Alton Brown’s Top Tip for Tempering Chocolate

The key to properly tempering chocolate is controlling the temperature and the rate at which the crystals form. According to Alton Brown, this is because the chocolate crystals in cocoa butter can form in six different arrangements. When properly tempered, they will take on form five, but they will only do so within a particular temperature range. More or less, and you’re stuck with the wrong arrangement. Brown’s trick to making sure your chocolate comes out perfectly tempered is to use very careful application of heat and lots of stirring.

Brown recommends first submerging your bowl of proper chocolate (preferably couverture) for five seconds in a shallow bath of simmering water before removing it and stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. The Food Network star says the limited heating time allows for careful temperature control and the stirring will encourage the chocolate crystals to grow, while ensuring everything melts evenly. Keep repeating until your chocolate reaches a smooth liquid form.

Alpha Foodie notes that different chocolates will have different temperature ranges that you need to stay within to properly temper your chocolate. As a general rule, chocolate chips should be avoided, as they often contain additives to help them hold their shape instead of melting.

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