chocolates and cakes

How To Make Chocolate

Introduction:

Dutch chemist Johannes Van Houten came up with a technique of separating the cocoa butter from the ground cocoa beans in 1828 which gave an idea. Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean which is found in pods that grow on the trunk and lower branches of the cacao tree. The cocoa powder which tasted a lot better than the whole bean is mixed with milk to make chocolate bars and the first bar was found in Swiss in 1875.

Do you know the types before knowing how to prepare it

They are also types in chocolates depending on there ingredients:

White chocolate: Chocolate made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk, emulsifier, vanilla and sometimes other flavorings. It does not contain any non-fat ingredients from the cacao bean and has therefore an off-white color. It can be used in making Chocolate Mousse, Panna Cotta and other desserts.

Milk chocolate: Chocolate with 10-20% cocoa solids which includes cocoa and cocoa butter and more than 12% milk solids.

Dark chocolate: Chocolate with high content of cocoa solids and no or very little milk and it may contain up to 12% milk solids. They can be sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet or unsweetened. If any recipe specifies dark chocolate go for semi-sweet dark chocolate.

Sweet dark chocolate can contain often 35-45% cocoa solids. Semi-Sweet is similar to Sweet type and contains 40-62% cocoa solids. A good quality bittersweet chocolate usually contains 60% to 85% cocoa solids depending on brand. If the content of sugar is less then it gives bitter taste. Normally used for cooking. Unsweetened chocolate contains almost 100% of cocoa solid which makes it unsuitable for eating but can be used in recipe for baking purpose. All these types of chocolate are either used in making different recipes or can be eaten directly.

How to Prepare them:

As said cocoa beans are required for preparing a chocolate which are available in different type.

The cocoa beans are sorted and cleaned. The beans are roasted at 250 to 350 degrees for thirty minutes to two hours depending on the type of beans in a large revolving drum

After roasting the beans are winnowed the process which involves removing the outer shell. The inner nib is then crushed and heated to melt the cocoa butter to a thick paste. This paste is called chocolate liquor which does not contain alcohol.

The nibs can be treated with an alkali or if left untreated with alkali the chocolate liquor becomes cocoa powder. To make cocoa power, a large press extracts all but 10 to 25 percent of the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor. The remaining cake is then ground and sifted through fine nylon, silk, or wire mesh.

To make unsweetened chocolate the chocolate liquor is molded and solidified. For Dark chocolate combine chocolate liquor with sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla. For making Milk chocolate the chocolate liquor is combined with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids or powder. White chocolate is made without using chocolate liquor only cocoa butter gives it the chocolate flavor. Dipping chocolate is made with more cocoa butter than regular eating chocolate.

Chocolate is mixed with .3 to .5 lecithin this helps it mix easily and make the chocolate smoother.

Once the ingredients are combined the chocolate mixture goes through a refining process which makes the mixture smooth. Next is it conched which involves the liquid mixtures to be heated and continuously mixed, ground, and stirred. High quality chocolate is conched for several days and lower quality chocolates are conched for few hours.

Next the chocolate is tempered. This is the process that gradually raises then lowers and raises the temperature to set degrees. Now the chocolate is ready which can be decorated with nuts or any other flavors.

This is the main process of preparation. One can even use molds for home preparation.

To make hand decorated chocolates one can use these techniques with any molds you choose. Before you begin, take a look for a chocolate molds. Decide which parts you want to paint and what colors you want to use before filling in the chocolate. paint the details on your chocolate molds. Be sure to finish all the details of one color, then let it set before going on to second or third colors.

After all the details are been painted and have been given time to set, fill in the mold. Simply spoons the melted chocolate into the mold, making sure it fills in all spaces and tap the mold on the table to remove any air bubbles. After chocolates have completely set and hardened, carefully pop them out of the mold. Now trim off any excess chocolate around the edges by using a butter knife. Hence its very tedious process to prepare chocolates at home without having the required machines.

Swiss and German chocolates are refined for a longer period which makes them smoother and finer than American or English candy.