The Chocolate-Making Process

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Real Chocolate: Over 50 Inspiring Recipes for Chocolate Indulgence

Real Chocolate

By Chantal Coady

Published 2003

At the factory, the beans are checked for quality before being roasted. Roasting is a great skill, as the beans need to be roasted at a temperature of 120–140°C, to result in beans with a wonderful intense flavour. The art is ensuring that the beans are roasted long enough to bring out the flavour, while being careful not to burn the beans. The next process is known as winnowing, similar to separating wheat from chaff. The outer layer of the cocoa bean is blown away (and collected to become mulch for gardens), while the inner seed will be transformed into chocolate.

The next stage depends on what sort of chocolate it is destined to become. ‘Fast’ chocolate will be made quickly (in around 12 hours) – often the cocoa butter will be removed and replaced with other fats, as well as other artificial additives. ‘Slow’ chocolate will now be milled through a series of heavy metal rollers, and then further refined in conches, which pummel it between granite rollers at a temperature of 50–80°C for up to a week. The conch, named after the shell, was invented by Rodolfe Lindt in 1880. The longer chocolate is conched or refined, the smaller the particle size in the mouth. The finest chocolate will have particles measuring around 18-20 microns, so small as to be indiscernible to the palate. Also, the more slowly the chocolate is refined, the more acetic acid will evaporate and the mellower the chocolate will become.

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