I pressed return too soon, excuse my spelling.... I want to be clear that I am currently not a bean to bar maker, because of the immense cost and labour, but I am in another unknown category using powder, paste and butter to make my own chocolate. I am powdering coconut sugar in a vitamix, but find it still have graininess. I am trying to decide if I should purchase a conching machine as well as a temperer. thanks And also if a conching machine is the same thing as a melanger?
I don't know if i'm qualified to reply or give advice considering how little experience i have with making chocolate compared to the others on this forum
I am experimenting with bean to bar currently and have discovered that a wet stone grinder(widely available here in India and not too expensive. I got mine for Rs4200 which works out to roughly USD80 ) does a very good job of both refining and conching.
You can certainly "reconstitute" cocoa powder and cocoa butter with sugar (and other ingredients) to make chocolate. You do not have to start from liquor or mass.
You will need something to mix the ingredients together, get the particle size down, make sure that any clumps of particles (called agglomerates) are broken up, and that the particles are completely covered in fat. Some flavor development may also be necessary.
I do know people who just melt the cocoa butter, mix in (by hand) the cocoa powder, and add a non-crystalline sweetener (e.g., agave syrup). In this case, they do not use a melangeur/conche.
However, if you are using a crystalline sugar (e.g., white, evaporated cane juice), then you will need a grinder to get the texture right.
thanks, i got a melanger from cocaotown and I'm very happy with the results. Much smoother than before.
Beth and Clay,
If you don't mind sharing, what's your experience with conch times for batches? I am using a friend's machine at the moment and at doing about 8lb batches I am conching for about 3 hours. Just curious as to what others are doing. Any and all input appreciated.
howdy, if by conching you mean grinding the sugar in and blending all ingredients then it takes around 3-4 hrs if all goes well. I am using coconut sugar and dealing with humidity issues which can make the sugar clump and slow the process alot. I am not sure if what I am doing is conching. I am not grinding the actual beans. I am also doing around 8 lb batches and using a cocoatown melanger. I am maxing it out and hope it won't hurt the machine over time. peace, Beth
Hi Beth, I had also made chocolate using coconut sugar instead of table sugar. The humidity issues must be dealt with before the sugar comes in contact with the cocoa or the shelf life and finishing of the final product will be compromised. Are you facing this challenge?
yes, I am using dessicant cans to suck moisture out of the bucket of sugar and then I powder and grind the sugar into the rest.
What dessicant cans have you found to be effective?
I am using a reuseable metal canister type with indicator silica gel. I am actually trying to reorder them but I am having trouble finding where I previously ordered from. If i figure it out I'll let you know.
are you grinding in the sugar and if so what machine do you use? I am struggling with my cocoatown melanger and it can't seem to keep up with my small batches of 10 lbs. I am trying to figure out what to invest in and don't have many other people to discuss the use of that sugar and get the equipment I need.
I am just getting started. Im not sure that I can offer much. I am currently in the market for a tempering machine and cocoatown melanger.
Until this point, I have made chocolate by letting the cacao powder, butter, sugar and other ingredients sit and warm together for a half hour or so. Then I put them in my Vitamix, then temper. Its not the smoothest, but the Vitamix does help. I am hoping that the Melanger will create a better consistency. But it sounds like you are having issues with the Melanger?
My suggestion would be to put the sugar through a Vitamix. They have a special canister to turn grain into flour, which might be effective with the sugar. Its an investment, but you can buy refurbished models online that are discounted and still come with warranty. Or maybe a Champion Juicer? Or pre-grinder?