Making your own cocoa butter


It seems like I get asked this a lot. So far I've not found a practical way to do it. Or at least way that makes it a reasonable alternative to just buying some. One of the few times that DIY isn't superior, even with extra worth on your part. There is about 50% cocoa butter in a cocoa bean. Even the best presses, with literally tons of pressure and heat, they only get a recovery of about 80% (meaning they remaining cocoa mass has about 20% cocoa butter in it). Well, I had something happen the other day that although isn’t perfect, does give you a way to make a bit of your own cocoa butter.

Every year, has the holiday season comes around, I combine all the chocolate samples I have (usually 50-100 lbs) and make it into truffles. This year I had a minor mishap with a small test batch while dialing in some scotch flavored centers. As I was finishing up stirring in the cream to the chocolate (1:2) it started to separate. I since determined this has a higher chance of happening if you don’t have lecithin in your chocolate. In this case I had an ‘ah ha’ moment, as I realized that was cocoa butter on top and people keep asking me how to press their own cocoa butter.

Armed with this inspiration, I did a 500 gram test to see just how much cocoa butter I could get.

I mixed in 250 grams boiling water.

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Stirred well until it seized, then stirred some more.

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I put it into a colander to drip, pulling as much as I could to the sides so I had lots of surface area for the cocoa butter to flow from, noticing it liked to come to the surface. I put this into a warm oven to drip for a flew hours stirring once in a while.

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The result? Cocoa butter…..66 grams. Considering there was about 250 grams in there, I only got about 25% of what I could have. Poor showing into my mind.

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I went on to try putting the mass in a bag and pressing it…..and nothing happened. I even pulled out my sake press (it’s a screw press) and really applied the pressure…and ….pictures speak volumes.

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Blow out - the chocolate pressed right through the seams and fine screen of the bag. So, at the end of the day, can you make your own cocoa butter? Sure, but it is going to be a bit of work, and very expensive since you are only getting about 12% of your starting mass. So really just sort of novelty.

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