Are you a chocoholic? If so, you’re presumably curious as to its scale of production. This article will describe the manufacturing procedure from cocoa beans to chocolate bars. It’s a lengthy and somewhat complicated process, but we’ve broken it down into eight easy-to-understand phases. Join us as we explore the intriguing world of chocolate manufacturing!
The 8 Stages of Making Chocolate
Here are the stages of making chocolate :
Cacao seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree are utilized in the production of chocolate. Cacao farmers throughout the globe cultivate this tree in tropical climates. Flowers can develop throughout the year, and the tree can produce both blossoms and fruit simultaneously. Cacao pods are the name for the tree’s produce.
Determining when the cacao pods are mature and ready to be harvested requires specialized knowledge. As the tree’s bark must be handled with extreme care, harvesting is typically performed by hand. In the future, if the floral bud is damaged, the tree will produce fewer flowers.
Once the pods have been harvested, they are slit open, and the beans and substance inside are extracted. There are approximately 30 to 50 cacao seeds in each pod.
Once the legumes are exposed to oxygen, fermentation can commence directionless to that of tempeh. Traditionally, the beans are encased in banana leaves or perforated wooden boxes (for air circulation), crowned with banana leaves, and stirred and flipped on occasion. The legumes’ temperature will increase to 104 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit (40 and 50 degrees Celsius) as they ferment, promoting fermentation.
This phase can take up to eight days (depending on the variety of beans used) and is essential for developing the cacao flavor and reducing astringency. Chocolate made from unfermented beans will lack the same richness and ‘body.’
There are two methods for performing the procedure at home: the first method mimics the traditional method, while the second method utilizes a dehydrator.
The beans have a significant level of moisture after the fermentation process. To prevent over-fermentation, this must be decreased. Most cacao producers allow the beans to dry in the sun for several days. To ensure that the beans dry evenly, they are frequently rotated.
This is not feasible in wetter climates, so other methods are employed. For instance, in Papua New Guinea, beans are dried over exposed flames. This imparts a smokey taste. After being dried, the beans are sorted and bagged before being shipped to manufacturers around the globe.
It is necessary to roast the legumes to eliminate any remaining moisture content. However, it also enhances the flavor and eliminates bacteria on the legumes. It helps separate the outer husk (shell) from the inner bean (cacao nibs).
Regardless of how this is accomplished, it generally involves heating the beans to a high temperature (which will help separate the hull and nibs) and then gradually reducing the temperature (to continue roasting without burning the beans) until they begin to “pop” without burning. However, you can experiment with varying temperatures at home and this technique.
Before roasting the beans, remove any broken beans, scent moldy, etc.
Then, arrange the beans in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet(s). You can roast the beans whole and then peel them or peel them before roasting.
If the membrane is peeled first, the bean can be broken into nibs, and more surface area is exposed during roasting. Thus, they will cook more quickly and uniformly. Nevertheless, it is much simpler to skin them after roasting, so the decision is up to you.
For a relatively mild roast, bake the beans at 120°C/250°F with a fan for 15 to 20 minutes.
After the cacao beans have been roasted, the thin layer on the outside starts to separate from the cacao bits on the inside. Using streams of air, the shells are separated from the nibs. The cacao nibs are used in chocolate production, whereas the cacao shells can be used for other purposes, such as creating cacao tea or garden fertilizer.
Using a machine called a mélangeur grinder, cacao nibs are pulverized. The nibs are ground by this machine’s two rotating stone surfaces. Cocoa solids and cocoa butter comprise nibs. The nibs are initially transformed into viscous cocoa paste or cocoa liquor.
As the grinder continues to pulverize the nibs, the cocoa butter contained within the nibs begins to dissolve. The longer the chocolate is pulverized, the creamier the liquor will be. Some chocolate manufacturers pulverize their chocolate for days to achieve a silky texture.
During the process, chocolate manufacturers add sugar, milk powder, and vanilla ingredients. Occasionally, cocoa butter is added to chocolate to give it a more velvety texture.
Once the chocolatier is satisfied with the consistency of the chocolate, they pour it into large containers to set. Some producers allow their chocolate to age for several weeks to develop a richer flavor.
Before chocolate can be transformed into chocolate bars, it must be tempered. Tempering chocolate is varying the chocolate’s temperature to modify its crystal structure.
Untempered chocolate is brittle and lackluster. The chocolate that has been tempered is shiny, solid, and has a recognizable crack. Tempering is traditionally performed by hand, but currently, most chocolate manufacturers use machines.
8. Molding & Wrapping
Once chocolate has been tempered, it can be spread into chocolate bar molds. They are shaken or struck on a hard surface to remove air bubbles from the molds. The items are then left to settle.
Upon cooling, the chocolate begins to consolidate. Before foil or paper packaging is used to preserve the freshness of the chocolate bars, a final quality inspection is conducted.
The last chocolate bar is now prepared for shipment to a store near you.
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