Heating and cooling chocolate without controlling the temperature or the cocoa butter’s crystallisation, crystals of various sizes will form. As a result, the chocolate will look matt and covered with white patches. Also, the chocolate will crumble unpleasantly instead of snap. But, this can be avoided by tempering the chocolate. Chocolatetempering, which can be done using a chocolate tempering machine, controls the crystals to make sure that only consistently small crystals are produced, leading to much better-quality chocolate.
More about Tempering or Pre-Crytallisation
Tempering chocolate is meant to pre-crystallise the cocoa butter in it. This makes sure the chocolate is ready for processing. During the tempering process, the cocoa butter in the chocolate takes on a stable crystalline form, ensuring a perfect finished product that has a satin gloss and a hard snap. Also, it makes the chocolate contract during cooling, making it easier to unmould. Simply melting chocolate at 40 degrees to 45 degrees Celsius and leaving it to cool down to a suitable environment will not result in a glossy product.
How to Temper Chocolate
The following are the options when tempering chocolate.
- Chocolate tempering machine. The easiest but most expensive way to temper chocolate is to purchase a tempering machine. This is a smart investment when production a huge quantity of chocolates. The machine allows the chocolate to heat up very slowly and cools down equally slowly. The finished chocolate will be silky smooth.
- Double broiler. This tempering method involves chopping the chocolate evenly and putting around 2/3 of it in a heatproof bowl. Then, the bowl must be placed on top of a pan of boiling water, ensuring its bottom does not touch the water. When the chocolate is already in a liquid form, the bowl must be removed from the pan and kept warm.
- This means popping the chopped-up chocolate into a microwavable plastic or glass bowl and melting 800-1000W. It must be checked every 15 seconds or so, ensuring it does not overheat. The chocolate must be taken out of the microwave when it has few bits of bobbed on top. After stirring the chocolate gently until smooth, it is ready to use when it has thickened slightly.
All the tempered chocolate that is not used can be scraped into a container, sealed, and stored at room temperature to be used later. When reusing tempered chocolate for chocolate shells, it must be tempered again or melt in a bain-marie when using it for making truffles.