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Tempering Chocolate

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#61 chefette

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 06:03 PM

This recipe is a simple truffle. You do not "temper" the chocolate for making the ganache truffle (which is the emulsion of the cream and chocolate) and all the other things tossed in here for flavor. The cooled ganache is firm enough and you roll it into balls and coat with cocoa powder.

Tempering is only involved if you want to coat the truffles in a shell of chocolate. It is not part of making ganache and isn't necessary for a beginner--this recipe just calls for you to roll it in cocoa powder--a lazy man's truffle. It will still taste good. But if you are going to try to coat your truffle ball in chocolate--as a serious amateur or pro would--coat it in tempered chocolate or don't bother.

Couverture is the term for a type of chocolate that has extra cocoa butter, is more fluid, more easily temperable and workable. Couverture essentially means covering. Tempering non-couverture chocolate is not recommended because it is too thick and pasty.

Please do not worry - I hope that your initial truffle experiment goes well, and after you feel comfortable making ganache that you will start thinking about tempering and coating your truffles in tempered chocolate. There's a wealth of that info on the site and after you read and try we can help.

#62 sgfrank

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 06:25 PM

Chefette,

I believe if you read furthur down that the instructions do call for coating the ganache centres with more chocolate.

From what you said, however, I would not want to temper my Lindt bars since they're not couverture. Correct?

Simon

#63 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 04:33 AM

I think by definition any chocolate that has cocoa butter in it can be tempered--I even tempered Hershey's once. But part of the reason so many people have problems tempering is because they're not actually using a good enough chocolate--a couverture--they're using other less expensive chocolates not really designed to be tempered, which don't have enough cocoa butter and aren't fluid. I think the most important question with the chocolate you're planning to use to coat your truffles is--is it a good enough one to try to temper for this task (coating truffles). I'm not familiar with Lindt, but if it is a couverture, if it's first ingredient is not sugar, then it likely has the sufficient cocoa butter and is fluid (rather than thick) and you'll have a better chance. I'd do a test--just try melting the Lindt--see how that goes--if it melts easily you can move on to tempering--if not, you can use the Lindt for ganache and seek out a better chocolate for dipping.

Whether you decide to temper and coat, or not, is up to you.

But, this is from Bon Appetit--and to most of us here it's too dumbed down even for the home cook--it calls for you to dip your truffle into 115 degree UN-tempered chocolate--as if you couldn't temper or wouldn't try tempering. As McDuff says--tempering chocolate is easier than you think. If you follow Bon Appetit's instructions and just coat with un-tempered chocolate, any chocolate, you'll get this dull semi-hard, semi-soft, melt the minute you take it out of the fridge and handle it mess. That's the advantage of coating your truffle in tempered chocolate--it will hold up at room temp and give you a nice snap when you bite into it--and using a couverture for this will help immensely, at least in my experience couvertures are much more easily tempered than non-couvertures.
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#64 chocartist

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 08:39 AM

Lindt is an excellent Swiss chocolate and can certainly be tempered--as can all chocolates--even if sugar is the first ingredient listed. Sugar's placement on the ingredient listing of a bar of dark chocolate indicates that the chocolate is richer in cocoa solids/cocoa butter than sugar, but it does not rule out its ability to be tempered. Milk and white chocolates are likely to have sugar as their first ingredient and, obviously, they can be tempered.

If your only access to chocolate is the supermarket, I generally recommend buying imported bars in the candy section rather than those in the baking aisle (though it's now not uncommon to find a few upscale chocolates there, too). In selecting a chocolate candy bar, make sure it doesn't contain any inclusions--unless you want to dip your truffles in chocolate that is studded with chopped nuts, etc.

Which ever chocolate you choose, don't even think about melting--and tempering--chocolate chips. You'll get mud instead of creaming, fluid chocolate.

#65 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 09:40 AM

True, Elaine, but don't you think it is much more difficult for a beginner (like an sgfrank) to temper white or milk--the working ranges are narrower and the temperatures lower? And aren't you much more likely to have success--and achieve workability--with milks and whites if they are couvertures rather than just non-couvertures? In sgfrank's case he is talking about a dark--and I dark I've only eaten but not used--and it may be his Lindt works out just fine--I hope so.

With darks, though, I'm curious which chocolates you can recommend--that temper reliably and perform fluidly and well--with sugar listed as the first ingredient? I haven't come across one but I also haven't worked my way through the entire low end of the market. And with the internet and supermarkets realizing there's a market for better chocolates, the couvertures and the chocolates the pros use--even home bakers don't have to settle for poor chocolate anymore--walk into a decent gourmet supermarket, a Wegmans, a Whole Foods, a Central Market or Draegers--even a Trader Joe's--let alone a Fox & Obel where you've taught-- and you'll find an array of Valrhona couverture, Sharffen Berger couverture, and other couvertures even sold chopped bulk retail now--Sur La Table has big boxes of Cluizel couverture and blocks of E. Guittard couverture which melt and temper like a dream, corner markets in decent sized cities have several couvertures to choose from now. That's because even the home baker has started to realize they don't have to settle anymore for the too-sweet, too-thick, too-difficult to melt stuff. It isn't just chips that don't melt--certain varieties of even "professional" couvertures like El rey and Callebaut might theoretically be temperable--but once you get them tempered you can't do much with them--because of their viscosity. A beginner raises the temperature a little bit and bang--out of temper. So that's a roundabout way of saying that's a message I hope gets out more--because then the lower end manufacturers will be forced to improve their products as well.

That will result in more people tempering successfully, more people actually being able to do something thin and clean with their chocolate once they temper it, and fewer people giving up in frustration.
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#66 chocartist

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 11:31 AM

I agree, Steve, that we've come a long way in regard to choices of chocolate available to budding chocolatiers. I remember when.......as I'm sure you do, too. As a long-time devotee of Peter's Chocolate Burgundy semisweet (which lists sugar as its first ingredient) I can tell you with certainty that it tempers exceptionally well. Confectioners all over the country swear by it, too, both as an ingredient as well as a coating. It's important to know, however, that Burgundy, as well as other chocolates in the Peter's line, is available in different viscosities, each formulated to serve different purposes.

There is no question that it's easier to melt and temper chocolate that contains a respectable amount of cocoa butter, but one should not get caught up in the boutique chocolate fervor and assume that all other chocolates are necessarily inferior. Vending machine chocolate bars aside, there are many quality bulk chocolates made in America that temper beautifully despite their sugar content. Unfortunately, most of these chocolates are not sold at retail so they are less well-known to the general public than their high-end competitors.

I used to think that it was more difficult to temper milk and white chocolates, but I no longer believe that. While it's true that the temperature ranges are lower for these chocolates, I don't think it's that complicated to drop down an extra few degrees--provided you verify the temperature with a thermometer. As for the narrower ranges, I think people place too much importance on them. Once the chocolate is in temper it will remain in temper even if it drops a few degrees below what's suggested as the perfect range. Once you realize that, you will fear tempering less--believe me.

That said, I suppose some will consider me less than a perfectionist when it comes to working with chocolate. Believe me, I'm still a perfectionist, but I've become a realist in my old age and believe that much of what we hear about chocolate dogma is not written in stone. There are parameters within which you must work, to be sure, but they are broader than you might think.

#67 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 11:50 AM

But that's also why there's value in sharing experiences here in a community--why your presence is vital--because we can get the word out as things change in ways previous generations did not, we can share perspectives, history, developments, and someone at home, who has that expensive supposedly boutique bar of 100% venezuelan El Rey which they paid a pretty penny for--say $12.99 a pound in a retail store--they try to melt or temper it and bingo--they have muck. They come here and they'll find out it is not them! They have done everything right! It's the chocolate and the formulation--then the light bulb goes off and they can move on. Even though El Rey has reformulated it it still is better for other things or better in a blend with other couvertures for things like molding or enrobing. And while I am an advocate for quality I'm also not a blind advocate--I have to see it in performance and I push less expensive couvertures like E. Guittard and Cacao Noel (and even a non-couverture if I found one) as long as they work, they perform.

And when they get past the very beginning stages--and have dived in and tempered and move on to trying to mold--and their chocolates (dark, white or milk) are to thick to do anything with even if they raise the temp a few degrees, or if they're too cool, too over-stirred, too over-activated "but still in temper" even though its outside the range--they can find others who will commiserate with them and help show them the way forward. It's at that point that the broad parameters can let them down--chocolate and couvertures are very resilient animals but often once you get someone to a critical mass very specific answers are needed to solve very narrow issues and/or it takes a perfectionist to solve some broader complexity. Simon--see what you have down the road if you keep aiming high?

I think the boutique aspect shouldn't even enter into the discussion here--we're agreed on that distracts beginners and how that's overblown and misunderstood anyway! Let's discuss the high end taste points in another thread sometime. Here we're just thinking entry level, working with chocolate, trying to come to grips with ganache and then basic tempering like sgfrank proposes--as you cover in your books, as any of us who work with chocolate or create with chocolate daily do, and as those of us who also teach do--just getting beginners to think about something like viscosity and couverture is a good thing because then they realize all chocolate isn't equal--and that gets them thinking while they do, while they experiment and eventually it gets them back to cocoa butter, how different chocolates are formulated, etc. (I admit I usually try to get people ahead fairly quickly, even home cooks.)

Thank you for filling us in on Peters Burgundy--I remember you had it at the NY Chocolate Show a few years ago--but it isn't something I ever melted and used though I have tasted it, my baseline when I was in school was Cacao Barry Favorites mi amere and I never went lower than that since. I'll get my hands on Peters Burgundy at some point soon and report back--you perked my interest! And hopefully Simon will weigh in with a report on this particular Lindt adventure of his.
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#68 chocartist

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 12:44 PM

This is truly a wonderful format for sharing ideas and opinions, Steve, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the days to come. I've admired your good advice and keen insight in earlier threads and am delighted to have had this opportunity to join you and others in this worthwhile discussion.

#69 andiesenji

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 01:01 PM

I have used all types of premium chocolates over the years with varying results.

Last fall I began to hear mentions of Hersey's Special Dark as being a pretty good product.

I decided to try it for myself and found it was as good as many of the products I had used in the past. I used it in cakes and also for dipping glacé fruit and candied citrus peel.

The March 2004 issue of Cooks Illustrated also found it an acceptable substitute for premium chocolate.

The advantage is that for a beginner it is widely available and has a rapid turnover. I found it easy to work with and the price is certainly right.
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#70 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 01:14 PM

Did you temper and dip with it or just dip into untempered? Also, would you mind listing the ingredients in order for us and telling us what you paid? Thanks andiesenji! The plot thickens...
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#71 andiesenji

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 03:30 PM

Did you temper and dip with it or just dip into untempered? Also, would you mind listing the ingredients in order for us and telling us what you paid? Thanks andiesenji! The plot thickens...

I chopped it and measured out 10 oz. to which I added 2 oz heavy cream and two drops of almond oil. I melted it in a ceramic double boiler because it was not enough volume to put into the tempering machine. I brought it up to 105 degrees F, then removed the ceramic insert from the double boiler and placed it on a pre-heated heating pad, brought the temp down to 92 degrees and held it there.
I dipped the fruit and peel and it took about 20 minutes to set up. I didn't need to refrigerate it, it held nicely at room temp on a tray with a dome cover.
The chocolate could be touched briefly without leaving a fingerprint.
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#72 andiesenji

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 03:41 PM

Did you temper and dip with it or just dip into untempered? Also, would you mind listing the ingredients in order for us and telling us what you paid? Thanks andiesenji! The plot thickens...

About the price, I don't recall what I paid. I got it at Wal-Mart and the big bars were on sale for the holidays in a big display next to all the cookie cutters, pans, etc.
At the time I recall thinking it was a really good deal, compared with what I usually pay.
As I recall I bought 10 bars. I think I have 2 left.
I can't eat chocolate so I have to depend on someone else to taste for me.
One of my unfortunate allergies - the other is alcohol........
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#73 aidensnd

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Posted 23 May 2004 - 05:06 AM

I have used quite a bit of Lindt Premier Cru both Milk and Bitter-Sweet and have found it to temper quite well. Not as good as Valhrona but it's not anything that I would be disappointed to find myself working with. I do find the milk to be a bit sweet for my taste but thats just me.

Dan

#74 jgarner53

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 02:01 PM

I'm just learning to temper chocolate. Like most things, I'm sure that it's something that gets relatively easier with practice, or at least more familiar.

But damn, is it always this frustrating a learning curve?

Yesterday I was making a Gateau Clichy for a friend's party (and it didn't even all get eaten!), and spent the bulk of my prep time tempering the chocolate for the glaze. I was working with Guittard chocolate.

The first time, I let the chocolate get too cold. The second, third, and fourth times, it got too hot when I was bringing it back up. Finally, on the fifth try, I got it.

My main question is this: how particular is the tempering temperature? If the chocolate drops below 86ºF, do you have to start over? If it's a couple of degrees above the top end of the range, do you have to start over?

Are there absolute temperatures? I've seen a couple of small variations in the temperature ranges. My recipe source ("The Art of Cake" by Paul Bugat) said to cool the chocolate to 80-84 F, then bring it up to 86-91F. Bo Friberg in The Professional Pastry Chef says 80-82F and then bring it up to 87-90F for dark chocolate.
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#75 Steve Klc

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 03:08 PM

It helps to learn how to temper from a good teacher, someone who knows how to temper inside and out. Are you being taught in school or are you trying to do this on your own?

Why do you need to temper for a glaze? If I recall that Bugat book, he was doing mostly 25 year old stuff, and I think his Clichy was what everyone else calls an Opera cake--thin jaconde layers, coffee buttercream, ganache and a glaze. This glaze doesn't have to be tempered, in fact, many/most modern French pastry chefs who still do this cake do so without tempering the chocolate because it cuts cleaner when this glaze isn't tempered--and a good Opera requires that you hot knife it cleanly. Most good French pastry chefs "foot" their Opera cakes as well--spreading a very thin layer of tempered chocolate or pate a glacer on the bottom cake surface--again, so it rests cleanly. Everyone has their own pet recipe for this type of Opera glaze--and they usually involve adding some percentage of oil, butter, corn syrup, pure pate (100% unsweetened chocolate in paste form) and/or pate a glacer. So basically what I'm telling you is, at this point in your development, you don't have to get hung up on the tempering part to glaze an Opera cake well.

But, just for your future tempering sake, Bugat recycles the standard temperature ranges--but those ranges themselves don't actually help you temper successfully and certainly don't help you understand why you're doing what you're doing. The dipping into bowls of cold water and hot water aren't often used anymore, but that is a perfectly valid method. And yes different chocolates have different sensibilities--some are more flexible and forgiving than others--but at this point that will just distract you--you have to know how to temper first to appreciate that. (I don't recall the Bo instructions. His upper temp range of 90 is a little low--you won't get the shine at 90 that you'll get if you learn to work, mold and dip one or two degrees warmer.)

Are you using Guittard or an E. Guittard, like the 61% or 72%? We temper the 61 and 72 E. Guittard all the time, it tempers easily and well and their temps hold at right about 92-93 (meaning if you are in temper you shouldn't re-warm over 92-93; also, tempered chocolate doesn't "lose" its temper when it cools down to 86, it just gets thick and slightly less workable (less fluid) you just have to re-warm it and as long as you don't mistakenly warm it over 92 you'll still be in temper.) Much discussed on eG. If you wanted tempered chocolate, and are using the E. Guittard pistoles, just microwave them for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each time. Stop while there are still some unmelted lumps in the bowl, stir to melt the rest, check for temper. This is called direct warming--you started with tempered chocolate and didn't raise the temperature of it beyond 92 at any time so you will still be "in" temper. Hope this helps somewhat--also realize there are a lot of different methods, different instructors, cookbook writers even get into the act sometimes, some say it is easy, some preach the science of it, some just do it, some like Alice Medrich have spent a career talking around it, but one thing is certain: all are likely at one time or another to conflict a bit or disagree a bit--the important thing as a smart, evolving professional pastry student like yourself is that you soak all this up, keep asking questions, point out conflicts, try to solve them, become able to temper under all conditions and using a variety of methods--and eventually let your thin, crisp, shiny work speak for itself. It will likely be frustrating but that isn't necessarily bad.

Oh, and don't use wooden utensils with chocolate, like Bugat recommends. Use a rubber statula.
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#76 Sebastian

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 03:33 PM

Chocolate can be horribly frustrating until you understand what it is you're doing, then once you've got the hang of it, you'll be just fine.

The solid chocolate you're getting should already be 'in temper'. Cocoa butter is a fat, and when this particular fat solidifies, it can do so in 6 different ways. The problem is, that only one of them will yield a finished product that has nice gloss, doesn't melt when you touch it, and doesn't turn whitish (bloom). The process of handling it to end up with this one particular form, is called tempering the chocolate.

There are a number of different methods of tempering, and there are few hard and fast rules (although there are some, we'll get to that). You don't mention how you're doing it, and Steve gave some good pointers (if you're using a microwave, use a plastic bowl - not glass as glass tends to hold excess heat and throw your temper). Usually when I temper, I've got a hot plate and a cooling tunnel (think 'fridge). I'll melt the chocolate completely to about 120F - this melts out any and all traces of the solid cocoa butter crystals. I'll then put it in the cooling tunnel, stirring intermittently, until the chocolate reaches a temperature of about 80-83 - again, no hard and fasts here - different chocolates will require you to handle them differently. Dark chocolates usually are closer to the 83 degree point here; milks typically require that you go lower in temp at this phase. What you're doing is forming 3 of the crystalline forms that are possible for the cocoa butter to take - with one of them being the final one you need for temper. The reason milk chocolates need lower temperatures are that they usually have higher amounts of milk fat (butter) in them, which makes it more difficult to form the temper, but once you've got it, milk fat makes your end product more bloom resistant. You'll recognize that you're at the correct temperature here as you'll often start to see the chocolate forming small clumps, take on a duller looking appearance, and leave a thin film behind on your vessel as you scrape it with a spatula. It often thickens up quite a bit here as well, but should still be plastic and semi fluid, if not entirely fluid.

Once at this temperature, I'll take it out of cooling and put on on a hot plate (double boiler is fine), and heat - usually to around 88-89F. NEVER* go past 92F, as that's the point where your going to melt out the form of cocoa butter that you absolutely need to have for temper. The lumps you began to form will melt out, the product will thin a bit, and you'll be good to go.


*IF you go past 92F, you may be able to 'save' it by adding in finely ground tempered chocolate (grate your purchased chocolate with a cheese grater), and add in perhaps 1/3 of the wt. This will melt, lowering the temperature of your chocolate as well as 'seeding' it with good temperred material.

#77 andiesenji

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 03:33 PM

Excellent explanation Steve.

My first instruction was from a Hungarina pastry chef who worked for my mother and he spoke practically no English and I certainly couldn't understand Hungarian. I watched and did what he did but it was years before I understood why I had to do it just so.
Then about 25 years ago I bit the bullet and bought a tempering machine and paid through the nose for 2 extra bowls. They are much more reasonably priced now, particularly for the small ones. I don't do much of this work now but like to keep the equipment up just in case....
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#78 Steve Klc

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 06:43 AM

Thanks Sebastian for that excellent contribution as well--but just to give an example of what I mean about "potential" conflicts in advice--which can be confusing to a beginner--I'm gonna take your comment about never using a glass bowl, Sebastian, and provide a counter argument FOR using a glass bowl: some pastry and chocolate pros prefer using a glass bowl precisely because it does "seem" to hold heat better than plastic--and as a result they learn to take this effect into consideration when they are directly warming it in the microwave, they pull it out x seconds sooner, and then use the fact that their glass bowl retains heat a bit to their advantage--they can work with it longer before having to either re-warm in the microwave or add warm chocolate to it.

As long as you understand the principles of tempering, or in this case, how you are retaining temper as you directly warm tempered chocolate--both the glass and plastic bowl approaches are valid. I don't actually direct warm in glass, I use plastic just like Sebastian--and when I've taught vocational classes I've preached plastic as well--but I know why some pros opt to use glass. The key is that they adapt their sensitivity and timing to glass whereas Sebastian and I adapt to plastic. From the perspective of a teacher, I'm with Sebastian on this--beginners should use plastic, the heat is more easily quantifiable--but then make up your own mind once you get some proficiency.
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#79 Sebastian

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 07:29 AM

It's like i said in the original post, there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to chocolate 8-) However, there are paths of least resistance, if you will, and there are multiple ways of tempering chocolate, as I'm sure you're aware of. It often comes down to the background of the person you're talking with and the equipment they have to work with. Did you know you can temper chocolate in a metal bowl in the microwave as well? I wouldn't run out and try this, but it can be done (yes, w/o blowing up your microwave!). Even though it's possible to do it, there's a reason why I don' t recommend it to most people. Purists gasp at using a microwave at all, and insist that all you need is a good flat piece of stone and a spatula. Other's use hot plates and fans; whereas still others use waterbaths and jacketed vessels or heat exchangers.

The important thing, I think, is to understand the mechanics behind *why* you're doing what you're doing, and then experiment with a few methods to find what works for you. I'm a hard and fast physical scientist, and struggled for a lot of years with exactly trying to quantify chocolate. It really is as much art as science, and once i accepted that, I've been much happier 8-) My experience has taught that those who use glass bowls for microwave tempering, while they may not be able to iterate exactly chemically what's going on, have worked with chocolate long enough to understand what's going on. They can 'feel' it, get to know the subtlties of it's appearance, how it strings at various phases, how much is needed for a given bowl size given the amount of latent heat in the bowl, etc. It's not a great way to start to learn the process, however 8-) but it absolutely, certainly can be done.

Play with it. Unless you're microwaving it way too long, you're not going to hurt the product, and you'll be able to reuse it again and again until you've got it down. If you've gotten it too hot, the process for reusing it will be different than if you're starting with tempered product, but there's a learning curve and it's a process you go through. Keep at it, and all of a sudden the light'll go on and the frustration will go away, and you'll be one with the chocolate. chocolate zen?

#80 Susan G

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 07:53 AM

Chocolate Tao: Going with the flow of the ever-changing process.

Thanks for that explanation!
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#81 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 08:43 AM

You also need to learn that tempering is used for specific items, for specific reasons. There aren't that many items I use tempered chocolate on/with as a working pc, I think that might be a suprise to some people. I only temper chocolate for candy and decorations I want a high shine on or items I want to store at room temp..

Untempered melted chocolate can be used almost exactly as tempered chocolate to make garnishes and coat candies. But it will be different in looks, snap and melt then tempered chocolate. In some instances that creates a better product (in some peoples opinion, not everyones) in others it's totally unacceptable. Non-tempered chocolate is refridgerated to set and refridgerated to hold. It does seem to melt quicker in your mouth then tempered chocolate. Non-tempered chocolate will begin to bloom when held at room temp. for a period of time. Non-tempered chocolate doesn't mean anything goes when melting and using it. It also has rules that must be observed. As Steve mentioned Alice Medrich takes this approach of using non-tempered chocolate in her books. I suggest you do read through her books as part of your education and learn her approach because it does have applications.

In my opinion, to learn about tempering you'll learn more if your not successful right away. Be a mad scientist, allow yourself to explore your failures and learn from them. If you miss your temp.s I suggest you continue making your product (hopefully it won't be too expensive) and learn what happens. Make yourself a note so you remember what you did wrong and what it's effect was. But continue working with the unsuccessfully tempered chocolate. Try sticking it in the refridgerator or freezer right after use, see what happens. Notice the texture of it, the color, does it have a glaze to the surface while it's still liquid? Thermometers are great tools but you should learn what tempered chocolate looks like when it's liquid verses untempered chocolate. You should taste the differences, check the mouth feel, check the shine. Eat bloomed chocolate, cut it, see the layers, etc... My point is you have to learn about failures to understand why and how they happen. It's also pretty important to learn how to deal with waste product because in a professional kitchen you'll need to recyle product when ever you can.


When you don't need to temper: as you learned you don't want to waste your time taking steps when the steps aren't essentical.

1. I can't think of an instance when chocolate does need to be tempered WHEN your adding another major ingredient to it. Major as in butter, cream, sugar. So when your making a ganche, frosting, coating, your chocolate does not need to be tempered. As Steve mentioned with the glaze you were making for your torte. (In fact, recently we talked about glaze for a opera torte and I used the recipe Lesley offered up. I thought it was sensational, handled like a dream and I would highly reccomend using that over anyone elses similar recipe.)

2. If your making a cake or cookies and you need melted chocolate you can use the chocolate that is way out of temper if you have any from your practice (learning how to temper), don't throw that chocolate away. Even horribly bloomed chocolate will work in baked goods when melted down and incorpated with other ingredients.

3. When you learn to use a wagner sprayer to coat items in a thin layer of chocolate your mixing chocolate and cocoa butter 50/50 and supprisingly you don't need to temper your chocolate for this purpose either..........because your adding another major ingredient and your spraying this on a frozen item.

4. Coating a frozen item in chocolate doesn't require tempered chocolate. As soon as the chocolate coats the item it instantly sets and the crystals that normally would develop into bloom can't.

#82 jgarner53

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 11:08 AM

Chocolate zen. I like that.

thanks for all the great responses and encouragement. If only I'd known on Saturday that I didn't really need to temper the chocolate for that glaze! (It did have a small amount of clarified butter added to it) At least I got some practice, and as you say, Wendy, learning from the experience.

I was using the hot water/cold water bath method, mainly because I didn't know you could use the microwave, I don't have (and can't afford a marble slab), didn't want to use additional chocolate to seed, and didn't think to use the fridge either. And I was using a glass bowl, mainly because that's what my mixing bowls are.

My instructor has demonstrated tempering once, and I know that we'll do a lot more of it as time goes on, especially when we get into chocolates.

A big part of me wants to get this down. I ain't afraid of no chocolate! I sort of feel like it's kind of a macho thing, or part of being a pc.

An aside, I thought that the difference between an Opera cake and the Clichy was that the Opera cake has a praline buttercream?
"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

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#83 Sebastian

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 11:25 AM

I don't have (and can't afford a marble slab)

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If you really want one, visit your local counter top refinishing place. They've often got excess laying around from previous jobs that's scrap, and you can get decent sized pieces for 10 or 15 bucks..the edges likely won't be all nice and shiney (at least, not all of them..), but for 10 bucks and a chisel you can finish it off nicely yourself!

#84 Lexica

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 12:26 PM

I don't have (and can't afford a marble slab)

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You're in San Francisco, right? There are a number of stone dealers in the East Bay which might be worth looking at. I disagree that the per-square-foot price for a small piece will be the same as for a countertop-sized piece, for reasons of supply and demand, if nothing else. (Any stonecutting shop that's been in business for a while will create lots more smallish scrap pieces than huge ones. It's like sewing - fabric that costs $18/yard if the salesperson cuts it off the bolt may cost $9/yard if you get it from the remnants bin. Of course, it may only be 3/4 of a yard long, but if all you need is 3/4 of a yard, you're golden!)

Architectural salvage yards can be a good place to look. I seem to remember seeing a number of marble slabs in different forms (most were countertops or vanity tops) the last time I was looking around the yard at Ohmega Salvage in Berkeley.

[edited to correct spelling error]

Edited by Lexica, 25 October 2004 - 09:08 PM.

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#85 jgarner53

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 03:44 PM

Of course, my ideal thing to do would be to remove the section of countertop (tile) that's my primary workspace, and replace it. It's only about 30x24, give or take, and of course, wouldn't match the rest of my beautiful beige tile, but it would mean not having to haul out the big pull-out cutting board every time I get out my rolling pin or am kneading bread...

Ohmega Salvage is a good suggestion. I'll try to get over there this week (gives me an excuse to go by Acme and Scharffenberger - why not?) :smile:
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#86 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 04:33 AM

I do think that when your learning how to temper using a marble or granite slab is a good way to learn. You can really see and feel the temp. changes in the chocolate. But before you buy one consider that you'll want a large piece (and it's never large enough) and it's heavy to drag in and out when you use it. If you make it part of your permanent counter, in time you might not use it much and may regret the modification. I can see you baking alot at home as you study but if your planning on making this a career you might find that it's rare for you to bake at home. If I need baked goods it's just easier to make something at work.......once you get used to a professional kitchen with someone else washing your dishes making a mess at home is a pain.

But there really are many ways to temper. I use a hot water bath seeding techinque with my immersion blender. It's the least messy and most comfortable for my situation.

If you attempt to temper using your microwave, make sure you own a decent one. The micro I have at work doesn't have a turn table and has a horrible hot spot........making it unsuitable for melting chocolate.

When you wanted to temper but didn't want to use more chocolate to seed it, you should have used the amount of chocolate called for as your total weight........you didn't need more. You would have taken 3/4's of your total amount, melted it to temp., seeded it with the remaining 1/4th and you'd have the right amount.

#87 JSkilling

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 05:18 AM

I do think that when your learning how to temper using a marble or granite slab is a good way to learn. You can really see and feel the temp. changes in the chocolate. But before you buy one consider that you'll want a large piece (and it's never large enough) and it's heavy to drag in and out when you use it. If you make it part of your permanent counter, in time you might not use it much and may regret the modification. I can see you baking alot at home as you study but if your planning on making this a career you might find that it's rare for you to bake at home. If I need baked goods it's just easier to make something at work.......once you get used to a professional kitchen with someone else washing your dishes making a mess at home is a pain.

But there really are many ways to temper. I use a hot water bath seeding techinque with my immersion blender. It's the least messy and most comfortable for my situation.

If you attempt to temper using your microwave, make sure you own a decent one. The micro I have at work doesn't have a turn table and has a horrible hot spot........making it unsuitable for melting chocolate.

When you wanted to temper but didn't want to use more chocolate to seed it, you should have used the amount of chocolate called for as your total weight........you didn't need more. You would have taken 3/4's of your total amount, melted it to temp., seeded it with the remaining 1/4th and you'd have the right amount.

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Can you tell me more about the immersion blender and what it does for this process? Just moving the chocolate around so it cools more and faster?
Josette

#88 scott123

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 06:11 AM

Contact the chocolate manufacturer for tempering temperatures.

I have found these links on tempering to be educational:

http://www.vantageho...ring_how_to.htm
http://www.scharffen...y/tempering.htm
http://www.chocolati...ish/whatis2.htm

#89 BakerChick

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 12:51 AM

Are there absolute temperatures? I've seen a couple of small variations in the temperature ranges. My recipe source ("The Art of  Cake" by Paul Bugat) said to cool the chocolate to 80-84 F, then bring it up to 86-91F. Bo Friberg in The Professional Pastry Chef says 80-82F and then bring it up to 87-90F for dark chocolate.

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Stick with the Pro- 'cause Bo knows.

And everyone above has given excellent suggestions, as well. :biggrin:

Here's my two cents:
1) It is much easier to nail a temper (& keep choc. in temper) when you work with a larger amount. Think a 2# mininum.
2) Try a hair dryer. It will deliver controllable amounts of dry heat to your choc. while you stir, and you don't have to worry about accidentally overheating portions of choc. due to "hot spots." <- This is to keep your choc. in temper. Half the battle!

#90 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 07:23 AM

Can you tell me more about the immersion blender and what it does for this process?  Just moving the chocolate around so it cools more and faster?


When you temper on marble you can see the temp. change happening as the chocolate thickens. It's a no brainer when you've reached your low temp. Then when you reheat it back to working temp. 90 or 92 it takes a while to do this gently and sometimes you get small clumps that don't want to stir out at that temp. If you use your stick blender it breaks down those bits nicely, giving you a nice smooth bowl of chocolate in seconds.

When you use the seeding method it's hard to get the temp. of your bowl of chocolate down stirring it (I think it takes longer). I reach a point where the seeded chocolate almost refuses to continue melting. You can stir and stir and it takes forever to get the whole bowl liquid.

With my stick blender I can force the chocolate into temp. changes more dramaticly. After I've reached my highest heat melting, I dump in my seeding chocolate and using the emursion blender it quickly breaks down the seed chocolate (even though I start with pistoles). I can go down into the 80's (seeing the temp. change clearly) even well below my targeted temp. and the chocolate remains more fluid. That makes reheating back to 90 or 92 take moments and I don't have any clumps to struggle with melting.

P.S. The correct tempering temp.s are written on or enclosed in your box of chocolate..........chocolate brands differ in the temp's they reccomend, it's not just authors.





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