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Bean-To-Bar

A guide to making chocolate in 12 easy steps

An Introduction

Everybody can learn how to make chocolate, but to become a real craftsmen requires a lot of efforts and skills. Therefore, in this world there are only very few good Chocolatemakers.

What you’ll Need

Cacao plantation / Land to grow plants
Machinery / equipment
2 to 4 Farmers
2 to 4 Factory workers

Time needed

5 to 6 years

Step 1 Growing

Cacao trees need heat and humidity, so they grow in countries close to the equator. It is a shadow tree with an average height of 5 meters. The best cacao grows in a forest surrounded by other trees and plants. The pods grow on the stem and on the thickest branches. 

Step 2 Harvesting

After four or five years the first pods can be harvest. The harvest is done with special long knife with hooks. In other to extract the beans you need to cut the cacao pod in two pieces with a machete.

Step 3 Fermentation

The cacao beans are covered with pulp, which has a delicious sweet-sour fruit flavor. However, to give the beans it’s cacao flavor, you need to ferment the beans during about 5 days. The most common method is to put them on banana leaves that lie on the ground or in a basket.

Step 4 Drying

Drying takes another 5 days, the cacao is put on the ground or on wooden tables. Especially in humid countries the cacao beans are covered with a roof.

Step 5 Transport

Most cacao is grown in remote regions, with few transport facilities. The first transport from the farm to the maker or trader often is done with bicycles, mules, and canoes. Then it is transported in trucks and by boat. Fair transport means that the cacao or chocolate is transported by vessels and bicycles.

Step 6 Roasting

Roasting can be done in a pot on fire, in an oven or in a roasting machine. Raw chocolate is not roasted. Be careful with the heating: fine flavors will be lost if the cacao is too much roasted!

Step 7 Peeling & Winnowing

The roasted cacao can be hand-peeled, or be blended and subsequently be winnowed. For larger quantities it is easier to bay a peeling machine.

Step 8 Grinding

The beans and nibs need to be ground during three days in a grinder machine. For the flavor, it is important that the grinding is done with stones. A little heating is necessary, for example by using a hot lamp. At the end of the process you can add the sugar.

Step 9 Conching

To smoothen the flavors of the chocolate, you may continue moving the cacao mass, in the grinder or in a special conching machine. While conching chocolate loses some of its vapors, this process can last until 5 days.  

Step 10 Tempering

In order to get the right crystals that give a smooth structure to your chocolate. You need to rise the temperature up to 45-50 degrees Celsius, lower it to 28-29 degrees and rise it to 31-32 degrees. This is the most delicate part of chocolate making. You can do this by hand with a thermometer and a marble slab, or with a machine.

Step 11 Molding

Depending on its purpose buy or design a mold for chocolate bars or pralines. Put the tempered chocolate mass in the molds. And put it a short time in the fridge. Not too long, because chocolate should not get colder than 14 degrees. You get your chocolate bar, after turning the upside down!

Step 12 Packaging

Pack your chocolate in material that conserves the chocolate well, and cover it with a paper with a beautiful design.

Enjoy!

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