Taffy and Chews

Taffy and Chews

Taffy and Chews

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Taffy and Chews

Description

Taffy and chewy candies encompass a range of confections known for their chewy texture and sweet flavors. The primary difference between taffy and chews is in texture. Taffy is aerated during production through a pulling and stretching process, giving it a light, stretchy, and less dense texture. Chews, on the other hand, have a denser, creamier, and more substantial chew due to the higher fat content from ingredients like butter or cream. They come in various shapes and sizes, often individually wrapped for convenience in wax paper,  cellophane or a multi-layer plastic hermetic wrap.

The chewy texture achieved in these types of confections is a combination of different formulation and processing factors such as:

  • Stabilizer used in formulation (gelatin, egg protein, starch)
  • Level of crystallization. Some candies have a slight level of crystalline sugar (- %) to create a shorter texture; others are completely ungrained.
  • Fat content decreases the stickiness in process equipment, teeth and wrappers.
  • Use of starches or gums to improve stand up properties and shorter texture. 
  • Level of aeration. Taffy is aerated during production through a pulling and stretching process, giving it a light, stretchy, and less dense texture. Chews, on the other hand, have a denser, creamier, and more substantial chew due to the higher fat content from ingredients.

Main Ingredients

Conventional chews and taffies, like many other confections, rely on a foundational mixture of sugar and corn syrup as their primary ingredients, imparting both sweetness and structural integrity to these treats. Notably, in aerated taffies, air is an important ingredient of the overall candy structure.

To enhance stability and achieve the desired chewy texture, common stabilizers such as egg albumen, soy protein, and gelatin are often employed. Fats serve a dual purpose by preventing the candy from adhering to wrappers, equipment, and teeth while imparting a distinct texture. It is essential that the melting points of these fats closely align with body temperature to ensure a pleasurable eating experience. Additionally, when incorporating fats, emulsifiers frequently play a crucial role in bridging the divide between aqueous and fatty phases.

The addition of flavors, salt, colors, fruit juices and acids, contributes to the creation of a satisfying and enjoyable candy consumption experience. 

To introduce distinctive textures, starches and gums are frequently utilized in the candy-making process.

Industrial Production

The production of chews and Taffy start the same as other confections with cooking. Allotted time for additional ingredients is of vital importance to assure the desired characteristics are achieved. 

Mixing cooking and heating systems: Sugar, corn syrup, fat and water are cooked in large kettles until the desired temperature is reached. If using starch this is added here too. This process is made in both batch (steam jacket kettles with mixers) and continuous systems. Reaching the right temperature is very important to assure desired shelf life. 

Pre-cooling: Made often in cooling tables for more manual processes or in a continuous cooling drum or band to reach the right temperature to add stabilizer and avoid its degradation. (See protein stabilizers). Proper temperature should be kept to keep the candy mass flexible enough for pulling, forming and cutting.

Stabilizer addition: Stabilizer must be properly hydrated; gelatins and albumens should be mixed with water at 2:1-4:1 ratio for enough time to assure no lumps. They can be added after cooking for batch processes. However, this should take into account the extra water addition with the stabilizer, or during cooking if this is a continuous and quick process where protein degradation will be sufficiently small that the final texture and properties of the confection are not lost.

Minor ingredients addition: Flavor, color, and acid will be added after cooking.

Aeration: Taffy aeration is made both by pulling and stretching from hooks by hand or with automated pulling machines to candy batches. This action incorporates air into the candy, creating countless tiny air bubbles within. These air pockets contribute to taffy's light and chewy consistency. 

Shaping and forming equipment: Candy shaping and forming equipment is usually made with a batch roller and rope sizers to create bite-sized pieces. By blocking different color strips, multi-colored taffy/fruit chews can be made. Extrusion is also a common process.

Packaging: The choice of packaging depends on factors such as the target market, the intended shelf life, and the branding strategy of the manufacturer. The goal is to maintain the candy's quality, prevent moisture absorption, and provide an appealing presentation to consumers. It’s usually done right after shaping to prevent candy from sticking and provide protection to the candy.

Formulation

Balance between sucrose and corn syrup will give the main texture characteristics to this candy and might affect the shelf life if not formulated correctly.

Adding stabilizer after cooking will require that the final solids after cooking the slurry take in the water added with the hydrated stabilizer.

Fat used should have a melting point close to the body temperature to avoid waxy mouthfeel.

Packaging Barrier Properties

Shelf Life

Most common shelf life issues in hard candy are:

  • Moisture absorption: Taffies and chews can absorb moisture from the environment, leading to stickiness, loss of texture or even crystallization. Proper packaging, such as moisture-barrier wrappers, can help mitigate this issue.
  • Crystallization: Temperature fluctuations, high humidity, the presence of residual seed crystals from improper cooking and dissolving, or a formulation issue can cause crystallization, resulting in a grainy or gritty texture. 
  • Flavor fading: The intensity of the candy's flavor may diminish over time, affecting its taste profile. Using high-quality flavorings and proper storage conditions can help mitigate this problem.
  • Color changes:  Light-sensitive colorings may fade or shift, altering the candy's appearance. Packaging that blocks out light can help prevent this issue.
  • Texture changes: These changes are influenced by various factors, including ingredients, packaging, and storage conditions. Hardening is the most common, especially in those with higher sugar content and as the candy loses moisture. Staleness can affect the chewiness. When moisture is lost, the candy can become stiffer and less flexible. Sticking is also a big issue, especially in humid conditions as the candy absorbs moisture.
  • Fat oxidation: This can result in undesirable changes in texture, flavor, and aroma. The candy may develop a stale or off-flavor, impacting its overall quality and consumer appeal, especially for those with high fat content.
  • Cold flow: This is related to moisture content after cooking and moisture absorption during shelf life. Candies will lose shape and take the shape of the container/packaging where it’s stored.

To extend the shelf life of taffies and chews, manufacturers often use moisture-resistant packaging, employ moisture-control techniques during production, and store the candies in a controlled environment with stable temperatures and humidity conditions.

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