How to Temper Chocolate

Take a minute to imagine your favorite chocolate bar. The smell of cocoa. Bar fittings. The snap of chocolate. It is pure perfection. But have you ever wondered how to create that sweet feeling in your home?

We were joined by master chocolatier and owner of Prairie Cocoa and Confections, Keyes Clemmer. She taught us how to perfectly temper our own chocolate. Even though Prairie C is closed for the night.

The chocolate is ‘tempered’ to extract its properties and qualities which, when done correctly, provide a finished product that is easy to work with, shiny and smooth and has a crisp snap when you break it.

Chocolate that has streaks of a whitish and dull color is the result of overheating. Creating beautiful chocolate desserts, confectionery fillings and molded chocolate candies can only be achieved by mastering chocolate tempering.

Equipment and chocolate to temper the chocolate:

*Chocolate couverture (contains at least 31% cocoa butter)

*Thermometer can reach 130*F (55*C)

*Bain Marie (can be a quart pan and stainless steel bowl)

* Scraper for marble slab and metal bench

Each type of chocolate contains different properties and therefore requires different melting temperature ranges.

Temperatures for successfully melting and tempering chocolate

Temperature Dark chocolate Milk chocolate White chocolate
Temp #1 122°F (50°C) – 131°F (55°C) 113°F (45°C) – 122°F (50°C) 113°F (45°C)
Temp #2 82°F (28°C) – 84°F (29°C) 81°F (27°C) – 82°F (28°C) 79°F (26°C)
Interim #3 88°F (31°C) – 90°F (32°C) 84°F (29°C) – 86°F (30°C) 82°F (28°C)

Chocolate Tempering Methods

Bain Marie ~ Sowing ~ Marble Slab (tabling)

Water bath:

*Warning: you must keep all the water away from the chocolate. The water makes the chocolate swell.

*The first step: Hot water; place the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl, stir slowly and steadily until the chocolate reaches the correct temperature. Ex: Dark Choc: 122*-131* Remove the bowl as soon as it reaches this temperature.

*2nd step : Place bowl in bowl of ice water; stir regularly; bring the temperature. Chocolate up to about 90-95*

*Third step: Remove bowl from ice bath; keep stirring until the chocolate reaches the right cooling temperature. Ex: Dark chocolate: 82*-84*

*Fourth step: Last step; Return the chocolate to the bain-marie and bring the temperature of the chocolate up to the temperature of the final resting stage: Ex: Dark Choc: 88*-90*

This is now the working temperature of chocolate.

**Note: It is important to maintain this temperature throughout the chocolate working process.

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