By Chad Ruiz
Have you ever wondered how bakers produce chocolate so glossy that you can see yourself in it? It’s called tempering and with these easy steps, you can do it too!
Firstly, you should know the science behind tempering. Cacao beans contain different crystals of fatty acids with contrasting melting points. When tempered, the crystals align into a solid chain creating glossy, durable chocolate.
Tempering simply involves melting chocolate, which excites the fat crystals, then linking them into a stable, uniform unit. This entire process takes very little time, effort and resources. You only need a candy thermometer, a double boiler and chocolate.
- Start with selecting the right chocolate—60-70 percent chocolate works better than bitter/semi-sweet morsels. Most groceries sell name-brand chocolate and chocolate bars that are perfect for tempering. You can also purchase chocolate by the pound at bakeries and online retailers.
- Take two-thirds of the chocolate and cut it or break into small pieces. (The smaller the morsels, the quicker they melt.) Cut or process the remaining one-third of chocolate into much finer bits. You’ll add these at the end of the melting process.
- Half fill the bottom pot of your double boiler with water and heat on medium-low heat making sure it doesn’t boil. Place the two-thirds of cut chocolate into the top of boiler and stir regularly while monitoring its temperature with the candy thermometer. When it reaches 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, turn down or turn off the heat and continue monitoring the temperature.
- Add the remaining one-third of the finely grated chocolate and stir continuously until completely melted. When the temperature lowers to 85-95 degrees, your chocolate is fully tempered and ready for use. If you’re using the chocolate for dipping, maintain its 85-95-degree temperature on low heat.
Slowly melt your chocolate and closely monitor its temperature because it easily burns and seizes. Before beginning, make sure all working and melting surfaces are dry.