Hi all, first I want to really thank you for all the wonderful cacao wisdom you share here. I read your blogs, and have slowly figured out how to make my chocolate bars thanks to you. It is time to get some more advice as to next steps in my chocolate bar creation.
I am currently selling my bars in one local natural food grocery. I sell about 10 dozen bars a month there. I wish to add more retail outlets, and need to send samples. Before I do this I wonder what "the next step" in making them more delicious and more marketable might be?
So, first off, what I am doing is making them out of "raw" powder (debatable I know), cacao butter and coconut sugar. My first concern is the texture is somewhat coarse because the coconut sugar is so granular. I do grind it in a magic bullet first, but it is still too coarse, especially in the 75% where the sugar makes up so much of the volume. Is a conche the best next item to buy? If I understand the blogs here, the conch will grind down the sugar and other particles, and in that process also volatize off some undesirable flavors?
My system of melting and tempering is ok, though it is manual. Still I can make and temper a 4 pound batch easily. Is the conche the machine I need??? And if so, I need one that can deal with at 4 pounds at a time. That volume will grow. So suggestions as to what brand and model would be appreciated? On the other hand, perhaps that is not the machine I need? Also, I wonder since the powder is so fine, it is almost dust, am I conching basically just the sugar? If that is the case, would I do better finding a mill for the sugar? What else will the conching do for my chocolate? Also, I am still a small business, run in my home kitchen, with a state license, etc. Still, if it is noisy and running for days, that is a big impact. What would be the quieter brand of conche, assuming conching is the solution.
So, the coarseness is an issue. Is it pointless to conche chocolate that is made from fine powder, or will it improve the taste as well as the sugar texture?
Likely it could be achieved. Add the cocoa butter and keep the fastening screw kind of loose. Monitor it for the first batch, testing every 5-10 minutes, to see if it rises above.
Failing that, try just the sugar and cocoa butter first, add the chocolate liqueur after the sugar is refined.
Excellent news then.
Now I go online and figure out what machine to buy.
If you have any pro or cons for which machines I would be interested to know.
Thank you Mark, you have helped me a lot!
Never heard of that one :) sounds nice!
Hi Mark and Daniela,
I bought a Spectra 11 based on the improvements made to the newest model.
I will try the sugar and cacao butter and add the powder last as the way to keep the temperature down, and I can also point a fan at it too if needed.
I am excited to produce chocolate with the silky mouthfeel and the low glycemic of coconut sugar! And in doing all the research I found myself getting interested in nibs or beans in the future so I can be beans to bar. All in due time of course.
I tried grinding the sugar first but it takes a while. I usually add the sugar + cocoa butter first, leaving some to add at the end, then we add the couverture/cocoa powder. We have a low GI chocolate bar made with Sweetwell sweetener and it works :)
Good luck with the coconut sugar, keep updating! :)!