While tempering chocolate, it is essential that you follow the correct procedure for melting the chocolate; otherwise it may burn or separate. Many people think that tempering the chocolate is the same thing as melting it. However, even though tempering calls for melting the chocolate, the two procedures are not the same. Thus, before we get into the actual procedure for tempering chocolate, here’s a look at what tempering means.
What Is Chocolate Tempering
Tempering is a method of liquefying chocolate through a process that entails melting of chocolate, cooling it, and then again melting it so as to stabilize the cocoa butter present in the chocolate and allow it to harden properly, thus bringing about the correct solidification of the chocolate when cooled.
What this essentially means is that unlike melting where the chocolate is simply brought to a liquid state through gradual heating; tempering involves cooling and then reheating the chocolate to precise temperatures, so that the chocolate hardens properly, achieves a glossy shine, and does not bloom (formation of cocoa butter layer on the cooled chocolate, resulting in a white powdery look).
Step-by-Step Guide to Tempering Chocolate
1. Cut the chocolate into 1/4th inch pieces and place in a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, you can improvise by using a saucepan to fill the water in and putting a metal bowl on top wherein the chocolate goes. Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the metal bowl.
2. Heat the water and melt the chocolate till it reaches a temperature of 113 to 118°F. Stir the chocolate regularly so that the cocoa butter does not separate from the chocolate. Use a chocolate thermometer or a candy thermometer to avoid over heating or burning of the chocolate. It is important to use a thermometer to check the temperature as the chocolate can burn if overheated even by a few degrees.
3. Once the chocolate has melted, cool it till it reaches temperatures of about 82-84°F for white and milk chocolate, and 85-86°F for dark chocolate.
4. Put the chocolate back on the double boiler and heat once again till temperatures of 87-88°F for white and milk chocolate and 88-90°F for dark and bitter chocolate.
The tempering procedure is now complete. You can check if the chocolate has been tempered properly by applying a layer of chocolate on butter paper. After about 5 minutes, the chocolate should peel off easily from the paper. If it does, then the chocolate has been tempered properly, else not.
As is evident, tempering chocolate is not a difficult procedure. By following these steps precisely, you can rest assured that your chocolate will be tempered in the right way.
More chocolate information and recipies can be found at: http://www.your-gourmet-chocolate.com/ © Bryan Hood 2006.