocoa butter presents the opportunity to formulate ‘healthy’ chocolates with reduced calories from fat and also with soluble dietary fibres,” said the researchers. “Sensory evaluation would, however, be necessary to investigate the consumer preferences on these low-calorie chocolates containing C-trim30.”

Study details

The researchers, led by Suyong Lee from the Department of Food Science and Technology at Sejong University in Korea, formulated chocolate products using the C-trim30 ingredient to replace 5, 10, and 15 per cent cocoa butter by weight.

Incorporation of the ingredient led to an increase in the viscosity of molten chocolate. Additionally, a softer chocolate was produced when the ingredient was used.

Lee and co-workers explain that the hardness of chocolate is dependent on the crystallised lipid phase concentration, composed of cocoa butter and milk fat, in addition to as well as the solid dispersed phase, composed of cocoa solids, sugar crystals, and milk solids.

Addition of C-trim30 may have softened the chocolate by altering the tempering process of the chocolate, said the researchers.

Since the viscosity of chocolate dramatically increased with the addition of C-trim30, only a limited quantity could be used to replace the cocoa butter,” stated the researchers.

‘Healthy’ chocolate

“The chocolate prepared by replacing the cocoa butter with C-trim30 resulted in a product with a lower caloric value and increased health benefits from the oat beta-glucan,” they concluded.

Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
15 January 2009, Volume 89, Issue 1, Pages: 163-167
“Effect of cocoa butter replacement with a -glucan-rich hydrocolloid (C-trim30) on the rheological and tribological properties of chocolates”
Authors: S. Lee, G. Biresaw, M.P. Kinney, G.E. Inglett

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