How is Chocolate Made?
How is chocolate made? Frankly, most of us don’t really care how it is made. We just want to enjoy eating it.
For those people who are curious, let’s examine the processes that go into turning cacao beans into chocolate. These stages have been fine tuned over the years resulting in a wide variety of delicious chocolates.
The cacao beans needed to make chocolate are grown in Mexico, Central America, South America, and Africa. In fact, Africa is the world’s top producer of cacao beans. There is growing concern about unfair child labor practices being used on many cacao plantations in Africa.
Step 1 – Selecting the right beans.
There are different varieties and qualities of cacao beans. The beans that are used will determine the quality of the chocolate produced.
Step 2 – Roasting the beans.
The beans are roasted in large drums for 30 minutes to 2 hours. There’s a delicious aroma while the beans are roasting.
Step 3 – Winnowing
After being roasted, the beans are sent to the winnower where the outer hulls are removed. The remaining “nibs” are then sorted by size.
Step 4 – Melangeur
Nibs are smashed by strong steel rollers into a thick paste. Sugar and vanilla are also added to flavor the nibs.
Step 5 – Conching
Liquid chocolate is blended repeatedly with heat. The liquid is mixed, ground, and stirred. Conching can last from several hours up to 72 hours until an even blend is established. Higher quality chocolates are usually spend a few days in this process.
Step 6 – Tempering
The liquid chocolate is heated and then cooled in stages. This is done to create cocoa butter crystals that are uniform in size and create a bright luster and sharp snap when broken.
Step 7 – Molding
The liquid chocolate is molded into bars or candies and then cooled so that it hardens. The chocolate is then packaged, ready to be shipped and sold.
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