How to Make Chocolate From Scratch

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of How to Make Chocolate From Scratch
Chocolate is a food that is simultaneously ubiquitous and mysterious. Chocolate is everywhere - in cakes, in candies, in beverages. Yet few people really know how chocolate is made. Even fewer have actually set their eyes on a cocoa bean, much less a cocoa pod.

After extensive research, I've discovered chocolate's dirty little secret - it's a piece of cake to make at home.

And if your family is impressed by homemade truffles and cakes, imagine how they'll feel when you had them a bar of home-freaking-made chocolate.

Chocolate manufacture requires six steps.
  • First comes fermentation and drying. The beans are harvested from the pods, and allowed to naturally ferment over a period of two days to two weeks. Heat kills the delicate germinating seed, and natural yeasts grow to develop complex flavors. The beans are then sun-dried to preserve them for shipping.
  • Next, the beans are roasted. Cocoa beans are roasted for the same reason that coffee beans are - to develop complex flavors via the Maillard reaction, and to drive off unpleasant acidic compounds developed in the fermentation process.
  • Cracking and winnowing follow roasting. This step is purely mechanical, to separate the valuable nibs from the worthless shells.
  • After this, the nibs must be refined. The tongue can perceive particles larger than 30 micrometers in size, so extensive grinding is needed for a good mouthfeel.
  • The raw cocoa liquor is then "conched," a lengthy process which drives off the rest of the acidic flavoring compounds.
  • Finally, the finished product is tempered to give the chocolate good gloss and snap.
Unfortunately, cocoa pods are practically impossible to get your hands on. So we'll (unfortunately) have to start at the second step, with pre-fermented and dried cocoa beans.

Ready? Into the breach we go, my friends!

Or, you can just watch the video. (Which works now! Hooray!)

1-40 of 53Next »

great tutorial! Thank you! A masticating juicer would make this go by a lot quicker!

ronbarak17 days ago

Could you clarify if the oven temperatures you mentioned (at ~1:27) are in Fahrenheit or Celsius?
(From you accent I assume these are in Fahrenheit, but better safe ...)

AnnaB84 months ago

Thank you very much, I have been practicing making chocolate a while and this is the most clear instruction I found.

EllenF24 months ago

Excellent instructions-I would like to sweeten with maple syrup instead of sugar-anyone's opinion on what step to add it?

mlg85 made it!11 months ago

Hi, thanks so much for taking the time to prepare such a thorough tutorial. I already had raw organic cocoa nibs so I just roasted them for 12 mins at 150 degrees celcius. When I took them out, the whole kitchen smelt like brownies, as promised by someone's blog I followed. However, a quarter of the nibs were almost black. I went ahead with the recipe, following the instructions closely (except for the cocoa butter suggestion – I didn't add it as my machine was handling it fine). In the end, it had a bitter aftertaste, but maybe that's to be expected as I probably slightly burnt the beans and plus it is a 70% chocolate. To distract from the bitterness I spread the chocolate on some baking paper and added roasted almonds and Craisins. Thanks again :)

Chocolate from Scratch.jpg
Dongo925061 year ago

I just want to thank you for your fine instructable! I was having second thoughts about this but, after seeing your video, I did it! It came out sub par, but I know what I did wrong and I will have this down in no time. I did kill my spice grinder.

CHeers and thanks again!


kremer971 year ago

I like chocolate......

illgamer1 year ago

Hi loved your instructable, I actually got my beans from a fresh cacao pod, I followed another tutorial I found on how to ferment them. I roasted them per your directions but I never got the grinding to liquify like yours and it turned a deep purple color instead of brown. I was wondering if I roasted them for to long.

What food processor are you using? I tried a Hi-Blend food processor and it still came out a tad gritty....
Great video!!
öcoşkun2 years ago
How can i find cacao beans in Turkey?!
Dustycookie2 years ago
I learned how to make chocolate powder when I was eight because my grandmother owned a cacao tree. We even ate the flesh. Too bad they had to cut that beautiful plant down when they had to renovate the house. Goodbye homemade chocolate.
Wow - talk about from 'scratch' - this was cool, thanks for putting it out here for us. http://www.ChocoholicWorld.com
goldthimble3 years ago
Hi Mongpoovian,

Congrats on your winning! I followed your tutorial...but used sugar cane instead of white sugar...my end product tastes tarty/sour...and once held after the tempering it melts in the hands...is it possible that I am not tempering enough? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
dslovejoy4 years ago
Thanks for the great instructable. My cocoa tree just started producing fruit, and because it grew so well, I plan on replacing the Macadamia nut trees with cocoa trees.
2011-05-13 12.33.33.jpg
wow! hey so cocoa trees can grow where macadamias do? awesome!
doesn't cocaine come from the cocoa tree? is it legal to grow those in the US?
No. this is Theobroma cacao - chocolate, cocaine is from the Coca, Erythroxylum coca plant.
These are two entirely different plants.
Mongpoovian (author)  dslovejoy4 years ago
That's awesome! You'll have to keep us all posted on any fermentation you're planning on doing!
Will do. Right now, I want to focus on creating more trees (and fruit) and once I have that, I need to figure out how to ferment small batches successfully.
From what I've seen, it takes several hundred pounds to generate enough heat to ferment properly.
Alternatively, there is a company in town that buys the pods from the farmers. I would prefer to do my own though.
Very cool!
so jealous!
To make 'Chocolate From Scratch', first one has to create the universe.
With apologies to Carl Sagan.
I can't but help conclude you are a very sad and ignorant person.
Mongpoovian (author)  totally_screwed4 years ago
I knew I forgot a step!
very impressive! Mongpoovian I would like to know, can you make chocolate Cadbury's unsweetened cocoa powder? 70%cocoa +30% sugar. The reason why i ask is because in the past i made my own chocolate,which was cready made unsweetned cocoa powder and sugar and water,after a week out of the fridge it became moldy.I was surprised since I didnt think cocoa could get mouldy.It was kept at room temperature in the kitchen. Thanks
Mongpoovian (author)  daintytweety4 years ago
The water's the problem - chocolate has very little water in it (less than 1% by weight!) and so is inhospitable to bacteria and mold. Instead of using water to mix the solids together, you should use a fat that's solid at room temperature. Cocoa butter would be ideal for this, as it was what was originally removed from the cocoa solids to make the cocoa powder in the first place! Many drugstores sell pure cocoa butter for cosmetic use.

A mixture you might use for a "dark" chocolate containing additional cocoa butter might be something along the lines of 60% cocoa powder, 20% cocoa butter, 20% sugar.

If you can't find cocoa butter, coconut oil might serve as a reasonable substitute, but it melts at a much lower temperature (76 °F/24 °C) than cocoa butter (approximately body temperature).
bajablue4 years ago
Such a thorough Instructable that yells "YES, YOU CAN DO IT!"

Huge congrats on this well-deserved Grand Prize Winner!!!
Mongpoovian (author)  bajablue4 years ago
security164 years ago
Celcius or farenheight for the temperatures??
Mongpoovian (author)  security164 years ago
I've tried to stick to Fahrenheit, since that's the custom here in the US. In the Metric world, that would be about 200 C for the high stage, and 120 C for the low stage.
flyingpuppy4 years ago
Hmm. I like the idea of spicing up the chocolate. Thanks!
Me too - I am a big ginger lover. I'm thinking a little powdered ginger and some chrystallised ginger chunks MMMMMMM
Mongpoovian (author)  Egah664 years ago
Ooh, ginger sounds delicious! I'll have to try that one. :)
tried it with pre-made chocolate this weekend, very yummy. Got my chocolate nibs today - can't wait to make my own!
Egah664 years ago
If I want milk chocolate - do I just stir in milk to the melted heated chocolate during the Tempering process? Can't wait to try this - thanks
I"m guessing you want to use powdered milk, if you're adding milk, but probably at the time you add the sugar or spices.
Good point - thanks
Mongpoovian (author)  Egah664 years ago
Milk itself won't work, because the moisture will cause the chocolate to seize. Cream wouldn't seize the chocolate, but you'd end up with something closer to ganache. :)

PearlZenith's got it right - you'd want to add powdered milk, either at the end of the grinding process or during the conching step - that will ensure that the milk is evenly distributed. Typical milk chocolates are around 45-55% cocoa solid, so you'd want to add about 30% sugar (by weight) and then 20% powdered milk (also by weight). For a hundred gram batch, that would be 50 grams cocoa nibs, 30 grams sugar, and 20 grams powdered milk.
Thanks. Just got my roasted chocolate nibs today in the mail - can't wait to try this.
sitearm4 years ago
Mongpoovian; Hi! I've sent your Instructable video links to my sister-in-law and daughter, who both like to cook. (And of course they both like chocolate!)

This process reminds me of watching my grandad and grandmother make ice cream from scratch on the back patio, at their home in Birmingham: a lot of work but oh so fun to watch and get to eat.

Good on ye! :)
1-40 of 53Next »