How Chocolate is Made
Unfortunately, chocolate production isn’t something that can really be done in a domestic kitchen very easily. It’s a shame as it would be great to be able to whisk up a batch of chocolate bars on demand. For the time being though, I think we’ll need to leave it to the experts and make do with flapjacks or muffins.
Chocolate production can either be large scale or it can be a more arty pastime, with individual recipes being created and perfected by chocolatiers and sold by the item. Generally speaking though, you’d need anything up to 600 cocoa beans to make 1kg of chocolate. Obviously, the better the quality, the more beans you’ll require, as a higher cocoa content means a better bar.
Once the beans have been shelled, ground and the liquor extracted, the other ingredients can be added to the mix. Again, the amounts will very much depend on the quality of the final chocolate product but it will be cocoa butter, sugar (for milk and white chocolate), vanilla for flavouring and some letchitin, which is an emulsifying that helps bind everything together. The product will now resemble chocolate as we know it but it still needs to be pressed, in order to refine it more and give it a nice smooth texture. There is one last process that many types of chocolate will have to endure and this is called ‘conching’. This is another type of pressing machine but much more laborious as it can sometimes take days to produce the required texture. However, it’s an important element of chocolate making, particularly in higher grade products, as it really determines the final flavour of the chocolate.