What is chocolate tempering?
Tempering is a technique mainly used in chocolate making for the manufacture of Easter chocolates, mendiants, or even Easter eggs. It takes place in three stages: melting of the chocolate, pre-crystallization and crystallization. This method makes the chocolate shinier, easier to unmold, and extends the shelf life.
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Which chocolates to choose for tempering?
If you want to temper your chocolate, you must use couverture chocolate, richer in cocoa butter than the usual baking chocolate. It can easily be found in the ranges of the two major brands specializing in pastry chocolate, Valrhona and Cacao Barry.
You can also turn to Mycryo, which is cocoa butter powder that you simply add to your usual chocolate. Quantity side, you must add 1% of cocoa butter powder compared to the total quantity of chocolate (for 1kg, we will add 10g), to carry out the tempering.
It is also not impossible to use traditional baking chocolate, but it will be much more complicated to work with and the result will be less shiny and more brittle.
How to temper chocolate?
To obtain a shiny, smooth chocolate that breaks cleanly, you will have to play the temperature roller coaster with the chocolate. It must first be melted and raised to a first temperature before bringing it back down to a certain temperature. This is called pre-crystallization. Then we raise the temperature of the chocolate to a very specific temperature: this is crystallization. To fully master the steps, the use of a probe thermometer is essential. In addition, depending on the type of chocolate chosen (dark, milk, dulcey or white), the temperatures are not the same.
Tempering step by step
We start by melting the chocolate in a mixing bowl in a bain-marie. You can also use the microwave to temper the chocolate, but be careful not to exceed the indicated temperature.
For dark chocolate, the melting temperature is between 50-55°C. Pre-crystallization is between 28-29°C. And crystallization, between 31-32°C.
For milk chocolate, the melting temperature is between 45-50°C. Pre-crystallization is between 27-28°C. And crystallization, between 30-31°C.
For dulcey chocolate, the melting temperature is between 45-48°C. Pre-crystallization is between 26-27°C. And crystallization, between 28-29°C.
For white chocolate, the melting temperature is 40°C. Pre-crystallization is between 26-27°C. And crystallization, between 28-29°C.
Once the melting temperature has been reached, place the bowl in a container of cold water to lower the temperature by monitoring with the probe. When the chocolate has reached the pre-crystallization temperature, place the mixing bowl again on the bain-marie until the crystallization temperature is obtained.
To know if the chocolate is tempered, simply test it. Dip the end of a spatula into the mixture and wait for the chocolate to set. If the chocolate is smooth and shiny, the tempering is successful. If white mottles appear, this means that the crystallization temperature has been exceeded. We will have to start tempering again. The good news is that you can use the same chocolate as many times as needed. Once the chocolate is ready, it must be used without delay so that it maintains the correct temperature.