Tempering Chocolate Article - Allrecipes.com
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How to Temper Chocolate

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.

1. To melt and temper chocolate, you need chocolate couverture: the kind with real cocoa butter. Start with 12 ounces or more: a large amount is easier to work with, especially for beginning chocolatiers.

You'll need a pot of water, a clean, completely dry stainless-steel bowl to act as a double boiler, and a rubber spatula for stirring. Any moisture in the bowl disrupt the tempering process.

Place the pot of water on the stove and bring the water to a slow boil.

2. Chocolate chips or coins (available from some specialty purveyors) are ideal for tempering, as they are all the same size and will therefore melt evenly. If you're using a block of chocolate, a serrated knife works well for chopping; you can also use a dough cutter (bench scraper) or other knife. Chop chocolate into even pieces that are no larger than half an inch square.

    3. Use the dough cutter, bench scraper, or your hands to transport the chocolate to the dry bowl. If you use your hands, move quickly: the chocolate will melt in your hands. Keep a dry kitchen towel handy for wiping hands and surfaces free of chocolate crumbs and drips.

      4. Place the bowl on top of the pot of hot water and gently stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula until it has melted completely and looks smooth.

      You can keep the water at a simmer while the chocolate melts, or you can turn the heat off entirely. For small amounts of chocolate, it is appropriate to turn off all heat: steam can introduce moisture to the chocolate, causing it to seize up or curdle. In addition, some chocolate has a very high cocoa butter content, which if heated too quickly will cause the chocolate to break and crystallize. White chocolate, in particular, needs very gentle handling.

        5. Test the temperature of the chocolate. You need to melt the chocolate to a target temperature of about 110 degrees F (45 degrees C). Going over the target temperature can cause scorching.

        As soon as the chocolate reaches the proper temperature, remove the bowl from the heat, dry the bottom of the bowl, and begin the essential stage of cooling and agitating.

        One way of cooling the melted chocolate is to add chopped, un-melted couverture to the bowl. (Add about a third of the amount of chocolate you started with: if you melted 12 ounces, add an additional 4 ounces of finely chopped chocolate.) Stir vigorously until chocolate is melted. This process, called "seeding," produces the smooth, glossy result.

          6. Now, if your chocolate is too cool to work with, you must bring the chocolate's temperature back up to approximately 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) to use it for coating or molding.

          Pastry chefs use a method called "tabling" to temper chocolate, a cooling-and-agitating method that involves pouring two-thirds of the melted chocolate onto a marble slab. The chocolatier quickly spreads it thin with a metal spatula, scrapes it back into a pile with a putty knife, and spreads it thin again, repeating until the right sludgy consistency is reached. This cooled chocolate is stirred into the bowl of reserved warm chocolate.

            7. 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.

            Comments
            reed 
            Jul. 14, 2009 12:46 pm
            cool!!!!!!!!!!!!
             
            Jul. 31, 2009 2:30 pm
            Be sure to check the melting degree and tempering degree, etc. for different brands of chocolates. Some manufacturers will give you a printed guide for those % of cacao butter and their temperature recommendations.
             
            kit kat 
            Sep. 20, 2009 11:38 am
            Don't be scared to try this. It's so fun! Use it on many food items such as Stawberries, pound cake, cheese cake, candied oranges, fresh raspberries, peanut butter filled pretzels. Be creative!
             
            Sep. 29, 2009 3:33 pm
            Ah... tempered chocolate... the bane of my existence!
             
            Gayla 
            Oct. 20, 2009 9:51 pm
            This sounds scary...not sure I will try it.
             
            Nov. 7, 2009 6:10 am
            this is one of the most fun (and messy) things to do in the kitchen. I LOVE chocolate and have done this many times.
             
            Nov. 15, 2009 11:08 am
            tempering chocolate isn't so bad once you get the hang of it :D
             
            Dec. 4, 2009 9:35 am
            That is very interesting!! I will have to try this. There is a Thin Mint Cookie on here with a glossy finish. Now we know how it gets that way! Thank You!!:)
             
            Dec. 16, 2009 10:40 am
            I tried the two above methods...works out very well. I laughed throughout the entire procedure because I actually was watching an old vintage episode of "I Love Lucy" (the one when she & best friend-Ethel were working the assembly line at the chocolate factory). "SPEED IT UP"!!!!lol Now, that I know "how" to properly "temper" chocolate, I'll attempt to coat Bonbons, Truffles as they did in that very funny episode! *TIP: For a professional Chocolate Tempering Bowl (Electric), visit: www.kitchenkrafts.com, Click search type in the word(s) "TEMPER" or TEMPER MACHINE. -Deloria Ellegonta
             
            Elsa 
            Dec. 17, 2009 2:00 am
            Well, I don't have marble slab. Is there another way to cool the chocolate??
             
            Ceil 
            Dec. 17, 2009 12:50 pm
            Deloria Ellegonta made me laugh so hard remembering that Lucy episode and (imagineing(sp?) what my kitchen would look like, if I tried this with 3 dogs and a "Grinch" watching the whole time, (and me with no marble slab in sight) I had to RUN to the bathroom and stay there awhile laughing the whole time. With the house in such disaray getting ready for the Holidays, this was just what I needed to perk me up again and get off the computer and back to work again (cooking and cleaning). Thank you Deloria,...the "Grinch" sitting in front of the TV, thanks you too!! (Pssst, "we're" retired !! Merry Christmas to you All.... "C"
             
            Mary K. 
            Dec. 19, 2009 6:58 am
            Don't have a lovely marble counter? Most home improvement stores sell 2'x2' marble tiles that will work quite nicely with a medium amount of chocolate. These tiles just don't stay as cool as a thick counter. Just allow enough time to cool in-between batches. Happy Holidays!!!!
             
            Jeff 
            Dec. 19, 2009 1:48 pm
            I've been a professional baker for more years than I care to remember. As far as chocolate goes, tempering can be a lot of fun and very messy. You will get a superior product if you temper couverture chocolate. However, if your just coating items at home I would reccomend using coating chocolate. It is easier to work with, and not as messy. With coating chocolate all you do is melt it and use it.
             
            cmkrispin 
            Dec. 21, 2009 5:21 pm
            what can you do if the chocolate got moisture in it from steam? Can you still temre it?
             
            SugarMama 
            Jan. 6, 2010 3:42 am
            Hi, Ive been making chocolate truffles for a while now and kept wondering why the would get so soft sometimes. I tried tempering and felt it was simple to comprehend but applying it isnt so easy. I followed the double boiler method and added 1/4th of the chocolate as mentioned but not sure what happened. any tips?
             
            Jan. 20, 2010 9:38 am
            i really is fun i enjoyed it so much
             
            suzyjoy 
            Jan. 20, 2010 7:56 pm
            I hand dip chocolates for a living at a small gormet chocolate company. I take my heated chocolate out of a heated tank out onto a granite topped table. With my hand! Then I stir it and cool it and when it is the right temp. I work in a room that is 68 degrees or less and my chocolate has to feel cool to my touch. Then here is a secret... I add a very small bit of water and mix it in. You can only do it with quality chocolate. It makes your mark or "signiture" stand up on the top of your chocolate.
             
            jacquie 
            Jan. 27, 2010 8:03 pm
            I do mine in the microwave and it work
             
            Linda,Jack H. 
            Feb. 10, 2010 12:43 pm
            SUZYJOY,CAN YOU RECOMEND SOME CHOCOLATES I CAN USE FOR YOUR METHOD?
             
            suzyjoy 
            Feb. 10, 2010 5:04 pm
            Linda, we use Guittard Chocolate. Even brands have different level's of quality. We of course use a top quality level. Peter's is also a good brand. You want chocolate that has NO wax added. Wax is what causes most chocolates to seize up when a little water is added. You also want to make sure it is dipping chocolate and not just chocolate chips. You'll taste the difference.
             
            Mar. 15, 2010 3:00 pm
            A joy of living in a hot place is that there are many days that the room temperature is pretty much fixed at around 31 C. I will try leaving my chocolate out on the counter on one of the days that the temperature is right.
             
            Justin O'Hadi 
            Mar. 31, 2010 1:10 pm
            This is perfect and seems challenging enough!
             
            Apr. 14, 2010 12:53 pm
            I read everywhere to get it to 31C and then maintain that temperature for dipping. I tried this last night and I used a heating pad on low to keep the temperature of the bowl around 31C. The first half of the chocolate didn't work nearly as well as the second half of the bowl...no idea why! Anyone have ideas on how to maintain tempering temperature other than a heating blanket?
             
            Tiffany 
            May 6, 2010 8:18 am
            you can maintain chocolate at an even temperature using a small crockpot, I dip several thousand cherries at christmas and this is the methood i have used for years
             
            Jul. 12, 2010 5:45 pm
            you can use tempered chocolate to make chocolate curls or pencil curls, and a lot of other stuff!
             
            MaRose 
            Jul. 14, 2010 12:17 pm
            This sounds like fun. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for all the tips.
             
            Nov. 7, 2010 7:15 pm
            Just make sure your bowl is MUCH bigger than the pot to avoid any water getting into the chocolate.
             
            Susan 
            Nov. 9, 2010 5:14 am
            I am a chocolatier with Dove Chocolate Discoveries. We do home chocolate tasting parties, like a tupperware party but sweeter! We have a tempering unit that we use and guests can purchase. It will temper our premium white, milk and dark chocolate by the press of a button. No need to worry about burning, or moisture. Chocolate stays tempered for several hours. www.dovechocolatediscoveries.com/susanpantuliano.
             
            Nov. 15, 2010 2:21 pm
            I have tried both of the links for dove chocolate discoveries and neither one of them works.
             
            Nov. 16, 2010 10:27 am
            There is a lot easier way to do this, with no guessing and it works every time. melt chocolate over a water bath, to 115 degrees. Chocolate actually scorches at 140 degrees soooo you probably wont have a problem with that if youre keeping an eye on it. then take the chocolate off the water bath and bring the temp down to 105 degrees, this is when you add the all ready in temper couverture such as chocolate coins or candy bar. you can tell if something is "in temper" if it has a shine to it, and snaps loudly when you break it (chocolate ships are not in temper) once you add a seed its important not to let it melt all the way before you hit your target temp. this is what is going to build the temper of the chocolate. keep the seed in the chocolate and bring the temp down to 90 degrees which is the working temp for a dark chocolate, bring the temp down to 82 degrees for white and milk chocolate. yay you did it! no guessing needed, cause its science!
             
            jmwebuser 
            Nov. 23, 2010 11:41 am
            I get a chocolate "temper" if it has been too long since I have eaten any... ;-)
             
            Larry 
            Dec. 5, 2010 2:12 pm
            I melt dark chocolate and heat to 115 degrees, add seeding and cool to 82 degrees, then heat back up to 86 to 88 degrees for dipping. This seems to temper OK but the resulting dipped items all have discoloration or "bloom". What am I doing wrong?? Pls email at leischen@centurytel.net. Thanks.
             
            Dec. 9, 2010 5:57 pm
            Rather than go through all of this I buy Ghirardelli dipping chocolate, no need for tempering, Not sure why it doesn't need tempering but it doesn't.
             
            Kim 
            Dec. 20, 2010 7:58 pm
            I love to temper, but use a machine. It is done perfectly, in less than 30 minutes....Im having a blast making incredible treats and decorative desserts. Dipping chocolate, is not real chocolate...there is so much lard in it, most of the time it is called, "candy coating" because they arent even allowed to call it chocolate. Blech. If you want to see some fun things, I have a blog with chocolate tempering ideas: http://www.thechocolateladyblog.blogspot.com
             
            Dec. 24, 2010 6:20 am
            It would be nice if there was a print article option as I am a bit lazy and would prefer it over copy and paste. Also, it would be nice if there was a easy clickable link to add this article to my recipe box. I know now to do it the long way, just saying I'm lazy. :) I adore Allrecipes.com and have been a member since 2001.
             
            Mansoura Pastries 
            Jan. 1, 2011 4:06 pm
            Great article! Well written and to the point! Besides a proper temper you also need the correct ambient temperature, humidity and air convection in your work area. Optimum room temp for chocolates should be between 68-70 degrees. Happy Cooking!

-Jack
http://www.mansoura.com/
             
            Jan. 21, 2011 8:50 am
            It's not that bad
             
            mulan400 
            Mar. 31, 2011 3:18 am
            Oh please spare us the last century cumbersome double boilers, thermometers et al. I break mine into little pieces and melt it in the microwave and there is no fear of burning or scorching. Take it out at regular 30 second intervals and stir it vigorously with a wire whisk also adding in a splash or two of milk to achieve smooth consistency. Have never had a problem.
             
            Goose 
            May 14, 2011 6:22 am
            Wow, I guess I am real lazy. I buy already tempered dark semi-sweet Belgian chocolate. Just melt and use. Note just have to keep it warm while using or it hardens. Been there, done that one before. Crock pot works the best with this chocolate. Esp if you are making chocolate dessert cups for mousse etc. Dessert cups you don't need a fancy mold either. All you need is a cupcake baking pan, cupcake wrappers, a 5/8 pasty brush and freezer to speed up the hardening between layers to get the right thickness for the cup. Once hardened peel the wrapper off like you would a normal cupcake but slower and more gently, so not to break the cup.
             
            ynah 
            Jul. 9, 2011 8:00 am
            cool..that so easy to make...i'll try this at home...thanks...
             
            eniemanCIA 
            Nov. 7, 2011 2:53 pm
            Chocoalate goes out of temper over 90 degrees F so make sure to keep it under that or you have to start over. If it is still blooming you probably didnt have enough seed you need to have some when your done. Chocolate that doesnt have to be tempered "coating chocolate" isnt actually tempered because it has no cocao butter just other fats. You dont have to temper bought cocolate if you melt it under 90 degrees F.
             
            Paula 
            Nov. 18, 2011 4:07 pm
            how do I melt white chips. Thanks Paula
             
            Ann K 
            Jan. 1, 2012 4:15 pm
            I used the Ghirardelli white chips and followed the directions on the back of the bag using the microwave and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I didn't have a metal bowl to try the simmering water method.
             
            Apr. 18, 2012 7:19 pm
            I knew that just melting chocolate wouldn't do the trick, but I wasn't sure exactly what to do. "How to temper" was what I needed and this article really helped, thanks a bunch!!!
             
            Terri Sue 
            Dec. 9, 2012 7:20 am
            I have to say, I am a bit offended by what Jeff said... for amateurs to just use coating chocolate. It can hardly even be classified as chocolate and the white can't as it has no chocolate in it. I think I am intelligent enough to temper chocolate. Thank you so much All Recipes for putting this article together. It is much appreciated.
             
            krystlnickel 
            Feb. 15, 2013 4:08 am
            I want to know what that chocolate dessertis up top?
             
            TROGS Sweets 
            Dec. 5, 2013 11:45 am
            thought I would take a shot at making chocolates I have read everyone's reviews and looked up a variety of recipes so I will get me a cold beer and try it.. if you all have any good hints please send them to me thank you
             
            Jacqui 
            Jan. 25, 2014 1:59 pm
            Thanks for a great article. Can't wait to perfect my peppermint patties! All I needed was for the chocolate to harden properly. Yay! :)
             
             
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