From Bean to Bar: How to Make Chocolate
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The process of Patric Chocolate’s bean-to-bar production is not like the Willy Wonka factory many may come to think. The company's artisan approach to chocolate-making begins with, and perhaps the most crucial decision, the cacao bean itself. Imported from Madagascar, the cacao beans at Patric Chocolate are first hand-sorted and laid onto racks.
The cacao beans are then roasted in an oven for 30 minutes to an hour at temperatures ranging from 230 to 300 degrees.
This machine is one of many that owner Alan McClure has built himself. Because the process has been refined down to a science, it sometimes takes machines that aren’t on the market to meet the high-quality standards McClure has placed on his chocolate.
The resulting chocolate bars only have two ingredients.
After the chocolate is developed, it’s then aged for one to two months for flavor development. Once aged, the chocolate can then be transferred to the tampering machine and depositor, where chocolate bar molds are filled.
McClure lifts up the plastic covering of a house-made heating cabinet and sifts through chocolate bar molds. By heating the molds to the temperature of the chocolate the resulting chocolate bars will be as shiny as possible.
With a warmed mold in his hands, chocolate-maker Alan McClure passes it through the cascading chocolate, making sure to get the right amount in each bar impression.
The semi-filled molds are then tilted so the chocolate can spread out fully in them. This is just one example of quality control that a machine can’t replicate.
McClure taps the sides of a full mold that is placed on top of the tampering part of the machine that vibrates the molds. This tampering ensures the thickness of each bar and helps to distribute the chocolate evenly. The noise from the vibrating molds can get quite loud – which is why McClure wears ear protection when doing so.
The filled and tampered molds are then weighed out. Exactly 200 grams of chocolate goes into each mold, resulting in 50-gram bars.