Jul 6, 2023
You can’t freeze dry chocolate! That’s what many people believe, and we did, too! But as we moved along our freeze-drying journey, we realized one thing. In every challenge, there’s a solution. Amazingly, the solution is even simpler than we thought it would be. So, here’s how to freeze-dry chocolate and have it last in your pantry without melting.
Two ingredients that make it hard to freeze dry: sugar and fat.
Ever wonder why you feel so good after eating it? That’s because it triggers brain activity by simulating “feel-good” brain regions. You feel that comfort when you take dark chocolate. You feel a little bit okay with bitter-sweet cocoa. But let’s face it. Nothing is as satisfying and addicting as milk chocolate. You feel like you died and have gone to heaven with each bite. The secret?
The higher the sugar content, the more likely you’ll feel good with a bite. Here’s how much sugar you’ll get for every 10g:
Why is sugar important when freeze-drying chocolate? Because sugar binds with water, making it impossible for ice crystals to form. These crystals are the key component for freeze-drying food. If no ice crystals form, your freeze-dryer cannot remove moisture from the chocolate.
Chocolate has high fat content that makes it difficult to freeze-dry. Here’s how much fat chocolate has per 100 grams.
Fat by itself can’t be freeze-dried. It needs to be emulsified to freeze and form ice crystals.
These, combined with the fact that chocolate has only 1% of moisture, makes chocolate hard to freeze-dry.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Interestingly enough, there’s one solution to help you freeze-dry chocolate. And that’s water. By adding water, you dilute the sugar content and emulsify fat. To add water, you need to melt the candy down, then whisk or fold the water in.
The thing we need to watch out for is burning it. It can quickly burn and turn bitter. It’s better to use chocolate chips here for an easier process. If you have bars, cut them down into chunks. This will help with even melting and prevent scorching.
You can melt the it directly in the pot or use the double boiler method. Although using the pot is faster, you have a higher chance of burning the food. The double boiler method is easy.
Once the it’s melted, add warm water. A ratio of 2 cups for every 11 oz (311 g) of chocolate is a good ratio. Mixing the water into the candy help the sugar bind to other water molecules and emulsify fat.
Ever wonder why orange juice, soups, and broth sometimes make a mess in your freeze-dryer? That’s because liquid boils at a lower temperature under a vacuum. But when you introduce liquid already in a solid state, there’s no liquid matter to boil. That’s why we recommend that although pre-freezing is optional, it should be done.
Pour the melted candy on your freeze-dryer trays and let the trays sit in the freezer for at least 48 hours. This way, you’re sure that ice crystals will form and that your vacuum pump won’t have a hard time with the process.
Once you got your trays of sweet treat frozen, it’s time to freeze dry.
It’s recommended that you be there when the process ends. But we know that most of the time, this doesn’t happen. As a default, the freeze dryer will cool the trays to help preserve the food. This process will make the trays uncomfortable to the touch. The good thing is that you can warm the trays before taking them out of the freeze dryer.
After processing, break the product into chunks and grind it into a fine powder. This makes it easy to use for your recipes or even drinks.
The good thing about powdered freeze-dried chocolate is that it melts so well. Even better than the chips. To make a good, delicious drink, you can start with a 1:1 ratio of freeze-dried chocolate and water. You can go for less water if you want.
Will it have the same creamy, soft consistency as regular ones? No, it won’t. But we can tell you that in powdered form, the end product doesn’t have that dry, chalky feel to it.
You can store freeze-dried chocolate in Mason jars for on-demand use. This is also a great way to give it as a gift to those who love sweets! Mylar jars are awesome for long-term storage. What’s more, you can bring them anywhere you go without worrying about weight and breaking containers.
Before sealing, make sure to put in 1-2 of the 300cc oxygen absorbers. This will help take out residual oxygen inside the containers and extend shelf life. Also, remember to keep them in a room with a temperature lower than 72°F (22 °C). Relative humidity should also be kept at 15% or less.
Ideally, it should last for about 20-35 years. However, it’s uncertain since this is the first time we’ve freeze-dried chocolate after so many said it couldn’t be done. We advise you to label the container, store it properly, and document the progress.
Freeze-drying chocolate was said to be impossible. But there are those who were able to freeze dry chocolate muffins and even chocolate chip ice cream. It’s always wonderful to experiment with your food and see how to preserve it. Try this and let us know how it goes in the comment section.
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