Tempering Chocolate
Posted: 08 March 2010 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A few of you asked me to post my method of tempering chocolate after I commented that I had a fail-safe way of tempering without the use of expensive machines or making a mess in the kitchen.  Another of the forum members has already tried it out for me with great success. 

You will need:
  a large, shallow pan (I use an All-Clad roasting pan)
  a stainless steel bowl
  a spoon
  an instant-read thermometer
  some good-quality chocolate for tempering
  a single chunk of chocolate weighing about 25% of the weight of the chocolate to be tempered

In the US, chunks of Callebaut chocolate may be purchased from Whole Foods.  Additionally, a heating pad is useful to keep the chocolate in temper while you are working with it.  However, it is not necessary and if you don?t have one you will need a nice thick layer of dish towels on which to place the bowl and a couple of towels to wrap around it so as to keep it insulated.

The main requirements for tempering chocolate are monitoring temperature and keeping the chocolate agitated.  You also need a dose of patience!

Put approx 1.5? of water in the roasting pan or the large shallow pan.  Put the roughly chopped chocolate in the stainless steel bowl, place the bowl in the water and put the pan over a very low heat.  Slowly melt the chocolate stirring frequently.  Never allow the temperature of the water in the pan to get so hot that you cannot hold your finger in it.  As the water never boils, there is no chance of steam getting into your chocolate.

The slower you melt the chocolate the better ? in fact some of the large professional machines perform this process over 12 hours or more.  Just remember to stir it now and again and you can get on with something else!  Bring the temperature of the chocolate up to 120?F for dark chocolate or 112?F for milk or white chocolate.  Remove the pan from the bain marie and place on the worktop.  Add the chocolate chunk and now stir more frequently until the temperature comes down to 90?F for dark or 86?F for milk or white (10 ? 15 minutes).  The chocolate block provides the ?seed?.  Some will melt off but it may be used again the next time you temper.  When the desired temperature is reached remove the chocolate chunk and place the bowl on the heating pad or the towels.  You need to maintain the temperature at between 87?F and 90?F (84?F and 86?F for milk and white) ? this is your working range.  Keep the water temperature in the pan between 100?F and 120?F and if necessary you may put the bowl in the warm water to bring the chocolate temperature up to 90?F (86?F) again.  Be very careful when doing this ? if you go over 90?F (86?F) the chocolate will lose temper and you need to start all over again.

Test the chocolate by dipping a small palette knife in the chocolate and place it in the fridge for a few minutes.  If the chocolate sets quickly, has no streaks, is not dull and has a snap you are good to go.  (The surface next to the metal should be shiny.)  Now and then check the temperature to make sure the chocolate is still within range.  Note that if the chocolate is not tempered it will take a long time to set, will be very dull and streaky and will bend rather than snap if you try to break it.

Chocolate may be tempered over and over again.  When you have finished using it, you may leave it to cool in the bowl.  When it?s set it will fall out of the bowl if you tap it gently on the counter.

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Posted: 08 March 2010 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I just noticed, the pictures did not come up in the order I entered them!  The correct sequence is 4, 3, 1, 2.

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Posted: 08 March 2010 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You rock! Thanks much!

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Posted: 09 March 2010 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you Annie, I cannot wait to give it a try.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 09 March 2010 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you, Annie. I’ve always had good luck tempering chocolate, but your instructions are an excellent reference.

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Posted: 09 March 2010 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Annie, what a great set of instructions and photos!  Thanks so much for posting.  My chocolate work is getting better, I think this will put me over the hump, so to speak.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll do something chocolate for this month’s “Challenge”  Bake-Off.  I’ve always loved the look of cigarettes, perhaps I’ll have a go at them!

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Posted: 09 March 2010 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Annie, you’re a true gift to the forum and its members. Thank you!!

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Posted: 09 March 2010 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks a lot Annie! Very clear instruction.

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Posted: 09 March 2010 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Annie, thx for the great primer.

here is some basic science (it is extensively explained on Cake Bible).

1- chocolate should never be heated above certain temperature (different for dark, milk, and white, depends on the amount of cacao butter present).
2- for chocolate to become solid again (which isn’t necessary if you are baking with it, using it as a filling, etc), the melted chocolate needs to touch some solid chocolate.  this process is called crystallization (crystals form by copying other crystals, like a chain reaction).  this is why everyone recommends leaving 25% unmelted.

i no longer use a thermometer, but everyone should use one to better understand the process and see how the chocolate should look during your tempering process.

currently, i temper the chocolate in the microwave, on a heat retaining bowl (glass or ceramic).  microwave only 15 second intervals (at the beginning, nothing will seam to happen).  after each 15 second microwave, stir for about 5 seconds and let it sit until the bowl feels barely lukewarm to the touch before microwaving again.  after 2 or 3 microwaves periods, you will notice the bowl becoming much warmer and quicker, never let it become HOT, so reduce the microwave intervals to 10 or 5 seconds.  i stop the microwave intervals when 25% of the chocolate is still solid and the bowl does feel its warmest.  at this point stir periodically until everything is melted and the bowl should feel cool or room temp when all the chocolate is melted.

if you are baking with chocolate, you can just let the chocolate sit in a warm room overnight (such as an oven with the lights on or a heating pad in a box), and wait till all of it is melted.  there is no simpler way.

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Posted: 09 March 2010 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thank you Annie! You are wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to type all this information.

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Posted: 10 March 2010 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Annie,  thank you so much for all this guidance in tempering chocolate.  I have used chocolate in baking many, many times but never been sure of how to temper it, now I know!  It is so different from just melting to make make ganache etc.  tongue laugh

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Posted: 10 March 2010 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thank you Annie - this is exactly how I watched a chocolatier temper chocolate once.  Great explanation, and thank you for including photos!

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Posted: 11 March 2010 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thank-you Annie.  Maybe now i will try to temper a small batch of chocolate and see how it works out.  Previous attempts have, well, been less than perfect.  Two years ago I made 1 pound solid chocolate easter egg for my hubby.  Too bad we had to throw the whole thing out.  Gritty, gritty, gritty.

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Posted: 31 March 2010 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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ANNIE/MAC/D:
  Good afternoon my dear friend Annie. I am joining in with friends Jeannette,Patrincia, Liza, & Roszanne. They have said it all. I share & agree in their sentiment of their postings. I enjoyed reading it. I made a copy of it to place in my Baking science notebook for reference.
  Enjoy the rest of the day my friend.

  ~CASPAR. wink

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Posted: 31 March 2010 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I temper chocolate the same way, but instead of having a large block of chocolate to cool the chocolate down, which to me is messy to fish out, I just chop the extra chocolate into small pieces, and add a little bit at a time until it reaches the proper temperature. Properly tempered chocolate when it is still fluid should have a nice sheen to it just as it would in solid form.

I use a heating pad to keep the chocolate warm.

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Posted: 15 April 2010 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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This sounds much easier than the traditional method! Thank you VERY much! I look forward to trying it cheese

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