Feeling confused about a chocolate having temper in the first place? No worries. In this how-to article I will explain to you How to Temper Your Chocolate and explain why we do it in the first place (spoiler, for better baking and glazing culinary reasons)…
Actually, the chocolate consists of many different crystals, and when we melt chocolate we cause those crystals to become all chaotic and mismatched.
Well, firstly, we just have to get it back there as it cools to ensure our finished products do not have a grainy, dull texture, they are not soft and will never set, or they can be dry and crispy, almost like dirt in your mouth! That’s definitely not a way to go!
So, by tempering chocolate, we give it back it’s classic shine, snap, and creaminess that is characteristic of a nice, fine chocolate.
If you have ever left a chocolate bar in a very warm place for too long and looked closely to it afterward, you definitely noticed that in such conditions it tends to get that gray color and one may think it is old.
This is not true, it has simply fallen “Out of Temper”.
The crystals have been disarrayed and the whole molecular structure of the chocolate has been compromised for worse (at least, visually)…
Tempering Chocolate The SEED Method
Quick tools note: you will need an Instant Read Thermometer.
These temperature shown in the video below and listed below are for Unsweetened, Semi- Sweet or Dark Chocolates.
White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate tempering have the same method but the temperatures are slightly different on the melting and the cooling (a bit lower)
(Milk & White chocolate tempers at 86º-88ºF, 30º-31ºC.)
The first step is to melt about 1 lb (454g) chocolate bar in a clean, dry bowl set over the heated water, warming it up to about 115º-120º F (46º-49ºC.)
Remove the bowl with the chocolate inside from heat and let it cool to about 86°F.
Next, add about 6 more ounces (or approximately 1/3) of couverture that is “in good temper = has been stored the right way in a bit of a chilly temperature” and mix it with the melted chocolate. This provides insurance by ‘seeding’ the melted chocolate with good beta crystals. While cooling, stir it violently.
That kind of a stirring motion causes the good beta crystals to smash into to the out of whack crystals and they bond together and morph into Good Betas!
I know, I know…too scientific!
The last step is the most crucial one: it’s all about taking this mix of chocolates up to the perfect temperature, where it’s chock-full of those great beta crystals.
For a majority of chocolates, this tipping point usually occurs between 88° and 91° F (31º-32ºC.)
Remove what’s left , if any…of the ‘seed’ chocolate and reserve for another use later.
Now your chocolate is ready to be dipped in or become a great part of any baked good’s decoration!
Don’t let the chocolate you are working with get warmed up at a temperature higher than 91° F (32ºC) or you’ll have to begin the process all over again.
If it drops below temperature as you are working (as it often will) rewarm it gently to bring it back up.