How Milford Dennison started KTO Bean to Bar Chocolate
Milford Dennison started KTO Bean to Bar Chocolate after his wife became allergic to soy. Milford was a professionally trained chef for about 14 years. For his formal culinary training, he attended Pennsylvania Culinary Arts school in Pittsburgh and then worked as an Executive Chef for 10 years. He had always loved chocolates and when his wife became allergic to soy, his intention was to make a soy-free dark chocolate for her to enjoy.
Milford researched on how to make chocolate and found a documentary on the Mast Brothers and how they started making chocolate in their two-bedroom apartment. He then decided to do more research on the chocolate-making process. He specifically researched the bean-to-bar process because he knew he could control the ingredients that would go into the chocolate bar. He acquired the equipment needed, found some organic beans and started experimenting with small batches of chocolate.
Milford experimented with small batches of chocolate and gave them away for about a year. He received excellent feedback which helped him decide that it was time to design a wrapper and take his chocolates to the next level. He designs all his chocolate wrappers, business cards and brochures. He also tempers chocolate by hand and hand wraps all his chocolate bars.
When asked what was the most challenging part of the chocolate-making process, he replied, “Roasting. It’s because every bean is different. Some beans require more heat with a longer roasting time, while some beans require a lower heat and a shorter roasting time. There is no 'one size fits all’ in chocolate making. Besides the fermentation and drying process, I think the roasting process is the most important step in the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process because if you keep the beans roasting for too long, it burns and changes the flavor. But if you under-roast them, the flavor doesn’t fully develop to it’s fullest potential.”
Milford’s favorite part of the chocolate-making process is tasting the chocolates at every stage of the process; from the raw bean to the finished bar. He also added, “Once I started to discover the different taste from different countries and regions, the process of chocolate making became an obsession. I now look forward to the next batch of beans to see what flavors I can bring out of them.
"I think what makes my chocolates stand out is the attention to detail that I have with the entire process, and the fact that every step in the process is controlled by only one person – from the roasting of the bean to the wrapping.”