Free online class: Bean-to-Bar at home
Attention Mad Scientists, Cocoa Nuts and Do-It-Yourselfers: The learn-at-your-own-pace website, Skillshare recently posted a free class, Chocolate 101: From Bean to Bar. Presented by Peter Gray and Nate Hodge of Raaka Chocolates in Brooklyn, NY, the half-hour class starts with a brief history of chocolate then goes on to explain cocoa beans and flavor profiles, leading you step-by-step toward making your own chocolate bar.
Raaka makes unroasted bean-to-bar craft chocolates from a large facility in Red Hook, Brooklyn, but they began as a small-scale venture in the back of an apartment. The class, presented in 9 short videos, is designed to guide the enthusiast through the lengthy ( it can take a day or two from start to finish), often messy (the fun kind of messy) process of making a custom “Dream Bar” topped with anything you want.
Following a concise foundation, you’re introduced to the tools you’ll need to make bean-to-bar chocolate at home. This is definitely not industrial chocolate making as the tools range from a mallet, bowl, hair dryer and a low-cost grinding machine (or a mortar and pestle for the budget-minded with significant arm strength) to a double boiler, candy (or laser) thermometer and moulds. If starting from beans or nibs isn’t for you, Gray explains that you can begin from blocks of couverture chocolate (chocolate with extra cocoa butter added in to give a nice texture, sheen and flavor to the bar when tempered).
The class covers buying, cracking, winnowing and grinding beans, tempering chocolate, moulding, adding toppings and even wrapping the finished bar. Students are encouraged to post pictures of their finished works in the class gallery.
So if you’ve been longing to try your hand at making your own chocolate bars, this class might just be the guide to get you started on that dream.
Ronnie, an artist and designer, lives in Oakland, CA.