More from this Article Series: Introduction to Chocolate — Food – Health Benefits
Resources – Fun Facts – Side Notes
And what should particularly be cross-referenced with this article:
Selection – Tasting – Connoisseurship and The Scoop on Chocolate
It starts with these 2 questions:
1. Can you make your own chocolate at home?
Yes. Easy question, easy answer.
2. How hard is chocolate to make at home?
That depends on what you consider to be “homemade.” Or, “completely homemade.” And more importantly, what you consider to be “chocolate.”
Some would argue that if you’re making chocolate fudge, you’re already making chocolate. Indeed, sometimes when a novice tries to make “real chocolate” he ends up making what most chocolatiers consider to be “chocolate fudge” but not actual chocolate, like — as in a chocolate bar.
The key ingredient to being able to make real chocolate at home is now readily available online. Whereas before it was not something that you could easily get from your local grocer. The key ingredient that we’re talking about is —cocoa butter—. Use any other form of “butter” in your chocolate making endeavors, and to most fine chocolatiers — you simply do not have a chocolate bar as your end product.
Now, the cocoa butter we’re talking about here is the completely edible type. Not the stuff you put on your skin (often available where you find skin care lotions at your local grocer).
Though cocoa butter is very expensive compared to other types of “butter” if you could call it that; it is usually recommended that you buy it in small amounts when you first start making chocolate, though it can be tempting to buy in bulk as it is so much cheaper overall that way. Once you get better at making it, and sure that you want to continue the endeavor, you can order more.
Some people go more all out and try to make even their own cocoa butter at home from whole cocoa beans. This is generally not recommended as it usually involves expensive and somewhat complex machinery.
If you want to make white chocolate, it is recommended that you buy deodorized cocoa butter; but that is for flavor reasons. This type of cocoa butter doesn’t have the nutritional benefits of unprocessed cocoa butter. Of course, if you are making white chocolate, then you’re probably not doing it for any other reason but the taste and experience of it.
The second essential ingredient to making real chocolate at home is one of two possible choices… The first being cocoa powder. That’s always been available from your local grocer… the next being cocoa liquor aka cocoa paste and/or cocoa mass… Cocoa liquor/mass/paste is for those who want an even more completely homemade chocolate. What it is: Well it looks like a chocolate bar in and of itself — a solid bar of chocolate, and not a liquor. Of course, when heated it becomes a liquid pourable mass.
AW’s Top Picks for Homemade Chocolate Making Videos:
The following are videos that we’ve come across for making chocolate at home. They were chosen because of the ease of making, demonstrability, and presentation. They are not necessarily the best recipes, the healthiest, best tasting, or any other “best.” They are just simply good tutorials to get one up to speed on making chocolate at home.
This is the essential technique for making fine chocolate. It’s the process of melting the chocolate to a certain maximum temperature; next cooled rapidly; and next raising the temperature once again. This is done to ensure that only one type of crystal remains with the cooling process.
What you should know about Bloom — Two Types on Choc:
- Fat bloom
- Sugar bloom.
Both are discolorations on the surface of a chocolate bar. Some would argue that it doesn’t affect the taste and is simply just an aesthetic that is not eye appealing. However, it could have an overall effect on the taste and texture. If some bloom rises to the surface, that could be considered equivalent to ingredients not being thoroughly mixed together.
You will need some type of melting pot; the type most recommended is a stainless steel pot with a spout edge which makes it easier to pour. A popular technique is to use a basin above boiling water. This keeps a rather even flow of heat and helps ensure that the chocolate doesn’t get too hot.
As for making moulds, silicone is the recommended type as such allows you to pop the chocolate out of its mold from the flexible and non sticky structure of the silicone mould. You could improvise and use ice cube trays, yogurt cups, or reused plastic moulds from other products. You may want to be careful and ensure that the type of plastic mould is food grade or doesn’t bleed into the food.
Palette Knife or Scraper
A chef’s palette knife was originally used to spread icing, but it can be used effectively working with chocolate. If you’re going all-out then by all means buy a specialty chocolate scraper. But you could also use many improvised tools such as a spatula.
You could use something so simple as a chopping board, but chocolatiers and more experienced chocolate makers tend to use a marble or granite slab. Besides their smooth surface, you can quickly cool chocolate down to help bind the cocoa butter and condensed milk when making milk chocolate.
- Dipping Tools
Some common ingredients in chocolate bars: