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After yesterday’s blog I was asked about the process of making chocolate so here’s a short version of it.

The cacao beans are harvested, fermented and then roasted.  The flavor we recognize as chocolate is not present until the beans are fermented and then roasted.

The roasted beans go through micronizing (breaking them into pieces or nibs) and Winnowing (separating the shells from the nibs.  If you see cocoa nibs for sale, give them a try. This is the purest form of the cacao marketed for consumption.

The separated nibs are ground or crushed to make a pasty substance called liquor. There’s no alcohol in this.

At this point the liquor can be turned into cocoa powder or any type of chocolate. If chocolate is to be made, ingredients like vanilla, sugar, lecithin and even milk powder can be added. Then it’s all mixed.

The chocolate is further refined to decrease the size of the particles and give it a creamier texture. This is done by running the batch through a series of steel or stone rollers.

Now comes the conching. High quality chocolate makers are dilligent with this step. Imagine the process of kneading bread dough. This step really refines the chocolate and separates high quality from low quality. This can take anywhere from 9 to 36 hours.

Tempering - the chocolate is heated and then cooled slowly so the final product is shiny, appetizing and has the familiar snap when either broken or bit into. After this step the chocolate is ready to be deposited into any form of bar or little coins for people like me to use in the manufacturing of confections. Small batches of chocolate can be tempered at home, too. If chocolate is not tempered, it really loses something in the taste and texture.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      007pouty wrote May 29, 2009
    • Thanks for the information Chocolatier.  I enjoyed reading about my favorite subject!

      By the way, did you ever find a substitue to make sugar free chocolate?  I am interested in hearing what you’ve decided to do.
      estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote May 29, 2009
    • No, I just can’t bring myself to use anything artificial in my chocolate. I use so little sugar in the first place. I even incorporate unsweetened chocolate in my work to further cut the sugar even in bittersweet.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 29, 2009
    • So my hubby (bless his heart) told me if I really wanted to get that tummy tuck I have always wanted I would have to give up chocolate.
      Hmmmmmm.......
      I don’t think that decision is very hard. I would never give up chocolate. Even if I haven’t had the awesome european kind.



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