How to Temper Chocolate

Learning how to temper chocolate properly is essential when you want to make homemade candies, such as truffles or chocolate bark. Follow this how-to for all you need to know about chocolate tempering.

How to Temper Chocolate

 

Because it is almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share this tutorial on chocolate tempering for anyone so inclined to make some yummy homemade candies. I love this Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl Fruit and Nut Bark, and when you use tempered chocolate the base of the bark has a nice firm feel to it

Tempered chocolate is also great for dipping other ingredients or sweets in to give them a chocolate coating.

For example, these Raspberry Vanilla Bean Marshmallows are delicious and so pretty when you dip them in chocolate. You can also make Chocolate Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels, these tasty Chocolate Dipped Nuts, or even a simple batch of chocolate covered strawberries.

Related: Learn How to Make Chocolate Ganache and 5 Ways to Use It

So, What is Tempering?

The gist of the process is to not let the chocolate get too hot*. Using a double boiler and the lowest heat possible on my stove does the trick. You want to slowly melt the chocolate while stirring.

*Dark chocolate temper point is typically between 88 and 90 degrees F while Milk Chocolate 86 and 88 degrees F, though you should always check depending on the brand of chocolate you purchase, because it is possible for chocolates to vary across manufacturers.

Tempered chocolate will cool into a hardened state with a shiny appearance. When broken or bitten into will break with a snap. Think about the outer shell on a ganache truffle – you wouldn’t want the outer texture of a truffle to be dull, sticky and tacky, would you? Nope. You want it to be a smooth and shiny shell.

How to Temper Chocolate

By tempering chocolate properly, you are also raising the melting temperature of the chocolate, which  makes it so the chocolate doesn’t melt when you handle it or store it at room temperature.

If the chocolate gets too hot during the melting process, the crystallization is uneven. Unfortunately, that leaves you with less than attractive chocolate and an odd chewy texture, rather than a silky chocolate that melts in your mouth.

If you you don’t temper the chocolate correctly and it gets too hot in the process, you will also have discoloration and the chocolate will spoil more quickly.

So, to summarize, you would want to temper chocolate for the following purposes:

  • For a shiny, attractive appearance.
  • So you achieve a crisp snap when the chocolate is broken.
  • So the chocolate doesn’t have a tacky or sticky texture.
  • To avoid discoloration, white streaking and blotches (bloom).
  • So the chocolate does not melt on contact when it is handled or stored at room temperature.
  • Longer lasting chocolate.

There are a few different methods out there, and some may even include directions for how to temper chocolate in the microwave.

How to Temper Chocolate

But, because microwaves differ so greatly from model to model (as well as depending on how old or new your microwave might be and what condition it is in), I prefer the method of  using a double boiling because I think it is a more consistently reliable method for tempering chocolate.

Have you ever tempered chocolate?

How to Temper Chocolate

Learning how to temper chocolate properly is essential when you want to make homemade candies, such as truffles or chocolate bark. Follow this how-to for all you need to know about chocolate tempering.

Ingredients:

1 pound of chocolate

Directions:

Place a medium saucepan filled about half way with water over medium-low heat on your stove. Allow the water to come to a simmer.

Add the chocolate to a heat-proof boil (or the top portion of a double boiler if you have one), and place the bowl on top of the saucepan. Turn the heat under the pan off.

Let the chocolate sit in the bowl over the saucepan of hot water until in begins to melt around the edges, then stir the chocolate until smooth, while monitoring the temperature using a candy thermometer.

Tempered chocolate will quickly solidify as it cools, so you'll need to move as quickly as possible while you're dipping fruit, nuts, or truffles in the tempered chocolate, while also gently stirring to keep the chocolate fluid.

You can tell that it has gotten too cool by its appearance, which will become matte and thicker when you stir it. If the chocolate gets too cool, just gently rewarm it to the appropriate temperature. Make sure to stir and scrap up the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix the chocolate throughout.

Once rewarmed, remove the chocolate from the heat and keep stirring to evenly distribute the heat.

Notes:

Dark chocolate temper point is typically between 88 and 90 degrees F while Milk Chocolate 86 and 88 degrees F, though you should always check depending on the brand of chocolate you purchase, because it is possible for chocolates to vary across manufacturers.

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