So tempering chocolate is one of the things that I always thought was way too tricky to try at home. Fortunately, (or unfortunately for my uniform and thus my laundry powder bill), 90% of my time at Le Cordon Bleu was spent tempering chocolate (the other 10% was spent cleaning chocolate…just kidding…not really).
So why temper chocolate? Basic answer? It makes chocolate set better. Tempering is essentially bringing all zee chocolate crystals together in perfect harmony 🙂 (well… you get the picture). In doing this the chocolate has a higher melting temperature. This means that doesn’t melt as quickly making it perfect for decorations.It also takes on a nice shine and has a nice ‘snap’ when it breaks. I have to be honest, this tutorial is going to be very simple. I will go into more detail and explore other methods of tempering in another post in the future. Also this tutorial is for dark chocolate, again, I will explore tempering milk and white chocolate in another tutorial =) This is a quick and easy (unfortunately not overly clean) method to do at home called the Tabling Method.
First things first here is the equipment you will need:
Thermometer (VERY IMPORTANT)
Stainless steel or glass bowl
Pot of water
IMPORTANT: Make sure all your equipment and work space is clean and DRY! (Water is like Kryponite to chocolate).
It’s important that you get chocolate that has at least 10% cocoa butter otherwise you can’t temper it. I have found that, here in NZ, Whittakers chocolate seems to work well for tempering. Otherwise there are the more expensive brands like Callebaut and Vahlrona.
- Gently melt the chocolate over a bain marie to 50-55 degrees.
- Take the chocolate off the heat and bring to a clean and dry work surface. Make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to get rid of any condensation from the bain marie.
- Pour about 2/3 of the chocolate onto your work surface.
- Use your palette knife to spread the chocolate out over the work surface and then to bring it back into one area. IMPORTANT: Once the chocolate is spread out it will cool faster, which is handy but you don’t want to cool it down too much. By bringing it back together it will slow the cooling process.
- Once you have done this 2-3 times (working fairly quickly) scoop (as best you can – this is where it gets messy lol) the chocolate back into the bowl and mix with the remaining chocolate.
- Check the temperature – you are wanting to cool the chocolate to 28-29 degrees. If it is still too warm pour about 1/3 of chocolate on the work surface and repeat the tabling process.
- Once your chocolate is at 28-29 degrees put it back on the bain maire in short intervals and heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. This is your working temperature so you’re ready to start making your chocolate decorations.
When making decorations:
- You need to work quickly as the chocolate will set quickly.
- Have everything you need ready before you temper your chocolate.
- Keep an eye on your bowl of chocolate – you will need to periodically heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. If it gets too cool it will start to set and will be harder to reheat and you will need to potentially start the tempering process again. I can tell you now – this is not fun!!!!
- An easy way to slow the cooling process is to have the bowl of chocolate sitting on a tea-towel which will be a little bit warmer than your work surface =)
- Make sure to keep everything clean and dry!!!! Seriously I cannot stress this enough!!!! EVER!!!!
I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Just pay attention to your chocolate temperature and you should be fine =)
Catch ya later,