Monday, January 30, 2017

Batch #3 – 60% Dark Chocolate - Peru Chuncho Criollo 2016-17

The Chocolate Alchemist had a special on a multi-pack of 4 Peruvian beans, so of course I bought some. I have quite a pile of beans on my To-Do list, and hopefully I can get to them before they start going bad. Do roasted cocoa nibs go bad? -- I need to investigate that.

So Batch #3 is a Peru Chuncho Criollo Organic 2016-17. It is listed as a Criollo with an aroma of warm, juicy apple pie, and a clean earthiness. I’m not very good when it comes to identifying the nuances of chocolate tones, so I’ll just have to take the Alchemist’s word for it.



For this batch I purchased roasted nibs. As yet I don’t have the equipment to roast, crack, and winnow the beans so I’m just buying the beans in their final state.

Initially I started this batch with a 65% cocoa ratio ( 50% nibs and 15% cocoa butter), and 35% sugar.

Saturday, January 21, 2017, 5:15 pm – Lift-off of Batch #3 –  I put 1 cup of nibs into the melanger, and being an adventurous Chocolate Maker I didn't add any melted cocoa butter just so to see what would happen. The machine wasn't happy.  It was spitting out pieces of nibs left and right, and just seemed to be struggling.


I shut it down, added 50g of melted cocoa butter, and started up again.  It worked much better this time. I also found that this batch of cocoa nibs had a lot of husks still attached to the nibs.  I spent almost an hour carefully picking through the nibs.  I guess this is why the Chocolate Alchemist recommends using the Champion Juicer.  The Juicer pulverizes the nibs but also removed any stray husks at the same time.   I have read that legally you can't have more than 0.5% of husk in chocolate.  Additionally, the husk will give the chocolate a very undesirable taste (or so I've read). This is the first time I've notice husk in nibs, so there must be something different about these beans that makes the husk harder to detach.



6:20 pm – All the nibs are finally picked clean and are happily churning in the melanger.

7:40 pm – The mass in the melanger is very fluid, almost as fluid as water. And BITTER!! I know there is no sugar in mix, but still it is bitter beyond words.



10:30 pm – After four hours of refining this stuff is still wickedly bitter.  I don't like bitter, so it was very noticeable to me.

Sunday 12:30 am – After seven hours of run time I added the sugar. I read somewhere that some makers allow the cocoa to refine and conch up to 20 hours before adding the sugar. Their reasoning makes sense. Sugar can absorb the odors and taste of things it comes in contact with, so you should allow the nasty acids and moisture to vaporize out of the cocoa mass before adding the sugar. I didn’t wait 20 hours, but instead I added the sugar after 7 hours.


2:30 am – I woke to check on the progress and give it a taste test. The taste is still nasty bitter (even with the sugar), but I’m starting to get a bit of apple tones. Also no grit. After just 2 hours of refining all the sugar has been ground down to nothing.

5:30 am – More apple tones and the bitterness seems to be fading. 12 hours run time.

9:45 am – 16 hours in. Not happy with the taste, still too bitter for me. I decide to add more sugar and take it from 65% cacao to 60%.

10:30 am – In under an hour most of the grit from the second addition of sugar is gone. Not completely smooth but close.

12:30 pm – Leaving the house so turned off the melanger. Taste test finds that it still has a slight bitter after taste, but not nearly as bad as before. Mixture is also getting a little thicker, not nearly as fluid as earlier.

2:45 pm – Back on.

5:50 pm – Added melted cocoa butter and soy lecithin.

6:30 pm – Mixture is very fluid and liquid-y. Back looking like flowing water in the melanger. The taste is getting very mellow.


11:30 pm – 28 hours of run time. I had wanted the batch to run for 30 hours but I woke up at 11:30 pm (I misread the clock and thought it was 1:30 am), and just started unloading the melanger. I put everything in plastic bowls until I could temper and mold the chocolate.   The bulk of the chocolate went into a large bowl, and about 12 ozs went into a smaller bowl that I could use for taste testing.





Final Ratio/Recipe for Batch #3 :
60% Dark Peru Chuncho Criollo Organic 2016-17

Cocoa Nibs - 870g - 45%
Cocoa Butter (mix of Natural and Deodorized Dominican Republic) 290g - 15%
Sugar - 773g - 40%
Soy Lecithin - 2g - 0.1%

36.2% Fat; 



Sunday January 29, 2017 - Tempering & Molding of Batch #3

Using the 12 ounces of chocolate I had reserved for taste testing I did/attempted a quickie tempering job.  I just heated up the chocolate and threw some Silk in when it reached 94 degrees.  The temperature of the chocolate dropped rapidly after I added the Silk, so I really wasn't surprised when I got bloom.  I was just  testing three new molds that I just bought so I didn't care.  I knew I was going to re-melt the chocolate.  My new molds are: 20g tasting squares, a 1 ounce bar, and a 2 ounce bar all with a lovely cocoa bean motif.

So  after setting up I noticed that the bloom got worse as the bar got thicker.  The 20g tasting squares had no bloom, and the 2 ounce bars were covered in it.  I guess it has something to do with the rate of cooling.  Interesting.  I need to read up more on bloom, and get me a tempering machine.  (I think I have said that 100 times already.)


And how about the taste???  Well it was really, really good.  There is a real sense of baked apples.  Almost warm and spicy tasting.  There is also a bite at the end.  It is not bitterness, but it is something that dances around your mouth and grabs your attention.

I'm going to bring it to work and see what my taste testers there think.

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