Ask the Alchemist #154


Now that you have a cocoa butter press, have you experimented with different ways of making chocolate (to improve flavor/texture/etc...)?  While I realize that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should".... My mind is now spinning with thoughts of things that could be done during the process... pressing butter out of the liqueur before putting it into a melanger to refine/conche...  Doing something to warm/process the butter to change its flavor before reintroducing it to the cocoa "powder"... different ways to introduce the sugar into the butter and/or powder?   

Well, the first answer is that no, I have not yet experimented with this.  I am actually in the middle of a long series of oven roasting tests.  So far I have 10 different combinations of roasting beans and nibs in a conventional oven.  More on that later.

For those that are missed the 'press' that is being discussed, it is the Nutrichef oil expeller that works on cocoa beans and gives your own cocoa butter.

What can be done?  Well, given we are limited to a Melanger, I think some of our options are limited by the necessity to have a flowing product.  You could press some cocoa butter out, but you still need to maintain 30-35% fat, so even with a 70% dark chocolate, you are already there and can't remove any cocoa butter.

I am glad you mention 'just because you can, doesn't mean should".  We CAN process our chocolate more, but I'm not sure we should.  It's one of the big reasons I constantly make it known that I don't find you can make a good chocolate from cocoa powder.  It was been processed too hard.  But there is also no reason not to try.  This is fresh cocoa butter and powder and is 'processed' more gently than others by nature of the small scale.  I will certainly try making a batch recombined.  For science's sake.

What does come to mind though is a cocoa powder, cream powder chocolate.  At 72% fat in the cream powder, you have the ability to get that chocolate flowing again.  That is now on the list too.

That all said, I think the first place to start is making your own butter, and using it in 5-10% amounts in your existing recipes and seeing if it makes a difference.  I know it can make a radical difference in a milk chocolate where there is 30%.  Time to play people!

Finally, I will mention that the resulting cocoa powder is not as fine as commercial powder.  But it is pretty fine (straight out it is coarse, but a quick run in a whirly blade grinder gets it fine).  And I've been using it in mochas (it mixes nicely with hot water), hot chocolate (ditto with hot water and sugar) and quick mole spicing (I sprinkle it on sauteing chicken and add a little chili sauce).

So, what do you folks want me to test?

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