Making great chocolate requires not only a quality product but a skilled set of hands, a lot of patience, and a curious nature. Welcome to the second part in our series on How Chocolate is Made: Roasting.
Say you've decided to whip up a batch of your favourite chocolate chip cookies. You've assembled the ingredients and placed the dough on your baking trays. Now, imagine turning the oven temperature higher than recommended. Or making adjustments to the baking time? Or even how many cookies you decided to bake at once? All of these changes will impact your cookies (positively or negatively). The same goes for roasting cacao.
To create a consistently delicious chocolate, we collect a lot of data. This allows us to make informed decisions on how to roast. Here are a few key areas that we focus on during the roasting process:
- Moisture Content
- This refers to the amount of water contained in the cacao itself. We measure the content when we receive the cacao and when we are to roast, to ensure consistency. If the number fluctuates, we make adjustments to the temperature or time.
- Roasting Temperature
- Depending on the type of flavour we want in our chocolate, we will adjust the temperature to suit. Generally speaking, higher roast temperatures will lead to darker flavours. Lower temperatures lead to lighter flavours, while preserving more of the characteristics of the cacao.
- Roasting Time
- The time it takes to complete a roast cycle will also effect the flavour. Longer times will influence deeper, darker flavours, and shorter will highlight lighter, brighter flavours.
- Quantity of Cacao
- Another factor that works hand in hand with all of the other variables is the weight of cacao being roasted. Using more or less requires an adjustment to the temperature or time (or both), as the heat, or energy is distributed and absorbed by the un roasted product.
You can see how tracking information is quite important. Without proper data, we wouldn't be able to make such a consistently delicious product. And if you've been lucky enough to try our Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies, you may agree that such precision is worth it!