Tips for using The Chocolate Refiner

September 20, 2016

Tips for using The Chocolate Refiner

refining

The beautiful secret of melt in your mouth chocolate is cocoa butter.  The cocoa bean is generally made up of about 50% cocoa butter. 

When you warm cocoa butter it becomes soft.  Using cacao butter when you are using The Chocolate Refiner is helpful when you make bean-to-bar chocolate.

You do not a pre-grinder for your nibs. Most people, including myself, start the machine with nibs. There are are some things that help out when you are starting with nibs:
  •  It helps to warm the stones in the machine (warm nibs don't hurt either but are not required).  Some people do this with a hair dryer or putting them in an oven with the "warm" feature on.  The warmth of the stones (and the nibs if you warm them) helps with the rate the nibs are incorporated into a molten state in your Chocolate Refiner. The warmth helps the cocoa butter in the beans start the refining process.
  •  If you are adding additional cocoa butter from what is found naturally in the nibs, I would recommend warming the cocoa butter so that it can be poured into the Chocolate Refiner.
  • Add cacao nibs slowly to the Chocolate Refiner and allow the nibs to become more liquid before adding more.  As more nibs become molten, the warm molten mass makes it easier to add more nibs.  You'll start to get a rhythm of adding nibs after your first few batches.

The warmth of the stones, nibs and other ingredients will speed up how quickly the ingredients refine.  Adding the nibs slowly will allow them to refine more efficiently.  

The top spring on the machine can be screwed down (never beyond finger tight) to create more tension on the wheels that will impact how quickly the ingredients refine.  Initially, having less tension is helpful to let the wheels move freely while the nibs are being added.  As the nib size reduces the tension can increase.

Some people are very happy with the texture after 24 hours, some people like it to run longer.  Certain beans are more acidic and other flavor components will mellow the longer you run the machine (especially if you don't have the lid on the machine).  For this reason, some people may run the machine up to 3 days.