Did you know that when you are buy chocolate it has already been tempered. However, once you melt it, in order for it to return to its original appearance and texture, you must temper it again. Tempering/melting again will ensure that your chocolate regains its shine and prevents it from appearing cloudy or blotchy when finally set.
In your store bought chocolate, the cocoa butter crystals are in suspension with the cocoa solids until the chocolate is warmed. Once you have warmed the chocolate, this suspension is broken and when the chocolate cools, the cocoa butter crystals rise to the top, making white streaks on the tops of your chocolate sweets. This is called ‘blooming’. It won’t affect the flavour, but it doesn’t look very good!
Tempering returns the cocoa butter crystals to suspension within the chocolate and produces a chocolate with a deep shiny gloss.
Tempering chocolate at home using a Double Boiler.
- You will need a double boiler, or a saucepan and a heat proof bowl to fit snugly on top of the open saucepan. candy thermometer and a rubber spatula. We recommend the following steps
- Coarsely chop the amount of chocolate your recipe specifies
- Place two thirds of the chocolate in a double boiler over gently simmering water. Ensure the water does not touch the bottom of the double boiler or your chocolate may overheat and lose its shine and smoothness.
- Melt the chocolate until the temperature reaches 45°C on a cooking thermometer
- Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate; stir with a spatula from time to time
- Keep stirring the melted chocolate until it cools down to 27°C, and return to the heat stirring gently until the chocolate reaches 32°C
- Once the chocolate is smooth and shiny, it is ready to be used
Tempering chocolate at home using a Microwave.
- As every microwave is different this is a guideline. It is always safest to go slow and stir often.
- Always use high power for short bursts of time.
- Cut your chocolate into small chunks and place in a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat on high power for 30 seconds then remove from microwave and stir. Your chocolate wont look melted at all at this point. However if you don't stir it, you may burn it in the center of the bowl.
- Return to the microwave and heat for 25 seconds. At this point the chocolate will look only slightly melted around the edges. Stir vigorously otherwise the chunks will start to become liquid.
- Continue to heat for 20 seconds. Note that the chocolate will look more liquid, but you may have chunks remaining. Stir vigorously and the heat from the melted chocolate should melt any chunks. If, after stirring for a while you still have chunks of chocolate remaining , heat for 10-15 second intervals, stirring in between each until melted. Do not rush this process.
- As chocolate burns easily if you do burn the chocolate, throw it away and start over in a clean bowl.