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To determine how to make raw chocolate, let's define what raw chocolate is first. 'Raw chocolate' is a consumer product made from cocoa beans which have not been roasted to such a degree that its molecular structure begins to change significantly. The goal of raw food consumption is to preserve enzymes and other beneficial molecules which break down in the process of prolonged heat exposure. The goal of and the incentive to consume raw chocolate are similar. Raw cocoa is either extacted from fermented cacao beans which are dried without roasting, or roasted at lower temperature. Subsequent processing is similar to that of roasted cocoa. To remain raw, later processes, such as melting, also cannot reach temperatures which will break down the desired molecular structures. All chocolate is made from cacao beans. All cacao beans require fermentation to develop its recognizable chocolatey flavour. Roasting adjusts the flavour of the cocoa. Cocoa is processed cacao seeds. Cacao beans are seeds inside cacao pods. The beans are surrounded by pulp. The pulp functions much like most fruit flesh, that being it feeds the seeds and attracts animals (e.g. humans, monkeys) to pick the fruit. The pulp contains sugars, thus, it can be fermented. The fermentation process creates heat, up to 125 degrees Celsius, according to some sources. Cacao pulp looks and tastes like mangosteen flesh (quite tasty). Fermentation kills most microbes, which renders the bean effectively sanitized if handled with care. Plantations are privately owned but most work with one of the few large global chocolate suppliers. Because of this, most of them are used to serving just 1 customer or 2. They are accustomed to roasting on location according to customer specifications. There has been a surge in small, artisan producers in recent years, producing enough volume demand for selling whole pods or fermented, unroasted beans to be profitable. With some effort, even a small restaurant or hobbyist can buy unroasted cocoa nibs or whole pods. The newer, small producers usually buy fermented, unroasted beans or pods so they process the beans themselves. Before proceeding with describing the process, we need to remember that the primary goal of roasting is (1) to harden the husk surrounding the edible portion of the bean (the nib) for easy removal (2) to develop the colour and flavour of the bean. Killing any remaining microbes is a side effect, not the goal. The process is comparable to coffee bean processing. Raw cocoa is either extacted from fermented cacao beans, which are dried without roasting, or heat dried at lower temperatures. Husks are removed with more difficulty than if the bean was roasted. From this point on, production of raw chocolate is almost identical to common, roasted chocolate. Nibs which are to be turned into cocoa, roasted or not, have to be separated from its fat content. Notably, if beans are separated into cocoa nibs and cocoa butter using the Dutch process, its nutrients will not be preserved. This undermines the goals of raw food. The Broma process is preferred, (some call this the 'natural' process.) These processes aim to remove as much cocoa butter as possible. The terms could be confusing when compared to the caffein removal process for coffee beans. In which case, the methods are bromide processing and the patented Swiss Water Process. After removing cocoa butter from the de-husked, fermented beans, they can now be called nibs. The nibs are grounded and turns into a liquid, then conched for texture. This liquid form is called cocoa liquor. Cocoa mass, the vegetable oil in the nibs (cocoa butter,) and the alcohol formed during fermentation combine to form cocoa liquor. In this liquid state, the product can finally be called chocolate. Please see other articles for details regarding conching, fat removal processes, cocoa butter crystalization, tempering, and the rest. The method for processing fermented, unroasted beans vary from producer to producer. Commercially, raw foods are defined by the industry and chefs as food which has not been heated above 118 degrees Celsius. Raw eaters are interested in preserving the flavanoids and possible traces of enzymes present in the nibs. Flavonoids is broad class of molecules with diverse chemical bond types. Since functional structures of flavonoids are diverse, heating below 118 degrees is also a good rule for preserving flavanoids occurring in the nibs. It is possible that heat could modify naturally occurring flavanoid molecules into forms more beneficial for the human body, or disperse other molecules which inhibit the function of beneficial chemicals occurring naturally in cocoa. For example, cocoa contains epicatechin (a flavanoid) which is quickly expelled from the body upon consumption. Heat applied tococoa may break apart existing hydrogen bonds and fusing other atoms with the preserved structures forming a molecule which could be better utilized by the body.

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โˆ™ 2008-06-27 04:52:49
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Q: How do you make raw chocolate?
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