How to temper chocolate for beginners

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  • To temper the chocolate, you need a double boiler, a cooking thermometer and a rubber spatula.
  • The tempering process involves heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures.
  • Tempered chocolate creates a glossy, professional finish and shatters at room temperature.
  • Visit Insider’s Home and Kitchen Reference Library for more stories.

Are you looking for a smooth and shiny chocolate with a good click? It’s all thanks to the quenching. And if you are trying to make beautiful chocolates or even pretzels or chocolate covered fruit at home, you may need to temper your chocolate first.

“Correctly tempered chocolate not only affects the aesthetics of a chocolate bar or candy, but it also facilitates handling and even sensory attributes,” says Michael Laiskonis, pastry and chocolate lab instructor at the ‘Institute of Culinary Education. “The tempering process gives us a chocolate bar that is temperature stable, has an attractive and shiny appearance and a brittle, eye-catching texture, as well as a slow, pleasant melting in the mouth and a gradual release of the flavor. “

Tempering chocolate can certainly seem intimidating, but it’s a crucial step for many sweet treats. With the right tools and guidance, it is possible to do it at home.

Which chocolate to use

Dark chocolate on wooden background.

You can temper dark, milk or white chocolate.

Marina Shanti / Shutterstock


According to Laiskonis, all general types of chocolate, from dark chocolate to milk chocolate and white chocolate, can be tempered. Different types of chocolate contain different proportions of cocoa butter. A high proportion of cocoa butter, with a fat content of over 35 percent, can aid the tempering process of chocolate.

The goal of steeping is to achieve the ideal solid crystal structure in cocoa butter. While there is a range of six crystal structures that cocoa butter can achieve, the first four are not stable enough. Once the fifth stage, type V crystals, have been reached, the chocolate is considered to be properly tempered. The sixth structure only occurs over time as a function of storage temperature.

Temperatures for tempering chocolate

The chocolate tempering process involves melting, cooling and reheating chocolate within specific temperature ranges depending on the type of chocolate. Laiskonis suggests following all of the chocolate packaging guidelines for temperature ranges, as these may be specific to the type and brand of chocolate you are tempering.

Troubleshooting Chocolate Tempering

  • Chocolate does not take. Tempered chocolate may not harden if there is not enough seed chocolate introduced. The introduction of the seed chocolate during the cooling phase helps the formation of type V crystals. If not enough crystals form, the chocolate will not set and a gray-white finish may develop.

  • Chocolate looks hazy. Flowering sugar can cause a whitening effect on chocolate. This happens with the introduction of moisture or excessive moisture. Make sure your work surface and any tools that come in contact with the chocolate are kept clean and dry. Rapid changes in temperature can also introduce unwanted humidity.

  • The chocolate grabbed. This can happen if water is introduced during quenching. Make sure that liquid or condensation does not come in contact with your chocolate. If you experience this problem while using the double boiler, you can instead melt your chocolate in the microwave at short intervals.

  • The chocolate set has scratches or fingerprints. The surface of chocolate can easily be affected by fingerprints or pieces that collide, ultimately resulting in exterior defects. These defects affect the softness and shine of tempered chocolate. Wear gloves when working with tempered chocolate and be careful that the chocolates do not touch each other until they have fully set.

Insider takeaways

Tempered chocolate is used for everything from truffles and candies to chocolate coated strawberries. This is the best way to ensure that your chocolate is temperature stable, while improving the appearance and texture of chocolate. Tempering chocolate takes patience, and it’s important to be precise about the temperature, but it’s certainly doable at home with a few key tools.


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