Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Allergy free Easter chocolate making tips and tricks part 1

Cacao Nibs

Here's what I've learnt so far from experimenting with making chocolate from scratch:
  • Grind longer than you'd like using the coffee or spice grinder. The smoother the chocolate mix at this stage the fewer granular bits will remain in the final product. Only so much will melt.
  • Use the mortar and pestle until your arm falls off but half way through add in some cacao butter.
  • Use a large mortar and pestle for the main work but obtain two different sorts, one with a long heavy pestle and the other with a wide pestle so that there's more surface area.
  • If you couldn't grind as much as you'd like using the grinder then grinding or 'conching' with a pestle that provides a greater surface area will help get the job done faster.
  • Before tempering, take a tiny bit of chocolate and set it on your cold tempering surface. If the chocolate starts to set momentarily then you have enough cacao butter in the mix and it should be fine to start tempering. 
  • Temper quickly until the chocolate turns gluggy but don't panic during this stage, temper at a reasonable pace just remember to transfer the chocolate to and fro quickly.
  • Use flexible silicone spatulas to temper the chocolate as you'll be able to move, scrape and replace the chocolate much easier and you'll be able to use the spatulas to scrape down the mortar and pestle as well, getting the most out of your chocolate mix.
  • If using spoons to transfer chocolate then use two spoons, one large and one small. Also use a spatula to scrape out as much chocolate as possible for molding.
  • Chocolate should set very quickly. If it doesn't then either the tempering didn't work or you've over tempered and overworked the chocolate and it won't due to a deterioration of certain types of crystal structures etc. For the longer explanations go here: The Chocolate Doctor
  • The goat's milk flavour is completely overpowered by the normal chocolate flavour (I don't know about white) so don't worry about your chocolate tasting funny.
Cacao Liquor

I'm still experimenting so I'll get back to you on milk chocolates and advanced molding techniques (not using spoons but icing decorators).
I just thought these would help you get started in time for Easter.

Cacao Butter

Sources of cacao nibs (mostly Australian as that's where I am): 




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