Project 39: Second batch

October 20, 2011

As I said yesterday, we had enough cocoa beans leftover to try a second batch after we over roasted our first set of beans. This time we were armed with better information and that made us confident enough to try a larger batch. So we measured out 200 grams of beans and roasted them until the skins just started to pop.

Batch 2 roasting

Then we peeled them all by hand. The original instructions had said that you could crush the beans and use a hairdryer to remove the papery skins, but peeling them by hand isn’t too difficult so we did it that way again. We were left with a bowl of much better smelling peeled cocoa beans.

Batch 2 peeled

Then we put our sugar in the blender and processed it alone so it would be a finer powder and would incorporate better into the beans. That was fun. We chose to make a 65% cocoa batch of chocolate, so we measured enough sugar to make up 35% of the whole batch. A kitchen scale is a valuable tool for this step.

Batch 2 sugar

We started in the Blendtec but ended up switching to a food processor for the grinding step. For some reason the chocolate kept getting hard underneath the blender blades and made the machine stop working. If you do this at home we highly recommend a food processor for the grinding step.

Batch 2 grinding

It is amazing to me that the dry roasted bean can produce so much moisture during the grinding process. We did add a little bit of extra cocoa butter to help it along, but not more than 10%.

As fun as the mortar and pestle were for conching the smallest batch, we decided to use a good stand mixer for this step in batch #2. Jenni tells me that commercial chocolatiers will conche their chocolate for as many as 72 hours! We gave ours a good 30 minutes while we went out to see the neighborhood chickens.


 When we returned we realized that we had made some pretty good chocolate! The next step was to figure out what we wanted to do with it. Jenni was hopeful that it would temper so she tried to do that for a while. We were encouraged by the fact that our foul smelling test batch had tempered, but this one just didn’t want to behave. Curious about tempering? Jenni has a great video on her site that will tell you all about it. Check it out: An Even Temper

So if it wouldn’t temper, what would we do with our yummy chocolate? Check back tomorrow to find out.

Next: Chocolate Truffles


  1. […] A new craft per week in 2011 « Project 39: Materials Project 39: Second batch » Project 39: The first attempt October 19, […]

  2. I’m on pins and needles waiting to see what we decided to do. Oh, wait a minute…nevermind. 😉

    The video is almost done! I got it down to just a second or two over 12 minutes. I’ll be sending you the link as soon as it uploads!

  3. “For some reason the chocolate kept getting hard underneath the blender blades and made the [blendtec] stop working.”

    Wait, isn’t that the same blender on the “Will it Blend?” series?!? I thought there was nothing they couldn’t blend short of a crowbar!

    • Yeah, Tanner — she text messaged me something like “guess what the BlendTec won’t blend.” All I could come up with was diamonds and tungsten carbide…

      • You really should submit that one to Blendtec!

      • Jenni said that she submitted it on their Facebook page but that Blendtec deleted her post.

    • Submit which–Will cocoa nibs blend? Or will tungsten carbide blend?

      • It was apparently an accidental deletion. They’ve since contacted me and the R&D ppl are going to buy the same beans we had and see what they can come up with. You’d better believe we made some jokes about the “Will it blend?” campaign! lol

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