Whether you're dipping confections in chocolate, coating truffles, or making chocolates in a candy mold, you'll need to know how to temper chocolate. Correctly tempered chocolate produces bright, crisp, and shiny chocolate.
Here are a couple of ways to temper your chocolate.
Tempered chocolate is the secret to professional chocolate products. Chocolate that has been tempered is smooth, with a shiny finish and a satisfying snap. If you're planning on making dipped chocolates or molded chocolates, the chocolate will need to be tempered so that it behaves properly and produces candies that are both tasty and beautiful. Learn how to temper chocolate with these easy steps.
Chop your chocolate. It is best to use at least 1 pound of chocolate, as it is easier to temper (and retain the temper) of larger amounts of chocolate. If this is more than you need, you can always save the extra for later use. Be sure that your chocolate is in block or bar form, not chocolate chips. The chips have additives that allow them to retain their shape at higher temperatures, and so they will not temper properly.
Place it in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. Melt 2/3 of your chocolate , Securely clip a chocolate or instant-read thermometer to the side of the boiler to monitor the chocolate’s temperature.
Stir gently but steadily as the chocolate melts and heats up. Use a rubber spatula, not a wooden or metal spoon.
Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees (for dark chocolate) or 110 degrees (for milk or white chocolate). Do not allow the chocolate to exceed its recommended temperature. When it is at the right temperature, remove it from the heat, wipe the bottom of the bowl, and set it on a heat-proof surface.
Add the remaining chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will melt the chopped chocolate, and the newly added chocolate will bring down the temperature of the warm chocolate.
Cool the chocolate. Once the chocolate gets below 84 degrees, remove the remaining chunks of chocolate. They can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and saved for another use.
Reheat the chocolate briefly.Place the chocolate bowl over the warm water in the double boiler for 5-10 seconds, remove it and stir, and repeat, until the temperature reaches 88-89 degrees (87 for milk and white chocolate). Do not leave the chocolate over the hot water, or allow it to exceed 91 degrees.
Your chocolate should now be tempered! To make sure it has been done properly, do a spot test: spread a spoonful thinly over an area of waxed paper and allow it to cool. If the chocolate is shiny and smooth, it is properly tempered. If it is dull or streaky, it has not been tempered correctly. Test the temper by dipping a knife tip into the chocolate and letting it sit for two to three minutes. Is it still sticky? It's not in temper. Properly tempered chocolate should be firm to the touch after a few minutes.
Tip : To use tempered chocolate, you must keep it warm but not hot, ideally in the 85-88 degree range (86 degrees for milk and white chocolate)v. You can either keep it over a pan of warm (but not simmering) water, stirring occasionally, or try placing it on an electric heating pad set to “low.” Whichever method you choose, it’s important to stir often so that the chocolate remains a uniform temperature throughout.
Tempering Chocolate the Easy Way :
If you are using high-quality chocolate that is already tempered, you might be able to use a shortcut and avoid going through the whole tempering process. By carefully melting the chocolate at low temperatures, it is possible to retain the temper. First, ensure that your chocolate is indeed tempered: carefully examine the surface, making sure that it is glossy, smooth, and without streaks or blemishes. Next, break the chocolate, making sure that it has a crisp “snap” when broken, and that the texture of the inside of the chocolate is uniform. If all of these conditions are met, you can attempt to melt the chocolate while keeping the temper.
To use this method, chop 1 pound of tempered, semisweet chocolate in coarse chunks. Microwave it at 50% power for 3 minutes, stopping every 30-45 seconds to stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula. Remove the chocolate when 2/3 of it has melted, and stir the chocolate until the remaining chunks are fully melted. If the chunks do not melt, warm the chocolate again very briefly.
Check the temperature with a chocolate or instant-read thermometer. If it is less than 90 degrees (88 degrees for milk or white chocolate), it is still in temper and ready to be used. Remember to do a spot test to make sure: spread a spoonful thinly over an area of waxed paper and allow it to cool. If it is tempered, the chocolate will harden within 5 minutes and look shiny and smooth. If it is dull or streaky, it has lost its temper, and you shouldtemper the chocolate again.