70% has become one of the standards for many chocolate makers, including us!
It’s a great balance between getting a strong flavour of the cocoa you’re using and just enough sweetness to balance the final taste of the chocolate bar.
There are a couple of ways to make 70% dark chocolate, depending on if you want to add any cocoa butter and if so how much.
Here’s the recipe we use to make our 70% dark chocolate
1200g cocoa nibs
200g cocoa butter
Changes you can make are not adding any cocoa butter (add 200g more nibs instead) or adding 5% more nibs and 5% less cocoa butter.
We add cocoa butter to our recipe for 2 main reasons. It added a little extra creaminess to the final chocolate and it also helps the grinding process right at the start.
Other factors to consider are when you add your sugar and how long will you conch your chocolate? Grinding the nibs and cocoa butter before adding sugar will help eliminate and vaporise the acetic acid. If you have too much active acid it can cause unpleasant flavours. We grind our cocoa nibs and butter for at least 12 hours before adding sugar. Adding the sugar basically ‘locks in’ the favour.
Then once your chocolate has been ground as is nice and smooth (typical 24 hours after adding sugar), you can choose to ‘conch’ your batch of chocolate, which will further aerate the chocolate and develop the flavour. This process is another trial and test.
I’d highly encourage you to taste taste taste all the way through making the chocolate. You will find the flavours will change hour to hour and don’t be put off by what you taste. Finish the batch and turn it into bars of chocolate before you make any judgment (I’ve made the mistake of tasting too early and thinking that would be the final flavour).
Here is the step by step of how we make our chocolate
- Melt and add cocoa butter to the grinder
- Gradually add cocoa nibs
- Let mixture grind for 12-24 hours
- Add sugar
- Let grind for a further 24-48 hours
- Strain, to catch any unground nibs etc
- Ready for tempering
Don’t add all the nibs at once as they need time to break down in smaller machines, they can solidify into a lump which can damage or even break the grinder. If this does happen you can use a heat gun (or hair dryer) to gently heat up the mixture until it’s more fluid.