Ask the Alchemist #46 and USPS Tracking

Some of you may have noticed, contrary to what it currently says about USPS and no tracking numbers (soon to change) tracking numbers are now available for USPS packages, including Standard Post (which previously was Parcel Post and is still just as slow). I am going to toss a disclaimer out there though. I don’t know how well the tracking numbers work nor how accurate the estimated delivery time are. They now make it sound like it is a guarantee. I’ve seen “2 Day Shipping”. I’ve already had people ask why it showed up three or four days later. The answer is that that is USPS’s estimate and that is all it is. And just to remind you, the day you get your shipping confirmation is not always the day your shipment goes out. It’s the day I processed the order and took it out to pack. Often it is the same day, but sometimes it is not.

Onto Ask the Alchemist.

Is it ok to roast the beans and then go straight into the melanger without any other process, will you get the smooth chocolate ? I read a lot of good research on cacao bean husk so prefer to keep it in:

Comparative evaluation of chlorhexidine mouthrinse versus cacao bean husk extract mouthrinse as antimicrobial agents in children.

Chocolate mouth rinse: Effect on plaque accumulation and mutans streptococci counts when used by children. 

Extraction and chromatographic separation of anticarcinogenic fractions from cacao bean husk.

Identification of cariostatic substances in the cacao bean husk: their anti-glucosyltransferase and antibacterial activities.

Well, yes, you can. But having done it, you will in all likelihood get a chocolate with a great number of off flavors. I’ve done it a few times, even with very clean beans and the product was never anything I or anyone wanted to eat.

And although you didn’t ask it, I read over those abstracts and they all very specifically deal with extracts of the husk, not the husk themselves. The significance is concentration and application. None of those took a route via ingestion. Your research, as you listed, is not applicable to keeping husk in the chocolate. I can’t see how any of those benefits would be transferable to chocolate with husk intact. Antibacterial properties of compounds are very sensitive to concentration and total dose and application and what you propose has you reducing and changing all three.

Instead of putting it into your chocolate, I would instead suggest making a tea via Brewed Cocoa. None of those articles mentioned whether they were hot or cold water extracts, so it is entirely possible a hot water extract would reduce the anti-bacterial properties…but then again, it may not.

Finally, going back to the tests I did, I wanted to mention that I’ve watch people pick out every last piece of husk they can after winnowing. Personally, I find that overkill (unless you are doing raw chocolate). I’ve seen values that industry standard for husk is 0.5-2%. I’m not saying to leave that much in. But I am saying that if you decide to, I highly doubt you will notice at all unless you are super super taster or the beans have very serious mold issues. I and those I gave samples to could not notice any difference up to 5% and then it could well have been suggestive. 10%. Yeah. Noticed it. 20%. Yep – nasty. Oh, and those are are percentages of total weight, meaning 20%, being roughly the weight of the husk, was leaving all the husk in. Taking out 3/4 made it barely perceptible. So, basically, relax a little with your winnowing. A little husk isn’t the end of the world. And if you are going to actively add it to your chocolate, (although I don’t see the purpose based on the current research) maybe keep it too under 5%.

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