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For the last two months, I have been making small batches of chocolate using paste made by two different women cooperatives in the Dominican Republic.   I have been breaking up the balls of paste and softening them up on a double boiler and slowly adding it my Cocoa Town melanger with between 20 and 40% pure cane sugar and/or honey powder.  After playing around with 7 - 24 four hour conches/grinds, I like the 24 hour.  It is fairly thick as it is being worked in the melanger due to only have cocao butter which was cooked out rather than pressed so I am hesitant to use it. 

Received a small order of cacao nibs and butter from Fine Cacao Products who have a warehouse or something in West Hackensack, NJ and sell products made by Conacado's factory in the Dominican Republic called Cafiesa.  I had the opportunity to translate for a USAID paid consultant on contract for Equal Exchange for three days last summer.  Learned a great deal and I know exactly how this stuff is processed. 

I added 1.5 lbs of nibs (much different process heating them up and adding them to the machine), 4 oz of butter and 6 oz of pure cane sugar.  After two hours this stuff was very liquified.  I am tempted to add some more nibs or milk powder.   Any advice is appreciated. 

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Sounds like a bit much cocoa butter, not enough sugar, not wrong though, that formulation is I think similar to what Pralus does as standard - from memory, I haven't got a bar with me to calculate it. I usually do a dark choc as 60 nibs, 30 sugar, 10 cocoa butter. This is a very standard choc formulation and gives you a good basis from which to tweak your recipe to suit the origin. It gives a chocolate that pleases most tastes too, not too sweet, not too bitter.

As for fluidity of your mixture, it won't matter, it will just grind down quicker as the grinder will spin faster and since it is all cacao fats it will temper fine.

Thankyou.  I just did a temper on another batch I did with some paste my wife just brought back from the DR.  I tried the seed method for first time and had trouble getting all the seed to melt after I lowered the temp to 94 degrees.  I guess it has to be grated rather than chopped.  I haven't really liked the results of my table tempering lately and will have to soon get a machine.  

Is this considered 60% or 70% chocolate?

If you're talking about Tom's 60 nibs, 30 sugar and 10 cocoa butter, that is a 70% chocolate.


What do you mean in the first paragraph of 'cocoa butter being cooked out rather than pressed'?

Your formulation looks to be 70.8% nibs, 11.6% cocoa butter, and 17.5% sugar.  roughing the nibs out at 50% fat, this puts your total chocolate recipe at 47% fat - which is on the high side (and in all likelihood it's a bit higher as DR beans will almost assuredly be more than 50% fat).   It's hard to quantify what "very liquified" means in text - but at 47% fat, one can expect to have a pretty fluid chocolate even w/o lecithin.

If you're happy with the flavor and the physical properties 'work' for how you intend to use the chocolate, i would'nt worry about it.  if it's too fluid for you, take 7-8% of the cocoa butter out and massage the recipe until you hit your sweet spot.

Thank you so much.

The women I work with in the DR take about 4 lbs. of chocolate paste and boil in a big pot of water.  The butter rises to the top and you spoon it off to capture it.  What is left is thrown away.  I did a small batch myself last summer in the DR and was able to get maybe 4 oz of butter from 24 oz of paste. 

I bought 100 lbs of fermented beans from a farmer's cooperative to process with one group of women and had one of the local farmers ferment a 100lbs and the other group of women processed that.  This batch was so bad I did not even bring any home with me.  I asked the women to cook out the butter and they "said" they could not get any out.  I ended up giving it to them and did not have to pay for the processing.  Just lost out on $130 for the 100 lbs of beans. 

When I got up this morning the chocolate in the machine was still very runny and after I got home from work it was at 23 hours.  I will wait for it to cool down but it is much different then what I was making from the other paste.  Lighter, and with the butter, creamy.  


wow - that's a terribly inefficient way to make cocoa butter!  It'll be < than a 50% recovery even on the best days i suspect.

The other thing to consider is that consistently fermenting 100lbs can be tough - it's not much mass to work with, and as a result your mass temperature will be limited, and your bean surface:atmosphere surface ratio will be huge - not sure what your intent was for these 100 lbs (if it was just for butter or not), but ultra small scale fermentations can be a tough road to travel.

The new batch with the Cafiesa nibs and butter turned out pretty nice.  Easier clean up and less waste.  I took a pound and a half of it, untempered and sliced, along with 50 cherry based truffles rolled in coconut, 30 bon bons with the cherry ganache in the middle, and a half a pound of molded and tempered from my last batch, to school today and the students loved them.  The more or less 70 nibs, 20 sugar and 10 butter is a little creamy for me and because it was water like it's consistency, I think 23 hours was too much. 

Thank you everyone for the advice and input. 


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