Tempered chocolate has a shiny, flawless appearance. It feels firm to the touch, snaps when you break it and has a smooth mouth feel, allowing you to fully appreciate the flavor.
Slowly heating and cooling melted chocolate while stirring puts it into temper. If chocolate is not tempered properly, the cocoa butter crystallization is uncontrolled and uneven, resulting in an unattractive chocolate that is dull or has white streaks running through it. Untempered chocolate may feel uneven or tacky and have a cakey texture. It is more susceptible to heat and humidity, melting more easily and spoiling more quickly. Some simple candy recipes do not require tempered chocolate. However, confections such as truffles, bon bons and chocolate bars require tempering to achieve their signature appearance, taste, and texture.
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds chocolate
1. If using a block, finely chop 1 1/2 to 2 pounds chocolate.
2. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in a double boiler, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place a candy thermometer in the chocolate and stir frequently with a silicone spatula.
3. Do not let the temperature of the chocolate exceed 120°F for dark chocolate or 105°F for milk or white chocolate. When the chocolate has fully melted, remove the bowl from heat.
4. Stir in the remaining third of the chocolate a little at a time. Let it melt before adding more.
5. Let the chocolate cool to about 82°F. It it is warmer, keep stirring and let it cool some more. If it is cooler, begin reheating in the next step.
6. Once the chocolate is 82°F, place it back over simmering water. For dark chocolate, reheat to 88°F to 91°F. For milk and white chocolate, reheat to 85°F to 87°F. Remove the bowl from heat once you have reached the right temperature.
7. Dip a clean, dry spoon in the tempered chocolate and place it on a piece of wax paper. If it looks dull or streaky, re-temper the chocolate. If it dries quickly with a glossy finish and no streaks, the chocolate is in temper.
Keeping chocolate in temper
Once melted chocolate has been tempered, it must be used before it cools and sets. If it cools to about 84°F to 86°F and is still fairly liquid, it can be reheated to a liquid consistency. If it has completely cooled and solidified, it should be re-tempered. Heat it for 5 to 10 seconds at a time, stirring and checking the temperature before reheating. For dark chocolate, reheat to 88°F to 91°F. For milk and white chocolate, reheat to 87°F to 88°F. If you keep your chocolate within these temperature ranges, it will stay in temper and be liquid enough to use.
Tempered chocolate can be used to make your own truffles or Easter eggs, stay tuned for our next blog post for a how to!