Chocolate is a kind of popular food, it is sweet, and usually brown. Chocolate is made in the form of a liquid, paste or in a block or used as a flavoring ingredient in other sweet foods. Sometimes we use it to make ice cream with an ice cream machine.
We know that chocolate is made from cocoa beans, but lots of people do not know how. Let us go and see together.
Chocolate production starts with harvesting cocoa in a forest. Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least three millennia in Mexico and Central America. Cacao comes from tropical evergreen Cacao trees, such as Theobroma Cacao, which grow in the wet lowland tropics of Central and South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Cacao needs to be harvested manually in the forest. The seed pods of coca will first be collected,the beans will be selected and placed in piles. These cocoa beans will then be ready to be shipped to the manufacturer for mass production.
At the factory, the cacao beans are first sifted for foreign objects-you know, rocks, machetes, whatever got left in the bag. The cacao is weighed and sorted by type so that the manufacturer knows exactly what type of cacao is going into the chocolate. Some manufacturers use up to twelve types of cacao in their recipes, and they must carefully measure so that the flavor is consistent time after time.
Next, the cacao beans are roasted in large, rotating ovens, at temperatures of about two-hundred-and-ten to two-hundred-and-ninety degrees fahrenheit. Roasting lasts from half an hour up to two hours. The heat brings out more flavor and aroma, and it dries and darkens the beans.
Then the cacao beans are cracked and winnowed, that is, their outer shells are cracked and blown away, leaving the crushed and broken pieces of cacao beans, called “nibs”. At this point, we have something edible and really chocolatey, but they are also really bitter.
But how is chocolate made? We have gone through all these steps and we still do not have a chocolate bar! Be patient, it can take up to one week!
The cacao nibs must now be crushed and ground into a thick paste called chocolate liquor (there is no alcohol in it). What happens next, though, depends on what type of chocolate we are making.
Now, you also want to know how cocoa is made. To make cocoa, the powdery stuff you mix up into hot chocolate, the cocoa liquor is slammed by a giant hydraulic press. This removes much of the fat, or cocoa butter. The cocoa butter will be used in making chocolate, but it is also used in cosmetics and medicines. What is left of the slammed chocolate liquor is very dry and can be ground into cocoa.
Now, on to the chocolate. Chocolate liquor by itself is bitter and not very smooth and creamy. To sweeten it up and improve the texture, the manufacturer will add things like sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and milk.
You could eat this now, and it would taste pretty good, but it would not have the texture you associate with a chocolate bar. The cacao and the sugar are still pretty grainy at this point, so the manufacturer runs the mixture through a series of steel rollers to refine the texture.
To further refine the texture, and to really bring out the flavor, the mixture is then “conched”. That is, it is run through a chocolate making machine (a conch-so named because the first such machine looked kind of like a conch shell) that mixes and mashes and swirls and aerates the chocolate. At this point we will probably add some more cocoa butter and maybe some soy lecithin-these will give the chocolate its silky smooth texture. Conching can last a few hours for cheaper chocolates, and up to six days for the expensive stuff!
The chocolate is then tempered by stirring it, letting it cool, heating it back up slowly, and repeating the process several times. This will give our chocolate that nice glossy look, and it will help it melt properly.
Finally, we have chocolate! Some people might use the liquid chocolate in candies or cookies or ice cream, but let us pour our lovely mixture into a mold, let it harden, then eat it!