Molding: From bean to bar, cocoa to chocolate

by bean.blah.blah

We are in the last episode of the series of chocolate making procedure from bean to bar. We previously discussed about tempering and now it’s time to finish up our chocolate in “molding process” before putting that into the nice packaging. We stay another time with an experienced British chocolate maker/chocolatier Chef Jon Hogan who've been in the industry for a long time.


Only some people would know a small secret between bean to bar and commercial-type chocolate molding method. In fact, the large batch mass-produced chocolate molding process usually contain some additions such as those emulsifiers, stabilizer, palm oils and additional fats, and chemicals compounds . These stabilizers help chocolate maintain its form, the additional fats (palm oils) are usually added to the chocolate in replacement for the natural fat from the cocoa bean “Cocoa Butter” as Palm oil is cheaper it gives higher profits to the end product and with higher workability with good viscosity for large scale machines to make it easier to mold for the larger commercial style of production enables easier handling for large scale machines and production and for longevity for keeping in tempered state at room temperature and prolongs its shelf life. In most cases, large scale commercial chocolate manufacturers will extract the pure cocoa butter and replace with the cheapest of  fats (palm oil) with less health benefits. The cocoa butter, will then be sold on as pure cocoa butter fat to the cosmetic industry chain for maximum yields in profit.

Comparatively, small batch bean to bar chocolate is more pure and has less additives in most cases, depending on the chocolate makers recipes and choice of inclusions. Without the emulsifiers and stabilizers and additional fats it becomes much more of a pure taste with intensity, allowing all of the complex flavor notes to shine through of the particular cocoa bean origin used/ this pure approach will carry through in taste/texture/structure and creates more of an art form and challenge for the chocolate maker which requires much more skill for the chocolate maker to work with, and craft the chocolate into tempered state for the molding stage and creating products.

Water is the enemy

The rule of thumb is saying that do not get your chocolate moulds wet. Water is truly the enemy of chocolate. Being fat based components, water can break into the structure and encourage the sugars to become hydroscopic and migrate to the surface equating to “Sugar bloom” or water marks, of your chocolate if they are allowed to. Thus water on your chocolate mould will lead to catastrophe.

Molds or Moulds

Once you have tempered the chocolate the world is your oyster you can mold your chocolate into virtually any form of your desire. The chocolate when tempered well will take on the shine or matt finish that is in the mold so it will take any inprints that are in the mold even finger print, so very important to polish the molds to give a glossy shine finish. There are multiple types of molds. One is Polycarbonate molds, you can create glossy subjects, but where you can not work out the details. Another is Silicone molds, which allow you to create 3D objects, both matt and glossy as it replicate the surface of the model to which they are created.

The silicone molds allow you to replicate even the smallest details, important where you want to create such as faces or subjects with a lot of undercuts.

Different types of shape

There are types of styles and shapes which has different effects toward an experience of chocolate tasting. Milk chocolate is said to be good with bold and round object while dark chocolate is meant to be made in crisp and thin shape. 

Jon told us that he personally feel quite strongly about this subject of size/shape of the chocolate mold there for chocolate bar. This will affect the taste and texture quite dramatically, by changing the shape of the mold depth and thickness used this will as a consequence change the melt in the mouth experience if the chocolate bar is very thick Versus very thin it changes the melting time and how the flavor compounds react and release therefore allowing us to taste and to detect the complex flavor notes. If the chocolate is sharp and straight as opposed to curved and smooth this will change our visual connection and perception of taste to the chocolate, it can enhance our memories and association with foods that are the same shape after all taste and smell are subjective and very much linked visual and aroma memories triggering nostalgia.


Finally, after the chocolate has sit for a while, it’s time to wrap it up in nice packaging to emphasize its uniqueness and characteristics of enjoyment.