Tempering Chocolate

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by chocophile101, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. chocophile101


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    At home cook
    I'm currently making/baking various gifts for people for christmas and this years big thing (for me at least) is chocolate bars. I'll go to the store and get three bars of cheap (like 50p for a large bar cheap) dar, milk and white chocolate. When I get home I'l melt one in my mini chocolate fondue and do a few different designs (initials/hearts etc) and then wipe the pan out before melting another bar down to pour own the top, leaving a bar with a design on the bottom (or top once it's set and been turned over); all of this is done on greaseproof paper.

    The problem is that at first when I took a bar out of the fridge, even after it has set, it started to melt again really, really, quickly. This went away and I thought it could be because of molten chocolate lingering in the centre of the bar. But after reading up online I'm now terrified that it'll revert to this because haven't tempered it. Presumably the bars were tempered before I bought them so can I stop worrying or do you need to retemper chocolate each time you melt it?

    Thank you!

    PS If I do need to retemper it can anyone recommend a good way to do it without a microwave?
  2. foodpump


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Usually, you need to temper chocolate when you melt it, and I'll explain that in a second.

    Firstly, read the ingredient list of your cheap chocolate, if any fats or oils OTHER than cocoa butter are listed, it's not "real" Chocolate.

    One of my favorite ways of melting chocolate is with a cheap electric heating blanket, a second way is to put the bowl in a gas oven with only the pilot light on overnight.  You can melt over hot water, but make sure the water never boils.


    Chocolate and water do not mix, if they do, you get rock-hard cement in a matter of seconds.  If the water boils, you will get steam, and when the steam condenses and falls back down, it lands in the chocolate.

    Tempering is a frustrating experience for the un-initiated, and I understand you reluctance to do so.  HOWEVER....if you melt the chocolate at temperatures under 32 C, and make sure the temp never exceeds 32, you don't need to temper it, as it still is in temper.

    Once chocolate exceeds temps of 32 C weird things happen, and it all has to do with the cocoa butter.  Usually it will take forever to set, and when it does, it turns chalky-white and has a mouldy appearance.  Do not worry, you can re-melt this without any consequences.

    Hope this helps
  3. steelybob


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    just a suggestion, buying useable amounts of couverture chocolate is really not that expensive and investing in a good chocolate book (eg Greweling's Chocolates & Confections - the CIA chocolate book) and going through the process of learning to temper chocolate is something well worth the investment.

    the difference in quality will amaze your customers as well, and your repertoire for developing product ideas will expand vastly as a result.
  4. cocoanut


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    The simplest way I've found to temper chocolate (especially in small quantities) is the seeding method, which involves adding a small amount of already tempered chocolate to chocolate that has been melted. This is probably easier than the alternative method of using a marble slab and candy thermometer to carefully monitor and control the temperature of the chocolate, although less useful if all of your chocolate has already lost temper. As foodpump mentioned, if you do have a candy thermometer, it really is easiest to make sure that the chocolate doesn't reach about 32 degrees (it depends on the type of chocolate; milk, white, or dark). Here are some good chocolate references that give instructions on the seeding method.

    From David Lebovitz:


    And the Valrhona website:


    Hope I helped!