What is Cacao?
The cacao tree (also called Theobroma Cacao) is grown in tropical climates across the globe. These trees produce a fruit which is the cacao pod that grows on the branches and trunk of the tree. Most of you may seen cacao pods around your own heritence. However, if any one of you have not seen how it looks like, then it’s like below. Then next time you see it to your naked eye, then you may know this miracle fruit which produce the world most populer taste i.e. “CHOCOLATE”
How to Grow & Havest Cacao
Interestingly, the pods aren’t ripen simultaneously. They also grow in different colors and shapes depending on the variety of the plant. So, it takes a certain level of expertise in harvesting the pods at the correct time. To harvest the pods, a machete is used to remove them from the tree without damaging the tree’s flowers. This ensures more pods can continue to grow.
How to Make Chocolate from Coco Beans
Step 01 | Separating
The first step of the process of making chocolate is to open the cacao pod. When doing this at home I find it easiest to hit the shell with something like a wooden muddler or hammer.
Step 02 | Fermenting The Cacao Beans
1) Once you cut open the cacao pods, you’ll see the cacao beans, which are covered in a viscous white ‘mucilage’ coating. Once the beans are exposed to oxygen, the fermentation process can begin. Adding vinegar and east can accelerate the fermenting of the CACAO beans.
2) And it needs to be placed somewhere warm between 40-50ºC. This can be helped by placing them next to a heat source or even placing a hot water bottle within the container you use, better use plastic or a cool box.
3) As the beans ferment the white layer will break down into a juice so it’s a good idea to drain this once per day (or twice if possible) and mix the beans. This process takes around 5 days but can take slightly longer depending on the heat, humidity, and individual beans.
Step 03 | Roasting The Beans
1) Before roasting the beans, you’ll first need to remove any beans that are broken and/or smell moldy, etc.
2) Then, lay the beans in a single layer on a parchment-lined oven tray/s. You can roast the beans whole then peel them.
3) When using a regular oven roast the beans in the oven at between 250-300 Fahrenheit for one and half hours for a fairly light roast
Caution:-During the end of the roasting step (if roasting as whole beans), air pockets will escape the beans, making popping sounds – this is normal. When they’re almost done, you may also smell a ‘brownie’ smell. The husk should also come off the beans easily.
Step 04 | Cracking & Winnowing
1) Do this with all of the beans putting the shells in a separate bowl from the beans (nibs).
2) Next, break the beans down into individual nibs. You can do this by hand or place all the beans into a bag and bash with a rolling pin.
Caution: – These cacao nibs can now be eaten as is or further processed into chocolate.
Step 05 | Grinding & Conching
With a Grinder
Add the nibs in small portions to the grinder and grind them into a paste. The cacao butter will start to extract from the nibs (similar to when making nut butter), and the powder will become wetter and more paste-like.
With a high-Speed Blender
1) First, blend the beans into a powder until the point they are just starting to look slightly wet. Then, transfer them to the microwave for 20-30 seconds (depending on how powerful your microwave is). This will help to encourage the extraction of cacao butter.
2) Finally, add the nibs back to the blender and process into a paste.
At this point, no matter which method you used, you can add powdered sugar (never liquid!) to your grinder/blender.
Caution: – If you grind the beans as they are now then you will end up with something that looks similar to cocoa powder.
Caution: – If you’re using a grinder, it’s still a good idea to pre-grind the nibs into smaller pieces.
Caution: – when you want to prepare dark chocolate you need to add coconut oil or extra cacao butter to the past, in this step.
Caution: – To make milk chocolate, you just need to add powder milk (or powdered coconut milk for vegan chocolate). This would be added when you add sugar to the chocolate
Step 06 | Temper the Chocolate
Tempering chocolate is the process of strategically raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to form a specific crystal structure. Once tempered, this yields shiny, glossy or you can just toss in the freezer.
Caution: – If properly done the process of tempering the chocolate. It comes out nice snapping sound when breaking the chocolate slab.
Step 07 | Molding the Chocolate
Finally, it’s time to pour the chocolate into your mold of choice to set it into the final chocolate product.
This is the way we know about how to make chocolate. If you are also interested to test it, just follow the steps. You will be able to make your own chocolate with your kids. Even if it is not made properly, try till you get the correct recipe. The whole process experiment would definitely enable you to produce your own “Chocolate Recipe”. If anyone is able to make your own chocolate, just let us know. That’s our ultimate joy of writing this sort of article.