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How to temper chocolate by Simon Lilley

chocolate Chocolates tempering

A modern way of tempering is called “pre-crystallisation” In order to get the chocolate to set correctly you have to manoeuvre the crystals within the chocolate so they lie in the correct formation. If this is not achieved then your chocolate may look dull, have spots or patches and in the worst case may not even set.

Chocolate contains four main crystals. When the chocolate is melted three of the main crystals remain stable and one will be unstable. In order to achieve a good precrystallisation you must keep the unstable crystal moving on cooling for the chocolate to set correctly. If this is achieved your chocolate should have a good gloss and when you break the set chocolate your should hear a “snap”.

To achieve this we have put the chocolate through a heating and cooling sequence. Traditionally you would heat the chocolate to 46degC then pour your half onto a table and move the chocolate until it reaches 26degC. You would then place the chocolate back in the bowl, stirring well and you should have achieved a chocolate at 36 degrees that is now tempered and ready to use.

A faster way to temper chocolate is to melt buttons or grated chocolate in the microwave for no more than 45 seconds at a time, stirring well each time. When 3/4 of the chocolate is melted, take it out of the microwave and stir. After a few minutes the chocolate should be fully melted and around 30degC.

If there are any lumps use a hair dryer to apply gentle heat whilst stirring, try not to apply too much heat as this will make the fourth crystal unstable and will prevent the chocolate from setting correctly.

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