How to Temper Chocolate

THE QUICKEST AND EASIEST WAY TO TEMPER DARK CHOCOLATE:

This tempering method uses the addition of finely chopped pieces, disks or pistoles of chocolate into already-melted chocolate. Adding stable, crystallised chocolate lowers the temperature naturally, enabling regular crystallisation of the chocolate mass. The method is a replacement for using a marble working surface or a cold-water bath.

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WHY YOU SHOULD TEMPER CHOCOLATE

  1. Otherwise, it is impossible to get the chocolates out of the molds.
  2. In order to avoid that the fatty acid crystals separate.
  3. In order to achieve a good, smooth surface on the finished product (and not the grainy one ...)
  4. To get it right 'crack' when you bite it.
  5. In order to achieve a longer shelf life.

Cocoa butter is fat that is composed of three to four glycerides of fatty acids. What complicates matters in chocolate making is that each of these different fatty acids solidifies at a different temperature. Once you melt a chocolate bar, the fatty acid crystals separate. The objective in tempering melted chocolate is to entice the disparate fatty acid crystals of cocoa butter back into one stable form.

In the tempering process, melted chocolate is first cooled, causing the fatty acid crystals to form nuclei around which the other fatty acids will crystallize. Once the crystals connect, the temperature is then raised to keep them from solidifying.

To help the chocolate to crystallize during the tempering process, chocolate makers use one technique called seeding. The "seed" is tempered chocolate in hunks, wafers or grated bits. It is added at the beginning of the tempering process. These crystals of tempered chocolate act like magnets, attracting the other loose crystals of fatty acids to begin the crystallization process that results in well-tempered chocolate.

What you'll need:

  • Chocolate
  • 1 kitchen thermometer,
  • 1 flexible spatula 
  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 bowl that fits into saucepan

HOW TO DO IT:

  1. Chop the chocolate into very small pieces
  2. Place 3/4 of the roughly chopped chocolate in a bowl.
  3. Half fill a saucepan with hot water, and put the bowl over it, making sure that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the saucepan. Slowly heat the water, ensuring it does not boil. 
  4. Stir the mixture until it has reached to 40-45°C /104-113 °F (about 10 min.).
  5. Remove the bowl from the water bath and add the seed chocolate you have set aside - a little at a time.
  6. Stir until all chocolate is melted and until the temperature 29°C /84 °F is reached.
  7. Put the dish back onto the water bath and heat chocolate to 31°C /88 °F
  8. Now the chocolate is ready to use for coatings.

Make sure to stir the tempered chocolate and check the temperature during the time you are using it for coating, dipping or molding. You can put the tempered chocolate mass back on the heat. Just make sure that you don’t raise the temperature above 90° F (32° C) or you will lose your temper and have to start over again at Step 1.

 

Hanne Robinson