The Ultimate Guide to Tempering Chocolate
Ever wondered how great chocolate gets its smooth texture, shine and snap? Welcome to the world of “tempering" chocolate. A world that has been mastered by our lovely NutriCrafter – Irma, Founder of vegan craft chocolate brand Shokoladi Malvern.
Whether you see yourself as a master chocolatier, or you just enjoy experimenting (and licking the spoon afterwards), it pays to understand the tempering chocolate process.
Luckily for us, our lovely NutriCrafter Irma, has generously shared her chocolate tempering recipe. A recipe that’s taken a long time to perfect. As with every recipe, it starts with the best ingredients; Irma combines our finest fair trade and organic cacao beans and nibs, with seeds, nuts and even fruit to make her melt-in-the-mouth chocolate bars and bon bons.
But we can’t claim all the credit. Chocolate making from scratch is hard work and requires dedication to perfect; from roasting the raw cacao nibs, grinding and ageing. Her artistry and flair make her chocolates hard to beat, but we can all learn from her experience. Read on for a master class in tempering chocolate.
Alex, NutriCraft Founder
What is tempered chocolate?
Tempered chocolate is chocolate that has been heated slowly, and cooled slowly, to create a glossy shine, a smooth melt-in-the-mouth feel and a snappish texture. Tempered chocolate sets quickly at room temperature and can last for years.
Why do you temper chocolate?
Untempered chocolate is gritty, lumpy and crumbly. It has a dull appearance and is prone to blotchiness. Like a badly behaved teenager, it’s best avoided.
How do you temper chocolate?
Melt the chocolate slowly to 45°C, either in a microwave or in a bowl balanced on a pan of boiling water. Whatever you do, don’t allow any water or steam into it. If just one drop of water gets into your chocolate it will seize, and the only thing in a temper will be you. (You could make truffles and ganache by adding more cream or liquid to it, but you must give up your dream of heavenly chocolate bars.)
Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and get it down to 27.5°C. The best way to cool it down is to stir it in a large metal bowl or pour it onto marble (if you happen to have some handy!) and the cold stone surface will cool it down faster than any bowl. The critical thing is to stir it constantly so that the crystals become smooth.
Once it reaches 27.5°C, move it back to the bowl on the heat and warm it up slightly – this time to 31.5°C. Or warm it up for in a microwave, checking and stirring every 6-10 seconds. Checking regularly is important as if it goes over 33°C you will have to start all over again.
Once you got it to 31.5°C pour the tempered chocolate into a bar mould or onto grease proof paper. Your chocolate will set nicely at room temperature (room temp 18/19°C). Or you can pop it in the fridge for twenty minutes.
So, it’s all about the chocolate tempering temperatures (65)!
Which may seem like a bit of a fuss to begin with but, when you’ve tempered chocolate many times, you won’t need to take the temperature anymore. You’ll be able to guess, just by looking at it, whether your chocolate is tempered or not.
How to check your chocolate is tempered
The best way to check if your chocolate is tempered, if you don’t have a thermometer, is with a metal knife. Dip it in and wait for a minute. If it sets on the knife, it’s tempered.
Tempering milk chocolate
Milk chocolate contains more cacao butter and fat, so its tempering temperatures are different. To temper milk chocolate, repeat the steps for dark chocolate but alter the temperatures as follows:
Melt the chocolate to 42°C, not 45°C.
Bring it down to 27°C, not 27.5°C.
Bring the temperature back up to 30°C, not 31.5°C.
Tempering white chocolate
White is different again. Sorry.
Melt the chocolate to 41°C.
Cool the chocolate to 26°C.
Bring the temp to 29°C.
Remember, chocolate is temperamental. It won’t come out of its mould, it won’t shine, and there will be fat “blooms” on the surface. At least its shelf life will be short.
Want to buy Raw and Organic Chocolate ingredients?