Saturday, January 7, 2017

Batch #2 - Honduras Wampusirpi - 61% Dark Chocolate

Batch #2 of my Chocolate Making Journey is chocolate made from the Honduras Wampusirpi 2015/16 Direct Trade bean.

Batch #2 Recipe (61% Dark)

Nibs 555g; 47 % (Fat Content 555g x 54% = 299.7g)
Cocoa Butter (Deodorized) 142g; 12% (Fat Content 142g x 100% = 142g)
Cocoa Butter Silk (seed for tempering) 24g; 2% (Fat Content 24g x 100% = 24g)
Sugar 461g;  39% (Fat Content 0g)
Lecithin 1 g

Total: 1180g (Total Fat Content: 465.7g / 1180g = 39.5 %)

For my second batch of chocolate I used the roasted Honduras Wampusirpi nibs that came in the Apprentice Kit that I purchased from Chocolate Alchemy.  Among other things the kit contained 1 pound each of roasted and unroasted beans and nibs. I used the roasted nibs in this batch along with some of the roasted beans that I cracked and winnowed by hand.

And let me tell you that cracking and winnowing by hand is a tedious and time consuming process. It is bad if you just have to do a few ounces, but almost impossible if you have more than a pound or two.  I really, really need a piece of equipment to automate the process. In the end it took me about 30 minutes to cracking and extra 100g or 3.5 ounces of beans.  Behold, the fruits of my hand winnowing - large, intact pieces of shell.

One major question I had from the first batch was, Is pre-grinding the nibs or can I just put the coarse nibs directly into the melanger? The manufacturer of my melanger, Premier, said it was possible, so I gave it a try. I added a handful of nibs and about 50 g of melted cocoa butter to the bowl, placed the cover on top of the bowl, and pushed the power button. And to my delight...


I was overjoyed with my finding.  If I can avoid using a blender to pre-grind the beans, I won't lose a 3-4 precious ounces of product to the blender's nooks and crannies.  For a small Micro Chocolate Maker, every ounce of product is a huge hit to the bottom line.

Batch #2 Start time: Dec 30, 2016, 7:30 pm

7:39 pm - A few minutes into the first batch of nib grinding.

The motor and the granite wheels had no trouble pulverizing the nibs and generating a coarse paste. The granite wheels did spit up a lot of nibs on the side of the bowl and the plastic cover, so I was glad I had the sense to put the top on before I pressed the power button.

After just a minute or so of churning, the first handful of nibs were ground down enough that I felt confident enough to throw in another handful of nibs. I got into a groove: throwing in a handful, watching them turn to mush, tossing in another handful. It did take a while, but after about 45 minutes I finally had all 555 grams of nibs in the bowl and refining portion of the melanging was doing its thing.

8:21pm; run time: 46 minutes

Another change I made from Batch #1 to Batch #2 was when the bulk of the cocoa butter was added. In the first batch I put all the cocoa butter in at the beginning, but after reading the book The Science of Chocolate I realized that this was wrong. According to The Science of Chocolate the bulk of the cocoa butter should be added at the very end of the liquid conching stage. Apparently the shearing action of the refiner works better when the nibs are in thick paste form, and the more shear you have the quicker the particles will get down to the ideal 20-30 micron size. If you add the cocoa butter too soon it makes the particles slippery, and the shearing forces and the ability to refine the particles down to the correct size is greatly reduced.

Lecithin is another ingredient that The Science of Chocolate says should be added at the end. Lecithin is an emulsifier (specifically a surface active agent) that can bind to water molecules. Part of the refining/milling process is to allow the natural moisture in the nibs (and milk solids) to evaporate. If the lecithin is added while moisture is still present in the chocolate liquor, the lecithin will bind to the water molecules and prevent their escape. And as everyone knows, water and chocolate liquor are not a good combination.

So for the first few hours of refining all that went into the melanger's bowl were the nibs and 50 grams of melted cocoa butter. In hindsight I'm not sure I needed any cocoa butter at all. (Note: after a few more batches I decided that a little bit of melted cocoa butter at the beginning is VERY helpful.)

After about an hour of processing just the nibs, I added the granulated sugar.

9:33 pm, before sugar added

9:34 pm, after sugar added

At 10:27 pm (a little less than a hour of refining the sugar) it still looked a little grainy.

I let the sugar and nibs refine/mill till about 11:30 pm then I shut the machine down for the night.

I woke up at 3:30 am early on Dec 31, 2016 and went to check on my chocolate. After sitting for about 4 hours the chocolate was still soft. In my sleepy, groggy state I decided to take a chance and run the machine while I slept.  I’m a very light sleeper so I knew I would hear the machine if anything went wrong.

I got up at 6:00 am and everything looked good. The motor of the machine was still cool, and the chocolate was spinning happily. I gave it a taste test and found the chocolate very mild and mellow, with hardly any astringent after tones. The Chocolate Alchemist describes this bean as buttery and soft with subtle, bright dried fruit.  Honestly I didn't taste any of that, but I don't have a very discerning palate.  I need to work on that.

I shut the machine down at 8:30 am while I went to yoga class. Total run time so far was: 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Dec 31, 2016, 11:30 am – Machine was turned back on. Chocolate still liquid so no need to heat it up.

Dec 31, 2016, 6:30 pm  - The remaining cocoa butter and the lecithin were added.

Happy New Year!!! We shot off some fireworks at midnight, but the weather was so bad it was a wasted effort. Over the course of 36 hours I think we got about 8 inches of rain. It was a wet, wet, New Year’s Eve and Day.

Jan 1, 2017, 12:45 am - Stopped the processing. Total run time 20 hours. I poured the liquid chocolate into a bowl and put it aside. I have a big lunch for family every New Year’s Day so I didn’t have time to temper and mold it. I covered the bowl and just set it aside.

January 7, 2017 – Time to Temper.

The chocolate has been sitting for over a week.  I didn’t let it sit this long on purpose (I just didn’t have time to work with it), but I don’t think sitting un-tempered hurts the chocolate. In fact some people say they “age” their chocolate on purpose. (Note: I have since learned that the "ageing" must be done after the chocolate is set into bars.  Melting and re-tempering will remove the effects of the aging. I have read that the chocolate doesn't develop it full flavor until about 3 weeks after it has set.)

So melting this big block of chocolate came first, then I split it in half because it was too much too work with all at once.

With the first batch I used the Cocoa Butter Silk method of seeding where I just stabilize the chocolate at 94 F, add the Silk to chocolate...

... stir the Silk into the chocolate for three minutes, let the temperature stabilize to 92 F, and finally pour the 92 F chocolate into the mold. I read in The Science of Chocolate that cold-ish molds and a chilly room can cause tempering problems, so I heated the molds a little on a heating mat, and set up a small space heater to warm up the air around the work area.

NOTE;  I have since learned that heating up the molds and the room is VERY VERY WRONG.  Don't do this.  Thanks to the Chocolate Alchemist for all his help and advice!!!  Apparently my interpretation of the word "chilly" is not what the author of The Science of Chocolate was talking about.  To me anything under 70 degrees is chilly!! )

I watched the temperature of the molds and the chocolate closely.  Once poured into the mold, the chocolate stayed above 81 F for over an hour.  I thought keeping the chocolate above the temperature that Form IV crystals form would insure that my chocolate tempered correctly, but sadly all this careful temperature control produced the worse tempering job yet. 

At this point I'm stumped.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong with the tempering.  I'm going to have to email the Chocolate Alchemist and see what he thinks.

And worst of all, I was really disappointed with this batch.  The chocolate had hardly any flavor, and it also left a slight waxy feel in my mouth.  My horrible tempering job really did a number on this chocolate.  My poor Honduras Wampusirpi beans were probably crying in disperse at my poor attempts to them into chocolate.

I'm quickly realizing that making GOOD homemade Bean-to-Bar Chocolate is HARD...


  1. Alchemist here. Your main issue with the tempering is that you mixed methods. You should pick ONE and go for it. Heating pads have huge dead bands meaning the surface could have cycled over 100 F, destroying your temper. Silk is aggressive and actively likes the cold. When I mold up, the chocolate goes right into cool molds, and into the coolest (60 F) area I have. The Silk aggressively propagates and the chocolate sets up usually within 5 minutes.

  2. Thanks John, your advice is spot on as usual. You need to write a book!