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I am transferring all food tech related articles from foodrecap.net here. Please help me spot and correct any weird stuff that may occur.

Cocoa Butter

I am not a fan. A client insisted on making milk chocolate. I have no choice but include it in recipe list. Addition of milk and sugar at certain point needs a balance of extra butter. Maker may extract his own, buy from other source or use a suitable replacement. They insist on a sweeter blend so extra cocoa butter is necessary.

cocoa butter

It has a weird smell not inherent to cocao. The flavor is bland. Not suggestive of cacao either. I haven’t produced cocoa butter yet. I occasionally gather and taste floating cocoa butter on stored cocoa mass. That is how I can compare.

I make chocolates. The one and two ingredients variants. Pure refined cacao bar and 70% plus sugar. I am considering the idea of extracting cocoa butter in-house. Add extra butter to products. Then what about the left over cake. Sell it as cocoa powder? I haven’t convinced myself that it is high quality product worth selling.

Note : In cocoa industry, the leftover of cocoa pressing is called “cake”. It is dry and crumbly. Easier to pulverize than nibs with intact butter.

Cacao has typical acidity of 5 to 6. True and evident for fermented beans. Anyone can tell it easily by eating raw and roasted beans. No need for high precision equipment and technical know how. Even the acidity levels can be estimated thru taste buds and score sheet.

A pH meter can be purchase for relatively cheap cost though. No need to do the guess work if your senses are not keen enough. Or, you are deligating the task to someone else. We have different levels of sensitivity. Standard mode of measurement is still necessary for long term.

Cacao bean, by nature, is not acidic. I have been working on fermented and unfermented for years. I can confidently assure that the latter is by no means acidic. It taste bitter, astringent and unpleasant. Roasting and subsequent processing changes flavor but I cannot say it is toward the better. It is bad before and after. Addition of sugar and milk only mask, not improve.

Fermented on the other hand, taste good in its raw form. It improves dramatically during processing. It can stand on its own without the addition of any. Small percentage of sugar usually suffice to those who cannot appreciate.

They say Criollo possesses great flavor. No need fermentation to unleashed its potential. However, it is low producer and susceptible to pests and diseases. Unattractive to farmers. Hybrid varities are resistant and high yielding. Their flavor profiles are not great as tradeoffs. Fermentation helps combat this weakness. It improves flavor but contributes acidity as well.

Another problem but there are always solutions. Roasting, refining and conching tame acidity but I guessed not enough. The products we are selling are still sour even after long hours of processing times. We learnt to live by it and many customers followed. Others who cannot, opt for unfermented produce and highly processed products with lots of ingredients. Too many that cacao itself became a small portion of the whole. That is not chocolate .. imo.

There exist a basic chemistry for neutralizing acidity. Addition of enough alkaline compound turns the pH level to 7. As for cacao, they use potassium carbonate for the so called dutch processing. It has pH 11. Highly corrosive substance. It is safe? Maybe not!

If you are getting butter from external source. The chances of it coming from dutch processing is very high. The manufacturer wants the by-product to be accepted by majority. They can sell it with ease. Alkalization also maximize cocoa butter yield. With a very expensive product, every drop counts. They are extracting every ounce they can press. Cocoa butter has high demand because of pharmaceutical and beauty industry. Perhaps your favorite lipstick has cocoa butter as base.

Here is the scenario. Large chocolate companies extract butter from cacao beans. Sell the butter to other companies or make their own beauty products line. For the left-over, the cocoa cake. They are pulverized and sent to baking industry. Some are clever enough to add butter replacement, sugar, milk and other additives. Sold it as if it is the real chocolate in the end.

There are another bad things. With pH above 7, phytonutrients mostly breaks down in high temperature environment. Chocolate is healthy, but too much processing void this claim. Sugar is poison and milk is found binding cacao phytonutrients.

Flying Fish Daing

Dried fish in cellophane bag. Dark, halves and curly. I assumed it was another ordinary daing. A darker version. The reason why have never reached my knowledge yet. I was too busy with my self acclaimed full time job (chocolate making) that time.

flying fish daing

Note: Daing, to put it in simple words, is salted dried fish. Fish are cleaned, sliced to halves in longitudinal fashion, then dried under the sun. Smaller fish such as sapsap and law-law are salted and dried in the same manner.  No cutting done cause they are too thin and small. Daing na Bangus borrowed from this concept but are never dried. Dipped in spicy vinegar instead of drenching in salt.

I prefer darker fry for fish but lighter for chicken and pork meats. The latter two usually turn tough toward the end. Not crispy.

Mama said she cooked it but the difference before and after cooking was hard to discern by color. It was dark brown by default. Yes, we judge the fry degree by color. It turns brown as it cooks. We usually desire golden brown. Home cooking is inclined on darker shade for crispier texture.

Breading technique can do golden brown with crispy outside and juicer middle part. If am correct, breaded chicken is simply a fried chicken. Fish fillet for fish and tempura for shrimp.

So this was it. No color change before and after. It was tough to bite. I feel it was like the fish version of tapa. But it could never be as hard because fish muscle are not as long as meat. It also has no ligaments and fats.

Daing na isda are salty. However, it contained less. It was not comparable to public market daing. Some of which are too salty beyond compared. To the point that we need to soak it in fresh water and re-dry to lessen the saltiness.

I later found out that it was smoke daing made from flying fish. Came from seas of Bicol region. The generous sponsor added that it is good for ginataan (cooked in coconut milk).

Smoke and salt have preservative effect. Combining the two may allow maintained effectiveness compare to salt alone. Then bringing a different flavor experience.

The Square Suman

These square blocks were suman. Judging based on how it unwrapped, it was suman sa lihiya. The wrapper was sticking strongly to cake. The other variant, which is suman sa antala (suman sa gata) has easier to remove wrapping. The color is usually lighter green.

square suman with puto and syrup sauce

Outside color is superficial. The mix of brown and green. Banana leaves are green. It turn brown when heated due to degradation of chlorophyll . Some pigments are transferred to suman during cooking. The lihiya (lye water), maybe, has something to do with it too.

Note: To put it simply, lye water is a strong alkali solution. It contributes to gummy and sticky suman characteristics. On the other hand, coconut milk has greasy effect. I like both, but often want somebody to unwrap it for me.

unwrapped square suman

The case is different with suman cassava. The color is light brown with no traces of green pigment. The color is inherent to cassava itself.

The taste confirms it. It was suman sa lihiya. The other variant has distinct coconut taste.

It was unique. A rectangular shape. It was normally round and elongated. Like the shape of hotdog and sausage. Divided to sections before pricking with fork and eating. Or, hold on one end and peel off like ripe banana. Making it square was a drastic move. People might not recognize what it is. The seller has extra tasks. Good if he is aggressive. He is going to do the explaining and offer taste testing. If not, the day might end up without any sale.

The incident happened to us when I decided to change the tabliya shape. For easier and faster molding, I shifted from pulvoron mold to polycarbonate. It really made the job easier but selling it was the opposite. People wanted the tablet shaped product and not the bar looking chocolate.

It is not bad to go against the common as long as you are prepared to handle the consequences.

There might be a place where they make square suman. Like the suman Antipolo which is wrapped with coconut leaves. The Tupig of Pangasinan. A rather thin suman with added coconut strips. The sellers are placing them over ember before handing to costumers. I call it inihaw na suman.

P. S. It came with a not well made syrup. The choice of raw sugar was nice. However, they should have put more effort in dissolving it all.

Klabo Herb

We call this plant klabo and sometimes oregano. The search engines however were suggesting the word kalabo instead. Maybe it is the term in other places. Whatever!

fresh klabo leaves

The term oregano brought me confusion when I was working for university as Research and Development Staff. When my colleague talked about it, I was thinking of broad and thick leaf stuff. Hairy appearance. Strong and slightly disagreeable odor that gets stronger once crushed. When I looked at it, what I saw were plants with numerous small leaves. Thin and tiny leaves, about 1/10 of what I expected.

According to nursery in-charge, the herb primary use is in culinary. Several months later, I was seeing the very herb in some specialty restaurants. They were literally placing the fresh herb on top of drinks and variety of dishes. Generally not acceptable to me when eaten as is. It adds excitement to other foods however.

Drying the leaves is pretty easy. You can find it in supermarkets and online shops. Not in small groceries though. The plant is easy reproduce and grow. If you have a small space and loves gardening, buying and growing the plant is a better option. Fresh is better than dried. Drying process drives away considerable flavors.

For this article sake, let us call this klabo, Coleus amboinicus Lour. The other with numerous tiny leaves as “oregano”, Origanum vulgare.

Klabo/Kalabo

The plant has been a part of my life since childhood. Whenever someone in the house caught a cold and cough, mother was immediately picking some leaves. Brought them to boil, then make us drink it. Not only that, anyone who had fever was not allowed to bath with plain water. Boiled klabo and sambong leaves were a must for taking shower. I have not experienced bathing in milk yet. With klabo solution, I got countless.

How can I forget its odor. Mother almost always have it in her front yard. Whenever it dies, which is very unlikely, she is on the hunt for replacement. They still drink its solution whenever someone has cough and colds. Bathing with it was stopped a long time though. As for me, my wife and kids, water therapy is the best solution.

I am cutting on coffee. That was why I resorted to coffee husk and cacao shells lately. Klabo tea for a change.

Note: Tea comes from a tea plant. Other plant leaves (sometimes roots and barks) that are prepared in the same way as tea are also called tea for the purpose of marketing and familiarization.

This was the klabo tea I prepared and drank this morning. I never expected anything good at it. Still as bad tasting as before.

kalabo in hot glass of water

Coffee Husk Tea

For the first trial. Tea making time. I brought water to boil. Let it cool for two minutes. Then steeped a spoonful of husk in glass for about five minutes.

The glass immediately turns tea-like upon pouring the hot water. The typically dried coffee bean smell became pronounced. Nothing else I could perceived. Maybe there was. My senses is not trained with other tea stuffs. Maybe that is why!

coffee husk tea preparation

The color was getting darker toward the end of set time. I decided to halt there though. For the strict coffee and tea preparation, getting beyond certain times will extract unwanted flavors.

In its plain form. The smell is typical of dried coffee beans but the taste resembles the original tea. If you are tea lover, you gonna appreciate it.

The coffee husk that I got hold of was Excelsa variety. The highly sought Arabica might have better flavor.


update

coffee husk tea with ginger slice

I like this version. This is better. Getting opinion from someone who has experience helps a lot.

This recipe is from YouTube Chanel, The Roaster Pack.

  • 20 grams cascara
  • 400 g water,  about 93 degree Celsius
  • Steep 4 minutes
  • Add cinnamon or ginger

I reduced the water volume down to 150 ml. Did cross multiplication to get the 7.5 grams husk proportion. Ended up adding 9 grams in the end. Brought the measured water to boiling. Wait for 2 minutes to lower the temperature a little. To about 93 C as stated.  Put the husk plus a slice of ginger in vessel and poured the hot water in. Let it stand for 4 minutes as instructed. Removed all the floating husk.

This time, it is more enjoyable. Mild cascara flavor plus a light ginger kick.

Going to try cinnamon next.

Note: Liquid ingredients are normally measured by mL. It could also be measured by weight but the first is easier. One gram of pure water is equivalent to one mL. I used filtered water. I assume the difference is negligible.


update

I prepared another one this morning.  The same set and measurement of ingredients except for one. I added a squeeze of calamansi instead of ginger. I transferred it to clean tea cup right after.  I noticed previously, the coffee husk taste was getting stronger toward the bottom.  That was because I let the husk soaked. I never liked it that way.

The resulting tea was still good. However, the calamansi was overpowering the cascara. I should have added the calamansi gradually until I achieved the right blend.

coffee husk calamansi tea