Last week my kids got very frustrated with warm French toast and a new brand of chocolate spread. The French toast, was …of course…warm, and the chocolate was misbehaving: melting and dripping on their fingers …

Now, French toast (and chocolate spread) is a staple at our house but somehow this never happened before. Mom learned the lesson fast: for this new chocolate spread let the French toast cool first! But the little neurons started firing (wonder… I know, but it happens sometimes)…

Little questions and answers in my head: why now? – NEW BRAND; what was wrong? – FORMULATION; did they test it? – Not sure but they definitely did not solve the problem! The conclusion: remind dad not to not buy this one again! (See how swiftly I blamed this on my husband?)

Studies of the melting characteristics of chocolate behavior is influenced by a combination of the particle size of non-fat components as well as fat and lecithin content: longer exposure and higher temperatures are needed to melt chocolates with finer particle sizes, higher fat and lower lecithin content. My new chocolate spread was definitely melting faster and at a lower temperature than our regular one, thus dripping on the plate instead of staying on the French toast.

I then proceeded to explain my kids why it happened and how our usual chocolate spread did not melt and drip because “they (the food scientists) are doing this for a long time, and they thought about it, and they tested it and improved it”.

My 13 year old looked at me and asked…so … is this what you do at work? (Why, oh, why can’t I have some normal parents?) And the 6 year old …really, you eat chocolate all day?

Next morning I thought long and hard whether to explain to them what happens with the proteins when you make those scrambled eggs… I’ll save that for another blog!

Particle size and shape of food components of the finished product all influence the way our food tastes, feels and behaves in given circumstances … and we can measure them!  This year we have tested chocolate, butter, whipped cream, flavors, specialty drinks, spices, egg beaters, fruit coatings and food additives in our application labs, employing one or more of our characterization techniques…Laser Diffraction, Image Analysis, Gel Permeation Chromatography and Raman Spectroscopy. Most of these techniques are routinely used in the food industry to optimize formulations and manufacturing processes to meet consumer requirements …and to prevent issues with misbehaving chocolate on French toast!

Who would have thought there is so much science behind food? 

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