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Demo: Making Chocolate at Home....From Bean to Bar

Chocolate

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#1 A Patric

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:07 AM

Making 65% Dark Chocolate


Required Materials:

-Santha wet/dry grinder
-Champion Juicer
-Marble/granite/Silestone slab
-Non-pourous cutting board
-Pastry scraper
-One-piece soft rubber spatula
-Large plastic heat-proof/microwavable bowl
-2-3 smaller glass/ceramic bowls
-Tempering thermometer
-Chocolate chipper
-Parchment paper
-Chocolate tablet moulds
-Cotton batting
-Medical grade 2oz/60cc plastic syringe with plastic nozzle
-Microwave
-Scale
-Hair Blow Dryer


Ingredients:

-liquid lecithin
-cocoa beans
-cocoa butter
-granulated cane sugar
-vanilla bean

Here is a photo of some of the materials. The Silestone slab that I’ll use for the tempering is underneath the table cloth…hiding. You’ll see that later.

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Before I begin it is important to point out one thing:

Warning: Never get any water-based anything near chocolate. If even ONE drop falls into your chocolate, it will seize and be ruined. Keep this in mind for the entire chocolate making process.


Day One:

I ordered two pounds of Ghana Forastero beans from Mr. Nanci at Chocolate Alchemy. I decided not to start with criollo due to it being slightly trickier to roast. I have roasted beans twice before to make Mexican chocolate, and both times I was happy with the result. Both times I also used Forastero, so it felt like a good place to start.

Because I haven’t wanted to invest in a cocoa bean cracker to break the beans down to nibs, I asked John to do that for me pre-roast. He winnowed them as well. The drawback to cracking and winnowing raw beans, however, is that the husk sticks to the bean a bit more and so one is left with a higher percentage of husk on the beans than if one were to do so after the roast. One expects to lose about 25% of the weight of the beans in husk, so from the two pounds of beans I bought, at the end of the winnowing process I should have had about 1 lb. 8 ounces. When my beans came I had about 1 lb. 12.5 ounces which told me that I needed to winnow a bit post roast. I’ll get to that in a moment.


Roasting:

For the roasting, I set the oven to 350 and placed the nibs in a ceramic baking dish. They were one inch deep and spread evenly. I placed the nibs in the oven when it was heated to 350, and took it out every 5 minutes to stir. Due to the constant opening of the oven, the heat was dropping from 350 down into the 200’s. When roasting in the oven, the idea is to start with a high heat to get the beans up to temperature as quickly as possible, and then lower it some to the roasting temperature. Due to the loss of heat every 5 minutes, and the fact that Forastero can take a pretty heavy roasting, I didn’t adjust the heat. At about minute 15 the kitchen began to fill with the smell of baking brownies. Actually the smell is better than baking brownies, but that is the closest smell I can compare it to. By minute 20 the beans were starting to become roasted enough to tell by looking (darker and glossier) and the smell had increased. By minute 25 when I stirred the beans, they seemed almost done as they had a strong brownie smell, with no hint of burnt odour and were quite a bit darker. I roasted them for two more minutes and then removed them. I tasted a couple nibs and the taste was a familiar deep cocoa flavour with its accompanying bitterness. I was happy with the roast and brought the beans out to cool, leaving them in the same dish they had roasted in.

Here are the beans pre-roast, and then…

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Post-roast:

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Note the change in color of the beans.


Winnowing:

After the beans were cool, I winnowed them once more to remove most of the rest of the husk. To understand how I winnowed (with a blow dryer), and why it is not imperative to remove every last little bit of the husk with the setup I am using, I can do no better than to quote John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy from his winnowing page at which there are also photos of the process:
Winnowing

“A few notes: For winnowing, just use any old hair dryer, although a small shop vac works great. Come in high and stir with your hands…You will soon work out how close the blowing air needs to be to blow the husk away, but not the nibs. After a few minutes, you should have a nice bowl of nibs ready for the Champion Juicer. Don't fret too much about a few pieces of husk here and there. The screen in the Champion will remove those few bits, and actually make a very nice filter bed.”

Here is a photo of the winnowed and roasted beans:

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Next is grinding of the beans with the Champion juicer.



Day Two:

I started today by laying out everything I would need. This included:

1) Cocoa beans
2) Cocoa butter (heated until just melted)
3) One Piece spatula
4) Two large plastic microwave safe bowls
5) 2-3 smaller glass/ceramic bowls
6) Sugar
7) Vanilla bean (dried)
8) Liquid Lecithin
9) Santha mixer
10) Champion
11) Food Processor
12) Scale


Cocoa Bean grinding:

First I melted the cocoa butter until it was just melted (not too hot), in the microwave. I used 6 ounces for the approximately 24 ounces of cocoa liquor I would end up with.

I started with 27.5 ounces of beans in a bowl, which included about a couple ounces of husk that didn’t get removed in the winnowing phase. I set up my champion with the small screen, and put the requisite bowls underneath the screen and underneath the waste output (one each). I turned on the Champion and ran the beans through at a moderate speed. After running the beans through one time I took a photo to show how much liquor had been extracted and how much “waste” existed.

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Actually, as you can tell, there is quite a lot of liquor mixed in with the “waste” husks, so the idea is to run it through again and again until virtually all of the liquor is extracted. The grinding case of the Champion can hold 3-4 ounces of material, so with a small batch of chocolate like this, basically at the end, the compartment will be filled with a lot of husk and only a little liquor, with not much coming out of the waste spout. This is what I was looking for, so I ran it through two more times and here is a second photo to show the difference:

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Finally, to wash out the last little bit of liquor from inside the grinding case, I ran the melted cocoa butter through the Champion and here is the final photo after the cocoa butter and liquor have been mixed together:

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I weighed the resulting mixture and it came out to be 834 grams which is just a hair short of 30 ounces I anticipated (29.29 actually). Basically, then, most of what was left in the grinding cover was husk that had been filtered out, with a little bit of liquor. No big loss.


Sugar and vanilla bean grinding:

Next, I put the very dry 1/3 vanilla bean (1 gram) and the 16 ounces of pure cane granular sugar (455.52 grams) into a food processor and processed at high speed for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar was reduced to a fine powder. It is NOT possible to use powdered sugar from the store as it contains corn starch and will RUIN the chocolate. The sugar must be powdered at home from granular.

I measured out the approx. 2.65 grams of liquid lecithin. I need a better scale, and will buy one before I make chocolate again (preferably a pocket scale that measures in increments of .1 of a gram like the JS-500 or a similar scale). Using my Philips scale, I got the measurement somewhere between 2 and 3 grams. The amount that I wanted to add for my chocolate was .2% of the total mass of all the other ingredients (which was 1290.52 grams), since .2% is a fairly common amount to add in dark chocolates.

It is not that exciting, but here is a photo of the sugar and lecithin:

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Chocolate mixing, refining, conching:

Finally, I heated the chocolate liquor/cocoa butter mixture up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit in a microwave safe plastic bowl so that when I added it to the Santha wet/dry grinder, which is much cooler (being made of granite), it would still be relatively warm when I added the sugar, which is a good idea to keep the Santha from bogging down too much at the outset.

Here is a photo of the Santha pre-liquor. One can see its similarity to a large chocolate “melangeur”:

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So I added the liquor first. Here is a photo of the Santha after adding ONLY the liquor. It is somewhat smooth, but one can still see a fine grain:

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Then I added the sugar, vanilla, and lecithin. Here is a photo of the Santha after adding the sugar and lecithin to the liquor. It is no longer smooth, but rather is quite grainy, even after powdering the sugar, etc:

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I set the timer for 5 hours. Here is a photo of the mixture at 5 hours (still too grainy)

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7 hours (grainy still):

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9 hours (probably acceptable grain for grocery store chocolate):

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11 hours (acceptable grain for many store bought chocolates):

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13 hours (acceptable grain for many high-end chocolates, but I wanted to refine a bit further):

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Removed at 15 hours (extremely fine grain, practically not noticeable, but just short of what I consider the ultimate in mouthfeel—Domori Puertomar):

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The finished chocolate weighed in at:
2 lbs 7.25 ounces (1117.5 grams) after removing it from the Santha.




Day Three:

Today is the final active step of chocolate making, the tempering and moulding.

Tempering

I brought the chocolate (in a microwaveable bowl) up to 120 f in the microwave by heating it in 1 minute increments at a low power and stirring at each minute. After about 5 minutes it was at 120 f.

I ladled about 1/3 of the mixture onto my Silestone workspace leaving the rest in the plastic bowl to cool. At this point I spread it out and drew it up over and over again for about 2-3 minutes until the chocolate became thick and almost unmanageable. I then added this chocolate back to the reserved melted chocolate and stirred slowly with a thermometer until it had melted. The resulting temperature was 89 degrees when I was done with about 7 minutes of stirring.

Here are three photos showing three parts of the above process.

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I then moved the chocolate over to the kitchen table where my moulds were waiting. I had pre-coated them with a thin layer of cocoa butter as many do for their filled bon bons. ( I would come to find out later that I did not coat them 100% evenly)

Filling the Moulds:

I filled each four ounce mould with two plastic syringes (2 oz) full of chocolate. I tried to work as fast as possible as the chocolate viscosity was quickly increasing. After filling one entire mould, I wrapped it firmly on the table to even out the chocolate and release some bubbles. Unfortunately, the photo of that step is slightly blurred and so it isn’t that easy to see that the chocolate smoothes out very nicely. I then placed the moulds in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes until they set.

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De-moulding:

After the chocolate had cooled in the fridge for 45 minutes I removed the moulds and de-moulded immediately. They had contracted, as I expected, and came right out of the moulds all in one piece and hard. Though the bars were quite shiny over all, I could tell that I didn’t apply the cocoa butter extremely skillfully in some areas, so there are places where the shine is a bit more matte. So, the lack of smoothness of the bars is due to two things. First, the cocoa butter issue, and secondly, that the moulds have a slight texture to them, which would have looked homogeneous, had I applied the cocoa butter more skilfully. Additionally, I slightly overfilled some of the bars. I should have added 3.9 ounces to each mould rather than the full 4 ounces in order to avoid this.

I took a photo of all the bars together, and then the best looking single one.

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Finally, after about 15 hours of rest, here is a close up of one bar “snapped” in two so that you can see the texture. It had a very firm snap that I am really happy with, and the grain looks good too. This hints at a good temper, but I’ll keep everyone updated over the next few days if I notice any bloom at all. However, there are some air bubbles that I didn’t manage to get out of the chocolate. This impacts the “look” of the chocolate. I have decided that I will definitely invest in a chocolate vibrating table before I mould bars again. These bubbles would have been forced out of even this quite viscous chocolate with such vibration.

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Technically, the chocolate should now “age” for some time to reach its peak in texture and flavor. I have seen suggested that 3 months is an adequate amount of time, though I don’t imagine that these bars will be around by then.

The best part of this experience is that the chocolate tastes absolutely fantastic, and the mouthfeel matches the flavor in quality. The grain of the chocolate is just barely recognizable (i.e., is a far finer grain than most chocolate bars…even many of the “artisanal” chocolates such as some of Amedei’s). I have never had a chocolate bar made with Forastero that is this good, and the bitterness that one would expect with a cocoa of this type is almost non-existent. Now, I can’t wait to buy some Ocumare (criollo) and experiment with that.

At any rate, I hope that some of you have enjoyed this demo, however imperfect it may be. I tried to document as much as possible to give everyone the feeling that you were here making the chocolate with me. Of course I can’t convey the magnificent smell of the roasting beans with their rich house-filling cocoa aroma, and I you can’t taste the finished product that is completely worth every bit of the time and effort, but hopefully you now have some sense of how to make chocolate at home, and better yet, the knowledge that it IS possible. The 21st century is here, home chocolate making is no longer kitchen fiction, and I dare say, and only half joking: “Be on the lookout Domori, the Chocolate Alchemists are on the prowl.” (Just don’t tell him I’m the one who said it)

Lastly, for all of you who are now interested in making your own chocolate, please come and visit the free Chocolate Alchemy Forum, where, in addition to eGullet, I have learned a lot of things that have helped me to finally make my own chocolate.

Comments welcome. I’ll answer any questions that I can.

Sincerely,

Alan

Edited by A Patric, 11 February 2006 - 08:19 AM.


#2 alanamoana

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:41 AM

That was a great demo Alan. Thanks for taking the time to document everything. I really feel that you've made chocolate making accessible to the home enthusiast. Of course, it entails buying more tools and gadgets!!!

Thanks again!

#3 Pookie

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:50 AM

Holy Crap! Homemade Chocolate! :wub:

Where did you get your grinder?

(wonders if she can persuade the husband on that one.)

#4 Stephanie Wallace

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:52 AM

Dude, thank you so much for this demo. I am completely sold. As soon as my bank account agrees I am investing in the necessary equipment.

Formerly known as "Melange"


#5 WhiteTruffleGirl

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 09:04 AM

Excellent demo Alan! Thank you so much for sharing. I've got to say, ever since you first posted about this, I've been reading the Chocolate Alchemy site, and have been extremely tempted to try my hand at this.

A couple of questions...

You said that you had Mr. Nanci break and winnow your beans prior to your roasting them. Did this contribute to the amount of husk you had left after your second winnowing? i.e., if you had left them whole for roasting, would a single post-roast winnowing allowed you to remove more husk?

How tricky is the timing of the roasting? Is it like nuts where you go from being "not done" to being "burnt" in just a matter of what seems like an instant? And how deep can you load your pan?

I'm a little confused by your commentary on the grinding, but perhaps this is only because I do not understand how the Champion works. You indicate you keep running what comes out with the "waste" again and again. I get that. What I don't quite understand, is your comment, "the compartment will be filled with a lot of husk and only a little liquor, with not much coming out of the waste spout." Is it left in the grinding case?

What is the maximum capacity you could make at one time in the Santha?

You indicate the roasting of criollo is trickier. How so? Is the conching also different? Are all beans just slightly different in how they need to be processed?

On a practical note...capital expenditures and your own labor costs aside, how does making your own chocolate compare price-wise?

I'm sure I'll have a load of other questions, but these are what immediately spring to mind.

I wish I could taste it! Many congrats on your success.

btw...I took Trishiad's excellent advice on another thread and bought a vibrating table on ebay. I got exactly the same model that Chef Rubber wants to sell you for $130 for $80. Just search for "lab vibrator."

#6 A Patric

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 10:00 AM

Holy Crap! Homemade Chocolate!  :wub:

Where did you get your grinder?

(wonders if she can persuade the husband on that one.)

View Post



Dear Pookie,

I bought the Santha grinder from Mr. Nanci at Chocolate Alchemy for $265 new with free shipping. I bought the Champion at Juice and Beyond where I found the cheapest price for new $187, plus free shipping.
However, used Champions, which run for longer than some people are alive, can be found used on eBay for about $100.

Santha is an Indian company and does sell at other sites online, but I haven't found a better price than Mr. Nanci's (not to say that there isn't one). Additionally, Mr. Nanci has worked with Santha personally to have two things altered on the machine that make chocolate refining possible:

1) The casing for the motor has been altered to include vents so that it never overheats, even after running 24 hours or more. This is not done to normal Santhas.

2) The one hour shut-off timer is removed and the so the Santha runs continuously. Obviously it is a pain to restart a machine every hour, so this feature is great.

Sincerely,

Alan

Edited by A Patric, 11 February 2006 - 10:01 AM.


#7 chezcherie

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 10:19 AM

oh. wow. you made your own chocolate bars. from scratch. verrrrrry cool. very, verrrry cool.
i hope that i will never be seriously tempted to do this....working with chocolate is not my strong suite....
but the demo was fascinating. all the steps i've seen at scharffenberger, but in miniature (but without the aroma). thanks for chronicling your successful journey.
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#8 A Patric

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 10:29 AM

Dear WhiteTruffleGirl,


Excellent demo Alan!  Thank you so much for sharing.  I've got to say, ever since you first posted about this, I've been reading the Chocolate Alchemy site, and have been extremely tempted to try my hand at this.

A couple of questions...

You said that you had Mr. Nanci break and winnow your beans prior to your roasting them.  Did this contribute to the amount of husk you had left after your second winnowing?  i.e., if you had left them whole for roasting, would a single post-roast winnowing allowed you to remove more husk?


No, what contributed to the amount of husk left after winnowing was the fact that I had removed most of it, and knew that the champion would filter out the rest, so I didn't feel like spending more time winnowing. Additionally, since there will be some matter left in the grinder casing afterwards, I would rather it be husk than liquor, so actually leaving some husk in with the nibs can save liquor.

How tricky is the timing of the roasting?  Is it like nuts where you go from being "not done" to being "burnt" in just a matter of what seems like an instant?  And how deep can you load your pan?


I am not an expert roaster, but there are many ways to roast. One can roast some beans more than others, and some beans have a wider window of possibility than others. Criollo is more touchy, as I understand it, because it is a fine flavor bean and too much roasting will actually drive off many of the flavors that people want from the bean, while at the same time strengthening the bitter aspect. Forastero is far more forgiving. When oven roasting, one can roast thin layers of beans at lower temperatures, or thicker layers at higher temperatures that are reduced over the length of the roast. When roasting thicker layers of beans one must stir somewhat frequently. As I said, I am not an expert roaster, but I can say that Forastero is not hard to roast. I have never personally roasted Criollo, but if one is carefull and does enough reading ahead of time, then it shouldn't be too hard. It simply can't be roasted like a forastero. It is a really different bean.

I'm a little confused by your commentary on the grinding, but perhaps this is only because I do not understand how the Champion works.  You indicate you keep running what comes out with the "waste" again and again.  I get that.  What I don't quite understand, is your comment, "the compartment will be filled with a lot of husk and only a little liquor, with not much coming out of the waste spout."  Is it left in the grinding case?


Basically the Champion advertises that it can juice, puree, and make nut butters. When it grinds beans, it is basically making a nut butter. However, the difference lies in the fact that instead of putting in the "blank" to drive all of the matter out of the "waste" end from the grinding case, one uses a fine screen. The liquor then drips through the screen while the husk and large particles are driven out the "waste" end. There is some liquor that gets stuck inbetween bits of husk, or that is not finely ground enough. If one runs it through again, more liquor is extracted. Eventually, all that one ends up with is husk and a bit of liquor stuck to the husk. At this point, the grinding case, which can't push out material without material being pushed in the top (it has to do with how the grinder spins, pulling the material back in on itself, rather than spitting it out), will be filled with maybe 3 ounces of husk/liquor. But most of that will be husk. I only ground 27 ounces of beans. If I had ground more, then the husk that would have ended up in the bowl would have been more substantial. As it is, most of the husk from my beans was left in the grinding case, and only a bit filled the bowl at the end. Am I explaining this well?

What is the maximum capacity you could make at one time in the Santha?


I don't know the max, but I know that Mr. Nanci has refined nearly 10 lbs at a time.

You indicate the roasting of criollo is trickier.  How so?  Is the conching also different?  Are all beans just slightly different in how they need to be processed?


I answered the criollo roasting question above. With criollo, one doesn't want to conch too much according to the owner of Dagoba. He noted that too much conching and heating during conching drives off the fine flavor that one wants to keep. However, the Santha only makes it up to about 120 F without extra heat from a heat lamp or other device, so it should be right in a really nice range for refining/conching criollo.

Yes, basically every type of bean must be roasted differently according to its character.

On a practical note...capital expenditures and your own labor costs aside, how does making your own chocolate compare price-wise?

View Post



Making one's own chocolate is cheap. I'll do the math here for what I made this time, which by all standards was a little wastefull; well, I ate a few mouthfulls of chocolate that didn't manage to make it into bar form :unsure:, and the less one processes, the more loss exists (i.e. from processing, etc.)

Beans: $22
Sugar: $1
Cocoa Butter:$2.50
Vanilla bean: $0.50
Lecithin: $0.05

Total: $26.05

I ended up with 2 lbs. of molded chocolate, and some that I ate, etc.

This makes the chocolate under $13 per pound (probably closer to $12) which is pretty attractive considering the quality. What I made, for example, is far better than a 70% Green and Black bar, IMO, and between $5-8 dollars a pound cheaper where I live.

If I had made a larger batch (like maybe 5 lbs.), then the percentage waste from processing would have been less, and the cost would have been more like $9 per pound, which is a steal.

The cost for the Champion (which I also juice with about 5 times a week, and make walnut butter with quite often) and the Santha together would be anywhere from $365 - 452.

Most people interested in this will already have molds, etc. Nothing else is really needed because one can buy pre-cracked/winnowed beans of most types from Mr. Nanci. He does offer a bean mill for cracking, but I haven't bought it as I haven't wanted to spend the money, but it is a nice looking piece of manual machinery.

Hopefully I've answered your questions.

Sincerely,

Alan

Edited by A Patric, 11 February 2006 - 10:40 AM.


#9 Trishiad

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 11:58 AM

What a crazy cool demo. Thanks for sharing your experiments with us. I am wondering why you decided to coat your molds with cocoa butter.

I too, am curious about whether this is cost effective or just fun and cool.

#10 A Patric

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 12:16 PM

What a crazy cool demo.  Thanks for sharing your experiments with us.  I am wondering why you decided to coat your molds with cocoa butter.

I too, am curious about whether this is cost effective or just fun and cool.

View Post


Dear Trishiad,

I did so because I wanted to experiment with the "look" of the finished product. What I meant to do was to coat 1/2 the molds with cocoa butter and leave the other half with nothing. I wanted to compare the way all of the bars looked. But, then as I was coating the molds, I forgot my plan and did them all. :rolleyes:

Oh well.

Regarding cost effectiveness, I think it depends on what couverture you usually use. It is clearly cost effective on a per bar basis, especially when dealing with larger batches, but it might not be as cost effective if you buy bulk Valrhona or something like that, but I am not convinced that bulk Valrhona would be better quality, though it is better than most grocery store chocolates. I think it depends. But, one thing is for sure, it is fun, it is interesting, and it tastes amazing.

Sincerely,

Alan

Edited by A Patric, 11 February 2006 - 01:07 PM.


#11 Rebecca263

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 12:16 PM

Holy Beans. Wow. I would love to do this. Too dear for me, the price of equipment! I would be so happy if I could make a smoother chocolate. Thanks for allowing us to watch the process!
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#12 Trishiad

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 02:58 PM

For not a ton of money you can get Tomric to make custom bar molds for you.

#13 SMW

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 03:56 PM

Making your own chocolate is just so cool. I'll never look at a bar of chocolate in quite the same way after reading this demo. Thanks for for the new perspective on chocolate.

#14 Anna N

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 06:46 PM

I am quite certain I will never want to make my own chocolate BUT I really appreciate an opportunity to learn how it is done. Many thanks for taking the time to show us.
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#15 lapasterie

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 07:28 PM

Great demo!!! I never knew you could do that at home. Thanks

#16 alligande

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 07:29 AM

Thanks for the great demo, now I really want to go out and get the stuff and make choclate, sadly my piggy bank is not full enough at the moment :angry:

#17 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 09:34 AM

Wow.............thank-you!! Your photos did turn out well, as you mentioned in another thread.

Please look here, for a complete list of our Demo threads.

#18 Beanie

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 12:33 PM

Amazing demo. Thank you so much. I never even thought this could be done at home.
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#19 A Patric

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 01:20 PM

Dear all,

Thanks for the kind remarks.

I wanted to give a link to a photo of a French Melangeur because it appears that the link I gave above is not working:
http://www.deafholly...useum_asl10.htm

It is the third photo from the top.

also see a ways down the page:
http://www.grenadach...tour/grind.html

Related to the Melangeur, while reading Mr. Minifie's book called "Chocolate, Cocoa, and Confectionery," I noted what he had to say about the French Melangeur:

"[The French Melangeur was used for] the complete manufacture of chocolate and incorporated the processes of mixing, grinding, and conching."


The Santha machine above takes over the role of the Melangeur for the home chocolate maker, doing the work of mixing, grinding/refining, and conching all at once.

I just thought that some of you may find the above statement of some interest.

Sincerely,

Alan
P.S. For those of you who are taking this seriously and really want to make your own chocolate, come visit the Chocolate Alchemy Forum (there is a link in my signature) as there is quite a bit of information there, and anyone can read it for free, without even having an account.

Edited by A Patric, 12 February 2006 - 01:22 PM.


#20 A Patric

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 03:30 PM

Dear all,

And regarding the Champion, to give everyone an idea of its strength and durability, let me recount what just happened about 20 minutes ago in my kitchen.

I decided to make some walnut butter. So, I took the huge bag of walnuts out of the freezer--where I keep them for freshness--and set up my Champion.

I began running the frozen walnuts through the Champion, and with little difficulty finished the bag. I then opened bag number two and began to make more butter, noting the fact that the frozen nuts were not really any harder to grind than the nuts of this new bag of defrosted nuts. However...

...a little ways in to the new bag I heard a horrible "shattering-type" sound coming from the Champion which got louder over the course of a second or two. I immediately turned off the machine wondering if I was going to find the grinder in pieces inside the casing. However, after taking things apart, lo and behold, all I found was a small piece of a ground up walnut shell. The Champion was in 100% perfect condition, and it had ground the shell to pieces.

This shows the power and durability of this machine. Cocoa beans are not only much softer than walnut shells, but they are even softer than frozen walnuts. In fact, I would say that they are about the same hardness as almonds.

It's just one more reason why the Champion is such a good tool for making chocolate liquor.


Alan

Edited by A Patric, 12 February 2006 - 03:33 PM.


#21 Alchemist John

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 10:29 AM

Hello all,

I wanted to hop in a introduce myself. I am the Mr. Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy that Alan keeps refering too. I hardly ever go by that, usually it is just John or Alchemist John.

First off, Alan, thank you so much for this. I was thinking of doing a demo, but I hardly have anything to add. You have done a great job.

Just a few quick notes.

Tomric is great. There are where I get most of my molds and were I had my own Logo mold made. The set up fee is around $100 and the molds are around $10 each then.

Roasting is not as bad as a lot of people seem to think it is. It is considered a relatively delicate process mainly because of the low temperatures, not really the difficulty. The nibs can burn pretty quick if your oven is hot (over 350 F), but at 250-300, your window is pretty wide. They will not just burn. I actually like to roast the beans whole. The larger size gives you even more of a window due to the thermal gradient that will go on inside the bean. It is mainly how you approach it.

Alan is doing a great job answering questions, but if I can answer anything, clear anything up or answer any particular "whys", please ask. I pretty much "discovered" how to make chocolate at home, with nearly every professional I spoke with saying it can't be done. I have really tried to make it approachable.

My main goal is to get the information out there and show people that making chocolate at home is VERY doable, and not really that hard.

Alchemist John
aka Mr. Nanci :-)
www.chocolatealchemy.com

#22 A Patric

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:22 AM

Dear all,

Just an update to say that there is no bloom on my bars, so the temper was well done. Chocolate complete!

Also, I just realized that I didn't give the specific temperature range that I was looking for in the temper. The most stable beta crystals (type V) are formed and in a non-melted state somewhere between the temperatures of 84 and 91 F or so. There are no 100% correct guidelines here, and even experts disagree to some extent about this range, but in general, these temperatures are good guidelines. I used an even more conservative range of 85-90 F myself.

So, when I worked the 1/3 of my chocolate into a clay-like un-workable mass on my Silestone slab, and then added it back to the rest of the chocolate while stirring, I was looking for a final temperature within this 85-90 F range. What I ended up with was chocolate at 89 degrees, which made me happy as it was on the high end of the range, and therefore less viscous than if it would have been 85. Had it been 85 or 86, then I would have heated it just a bit to about 89 or 90 to decrease viscosity for molding. When I found the final temperature of 89, I then stirred the chocolate very well to make sure that the stable beta crystals (type V), that had been formed, were as equally distributed as possible in order for them to act as catalysts to the largest extent possible for the crystallization of the cooling chocolate.

Anyway, this is just my method based on reading and asking others in the Chocolate Alchemy forum for their methods. It worked, and I am happy about that.

One last point, I have realized how important temperature is in this process. By that I mean that if one has a thermometer accurate to +/-2 degrees F then it would be easy to do one of the following things even if one thinks s/he is in the appropriate range of temperatures:

1) take the chocolate to 92 or higher which would result in melting the stable beta V crystals and a weak temper with bloom
2) take the chocolate down to 83 or below which would result in creation of less stable beta IV crystals that would then migrate to beta V after molding, leading to bloom.

When taking the final measurement of the chocolate, one needs to be sure that what the thermometer says is correct, or quite close to correct. For this reason, I am going to invest in a NIST traceable digital stem thermometer with a resolution to .1 degrees F and an accuracy of +/-0.4 F. I have found such thermometers in the $35-45 range. There are more accurate ones available (i.e., that are accurate to +/- 0.1 F), but I haven't been able to find them for a reasonable price, though if you do, please tell me. :smile:

This means that if one were to measure the chocolate and get a reading of 90 F, then it could be 90.4 F at most, and this is still perfectly an acceptable temperature, etc.

At any rate, I have learned from reading, and from those kind enough to share their expertise with me, such as John (up above), and other Chocolate Alchemy Forum members, that temperature is very important for this final step, and therefore, I hope that this post clarifies what I left out in the original demo regarding temperature.

For those of you who own tempering machines, that's great, but for the rest of us, there is no need to spend another $400 dollars when a slab of marble, a good thermometer, and a pastry scraper can do the job for much less.

Happy chocolate making. :wub:

Sincerely,

Alan

#23 sanrensho

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 12:18 PM

For this reason, I am going to invest in a NIST traceable digital stem thermometer with a resolution to .1 degrees F and an accuracy of +/-0.4 F.  I have found such thermometers in the $35-45 range. 


Do you have a specific model and/or source that your can recommend?

TIA
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#24 A Patric

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 01:40 PM

For this reason, I am going to invest in a NIST traceable digital stem thermometer with a resolution to .1 degrees F and an accuracy of +/-0.4 F.  I have found such thermometers in the $35-45 range. 


Do you have a specific model and/or source that your can recommend?

TIA

View Post


Dear TIA,

Unless I find something better in the very near future, I will be buying:
45-4352 Traceable® Long-Stem Digital ULTRA™ Thermometer $43.63
From:
http://www.sciencela...R/21811/45-4052

Notice that the four models all have different accuracies, and that model 45-4352 is accurate to +/-0.2 C or about +/-0.4 F

Sincerely,

Alan

#25 sanrensho

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 01:43 PM

Dear TIA,

Unless I find something better in the very near future, I will be buying:
45-4352    Traceable® Long-Stem Digital ULTRA™ Thermometer  $43.63 
From:
http://www.sciencela...R/21811/45-4052

Notice that the four models all have different accuracies, and that model 45-4352 is accurate to +/-0.2 C or about +/-0.4 F

Sincerely,

Alan


Alan, thanks for the info and quick reply! I forgot to add, thank you for the excellent demo. Not something I am in a position to try, but a fascinating read nonetheless.

-Kenji (TIA=Thanks In Advance)

Edited by sanrensho, 14 February 2006 - 01:44 PM.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#26 cdh

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:56 PM

Wow! Impressive demo. Thanks for taking us through this process. Something else to add to my list...
Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

----- De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

#27 Shalmanese

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:52 PM

Just something completely out of the blue:

After reading This NYT Article on Chocolate in Turin, I was struck by this quote:

The old formula has a slight smokiness that Dr. Mariella Maione, in charge of marketing, says comes from the olive wood the company still uses to roast chocolate.


A quick search for smoked chocolates indicates a few avant garde chefs smoking finished bars of chocolate but none that I am aware of trying to use smoke in the roasting process. In my mind, smoke and chocolate would seem like a fantastic combination and I was wondering if you were willing to do a bit of experimentation in trying to create a smoked chocolate bar.
PS: I am a guy.

#28 thegreatdane

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 06:44 PM

Just something completely out of the blue:

After reading This NYT Article on Chocolate in Turin, I was struck by this quote:

The old formula has a slight smokiness that Dr. Mariella Maione, in charge of marketing, says comes from the olive wood the company still uses to roast chocolate.


A quick search for smoked chocolates indicates a few avant garde chefs smoking finished bars of chocolate but none that I am aware of trying to use smoke in the roasting process. In my mind, smoke and chocolate would seem like a fantastic combination and I was wondering if you were willing to do a bit of experimentation in trying to create a smoked chocolate bar.

View Post



There are some chocolates that have a smokey character, due to the drying process over fire, any fire, any wood. It gives it a hammy character, some may like. I'm not sure olive wood would make a difference. I understand some growers do this to hasten drying because of the rainy season when they harvest. Otherwise, the preferred means of drying cocoa beans is in the sun for a week or so.

#29 FistFullaRoux

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 08:22 PM

Highly impressive. This seems like a perfect reason for a get-together. BYOB (Bring your own beans) and share the equipment.

Oh, the things that run through my head...
Screw it. It's a Butterball.

#30 2010

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 07:52 AM

Amazing demo! COOL! Really cool! Thanks for sharing! Watch this become a segment on Martha Stewart's show. "....And next week, make your own chocolate at home! Stay tuned..."





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