Culinary herbs; their cultivation, harvesting, curing and by Kains, Maurice Grenville

By Kains, Maurice Grenville

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Cleaning and blending cocoa beans Cocoa beans arrive at the manufacturer containing an assortment of impurities, such as stones, pieces of metal, twigs, and every type of foreign matter imaginable. Obviously these items must be removed prior to further processing. Cleaning takes place in stages and is accomplished by several methods, including sieving, the use of magnets, and the removal of dust to ensure the purity of the chocolate. Historically, the blending of several varieties of bean at the manufacturer is another important step in chocolate production.

The proper degree of fermentation is critical to the quality of the bean and to the resulting chocolate; unfermented or even underfermented beans simply do not contain flavor precursors, and therefore cannot provide chocolate flavor, even when roasted. Excessive fermentation, however, can cause loss of quality and spoilage. Fermentation of cacao is an extremely complex process involving various yeasts, anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, and diverse enzymatic processes. The full extent of the reactions that occur during fermentation are not fully known or understood.

RIGHT: The result of fat bloom. Temperatures significantly higher than this causes tempered chocolate to crystallize too slowly. Temperatures that are much lower will result in rapid cooling and an increase in viscosity as well as the formation of unstable cocoa butter crystals, causing poor gloss and snap, and the formation of bloom during storage. ) Chocolate storage guidelines Because chocolate contains virtually no moisture, it has a very low water-activity level and is not prone to bacterial spoilage during storage, resulting in a long shelf life.

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