Discover the complex process of chocolate manufacturing: from bean to bar
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What are the phases of chocolate production?
The harvesting of cacao beans: Cacao trees grow in equatorial regions of the world, predominantly in South and Central America, and parts of Africa. Cacao farmers typically harvest the ripe cocoa pods using a sharp blade, revealing the cacao beans inside. The beans are then placed in jute bags and transported to the cocoa processing house.
Fermentation of cocoa beans: Upon arrival at the cocoa processing house, the cacao beans undergo a fermentation process. This process is crucial in developing the chocolate flavor as the fermentation stage allows the cacao beans to develop complex flavor profiles. The beans are laid out on bamboo mats or banana leaves and left to ferment for several days. During this process, micro-organisms like lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria help break down the pulp around the beans, releasing heat and carbon dioxide.
Drying and roasting of cocoa beans: After the fermentation stage, the beans are dried on large trays or racks, where they are exposed to air and sunlight. This process helps to reduce the moisture content and improve the cocoa flavor. Once the beans are dry, they are roasted at high temperatures, which helps to develop the chocolate flavor and color. The roasting process also helps to remove any foreign matter and reduce the bitterness in the beans.
Grinding of cocoa nibs: After roasting, the cocoa beans are cracked into small pieces known as cocoa nibs. These nibs are then ground into a paste using heavy rollers. The grinding process releases cocoa particles, which combine with the cocoa butter to form a smooth liquid chocolate called chocolate liquor.
Separating the cocoa solids from cocoa butter: The chocolate liquor is then separated into cocoa solids and cocoa butter. This separation process involves a hydraulic press, which separates the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. Cocoa butter is an essential component of chocolate, and additional cocoa butter may be added to the mixture to achieve the desired cocoa butter content.
Conching process: The conching process involves mixing the chocolate liquid with sugar and flavor ingredients in a special machine known as a conch machine. The mixture is agitated for several hours, and the heat generated during this process helps to remove any remaining moisture in the chocolate. This stage also helps to develop the smooth and creamy texture of the finished chocolate product.
Tempering process: The tempering process involves heating and cooling the chocolate mixture to create a stable and glossy texture. This process involves heating the chocolate mixture to a specific temperature, and then rapidly cooling it, stirring it continuously. The tempered chocolate is then poured into molds and left to cool and harden, resulting in the finished chocolate product.
In some cases, additional ingredients may be added to the chocolate mixture to create unique flavor profiles. Milk powder and milk fat can be added to create milk chocolate, while white chocolate is made using cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids and is often made without any additional milk products. Of course, this depends on your wishes as a producer of chocolate.
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In 2022, we hosted our first Roaster showcase in the factory of Koog aan de Zaan whichallowed us to showcase the Alkalizer, Drum Roaster, and Cooler. An amazing occasion toshare our expertise and innovations with our customers. In addition, customers could learn about the specific benefits of Royal Duyvis Wiener’s Batch Nib Alkalizer, Roaster, and Cooler
Chocolate quality and taste
The quality and taste of chocolate does not only depend on the process. It also depends on various factors, including the quality of the cocoa beans and the addition of any additional ingredients. Chocolate makers often aim to create a unique flavor profile for their unique chocolate products by using specific cocoa bean varieties and processing methods. The bean flavor profile is a crucial aspect of chocolate production, as it determines the overall taste and aroma of the finished product.
This flavor profile of the cacao bean must be created with a lot of care. The components of cocoa beans, including hydrophobic amino acids and volatile acids, contribute to the bean’s flavor profile. The predominant side-chain sugar also affects the bean’s taste, determining whether it has a fruity or nutty flavor. Criollo beans are known for their complex and delicate flavor profile, while Forastero beans have a stronger and more robust taste. Trinitario beans, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero beans, have a unique flavor profile that combines the best of both worlds.
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