How to Make Chocolate from Scratch

Written by Roar Elias

This website is dedicated to how to make chocolate, in all its forms and varieties, starting from scratch. All recipes you will find here are chocolate recipes. Chocolate cake, chocolate fudge, chocolate ice cream. If it can be made using chocolate, we have the recipe!

But first we need to learn how chocolotate is made, and with our help you will soon be able to make it yourself!

Beloved by nearly everyone who tastes it, chocolate has been called the nectar of the gods. How to make chocolate, the food of lovers, is a question that is asked frequently by those who love it.

How difficult can it be?

Now, why exactly would you want to learn how to make chocolate of your very own when you can go and buy a couple of blocks at the store? There are many reasons for this. For some, this is just about the experience, and you have to admit it is rather unique. It's like making your own cheese. It's almost as if you can add this to your resume. If you have a couple of cocoa trees in your garden then you may as well make use of them. This is something to think about when you are landscaping. Plant something that has a purpose in your daily life. A regular tree is all good and well, but you will get a lot more joy out of real fruit produced from cocoa trees, not to mention the savings!

How to Make Chocolate from Scratch

If you want to learn how to make chocolate from scratch it is going to take some more time and patience, and if you have a cocoa plant in your garden you want to use for this process then you will have to go through 6 steps of drying and fermenting, which can take up to 14 days. The beans are then roasted to develop those fantastic flavours, following a process known as cracking and winnowing. The nibs are refined and then we come to another lengthy process where cocoa liquor is conched. Tempering is of course the final stage. Let's discover how to make chocolate that will really blow your mind away!

We are going to stick to pre-fermented and dried cocoa beans for now. A lot of people think that making chocolate from cocoa powder is the way to go, but if you want something sensational then cocoa beans are your best bet. Even if you can get your hands on cocoa pods, it is best to start simple. In saying that, this is not something that should put you off by its technical jargon. You may have once thought you were out of your depth making something like a chocolate lava cake, but once you get down to it, you realize that it's really not rocket science!

Roasting the Cocoa Beans for Great Flavor

Take out 100g (3.5oz.) of the finest cocoa beans and spread them out in a roasting pan. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C and usually you will roast them for five minutes, turning the heat down to 250 degrees F / 120 degrees C for another 5-10 minutes. The main aim is to separate the shells from the beans and to do that you need to turn up the heat. Obviously you need to keep an eye on them and turn the heat down at a certain point so that your beans don't burn. This is not like making a stew where you can go and read a book until it's time to serve up. Here, you have to keep on watching. When you hear your beans start to crack and pop and you smell something vinegary then it's time to take your beans out. Let them cool down.

Winnowing the Nibs

A term like, "winnowing the nibs" is something that overwhelms many, but if you think about it, a lot of people use big words to impress so this is just a fancy way of separating the outsides from the insides. There is a long way and a short way of doing this. You can either peel the skins off yourself. The faster way is to crack the beans and then blow air on them. You can do this by just putting the whole lot in a plastic bag and giving them a big whack with a rolling pin or the back of a pan. Do this until they are crushed. Now get yourself a hairdryer and put the beans in a bowl. Blow the air gently towards the bowl from a distance. This way the skins will fly from the bowl and you will be left with the nibs. Give the bowl a shake whilst you are doing this. Examine that the skins are all gone.

Refining

The next step involves refining, which is where you will be processing the nibs as smoothly as possibly. Find a chocolate or a spice grinder - the best that you can get your hands on because next to a chocolate melangeur, which is terribly expensive, these are your best bet.

To settle on your required sweetness you have to know how much chocolate you want. For example if you want 70% chocolate then you will want 30g of sugar and 70 g of nibs to make 100g (3.5oz) of chocolate.

  • Add the sugar and grind it up to a fine powder
  • Next, add the nibs and grind them up for about 5 minutes. The texture you see will first resemble something like ground coffee, but later down the line it will turn into a thick liquid when the cocoa butter starts to melt. It is important to stop the grinder every so often so you can scrape this up from the bottom and the sides and this will help with the consistency. You will know it is done when it starts to flow easily.

Conching

Now it's time to turn to conching. This helps bring out those delicate flavours. Get out the mortar and pestle and heat it up by putting in a warm oven for a couple of minutes. Now add the chocolate in here and start grinding. Keep on tasting as you go along and when the taste buds tell you that it is good to go then it's done. If you have a lot of chocolate, then put it in a mixer with a paddle attachment and whip it up slowly for about an hour.

How to Make Chocolate Better by Tempering

The final stage involves tempering of the chocolate. This is another subject altogether and you will find that it is useful in some cases, whilst a lot of the time it's really not necessary. However, in this case, if you want to go the extra mile and have some fine quality chocolate then I really recommend you don't skip this stage. You have come so far so it would be crazy at this stage of the game to start to get lazy.

Cocoa butter needs to crystallize into a variety of forms. Tempering will help to stabilize the chocolate and this is the difference between something that tastes like it has been made really well and something quite inferior. You can do this by hand or with a special tempering machine. If you do it by hand you really have to keep an eye on it at all times.

You are going to start off by melting it. You should get yourself a thermometer and attach this to the double boiler. Now it's a case of heating the chocolate to a certain temperature. Take the chocolate off the heat and let it cool down. Now spread some of the chocolate out on a marble or a granite surface and work it around then add some more chocolate from the bowl, then put the whole lot back in the bowl. Mix this around and you start to see air bubbles, which is a good sign. Always keep an eye on the temperatures because this is what will produce fine quality chocolate at the end of the day.

Now you know how to make chocolate, and you can officially call yourself a chocolatier!

Now that we have the basics covered, lets get to all those delightful choclate recipes!

How to make chocolate truffles, ice cream, cookies, cakes and desserts.

Let's get cooking!

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