Tempering - A Lesson

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by kimmie, Jul 24, 2002.

  1. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Got this from today's NY Times. Here's an excerpt:

    (...) But creating some choco-centric desserts requires an understanding of how to temper it correctly. Tempering is essential for any dish that requires chocolate to retain its glossiness and texture after cooking. For a coating or molding, melting alone won't do the job.

    Tempering chocolate can be summed up thusly: melting it, cooling it and gently melting it again. When chocolate melts, the fat molecules break apart, making it impossible to reform the goo into something else. Through tempering, the molecules are separated, then reconnected, producing liquid chocolate that can be hardened to a desired consistency. (Chocolate bars and other products have been pre-tempered.) Here are some basic tempering tips:

    • Tempering requires exact temperatures, so make sure you have an instant cooking thermometer of some kind (a laser thermometer is ideal, and not as expensive as you might think).

    • Try to temper in a dry, relatively cool room. High air temperatures and humidity are not your friend (they will interfere with the melting and cooling process).

    • It's best to use couverture chocolate, which has the highest percentage of cocoa butter and is made for tempering.

    • Try to temper more chocolate than you need. A larger quantity will hold its temper longer.

    The classic tempering method, called tabling, involves heating the chocolate to between 88 and 90 degrees, spreading it on a marble (or other cool) surface, and working it with a spatula until it begins to harden (about 81 degrees). Needless to say, it's a messy process that requires a lot of room (not to mention the marble slab).

    Here are two easier ways of tempering, courtesy of Jacques Torres:

    1. The Microwave Method

    Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Put the bowl in a microwave on high power, for 30 seconds at a time. Be very careful not to overheat (note that the chocolate will not look like it has melted, as it will retain its shape. Heat until the chocolate is slightly warmer than your lower lip. There will still be lumps (this is not only okay, it's preferable), so use an immersion blender or a whisk to break them up; the heat of the melted chocolate will melt any remaining solids.

    2. The Combination Method

    Melt about three-quarters of the chocolate in a bowl over a hot-water bath until about 88 to 90 degrees (for white and milk chocolate, melt to a couple degrees cooler). Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and add in the remaining chocolate. Again, there will be lumps, so use an immersion blender or whisk to facilitate the melting process.

    There's also a video and recipes at

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/24/di...ate-intro.html
     
  2. barista

    barista

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    Thanks for extract and the link, Kimmie.

    FYI, I was using the microwave method, but I suppose I didn't let cool enough during the stirring stage.

    Cheers
     
  3. bouland

    bouland

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    I was amazed when I watched Jacques Torres' video of his technique. This method is much different than I had been taught (in France). The reflective thermometer is a nice touch, but I had always been taught not to stir the chocolate too much so there wouldn't be air bubbles in it. The stick blender seems like the opposite of what's required, but apparently it works.
     
  4. isaac

    isaac

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    does anyone know where i can get this type of thermomiter?
     
  5. bouland

    bouland

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    It's a standard item at professional kitchen supply stores. Also, instument manufacturers sell these devices. For instance, Omega has a low-cost system with a fixed emissivity setting and a slightly higher cost system with an adjustable emissivity. I don't know what the emissivity of chocolate is and whether it is different for dark, milk, and white chocolate.
     
  6. isaac

    isaac

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    umm... not to sound dumb... but what is emissivity?
     
  7. bouland

    bouland

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    Its the relative power of a surface to emit heat by radiation.
     
  8. isaac

    isaac

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    i guess i still dont really understand.


    so, it is better if i have an adjustable one?
     
  9. bouland

    bouland

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    i don't know...I haven't really researched the subject.
     
  10. kimmie

    kimmie

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    It shouldn't be so terribly complicated, Isaac. I use a professional chocolate tempering thermometer that measures 40 degrees to 130 degrees in single degree increments. Call Dean & Deluca.
     
  11. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I rather like idea with the emulsion blender. When tempering it's always difficult to get the last bits melted before the temp. cools too much. Does he do this for all types of uses? Does he give his bowl of choc. a couple taps on the counter before using?


    What did you think of his video? I like his show on foodtv is it similar or does he go into more detail and/or more difficult projects?
     
  12. danno

    danno

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    one thing to remember when he uses his bur mixer to mix his couverture, he keeps the blade completely submerged , to avoid incorporating any air.
    Danno