Is bulk chocolate generally tempered?
Posted: 13 December 2012 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I know the real answer to this is that there’s probably no way to be sure; however ...

I bought some bulk chocolate (8 oz bricks) from my local heath food store.  Of course, it’s pretty dull looking. 

On the one hand, “they” say that pretty much all chocolate is tempered.  On the other hand, I wonder if this is?

Also, I wonder if it’s bulk chocolate if it would also be considered to have a higher cocoa butter content so it is a bit thinner for dipping?

Any thoughts or general experiences in this realm?

Thanks!!!

—ak

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Posted: 13 December 2012 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think it would be unusual for bulk chocolate to be tempered. Bulk chocolate is intended for making candies etc so it is intended to be tempered as part of that process. You will notice a substantial improvement in appearance, flavor, and mouth feel after tempering bulk chocolate. I have talked with people who complain that bulk was not as good as consumer chocolate. When I explain that most of the difference is tempering they frequently won’t believe me. I had to demonstrate to one person who would not believe that there was a difference. He was convinced that because it was ‘bulk’ it was ‘cheaper’ and inferior.
As for dipping it depends upon the brand and what kind you bought. Milk, bittersweet etc. Each manufacturer uses slightly different proportions of cocoa butters which is the real controlling factor.

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Posted: 13 December 2012 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Gene!

Do you think I should temper it if I only use it for truffle ganache centers, or is it ok to melt it “as-is” for those?

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Posted: 13 December 2012 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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No need to temper for the centers.

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Posted: 13 December 2012 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks!  I’ll use it there, then!

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Posted: 14 December 2012 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Anne in NC - 13 December 2012 08:01 PM

Also, I wonder if it’s bulk chocolate if it would also be considered to have a higher cocoa butter content so it is a bit thinner for dipping?

Callebaut makes specific products intended for this purpose with a higher cocoa butter content.

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Posted: 15 December 2012 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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My two cents:

I do think all chocolate, including bulk, is tempered.  Otherwise, the surface of these chocolates would be covered in swirls and light patches.  If you want to see what untempered chocolate looks like, melt a little in a bowl, being careful not to temper it (no seeding), and see what it looks like after it’s fully set.  However, bulk chocolates may be more prone to conditions during storage and transport that cause it to lose its temper, I’ve definitely seen some bulk products that showed signs of too much temp fluctuation.  Also, there are different methods of tempering- some are fast, easy and produce a reasonably good result (but may have a duller surface and be a little softer), while others are more involved but produce the best possible snap and shine.

One issue I have noticed lately with bulk chocolate- especially unsweetened, is that it is a bit more grainy, with particle size that can be detected/felt when eating.

Cocoa butter content varies widely from brand to brand and within brands, there are no real assumptions that can be made.  If you want a product with a high cocoa butter content, you can read fat content labels (Green & Black’s 85% has a higher cocoa butter content than its other formulas) or buy couverture, which is designed specifically to be a high-quality coating/dipping chocolate.

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Posted: 15 December 2012 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thank you, everyone!

I bought the chocolate long ago and wrapped it in foil (it was already wrapped in plastic) and froze it.  I just opened it, and it’s callebaut, so hopefully it will be good!

To be safe, I’ll just use it for the centers, and I’ll taste it for the particle size.  If it feels grainy, I’ll do a quick temper with it, maybe, before adding the coconut milk for the ganache centers.

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Posted: 15 December 2012 06:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Graininess that can be felt when eating (ie., not cocoa butter crystals that melt on the tongue), I think would come from shorter conching and won’t be affected by tempering. 

Your Callebaut should be fine, just be sure to quick temper when using it alone.  Tempering is not necessary if you are blending it with cream, etc. to make the centers.  Looking forward to seeing what you make!

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Posted: 15 December 2012 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks, Julie!!!  Glad to know it should be good and I don’t have to temper for centers!

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