Home Farm Herbery

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How to Temper Chocolate©

How to Temper Chocolate©

By Arlene Wright-Correll

Chocolate seems like a mystery to most people. A wonderful mystery that simply tastes good, no not good, great!

At Home Farm Herbery I make handmade European Chocolates when the weather is not hot and one of the professional secrets is to temper the chocolate. When chocolate is tempered is has a shiny finish, it is smooth and it has a satisfying snap.

For those who are planning on making dipped chocolates or molded chocolates, tempering the chocolate is a must so that it behaves properly and produces candies that are both tasty and beautiful.

If the chocolate you are using does not come in pieces but is in block or bar form then you will need to chop your chocolate into pieces. Never use chocolate chips as they have an additive that allows them to retain their shape at higher temperatures, and so they will not temper properly.  I find it best to use 1 pound of chocolate at a time.

You will need a large pan for boiling water and I use a wok type pan or a skillet that resembles the same thing.  You will need a large metal bowl that will fit over that pan comfortably.  You will need a candy thermometer, a rubber spatula for stirring (not a wooden spoon or a metal spoon), another bowl with ice water into which you can set the melted chocolate pan.

Step one is to prepare your chocolate and put two thirds of it into your metal bowl.

Step two is to bring your water pan to a boil and then shut off the heat.

Step three is to set your metal bowl containing the chocolate onto the pan of hot water and start stirring.  Make sure your chocolate bowl is not sitting in the water.

Using your candy thermometer bring the chocolate to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 C) for dark chocolate or 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C) for milk or white chocolate as you keep stirring until your chocolate is melted. 

Once you have reached the correct temperature, remove it from the heat, wipe the bottom of the bowl, and set it on a heat-proof surface.

Step four is to add the remaining chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will melt the chopped chocolate, and the newly added chocolate will bring down the temperature of the warm chocolate.

As you cool the chocolate watch the thermometer until it is just below 84 degrees F (29 C).  If you still have some chunks of unmelted chocolate just remove them as they can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and saved for another use.

Step five is to reheat the chocolate briefly by placing the chocolate bowl over the warm water in the double boiler for 5-10 seconds, remove it and stir, and repeat, until the temperature reaches 88-89 degrees F (31 C), or 87 F (30 C) for milk and white chocolate. Do not leave the chocolate over the hot water, or allow it to exceed 91 degrees or you will have to just discard it.

With these five easy steps you have learned how to temper chocolate and to make sure it has been done properly, do a spot test by spreading a spoonful thinly over an area of waxed paper and allow it to cool. If the chocolate is shiny and smooth, it is properly tempered. If it is dull or streaky, it has not been tempered correctly.

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