Instructables

From Bean to Bar: Dark Chocolate from Scratch

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What you're about to read has been highly guarded by the super mega corporate chocolate producers of the world. The short of it is that despite the ultra-complex images of chocolate factories you may have seen (Willy Wonka's included), high quality dark chocolate is very easy to make all by yourself in your own kitchen in a matter of hours. In the interest of not listing multi-hundred dollar pieces of equipment, the chocolate you will end up with will have a rustic texture, and will be excellent for eating and cooking.

Equipment list:
A normal household oven
A baking sheet that will fit in the oven
A timer
3-4 bowls
A calculator
A kitchen scale
A hair drier
A Champion brand juicer (or similar auger style--I have a Solo Star II)
A spoon
A rubber spatula
Aluminum foil or parchment paper
A coffee grinder (cheap whirly blade type, not the fancy burr type)
A fan
A friend (choose wisely since you will have to share your chocolate with this person :)

Ingredients:
16 oz unroasted whole cocoa beans  (if you can only find roasted, just skip the roasting step).  You can find these at health food stores like Whole Foods.
***If you only have nibs available, get roasted ones and skip to Step 3.***
Granulated white sugar (DO NOT use powdered sugar --it contains corn starch, and you don't want that in your chocolate)


 
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Most methods of tempering require heating, cooling, and reheating the chocolate several times, but I watch a show on Food Network called Good Eats and in one episode Alton Brown was making truffles and stuff and he used what seemed like a very simple method to temper his chocolate. Since it's mostly just a matter of getting the melting points of the ingredients synchronized, if you can just get it all melted without actually letting the crystalline structure of the fat collapse, then you can temper it fairly easily. He put it in a metal bowl with a heating pad underneath set on medium to provide the heat. You have to stir occasionally and check the temperature almost non-stop, keeping it between 90°F and 92°F and absolutely NOT letting it get above 94°F. Once everything has melted and blended nicely you should have nice, shiny, snappy chocolate.
rosabel841 year ago
I can't afford the champion juicer at the moment but I do have the premium wet grinder, which can run for >48hrs and recommended by chocholatealchemy.com but for some reason, after I conched my chocolate and came to temper it, the chocolate just wouldn't melt. I don't know where I went wrong. I blended the cacao in a small food processor at first until it became liquid. I then conched it up to 2hrs and then added the sugar. I added 50g in 75g cacao. So I'm not sure if the sugar crystals have prevented the chocolate from melting or something else has gone wrong? I didn't grind down the granulated sugar, I literally just threw it all in with my chocolate in the refiner.... I know it's such a small amount but I am just testing different types of cacao at the moment before I decide on my favourites. Help!!
As soon as I can find the beans I'll be making this. Chocolate holds a spot in the hearts of many, yet homemade chocolate is a treat of the few. A gift of homemade chocolate would be a definite winner for a lot of situations. Thanks for sharing such knowledge!
bowow08073 years ago
i wanna ask what if you don't have a juicer? what can i use as a "replacement"?
itsallaroundyou (author)  bowow08073 years ago
There are very few appliances that will effectively refine cocoa beans. Some people suggest a whirly blade coffee grinder. This is NOT the way to go.  I tried one for my first ever batch of chocolate and the thing essentially caught on fire in my hands---not only are they not designed to run for more than a minute or so at a time, but once the cocoa butter liquifies, it can flow into the motor housing causing an electrical short (in my case). I like chocolate, but not so much to get electrocuted making a few grams of it.

A blender is a safer bet, since it does the same thing as a coffee grinder with none of the risks---you just need more beans (=more chocolate :). its safer and batch size is not limited to just a few beans. You will still need to stop every minute or so to scrape everything down since there is a "dead" spot under the blades that won't get ground. Like the juicer, if your blender doesn't generate enough heat, just use the hair drier on the side of it.

If you're not opposed to investing a few hundred dollars, I can suggest a few stone refiners.  There are really only two brands, Santha and Ultra, and I'd be happy to discuss the pros and cons of them if you wanted to go that route (I have one of each running now :)
well i have a blender that i used when i dont have time to get some powdered sugar and the only problem with the "dead spot" is that the sugar gets so refined that it compacts really well and the ones at the dead zone get supremely ground to extra fine and i wanna be also interested in the stone refiners
itsallaroundyou (author)  bowow08073 years ago

First off, you can buy a hair drier at most any thrift store for a few dollars.

In the blender, as the cocoa butter content of the nibs liquifies, the dead spot will be less of a problem, since you will have a liquified mass instead of a solid.  You will want to scrape the blender down and clean out the dead spot every minute or so (this is depending on how many beans you have, the less you have the more often you need to scrape).

The two stone refiners are essentially the same, with the exception of the shape of the rollers.  To be honest, what I've found is that the Santha style cylindical rollers have few problems, but the machine overall is built much more poorly (i.e., expect to have to fix it).  The Ultra has conical rollers that seem to get gummed up and stop rolling while a batch is going, making it less efficient, but the machine overall is built better and will likely run trouble free for many batches.  They have the same capacity, and motor, and the Santha is $50 less.  Is the price difference worth having to fix it periodically?  You need to decide that to make your choice.

Both machines will make "real" chocolate though--perfectly smooth (final particle size 30 micons and below), and both will as an effective conch.  There is more going on during conching than just stirring the chocolate around. Stirring/agitation is NOT conching.  Conching is a chemical and mechanical transformation of the flavor and texture of chocolate. The key is in applying shearing forces on the cocoa-sugar agglomerates, to break them down, and to "round out" the sugar crystals.  This is also an extremely oversimplified explanation, but there are volumes written about it if you want to explore further.

Hope this helps.
and i have another problem i dont have a hair dryer im not from a highly fashiony family
really excited about this
itsallaroundyou (author) 3 years ago
yeah, and i'm afraid oompa loompas aren't necessary either :)
jamiec533 years ago
So you don't need a chocolate waterfall to churn the chocolate?!
heyitskalee3 years ago
i'm so excited about this.