If you are looking on how to properly conch, refine and temper the cocoa liquor and later mold it to snappy chocolate bar, then this article is not yet for you. I am gonna talk about forming chocolate the old fashion way.
The very basic. With the use of mortar and pestle, the nibs are pound gently until its particle size is small enough, it becomes oily and can be formed successfully into balls by rolling between palms. The resulting product is rather rough or gritty. Making a chocolate drink out of it is not very popular in modern times. However, I still see it in many market place and still there many patrons. Old style is good and they are saying it not natural if its not gritty.
Flavoring can be added during the pounding process. Peanut and cashew nut are the two popular options. If only almonds and macadamia nuts are locally available, then they sure add it also. Ohh! They always add sugar. It is a must.
Hand cranked corn mill.
This is replacement for mortar and pestle. It’s a little tricky. From roasting, beans should be cracked and winnowed immediately. Else, nibs should be reheated before hand grinding. Why? It is because grinding is much much easier when cocoa butter is in melted state. Heat generated by hand grinding is not enough to remelt it. If you are as strong as superman, then please disregard what I have just said.
Sugar is always added after milling. It can be mixed with the nibs before milling but it makes hand cranking four times more difficult. Moulding is done by rolling a clump between palms or polvoron molder. The popular formulation is 50 50. One part sugar and one part cocoa liquid. More sugar makes molding easier, and income greater. Less results the reverse. It is more sticky and almost impossible take off the molder.
An improved version of hand cranked mill. Easier to operate and makes the work faster. Several liquor passes reduce particle to more acceptable size. The rest of the process are still like I mentioned above.
uPVC pipe pieces.
I saw someone who is successfully using pvc pipe pieces for molding. I tried replicating it many times and I also failed many times. I am sure I need more research and experimentation.
This works out well for cocoa liquid whether newly ground or remelted. The big problem is the fat bloom, cocoa fats escaping out of the surface. It never affects flavor but it is kinda ugly. This should be fine for a properly tempered chocolate.