Buying a chocolate thermometer

Joined Jun 28, 2001
I've looked into buying one on the net and prices and brands vary. Is there a brand that's better than others- like it lasts longer or is more accurate or what have you. I'm also leaning towards a digital one that I saw for $40. Any input would be appreciated before I waste $40. :)

Before I finish, yes, I know a thermometer is no excuse for knowing how chocolate behaves and yadda yadda yadda. But before I get the speach, here's the deal...

I used to be really good at tempering chocolate when I was in school. Then I did my externship and at both places I worked at, they used the microwave to temper. Then I forgot/get very rusty how to do it the non-microwave ways (I used do the seeding method and also use a bowl of ice), but that was ok since I had a microwave to temper at home. Well... we moved into a new place 2 years ago and while packing, I was going to bring our ancient microwave which looked horrible, but it worked just fine. My husband told me to throw it out since our new place had a slick new microwave. I reasoned that we wouldn't rent forever and we should save the old one for when we bought a house, but he said when we buy a house, he would just buy a nice new microwave. Fair enough. It was tossed out.

THEN, we move into the new place and I want to temper chocolate. I press the button to reduce the power and it won't let me! It's eternally stuck on "HIGH". So I've gone back to tempering the old fashioned way and I still can't get the hang of it. I'm always off by a few degrees here and there because the chocolate usually comes "ok", but not as perfect as before. Hence, the need for some help from a thermometer.

So for those of you who use a thermometer, send some buying advice my way. Thanks.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
I bought a celsius thermometer at a flea market for 18 bucks that was in the right range. Had a neat metal tube it slid into. All I had to do was memorize the numbers for melting and so on. then one day I grabbed my toolbox off the bench, and the thing wasnt latched shut. Thermometer smashed. So I bought a Cordon Rose from J.B. Prince and handle it very carefully. I don't like digital for chocolate work because I don't think they are accurate enough. It cost almost 50 bucks with next day shipping.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
True, you will eventually be able to tell temp. without a thermometer, but until then, you need to learn what it's like at certain temps, so you do need a therm. at this point. You don't need anything expensive or fancy; just buy an instant read thermometer (for meats).
Joined Aug 13, 2001
I agree with momoreq, we use the cheap $20 at work when we are working with apprentices, these I think are more than accurate enough for chocolate tempering specially in Faren, we teach our guys to test the chocolate by sight and temp and to verify this with the thermometer and by checking the speed at what it sets before they use it for moulding the chocolates(nothing worse than having 500 bloomed chocolates stuck in your moulds) we also get them to check how it sets every time they rewarm up there coverture. Have fun making chocolate and share your creations. mmmmmmm chocolate......

Cheers P.C:bounce:
Joined Jan 5, 2001
My husband was just reading over my shoulder. He asks:

" A chocolate thermometer: wouldn't that melt?"
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I have to agree w/mbrown, as I was reading I was thinking any thermometer will work as long as it is accurate. Maybe I'm wrong though. When using chocolate I find that my finger is a constant temp and I work off that. I'm speaking of course of my impeccably clean finger!
Joined Mar 22, 2002
Ifound a nifty digital thermometer - with an alarm you can set for a certain temperature and a timer, and a nice long probe-on-a-cord for $12 at a homegoods store. I like the mercury ones, the way I perfer an analog watch - but this digital thing is nifty. Bery;'s used to have a mercury one for about $12, but I checked and they only have the $30 kind on the website.

One reason for a digital, over say a meat thermometer - is that the range of temperatures is so small, you really need something that registers each degree.

Chocolatiers say that the temperature is just right when you can touch the chocolate to your lower lip, and fell the temperatures be the same. I guess they don't drool much, huh? ;)

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