The Chocolate Life

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Home Brew Chocolate


Home Brew Chocolate

This group is for ChocolateLife members making, or who are interested in making, chocolate from the bean.

"Home Brew" means you haven't gone out and spent millions-you're mixing and matching (and making) what it takes to make it work.

Location: Worldwide
Members: 297
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

The Home Brew Group: Sponsored by CocoaTown

Making chocolate from the bean can be a lot of fun. Some special equipment is required, but the process is pretty easy to learn and to get good at. It must be, some of the biggest names in the craft chocolate biz have started on using kitchen appliances.

The group is sponsored by CocoaTown, the makers and importers of hobbyist and commercial melanguers, grindeurs, and accessories for making chocolate. CocoaTown is offering ChocolateLife members special purchase incentives. Learn more here.

Discussion Forum

Scaling Up Refining Times Based on Weight?

Started by Dave Huston. Last reply by Andy Koller Jul 23. 19 Replies


Started by Clay Gordon. Last reply by Andy Koller Jul 19. 26 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Home Brew Chocolate to add comments!

Comment by Camille Harripersad on May 27, 2011 at 8:38am


Does anyone have any interesting recipes or spices added to chocolate when making either dark or milk chocolate? What else, besides vanilla, do you add when making chocolate? Cardamom?  Chilies? Allspice? Are there any spices that are better for dark chocolate as opposed to milk?

Comment by Robert O'Byrnes on January 29, 2011 at 2:28pm

Hello to all.  I have about 3 lbs of crillio and want to make milk chocolate. All that I have made to this point is dark.  Wondering if any of you would share a milk chocolate recipe.


Thank you,


Comment by Frank Schmidt on December 22, 2009 at 8:58am
A cheap and easy cold weather conching booth for the un-insulated workshop.

I was e-mailing Clay Gordon about this booth that I made for my chocolate making workshop to be used during cold weather months when the indoor temperature chills the chocolate mass in my Ultra wet grinder. The mass becomes so thick as to make the wet grinder nearly stall. In this photo you can see the electric radiant heater which produces warm air more than enough to heat the wet grinder and warms the mass. Problem is: this workshop is the size of a two car garage. Far too large for the space heater.

With two sheets of 4ft X 8ft. insulated foam board (building contractors here call it “blue board”) cut into pieces tall enough to cover the radiant heater and “hood” over the workbench and Ultra, you can see how the heat is trapped. This is intended to be easy to take on and off therefore it does not totally enclose the wet grinder and heater. Another piece of blue board could be cut and placed behind the grinder and connected to the booth to further trap the rising heat. I think this is half-inch board, not as thick as 5/8 inch.

I just used a box cutter to slice up the blue board after measuring it off; and used duct tape to connect the pieces together. Of course you could build a proper wooden frame around this booth and set the frame on four cheap casters from Ace Hardware so as to make the unit solid and mobile. My unit is so light weight it could probably be hung from the ceiling out of the way during warm summer months or just disassembled and then re-taped back together in the winter of the year. I can’t tell you the cost of the materials but it’s got to be the cheapest way to build a warming booth.

Comment by Kristin McGary on November 17, 2009 at 9:38pm
I want to learn.... feeling a bit overwhelmed with the incredible amt of info on this site.... digesting it in bite size pieces... must pack for a trip.. more from me to come!
Kristin Grayce
Comment by Frank Schmidt on November 1, 2009 at 6:14pm
I don't have a lot of experience with Madagascar, Gordon. I've only done one batch and it turned out well, not too thick as you mention. I don't think the temps in the high 130's have anything to do with thickness. I also have had what I thought were high temps with other beans during conching and that did not result in thick finished chocolate.

Water, humidity, could have something to do with it. If the beans had a high water content to start with and were not roasted so that all the water was burned off, then maybe that could account for it.

Another thought, Ask Alan Mc Clure, over at Patric chocolate. He's done a lot of Madagascar. May have some ideas on this. And he's great for sharing information.

All the best in your efforts. Madagascar is a great bean!
Comment by Gordon Terpening on October 30, 2009 at 11:26pm
My last 3 batches of Madagascar chocolate have been thick coming out of the melangeur (compared to previous batches and compared to
batches of various West African). While conching the chocolate stays
at temperatures in the high 130's. But this is true for the other batches too. Yet it is only the Madagascar that thickens to the point it is
difficult to work with.
Has anyone else experienced this?
Comment by Deliciosa on August 23, 2009 at 11:42pm
To be able to make my very own chocolate from the beans? WOW! I can't wait to try this!!
Comment by Clay Gordon on August 18, 2009 at 7:58pm
I have re-posted the online Chocolate Makers database. It is an Add-Only database, which means you can only add an entry, not edit them. This is an international directory, not just US companies.

If you have any questions or comments about an entry, please submit them in this forum so that they can be make public. I will make the changes as they are brought to my attention.
Comment by Frank Schmidt on June 19, 2009 at 9:06am
Yes, Tom

I tried peppermint oil last evening in the ganache. Much better. I'm still adding about one tablespoon of xylitol to the hot cream, say a third cup of cream when making ganache. It gives the ganache more cool contrast to the shell.

I am using xylitol-peppermint chocolate as the base for the ganache too.

My concern about oil versus chopped mint in the base chocolate is that the mint leaf form adds bulk and the oil will not.

This is always going to be a concern, the need for more bulk, with sucrose substitutes. Sugar is just always going to give you a better fullness of mouth feel on the palate. Can't get away from it.

So adding bulk with peppermint leaves, if that doesn't add too much of a grassy, earthy "off" flavor, would be better than oil.

Over time and with tempering, the peppermint flavor may be lost if leaves are used; you're right.

Also, check this out....the Cooling Effect of xylitol seems to come back when the mass is re-heated but is not as pronounced when the chocolate is cooled to room temp. in the shells.

Please tell me, Tom, if you get this sensation too, when making this kind of chocolate. Don't be alarmed if the cooling effect is strong in re-heated liquid chocolate ; when pouring the shells or pouring the bars. It may fade when chocolate is solid.

That's why I like to add a little cool sensation to the ganache center for contrast.

Just some thoughts. Best of luck to you.

I'd like to hear form anyone else trying this xylitol sweetener.

(I'll be off line again for the weekend, family visiting from Las Vegas. )
Comment by Tom on June 18, 2009 at 7:15pm
No worries Frank, thanks for the flax seed tip. I can imagine that the minty-ness would change with batch of mint and the length of time in the grinder as the volatiles from the mint would slowly dissipate. So mint oil would provide for repeatability and scale up too.

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