A lot of people love chocolates! This is no exaggeration, 9 in 10 persons around the world like to eat this substance in different forms. Chocolates are products of concise processes involving various production steps. Since the early 19th century BC, they have been popular.
The cocoa bean is very bitter, so back then, it was left to ferment for days. This reduced the bitterness and made it edible. The processes used in ancient times are nothing compared to our time. Nowadays, there is easy-to-use chocolate equipment that reduces production time.
You might even decide to try making chocolates yourself or start a small-scale business in the industry. The choice is yours as you can easily find the machines in the market. In this article, we will discuss the important equipment used in the production of chocolate, the process’s life cycle, and the importance of its production. But first, let’s take a look at the history of chocolates.
A Brief History on Chocolate Making
The smell, the taste, and the texture; chocolate lovers are critical about these three factors. For some, its smell improves their mood. This is true because dark chocolate contains serotonin which is a ‘happy hormone’.
Before chocolates became what they are now, they went through years of civilization from the ancient Mexicans to the Europeans. Back then, these ancient Mexicans (Aztecs) drank it raw or used it in alcoholic beverage production. It was not until the 16th century did the Europeans, through Columbus, know about these cocoa candies.
In the year 1815, a chemist called Van Houten developed salts that reduce Choco bitterness. Afterward, he made a press that produced cocoa butter. This was the first major step that paved way for more technological improvement in the production of chocolates.
Later, Joseph Fry introduced the mixing of sugar and powdered cocoa into cocoa butter. This resulted in chocolate bars. Other inventors created molds, the conching machine, and other types of machinery. You can click on https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate to read more about the history of chocolates.
Important Equipment Used in Chocolate Making
Here are six essential pieces of machinery used in this production:
This is also the stone grinder. It is important in making chocolate silky and smooth with the right texture. A melanger grinds roasted cocoa chunk nibs into a thick, smooth liquid called the chocolate liquor.
Melangers are versatile. You can use them in peanut butter production too. They are of different styles and sizes depending on your production scale.
Having a quality mold will make a great difference in forming choco bars. The molds give the bars a shiny sheen. This is necessary for professional-looking chocolate bars. The molds come in different designs and sizes. They may be silicone, glass, or plastic.
The temperature of cocoa when roasting or the chocolates when tempering is important. So keeping a thermometer during production will help the manufacturer to avoid errors. An extremely high temperature will melt the bars even when it shouldn’t.
Also, during roasting, a low or high temperature would affect the taste. Therefore, a reliable and accurate thermometer is necessary. The recommended one is the infrared thermometer.
Having a cocoa bean roaster is vital especially for small-scale businesses. If you just want to make for your household consumption, you may not need a roaster. Roasting will kill bacteria, remove the bean shells, and improve flavor and taste. With a roaster, you can control temperature levels based on the taste required.
5. Tempering Machine
This is not necessary for homemade candies, but it is important for businesses. It saves effort and time. The machine heats and cools chocolates enabling them to be useful in confectionery and candy production.
6. Kitchen Scales
Measuring ingredients are important for consistency. When you have formulated a recipe, you need to measure the ingredients and record them for later uses. Other items you need include:
- Packaging machine
Chocolate Making Life Cycle
There are seven steps in making chocolate. They include:
It is the first step involving roasting cocoa beans at optimum temperature. This stage develops the flavor and color of what a bar of fine chocolate should be.
Roasting makes the bean shells brittle. Therefore, in this step, fans on the winnower blow away the shells while the separator sorts the bean (nibs) based on size.
With a melanger, the nibs become chocolate liquor. This liquor is bitter to taste.
Depending on your recipe, you can add milk, butter, and sugar to the bitter liquor.
Each ingredient goes in a mixer producing a smooth, silky mixture that smells and tastes great. But it might still be coarse on the tongue.
It is this process that develops the flavor and taste of chocolate under controlled temperature. It allows each ingredient to blend perfectly. The coarseness is no longer noticed, rather it melts on the palate.
Tempering and Molding
Tempering thickens chocolates, making them have the right flow when filling into molds. It is a complex operation done at certain temperatures. After tempering, the chocolate goes to the mold in different sizes and shapes.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
This cocoa candy is beneficial to the health and venturing into the business is profitable. Some people might argue that eating it causes weight gain, but this is not true. Chocolates contain antioxidants which makes them healthy to the body. Some known health benefits of consuming them are:
- It lowers cholesterol.
- It reduces the risks of heart diseases.
- It improves cognitive functions.
- It helps in fetal development.
- It improves moods.
An important health benefit is its stimulation of serotonin production in humans. This promotes a happy and elevated mood in us. Researchers conclude that it might help in reducing depressive mood swings and anxiety disorders. You can read this article to get more information about the relationship between chocolates and depression.
Chocolate making has grown to be easier and more practical than before. With newer technological methods, lovers of this candy can boast of more silky, tasty, and smooth choco bars. With its not-so-complex equipment, anyone can try to make this healthy and nutritious treat either for their families or for commercial purposes.