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Chocolate Making

Studies indicate that chocolate is one of the favorite foods of people all across the world. Chocolate making, also sometimes referred to as candy making, is regarded as an art in today’s world, as it is a well known fact that turning cacao beanss into a scrumptious and mouth watering treat requires a lot of time, effort, patience and most important of all, skill. The transformation or the chocolate making process begins in the tropical rainforests and goes through several procedures, before finally ending in a factory. Moreover, most chocolate manufacturing companies put in millions of dollars into the right chocolate making equipment, which can turn the bitter cacao beans into a mouthwatering candy bar. Most such companies have also put years of research into their chocolate making recipes, so that they can preserve the taste, flavor and texture of the treat they are selling.

However, all good chocolates are not necessarily prepared in factories. Thanks to chocolate making classes that can be taken up, by just about anybody, quite a few people attempt chocolate making at home and are quite successful at it, in spite of using simple chocolate making supplies and tools. There are several private chocolate makers, better known as Chocolatier, that manufacture their own chocolate, either for commercial purposes, or simply because the prefer the taste of their own homemade chocolate. Moreover, nowadays, there is a lot more to chocolate, than just the consumption of it. In fact, most Americans will admit that the demands for new variations in chocolate are increasing every day. This could be the reason that the chocolate making experience has also taken a turn. Several chocolate producers have begun to experiment and expand their chocolate making endeavors, by setting off on new culinary adventures and discovering new flavors or textures. As a result, most chocoholic or chocolate lovers across the world find it possible to get the type of chocolate that satisfies that palette.

There are many people who buy cooking chocolate from the stores and then add flavors to it, in order to make their own brand of chocolate. However, though difficult, it is possible for people to make their own chocolate at home, right from the scratch, i.e., from the cacao bean, if they use the right chocolate making system. Given below are the steps and instructions that should be followed for chocolate making:

• Roasting the cacao beans, for anywhere between 5 and 35 minutes, at temperatures that could vary from 120 degrees C to 160 degrees C. Initially, the beans should be exposed to a higher temperature, which is then gradually reduced. As soon as the beans crack, the roasting should stop. However, duration for which the beans need to be roasted may vary, based on the type of oven used, as well as the quantity of the beans.
• Cracking the beans, with a special hammer, and winnowing them, so that the husks are removed. In case the quantity is small, the beans can be cracked by hand, into nibs.
• Grinding the nibs into cocoa liquor, where the nibs are liquefied. Hence, the chocolate making tools and equipment required for this process need to be quite strong. Regular food processors, juicers, coffee grinders or mortar and pestles are not very effective for this process. Hence, after locating the right equipment, it is important for the chocolate maker to add the nibs to one, in small quantities, like perhaps one handful at a time. Pushing the nibs in too forcefully should be strictly avoided, as it could cause the motor to overheat. The cocoa liqueur will be obtained through the screen.
• It is important to conch the chocolate appropriately, as this step has a major effect on the texture, smell and taste of the type of chocolate that is produced. Moreover, in order to reduce the size of the cocoa solids and sugar crystals present in the chocolate, the refining process is required. With the help of a good wet grinder, both the processes can be combined effectively. The method to conch the chocolate will depend a great deal on the type of equipment that is used.
• Tempering the chocolate is regarded as the most difficult step of the entire chocolate making process. However, it is important to perform the step in the right manner, so that the chocolate has a shiny look to it, rather than a being soft and matte. Fortunately, chocolate can be put through the tempering process a couple of times, without getting ruined. It is also possible for people to purchase a tempering machine. The most important aspect of this step is to ensure that there is no moisture in the chocolate, which could ruin it. At the end of the process, the chocolate’s temperature should be around 90 degrees F.
• Chocolate molding is best performed when the chocolate is at around 90 degrees F. In this process, the chocolate should be poured into its mould carefully. In order to avoid spilling, there are many people who use a large syringe for chocolate molding. Once the chocolate has been poured into the moulds the chocolate needs to be hardened. There is no specific way to do that and people can choose to allow the chocolate to set at room temperature, in a refrigerator or even in a freezer. However, most people prefer using the fridge, to allow the chocolate to set.
• Once the chocolate is set, it needs to be removed from its mould. If the chocolate has been through the right conch and tempering process, then it should be glossy and should come away from the mold, without any trouble.

Chocolate making is not a very easy process and it usually takes some time for people to perfect the art of making chocolate at home. Moreover, the process can be quite a messy and time consuming one. However, after some amount of practice, the entire chocolate making process and experience do become easier. However, there are several factors that need to be taken into account, before making chocolate at home.

Submitted on January 16, 2014