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


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Comment by Frank Schmidt on June 18, 2009 at 9:03am
Sorry Tom,
I was off-line over the weekend.

I buy dried, chopped peppermint by the pound in a one gallon zip lock bag. To make the base chocolate I started with two ounces of melted cocoa butter in the conching machine (Ultra) and added 4 oz. of chopped peppermint.

That's a lot of volume. I let this run for 6 hours and the peppermint pretty much turned to smooth green cream. Then I added the cocoa mass from the Champion juicer and other ingredients and processed as usual.

The final chocolate is fairly smooth. Not grainy on the tongue.

Because of the "lightness" of xylitol but same volume as crystal sugar, I had to add a bulking agent to get the full mouth feel of normal chocolate back.

In my case, that is milled flax seed. You'd have to play with quantities to get the right amount but I added 20% milled seed to make up for the 20% loss in bulk of the xylitol.

That is, if you use 30 ounces xylitol then add 6 oz milled seed. This does not change the flavor much, that I can tell. The seed conches pretty well too and is not hard on the Ultra machine. You may want to test other amounts.

After all that, I'm thinking of switching to peppermint oil, if I can find it clear, not with green food die in it.

Hope this helps,

I think xylitol's glycemic index is 7 compared to 100 for sucrose so it should be ok for sugar sensitive people.
Comment by Tom on June 16, 2009 at 7:38pm
Frank, is that dried peppermint to flavour the actual chocolate or just the ganache. I use peppermint oil to flavour my chocolate at the moment but have been thinking of using dried mint and grinding it in.
Comment by Frank Schmidt on June 16, 2009 at 2:29pm
Probably the first all xylitol sweetened chocolate truffle in the Western Hemisphere. Peppermint chocolate ganache in a dark chocolate shell.

Comment by Frank Schmidt on June 16, 2009 at 9:00am
Per the xylitol and mint:

Tom: I use chopped , dried peppermint leaves. As of last evening I made a peppermint truffle exclusively with xylitol, inside and out. This improves the eating experience, the soft ganache center in contrast to the tempered shell. Soak the leaves in hot heavy whipping cream for a good 20 min.
Add one tsp xylitol to 1/3 cup of cream and two tbs of chopped mint. Heat. Press through a stainer into chopped xylitol sweetened chocolate for the ganche . Nice.
Comment by Tom on June 15, 2009 at 7:33pm
That is a great idea to use mint...perfect. I have been thinking of doing an alternative sweetened chocolate myself for a friend. With that suggestion I might just get around to giving it a go. I didn't fancy making a batch of chocolate that noone wanted to eat.
Comment by Frank Schmidt on June 15, 2009 at 12:40pm
June 15, 2009

I have developed a recipe for dark chocolate made with Panama cocoa beans and sweetened exclusively with xylitol.

This recipe includes other ingredients and is about 60 % cocoa content.

Xylitol as a sweetener has several advantages but also raises a few process difficulties which I have overcome in my recipe. The “cooling effect” is not disconcerting with the addition of peppermint.

The hope is that with this xylitol sweetened chocolate, it will be possible to supply people who are at risk for “dry mouth tooth decay” with a method of reducing the likelihood of cavities due to the demonstrated effects of xylitol on cavity causing germs.

Dry mouth tooth decay is a common side effect of some prescribed drugs and radiation/chemotherapy to the head and neck during cancer treatment.

Studies of the Kuna peoples of Panama and their chocolate consumption show that they have few cardiovascular problems and reduced cases of hypertension. These heath benefits have been attributed to their chocolate consuming habits while living a traditional lifestyle.

Studies in Sweden with children chewing xylitol sweetened chewing gum show reduced levels of S. mutans (the cavity causing germs) and reduced salivary acid.

Two research articles are listed below (links) in support of the hoped for benefits derived from my chocolate recipe.
Comment by Duffy Sheardown on March 30, 2009 at 5:53pm
Yes, and thanks again. I thought I'd be trying to palm about 8kg of rubbish off on friends and family who'd smile and politely eat it until I'd left the building.
I've had a good dark chocolate from Ivory Coast Forastero beans too - similar Ghana not as impressive. I'm starting the long process and getting hooked...
Comment by Duffy Sheardown on March 30, 2009 at 12:29pm
I have turned the rest of this batch of beans into milk chocolate, following comments from Sam. Very lovely indeed. If you can do that with unfermented beans then I am impressed.
Comment by Jeff Pzena on February 22, 2009 at 10:48am
It depends on the form of the roasted beans. If they were milled and winnowed and you just have the nibs, it would be more difficult. It is very subtle but the nibs will have slight purplish hue. If they are still in the husk, you will find unfermented beans have a smoother husk. I work with Cotton Tree Chocolate Company in Belize and buy beans from the Toledo Cacao Grower's Association (TCGA). They only purchase fermented beans from the farmers but the farmers only ferment beans if they intend to sell to the TCGA. If for personal use or local sale, the beans are not fermented.
Comment by Duffy Sheardown on February 22, 2009 at 10:19am
Hi Jeff,
An interesting thought. Is there any way to tell from the physical appearance of a roasted bean how/whether it has been fermented?

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