Welcome to our first blog.
I’d like to share with you all what I find interesting about being a chocolate maker.
Rather than rant on endlessly I’ll make short blogs about the things I find on a regular basis that “float my boat”. There’s quite a bit to keep my boat afloat in chocolate making, so we should have plenty of material to play with.
This week I took a photo of the water I collect in the dehumidifier in the grinding room, where the nibs go into grinders and grind continuously for up to 4 days. It had this beautiful aquamarine colour, and while it looks delicious I can guarantee you its not (I had to have a wee taste and nearly died).
This mysterious liquid answers some questions about why we Conch.
Conching is a process where heated chocolate is agitated under shear force to round out the tiny particles of cocoa, it coats them in cocoa butter, and expresses off any volatile acids in the beans. The process gets its name from the shape of the first machines developed by Rudolph Lindt that were shaped like the seashell, or conch. The acids are remnants of the fermentation process (that’ll be a blog on its own one day), mainly acetic acid. These acids are simply evaporated off by the heat and constant agitation, if we don’t conch the chocolate will be bitter and acidic.
In our process we don’t use a separate machine to conch (like most industrials do) we simply run the grinders for longer and allow the acids to naturally evaporate off, (which is why it takes us 4 days to make a batch compared with hours using high-tech machines). I run a dehumidifier running in our grinding room to keep the air as dry as possible, as the dehumidifier is condensing and collecting the water vapour it is also collecting the acids, hence the discoloured water. Now we wouldn’t want this ending up in the chocolate would we!
Cheers Rudolph!! Love your work.