Tempering Chocolate

About Chocolate     Tempering Chocolate     Selecting Chocolate 

You don’t need to temper chocolate if you’re going to bake a chocolate cake or make chocolate ice cream. The only time you need to temper chocolate is when you need an attractive, shiny coating for candies or dipping biscotti that will sit at room temperature. You can get around tempering by dipping chocolates in melted, untempered chocolate and storing them in the refrigerator. 

Just remove them from the refrigerator a few minutes prior to serving them. The coolness of the refrigerator will stratify the cocoa fat and it won’t bloom.

"Tempering" simply means to carefully control the chocolate's temperature to prevent changes in its chemistry*, thus preventing it from separating and appearing streaky or dull and taking a long time to set up. When handled properly, your chocolate will set up quickly to a glossy shine whether you are dipping, molding, or making other fanciful chocolate creations.

When chocolate is heated above 90 degrees, the crystals in the chocolate begin to come apart and it's ingredients begin to separate, by adding un-melted chocolate (who's crystals are still in perfect "temper"), the good crystals "seed" the separated or damaged crystals and cause them to re-form. All of this is microscopic, but if your chocolate loses its "temper", the results will be very visible to the naked eye.

when it comes to tempering chocolate there is two ways to do it successfully.

Tempering Chocolate by the Double Boiler Method:

Chop one pound of chocolate, setting aside 1/4 lb. Place the remaining 3/4 lb. in top pan of a double boiler, set aside. Boil water in the bottom of a double boiler. Remove from heat and put on top of the double boiler containing the chocolate. Stir constantly until 2/3 of the chocolate is melted. Check the temperature with a chocolate tempering thermometer. 

Continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted. If the chocolate's temperature has gone to 90 degrees (F) or higher, use the pieces of the remaining 1/4 lb of un-melted chocolate to cool the chocolate to 86 degrees, when it reaches 86 degrees, it is ready to use. Use the warm water in the bottom of the double boiler to keep the chocolate at the desired temperature while working with it.

Tempering Chocolate by the Microwave Method:

Chop one pound of chocolate, setting aside 1/4 lb. Place the remaining 3/4 lb. in a plastic microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir, Microwave for 30 more seconds, stir, Microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Continue process for 10 seconds at a time until 2/3 of the chocolate is melted. Remove from microwave and check its temperature with a chocolate tempering thermometer. Stir frequently to allow any remaining pieces to melt from the heat of the melted chocolate. If the chocolate is 90 degrees (F) or higher, stir in pieces of the remaining 1/4 lb of un-melted chocolate to cool and "Seed" the melted chocolate. When the melted chocolate reaches 86 degrees F, it is ready to use.       

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