Fermentation, drying, baking, grinding, refining... chocolate is produced

Planting and picking

The crop cocoa was native to South America and was later taken to the African countries of Africa, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire by colonists and is now a major producer of cocoa. But growing cocoa is not a profitable industry. According to statistics, growers can only get 6% of the final price of cocoa, and most developed countries that can become chocolate can get huge profits.

The growth conditions of the cacao tree are very harsh and can only survive in the tropics, and the planting range does not exceed 20 degrees north and south. The delicate cocoa tree grows, needs plenty of sunlight and temperature, but is afraid of direct sunlight, so it is rooted in the shadow of the big tree. Therefore, tall coconut trees and banana trees can often be seen beside the cocoa tree, which can block direct sunlight for the cocoa tree.

The cocoa tree ushered in the first harvest between November and March, and between May and July it was the second crop with a slightly lower yield. The farmer uses special scissors to separate the fruit from the branches, and carefully cut the fruit without damaging the bark.

The fresh cocoa pods were picked and broken with a round stick, revealing the white, longitudinally separated flesh inside, and the cocoa beans were hidden in the full flesh. A cocoa tree provides about 40 pods a year, each pod containing about 20-40 beans. 1 kilogram of dried beans comes from about 20 pods. The mature pods are yellow-orange, the flesh is white and moist, sweet and sour, with mucus, can be eaten directly, tastes like mangosteen. Because of the sugar in the flesh, the cocoa beans are more aromatic after fermentation.

Fermentation

The extracted cocoa beans with pulp are piled together and placed in a special fermenting wooden box covered with banana leaves for natural fermentation. The whole process lasts for 5-6 days. Fermentation prevents the cocoa beans from germinating and removes their bitterness. In this process, cocoa beans can absorb flavor molecules including acid, sweet, fruity, floral and fragrant from the fermented pulp to produce a pre-tune of aroma.

dry

After fermentation, the beans may be moldy, so they need to be dried immediately to reduce the water from 70% to 7%. Some chocolate manufacturers often use machines for drying in order to save trouble, and the result is a loss of natural flavor. The beans that have been naturally dried can already feel the aroma of chocolate, but they are still not balanced enough. After manual picking by the workers and removal of the defective beans, the beans are loaded into the container and transported to the factory for the next step.

broken

The cocoa beans are packed in a container bag to open the journey from the planting site to the factory. After pouring out of the container bag, the dust and residue adhering to the beans will be cleaned up. Subsequently, it is necessary to remove the shell and germ of the bean through the crusher, leaving the nuts.

bake

This step can be carried out before the crushing, and the shell will gradually fall off during the baking process. It is during the baking process that cocoa can absorb the aroma, roast the cocoa flavor, preserve the inherent flavor of the beans and the flavor produced during the fermentation, so that the bitterness is reduced and the aroma is more balanced.

Grinding

The broken and baked beans are called cocoa beans. After the grinding of the cocoa beans, a semi-liquid paste is obtained, which is called cocoa puree. This raw pulp product can already be sold directly to the chocolate factory.

pressing

The cocoa puree is placed in a press equipped with a filter, the cocoa butter and the liquid are separated, the odor is removed, poured into a mold, and pulverized into cocoa powder.

mixing

After the cocoa paste brick obtained by pressing and the cocoa butter are mixed, the chocolate can be obtained. Different types of dark chocolate can be made by adding sugar in proportion, and milk chocolate can be made by adding milk powder, while cocoa paste brick is not contained in white chocolate. The finished product at this time is the fine and smooth chocolate that we eat every day.

refined

The cocoa paste bricks were warmed to 70 ° C while stirring slowly to make them more silky and more flavorful. This step can be added with cocoa butter or soy lecithin, which can be mixed more evenly.

Temperature adjustment

Temperature regulation is a very delicate step. It needs to be cooled to 28 ° C to harden it, and then heated to 32 ° C to give the chocolate a silky texture, which can be brittle and delicate at the same time.

Injection molding

Pour the liquid chocolate into the mold to get the shape you want. After the bubbles are broken and put into the refrigerator, the chocolate will shrink and crystallize, which is easy to demould.

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