How to Temper Chocolate
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How to Temper Chocolate

How to temper chocolate

Believe it or not, it's not that hard to temper chocolate. At its most basic, you don't need a lot of fancy equipment, just a bowl, a saucepan and a digital thermometer. There is no mystery to it, with a little research I managed to understand why tempering works and how to do it.

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Tempering Chocolate, What does it mean?

Chocolate is the way it is because of its cocoa butter content. Cocoa butter is fascinating stuff. When it solidifies, it’s possible for it to form into one of six distinct crystalline structures. What does this mean; well think of diamonds and charcoal. They are two different crystalline forms of carbon, each with completely different physical properties.

Melt your chocolate

So, the cocoa butter has six different forms that it can take which are listed in the table below, thankyou Wikipedia for that bit.

As you can see each form of cocoa butter crystal has its own distinct set of physical characteristics with the best being type V. The tempering process is designed to ensure that when the chocolate sets, we are left with as many type V cocoa butter crystals as possible which will in turn ensure the best look and feel of the finished product.

Crystal Melting temp. Notes
I 17 °C (63 °F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily
II 21 °C (70 °F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily
III 26 °C (79 °F) Firm, poor snap, melts too easily
IV 28 °C (82 °F) Firm, good snap, melts too easily
V 34 °C (93 °F) Glossy, firm, best snap, melts near body temperature (37°C)
VI 36 °C (97 °F) Hard, takes weeks to form

How to temper the chocolate

The first step in the tempering process is to melt your chocolate. Do this using a bowl, metal or glass over a pan of simmering water on the stove. Stir constantly as the chocolate melts until it is smooth and even.

You need to make sure you take the chocolate to at least 40 degrees Celsius to ensure that all six forms of the cocoa butter crystal melt.

Melt the chocolate
cool the melted chocolate

Once the chocolate is up to temperature (it won’t take very long), remove the bowl from the heat and allow it to cool until the chocolate reaches a temperature of between 29 and 33 degrees. You can dip the bowl into a cold water bath to accelerate the cooling if you like.

When in the 29 to 33 degree temperature range, start to stir the chocolate until it starts to thicken. You gauge the thickening by taking a spoonful of chocolate and letting it run back into the bowl from a height.

As soon as the chocolate drops below 34C the type V crystals will start to form. The thickening indicates that enough of the type V crystals have formed and the constant stirring will make sure that they are spread evenly through the chocolate.

The chocolate is now ready to use.

Preperation time:
Recipe By , Flavoursome Delights

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