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I am trying to make my first dark milk chocolate from the beans, and I have some problems about grinding and conching. I do not add soy lecithin or cocoa butter, only cocoa beans ( 45%), whole milk and sugar. I use the CocoaTown grinder and after 72 hours of grinding - conching, the texture is not perfectly smooth.  But the taste is very delicious ! I wonder if I have to wait another 24 hours ? 

What do you think ? I don't want to add other ingredients, do you think that I can make a smooth dark milk chocolate without additional soy lecithin or cocoa butter.

Thank you in advance for your advices !


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Well i would say you have too many solid particles for the amount of naturally occuring cocoa butter in the beans you used. I would add cocoa butter but since that is not an option you could go for a vegetable oil with a high bp and little flavour so as not to change the taste of the chocolate too much. I am not sure how much you would be able to get away with before you will have trouble tempering the resulting chocolate but i would guess not more than 5%. Also if you do this it won't strictly be chocolate anymore because you have other non cocoa fats in there. I do this when i make a choc-hazelnutspread but then i adding more than 5% and the result is spreadable.

W/o having a formula, it's impossible to determine how much fat you have.  However, i'm going to guestimate that you've got about 25% cocoa fat in there - which is low.  To tom's point, one of your issues may be that it's simply not enough fluidity for the unit to grind efficiently, and you're going to have to find a way to further fluidize it - either via some lecithin or additional fat.  It's my guess that you're low enough in fat that lecithin's not going to get you to where you need to be, so you're prob looking at additional fat.  Now, i'd not monkey around with veg fats.  Unless you know what you're doing, there's a very high likelihood that you're going to very quickly run into something called eutectics, which will give you all sorts of troubles should you want to temper this.  Rather, i'd look to add cocoa butter.  Now,  yo'uve got two options:

1) add pure cocoa butter, bring the total fat up to, oh, say 35%.  Or, if you don't have access to cocoa butter

2) remove the contents of your grinder, and add more roasted nibs.  Liquify those nibs - they'll have an approximate fat content of, lets say 52%.  Once you create you fluid chocolate liquor, slowly add in your original paste batch, using the fluidity from the extra liquor to assist with the grinding.  0.2% fluid lecithin will also help at this point.

Hello Tom and Sebastian,

thank you very much for your help. I have just tried the second option: I removed the contents of the grinder ( the texture was almost smooth, but not perfectly) and I will liquify some more nibs. Later I will add the first mixture to the second one. So, I will have 60% cocoa nibs, 15% whole milk and 25% sugar. I really hope that this formula will work.. 

I know that some chocolate makers make dark milk chocolate 60% without adding other ingredients, but I can not remember their names.. 

Thank you again for your advices, I will tell you the result.

I think you'll find much better texture with that option - it'll put you somewhere in the neighborhood of 34% fat (maybe a touch higher depending on what nibs you're using) which should be liquid enough for the grinder to function properly.  Your fineness will now largely be a function of how long you leave it in- the longer it spins, the finer it'll be.  Enjoy!

I am also using the cocoa town melanger and made a dozen or so mirco batches and was not getting the smoothness I wanted.  I ordered some cocoa butter and it really helps out with the texture.  I started at 10-12 hour conches and raised it 20-24.  I think I will go back to the 12 hour and see if more taste is maintained.

Hi there, we make a Milk 60% single origin ecuador,  we started the testing on a small melanger with the intent of lower the cocoabutter content (to have dry feeling) but it also turned out thick like cement!

we just modify a bit the recipe by increasing the fat content (cocoabutter) and now it works amazingly!

give a try by reducing the nibs and adding cocoabutter (let say 10%) but depending on the beans you could start trying with just 5%.

As well, what fat content has your milk powder?



Hello ! Thank you for sharing your experiences !

Our dark milk 60% is delicious, we added some nuts and our friends like it. the texture is smooth and the taste is good. We did not add additional cocoa butter, the tempering was ok, much more easier than the other chocolates... 

But I would like also to try what you sais Antonino, reducing the nibs and adding some cocoa butter.. thank you for the idea !

I am also experimenting with my first dark milk batches. I've added an additional 10% cocoa butter to the batch and it has been going for about 12 hours now in a small cocoa town. The consistency is pretty good already and will probably be finished in the next 8 hours. I have been trying to figure out when the best time to add the whole milk powder would be?  Any suggestions?

I used 8% butter and 60% paste.  Used 10% milk powder and added after 12 hours and kept it in the machine for 20 hours total.  Ended up 22% sugar.  The batch ended up being a 4 lb, 10.5 ounces and generally am getting about 10 oz. lose with each batch from cleaning.  That is probably high but I do not pick through every nook and cranny of the grinder and bowl, but do the best I can without making too much of a mess. 

My milk chocolate people want more milk powder in it.  It is still pretty dark.


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