People all over the world love chocolate. It has a distinctive, delicious rich and sweet flavor along with a silky and smooth texture. The chocolates quality is determined by the method used it making it. There are many ready-made chocolates that are available in supermarkets everywhere, and there are also many different types available from dark, rich chocolate to white milky chocolate. Its quality and price also ranges widely and varies depending on the manufacturer or brand.
Chocolate is essentially made with cocoa beans. Chocolate is utilized in many recipes from chocolate mousse, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, chocolate brownies, chocolate candy, hot chocolate, chocolate cookies, and more. It is also a common gift that is given on special occasions from birthdays, anniversaries, to Valentine’s Day. Some people find the allure of chocolate to be overwhelming. There are certain sensory properties and chemical that are found in cacao that helps to make chocolate very appealing.
Making chocolate from the actual cacao bean is not easy. The large chocolate companies have invested large amounts of money in the machinery, tools, and recipes that turn the cacao beans that have a naturally bitter taste into the scrumptious, delicious sweets. But, with many hours, and perhaps days, of dedication and effort to the details plus some special equipment you may just be able to create a mini chocolate factory in your own home. You can utilize the following methods and instructions to make your own chocolate.
Your first endeavor will be to locate the cacao beans. You can purchase raw cacao beans in a variety of places including the Internet. You can obtain the peeled nibs (raw chocolate) or you can get the whole cacao beans.
Roasting the Beans
Begin by roasting the cacao beans. The operation is much like roasted coffees, except by gentler means: 5 to 35 minutes at temperatures between 250 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (F). You have to generally expose the beans for an initial temperature, then lowering the temperature progressively to prevent over cooking once the beans have begun to crack. You can utilize a roaster or your oven.
If you’re roasting inside the oven then you should use a cookie sheet to lay one layer of beans. You can start by roasting for approximately 20 minutes at 250 degrees (F) in a preheated oven. If you want to roast larger quantities of beans then it is best to purchase a drum that rotates on a grill or propane gas.
Crack the Cacao Beans
After roasting, the cacao beans have to be winnowed and cracked into nibs. This is how the chaff or husk is removed. You can perform this step manually with a hammer if it is a small batch. Just hammer the bean to crack it open and remove the husks. For large quantities it is best to utilize a specialized mill that converts the beans to nibs. You must now winnow these nibs by stirring them with a spoon or be hand while blowing with a fan or hair dryer to blow away the husks.
Grinding the Nibs
For grinding the nibs to a liqueur of cacao you need equipment that can separate the remaining husks and liquefy the nibs. Some food processors, meat mills, juicers, and coffee mills are strong enough for this job. You will have to experiment at this point to find the right device.
Refining the Chocolate
This step refines and conchs the chocolate. Conching the chocolate affects the texture, smell, and characteristic taste of the chocolate. Refining helps to reduce the sugar deposits and cacao solids. These two processes can by performed simultaneously with the use of a potent wet grinder. The way you refine and conch the chocolate will rely on what equipment you utilize.
Here is where you mix milk powder, a vanilla pod, lecithin, and sugar. You pour this chocolate mixture in the grinder, and you keep chocolate melted throughout the very first hour. Continue this refining process for not less than 10 hours and a maximum of 36 hours, until the chocolate tastes balanced and smooth, however, do not over-refine it or it may get a gummy texture.
To take a rest from the refining process you should switch off the grinder and place the covered bowl into an oven that’s pre-heated to 150 degrees F, but switched off. It can be left there overnight. The mixture should not solidify, but if it does then take the cover off and turn the oven to about 150 to 175 degrees F and place in the oven until the chocolate melts.
Tempering the Chocolate
This is likely to probably be the most difficult portion of this process. However, the truly amazing factor about tempering is that it can be done on numerous times and it won’t ruin the chocolate. The most crucial factor is that you don’t let any moisture get in the chocolate, or it will likely ruin it.
Here you melt the chocolate very carefully. Just make certain that the chocolate doesn’t burn by constantly stirring it. Once the chocolate has melted and is close to 120 degrees F then it can be transferred to a dry bowl. This transfer should occur before the chocolate reaches 100 degrees F. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Molding the Chocolate
You can mold the chocolate when it is about 90 degrees F. You can pour the chocolate into molds. Some people prefer to use a big syringe to put the chocolate into a mold. The key is to be careful and avoid spilling. Once in the mold you can allow it to harden with the room temperature, refrigerate, or freeze it.
Remove Chocolate from Molds
Once the chocolate has hardened it may be removed from the molds. The chocolate should snap cleanly in two and it should also have a glossy appearance. If it doesn’t then you may want to temper the chocolate again just make sure it remains moisture free and that you don’t overcook it.
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