Chocolate Tempering: How to Temper Chocolate the Easy Way
Have you ever wanted to create your own custom created chocolate (candy) bar but have been intimidated by the fact that you have to temper chocolate? Don’t be intimidated, it can be done quickly and easily without the need for thermometers if you follow the simple steps in this post.
What is tempered chocolate?
Each time you buy a good quality chocolate bar, it will already be in temper. This basically means that all the fat crystals in the chocolate are all correctly aligned resulting in the perfect snap when you break it apart, great taste and a glossy shine.
However, when you heat chocolate beyond a certain temperature (34℃/94℉) the fat crystals come out of alignment. The easiest way of describing this is if you imagine a bunch of lego blocks unattached and just scattered in every which way and direction. We’re looking for them to be nicely stacked.
If you melt chocolate and allow it to cool, it will take a very long time to set and sometimes not set at all at room temperature becoming tacky. It will also be dull, soft and generally will not look appetising. Chocolate that’s not in temper actually tastes different too.
Chocolate Tempering Equipment
To temper chocolate you will need some basic equipment. They’re all cupboard staples anyway.
You will need…
- Good quality chocolate in bar form only. Not chocolate chips or candy melts.
- Heat proof bowl.
- Rubber spatula.
- Sharp knife.
Depending on your method, double boiler or the microwave method, you may also need a few extras. For the double boiler method, you may also need…
- An ice bath, or
- A cold wet kitchen towel (cotton towel)
Those items are necessary to cool the bowl down after using a double boiler to stop the chocolates temperature raising further.
If you use a water bath, ensure that no water will come into contact with your chocolate. If it does your chocolate will seize undoing all your efforts and rendering it useless. Bad times!
How to Temper Chocolate
Are you ready to get started?
Make sure you’ve got everything to hand and close by because things can move a little fast.
First of all, break off enough chocolate you feel will be enough for your recipe. It’s better to have leftovers than not enough chocolate.
Chop into segments using the ridges as guides, there’s no need to chop the chocolate smaller. In fact, the size of the chunks helps. Reserve slightly over a ¼ of the chocolate and set aside. Place the remaining ¾ into your heat proof bowl.
If using the double boiler method, ensure that your heat proof bowl does not touch the water before starting. If it does, empty some of the water. Allow the water to come to a simmer before starting then place your heat proof bowl with the chocolate over the pan and continuously stir until approx. ¾ melted, and there are chunks ¼ in size remaining.
Immediately remove from the heat and place the heat proof bowl onto the cold wet kitchen towel or sit in the ice bath for approx. 20 seconds (still stirring) to prevent the chocolate temperature from rising further. Remove from the ice bath or wet towel and set on a sturdy surface.
If you’re using the microwave method, setting your microwave onto half power for 30 second bursts to start with, then reducing to 10 second bursts, stirring between each burst until the chocolate is approx. ¾ melted, and there are chunks ¼ in size remaining.
Working quickly, stir the chocolate with your rubber spatula until the small chunks remaining have completely melted.
Quickly add one chunk from the chopped chocolate you set aside earlier and add it to the chocolate and continue stirring continuously until that chocolate chunk added has melted. Once melted, repeat adding the set aside chocolate chunks one by one until the chocolate chunk will not melt any further. This is called ‘seeding’.
Once you reach this stage, your chocolate is at the optimum working temperature. Remove the chocolate chunk that will no longer melt. You can now use the chocolate for whatever you wish to use it for, like dipping, making truffles, and creating décor for cakes.
If you wish to test whether the chocolate is tempered correctly, coat the back of a teaspoon and place it in the fridge. If it hardens within 1-2 minutes, it should be tempered. Don’t worry if it looks a little streaky, it’s probably in temper but needs to be stirred a little more.
If you run out of chocolate chunks, you have heated the chocolate too high of a temperature, and will need more chocolate chunks to hand. Then repeat adding the chocolate chunks one by one.
The key to success is not to heat the chocolate to too high of a temperature where the fat crystals become unaligned, this way the chocolate will stay ready tempered. If you do heat it too high, don’t worry by adding the chocolate chunks one by one you are ensuring that the already tempered chocolate mixes with the chocolate not in temper and will seed the chocolate back into temper.
That’s it! Wasn’t so scary now was it? The whole process should take between 5-10 minutes.
What will you be making with your new found chocolate knowledge?
Why not try out my…
Jelly Popping Candy Shells Chocolate Bar
(A UK chocolate bar you can recreate yourself)
I link up to these link parties.