What remains as an ongoing, simmering battle in the chocolate industry: the roasting of the cocoa beans. What's better: computerized roasters, or hands-on roasting on an open fire? Machine vs. human. An ongoing
question of which method is superior to the outcome.
First, some academic research on the science of roasting.
Flavor formation and character in cocoa and chocolate. Chocolate characters not
only originate in flavor precursors present in cocoa beans, but are generated during post-harvest treatments and transformed into desirable odor notes in the manufacturing processes. Complex biochemical modifications of bean constituents are further altered by thermal reactions in roasting and conching and in alkalization [reducing acidity, which is good for ridding your body of free radicals*]. However, the extent to which the inherent bean constituents from the cocoa genotype, environmental factors,
post-harvest treatment, and processing technologies influence chocolate flavor formation and relationships with final flavor quality, has not been clear. [in other words: not settled science]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18788009
Sensory properties of chocolate and their development. Sensory
attributes of eating chocolate are determined by processing variables and inherent characteristics of the cocoa bean. Flavor precursors develop during fermentation and primarily interact at roasting temperatures.Complex browning reactions occur during roasting. Numerous heterocyclic flavor compounds produced then contribute to the characteristic chocolate flavor. Feel of chocolate in the mouth (mouth feel)
and textural properties are determined by the unique properties of cocoa butter. Careful processing and selection of ingredients is necessary to produce desirable attributes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7977154
Hello Adulteration [When
science and poor-quality cocoa beans meet, the outcome is not in the consumers favor.] The different treatments were evaluated by chemical analysis (hydrolysis efficiency) and sensory analysis of the treated material compared
to good-quality cocoa almonds [beans]. The results show that it is possible, through the use of microbial enzymes**, to generate the mixture of compounds that will release, after roasting, the characteristic chocolate
flavor in poor-quality almonds [beans]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22417423
* Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants
in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process. ** Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi and their enzymes are widely used in
several food preparations for improving the taste and texture and they offer huge economic benefits to industries.
Conclusion Chocolate taste and aromas in roasting plays an integral part in the process
of making chocolate products. Relience on a computers' program does not take into account: the age of the beans, moisture content, humidity of the environment of the facility, outside temperature and humidity.
my next story we'll explore the Mallard effect in roasting and how it influences the outcome.
We started out as a houseware store, transitioning into chocolate making. My partners' desire for genuine hot chocolate — like back home in the Phillipines — directly influenced our business decision. The powdered
blends available in the US were not making her feel blissful. In fact, heart palpitations, sweating episodes, and an alarming unease of high sugar, followed by the anxiety of what could have been in the brew.
went to the nth degree in every step of the chocolate making process to create a truly unique chocolate, in a category of its own.
out by discarding the notion "proprietery process" and instead, challenge chocolate makers to do the same, namely: make healthy chocolate.
Do you know what chocolate tastes like when it's hand-shelled?
you tasted real sugar in isolation of everything else? It's not sweet.
Tasting notes of a particular chocolate are one part of the experience. There's more. There is the mental feeling part that becomes evident when
cocoa beans are not over-processed.
Our approach to chocolate is health, as the Myan people were
passionate about, as documented in their hieroglyphics. The Aztecs called chocolate xocoatl ("bitter water") and added
spices like chili and vanilla for flavoring before mixing it with water into a frothy beverage. ... Chocolate wasn't just a food, though; the beans were one of the main forms of currency of the day.
is healthy as long as you don't over-process the cocoa nibs. Today most chocolate manufacturers conch the cocoa for up to 3 days, to achieve smoothness to 20 microns.
A size so small you need a microscope to see it. Their goal is to remove the natural medicinal properties, which can have a sour, acidic, or bitter taste.
Nothing good for your physiological health tastes sweet.
Chocolate Maker Chocolate makers are as rare as snow leopards. What's even rarest is a chocolate maker roasting a
pound at a time, shelling each bean by hand; yielding the entire contents of the cocoa bean.
What is the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier? A chocolate maker begins with
the cacao bean and the chocolatier with rectangular blocks of highly processed chocolate. The chocolate maker: roasts, shells, grinds, then tempers. The chocolatier: melts blocks of chocolate in a melting tank,
then transfers to a tempering machine.
A chocolatier cannot tell you where the beans came from, when it was processed, or if there was blending with other ingredients involved.
Chocolate makers focus on the inside: the chocolate. Chocolatiers focus on the aesthetics of decoration,
packaging: the outside.
What's the difference between chocolate and confectioner's chocolate? Confectionery coating (note: they cannot use the word 'chocolate' unless it has a minimum of 12%
chocolate,) uses a vegetable fat (GMO hydrogenated oil) to replace the cocoa butter that is found in genuine unadulterated chocolate.
What's the difference between our hot chocolate disc and hot chocolate powder? Ours is 'real chocolate', has 'real sugar' and is mixed with only hot water. Cocoa powders'
ingredients are cleverly written, but do not mention the word 'chocolate' in the ingredients and contains UFO Unidentified Fructose Objects, high fructose corn syrup, and must be mixed with a fatty liquid, otherwise you would
choke on the watered powder.
What is the difference between cacao and cocoa? Cacao is the bean unprocessed on the tree and cocoa when a process takes place.
A Melanger/Conch machine Two
granite rollers rotating on a spinning granite surfaced bowl to create the smoothness we associate with chocolate. The capacity of the bowl ranges from 5 to thousands of pounds.
The making of Ridgewood Chocolate bars
Sorting the cacao beans Stones, tying wire, nylon cord, bag fabric, and pulp encrusted beans are among the items we have encountered in the sorting task. We select from the smallest to the largest cacao
bean into pound bags, which we store in a larger bin for later use.
We prepare five pounds in a batch. Each pound is roasted separately in order to observe and control the changes taking place in the roasting.
Rubi uses her acute sense of smell to determine the stages in the roasting progress, similar to our experience roasting coffee. The focus toward the end stages of roasting is to determine the degree of shell casing
separation off the cocoa nibs. This is critical as it determines the amount of time devoted for the next step in the process.
Shelling the beans This step is the humans most time consuming, tedious, and rewarding, for the final product taste. It takes one hour to hand-shell one pound of
cocoa beans. Rubi spends the next four to five hours shelling the cocoa beans until the wee hours of the morning.
Chocolate manufacturers typically feed the beans into a bean cracker, crushing the
shells encasing the beans. The cracked beans are vacuumed to separate the shells, dirt, pulp, and particles of cocoa beans. The remaining large fragments are the only chocolate you will have the pleasure to taste.
A lot of the smaller particles end up in the garbage. To recover the entire contents of the cocoa bean, we remove the shells by hand, one by one. A tedious process, but imagine what the taste would be, as
the entire beans' content is in the chocolate bar. No chocolate maker in the world claims this distinction (except To'ak, but their bars are a little more expensive) except us.
In the morning we bring the beans to the store for the next steps. Weighing the cocoa beans to calculate the amount of fibrous cane sugar to be added to the batch. Using a cracking machine to crack the beans.
At the same time, heat up the granite based bowl to ease the feeding of the beans into the Melanger. It takes one to three hours to feed the beans and then the sugar into the vessel, which depends on the ambient
temperature. After six or seven hours, the liqueur is smooth as thick honey. By this time Rubi arrives to transfer the liqueur into the tempering machine. This step takes a half-hour, scooping and scraping each fragment
of thick liqueur into the tempering bowl.
The chocolate industry would have you believe that multiple days are required to bring out the true taste of the chocolate. Not true. Chocolate aromas are developed in the fermentation stage, not the conching stage.
Here's what you taste as a result of over-processing: wax, sweet, then chocolate; ending with sweet. Catering to
the sugarholic – mission accomplished.
Tempering This machine heats up the liqueur to 108 degrees, then lowers the temperature
to 87.7 degrees. This procedure lines up the crystals in the chocolate to form a strong body, which prevents the penetration of moisture. When it is "in temper" the chocolate bar will have a distinct snap when
you break it. If you ever experienced a bending and not a snap, it means moisture is in your chocolate and is not safe to eat. This step takes about an hour, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity inside
and outside the store.
Inclusions Inclusions are prepared by roasting nuts, seeds, berries, and roots, encapsulating the product with caramelized sugar.
At this point
Rubi begins to scoop the liqueur into the molds with or without inclusions. Acetate sheets are placed on the mold trays, then placed into a cooling enclosure to cool down and solidify for the next day.
Mold Detachment The next day Rubi pops the chocolate out of the molds. She trims the overflow on each mold from the tray, then scores the 3 oz breakaway molds with a knife, then splits
them into 1 oz bars. She then hand wraps each bar with a triple fold of aluminum foil paper to prevent little critters laying their eggs inside. Then folding the ends of the foil at an angle and creating a folded endcap,
which will be used to join the other end into an opposing clasp. She uses glue to enjoin the endcaps to prevent tampering. She then wraps and glues the outer label to the foil. Finally, she places the bars
in display cases for sale. Any extra chocolate is saved and sent to the Philippines to be enjoyed by her relatives. Adding all the time spent amounts to 17 hours over the next two days.