Learn By Doing
The Cal Poly Way
As a course in the Food Science and Nutrition (FSN) department, which is part of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), we strongly support the school's Learn by Doing teaching philosophy and methodology.
The class is small, there is close faculty/student interaction, and a good blend theory and practice. In both FSN201 and FSN401, students learn how to temper chocolate, how to recognize beta crystals, and they develop a feel for how these crystals impact texture. In addition to aspects of production, students work in the areas of merchandising and packaging.
Students who take the four-unit FSN401 do production and in addition, they work on a project, in which they design a confection, formulate a questionnaire, and collect data.
Amy and Amanda fill molds with milk chocolate to make the 1.5 oz milk chocolate bar. They ladle the tempered chocolate in while standing at the tempering machine. They then scrape the chocolate even with the top of the mold, vibrate it to remove air bubbles, and then cool it.
Our workers are packaging the cashew turtles, which are sitting on the tray in the foreground. They fill the box inserts (stack of gold inserts at the right), then insert them into the box bottoms. Packaging happens in a separate part of the pilot plant while workers wait for the chocolate to temper.
Kathy checks cashew turtles to make sure the chocolate covers all sides of the caramel filling. These chocolates are hand-dipped. Milk chocolate can be a pain sometimes because it might appear to be properly tempered (passes all the tests) but then blooms an hour later. This happens when the chocolate is too cool--below 86F.
For more about the college's commitment to Learn by Doing, see the CAFES Mission Statement