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akonsu

The book "On food and cooking" says something about tempering that I do not understand.

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

here is a quote from Harold McGee's book "On food and cooking. The science and lore of the kitchen." from the section about tempering of chocolate:

 

Unstable cocoa butter crystals ... melt ... at relatively cool temperatures, between ... 15-28C. The desirable stable crystals ... melt only at warmer temperatures, between ... 32-34C. The temperature range in which a particular kind of crystal melts is also the range in which it forms as the chocolate cools.

 

As I understand, this means that crystals form just below their respective melting points when the chocolate cools. Then, if we temper by tabling (from "scratch" so to speak), why do we cool chocolate to much lower temperatures than just below 34C, which lets the unstable crystals form, and then we melt them by raising the temperature again above their melting point (but below the meting point of stable crystals)? If the stable ones form as the book says then it would be sufficient to cool to the temp where they form and not bother with cooling to the point where all others are formed? I am confused...


Edited by akonsu (log)

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Posted (edited)

I am just a home cook and and an amateur at chocolate making 

 

but I did read the chocolate making book by CIA, Culinary Institute of America

 

The CIA procedure would:

 

(1) turn up the temp super high to kill all good and bad crystals 

 

(2) It would then cool down and form the good crystals by seeding the chocolate with pieces of chocolate.

This seeding will cool down the chocolate where if forms the bad unstable crystals below the 34 C you mention I'm guessing 

 

(3) to make sure you keep only the good crystals and kill the bad ones, you then need to heat it up again to the point were only the good crystals are present 

 

 

So it's by seeding the chocolate in stage 2 that cools it down too much. I guess if there was a way of seeding without cooling it down below that special 34 C range it would be innovative 

 

I don't know if this answers your question but I hope so and please correct me if I'm wrong. thank you 


Edited by eugenep (log)

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I also have my chocolate notes from the CIA book in case it helps amateurs (like myself)

 

Crystal Types 1 - 4 bad. Types 5-6 good. 

 

Type 1 melts at 64 F

Type 2 melts at 72 F

Type 3 melts at 79 F

Type 4 melts at 84 F

Type 5 melts at 94 F

Type 6 melts at 97 F

 

So heating above 84 but below 94 will melt Type 4 (and below) crystals but retains Type 5  and 6 crystals.

Tempering to 90 F (for dark chocolate) is optimal because it’s between the 84 – 94 sweet spot.

But seeding this will lower the temperature and contain Type 4 crystals along with Types 5 and 6.

So once you seed (lowering the temp and adding bad Type 4 crystals) you need to heat it up to 90 F again to get rid of the Type 4 crystals and leave only Types 5 and 6.

Alternative Technique: (1) melt out all crystals completely; (2) cool the chocolate and agitate it so that both Type 4 and Type 5 crystals form; (3) rewarm chocolate to melt at all Type 4 and below crystals leaving only Type 5 crystals for seeding; (4) maintain at proper temp during use

Seeding Technique: (1) melt chocolate to remove all butter crystals – 120 F for dark and 104 F for milk and white chocolate; (2) slowly add bits of tempered seeding chocolate and stir; (3) make sure proper temperature, no unmelted  lumps, and viscosity is right, then test it out to make sure there are no streaks and it sets quickly; (4) if it fails the test, the continue to add more seeding chocolate and continue to keep the right temperature to melt Type 4 crystals and test again. 90 F for dark and 86 F for milk and white chocolate is optimal tempering temperature.

Agitation will promote the formation of cocoa butter crystals. Test to see if agitated enough if sets quickly without streaks.

Residence Time at the 90 F temperature is needed for both the Type 5 crystals to form and Type 4 crystals to melt. Milk Chocolate and White chocolate take more residence time than dark chocolates. You need to test a sample to see if it sets quickly without leaving streaks to ensure there are no Type 4’s left.

Under and Over Seeding. If you don’t seed enough, then Type 4 crystals can form and result in fat bloom. If you overseed, then the viscosity will be too thick. You need something like 1% of the chocolate to be Type 5 crystals. Long residence time at 90 F will keep forming a lot of Type 5 crystals. Some chocolatiers will reheat a portion of this (above 94 F) to destroy some Type 5 crystals and maintain lower viscosity for a thinner liquid.

Ganache. The emulsion can break when the fat separates. The fat coalesce and clumps together and then floats to the top of the ganache breaking the emulsion.  This happens because  of two reasons: (1) either there is too much fat in the ganache; (2) or the ganache is agitated the wrong temperature. When it is hot (90 F or greater) the fat won’t clump together because very liquid. When it is too cold (below 74 F), the fat won’t clump because it is already crystalized. The danger is when you agitate the ganache between 74 F to 85 F and in liquid form that the fat will start to clump together and separate. Separated ganache will have a grainy texture and must be repaired.

Repairing a ganache. You warm it between 90 F – 94 F. The max temperature is the temp that will not destroy the Type 5 crystals but destroy all those below, like Type 4. You then agitate it to create more Type 5 crystals. If this fails to repair your ganache, this could mean there is too much fat and you need liquid to thin it out. Adding liquid creates space between the fats so they don’t clump together. Liquids can include: spirits, syrup, water, milk (not cream bc too much fat). Milk and water can shorten the shelf life of the chocolate so that’s not good. The best option is spirit or syrup. Do not add too much liquid or else it will soften the ganache too much.

Emulsions are mixtures of fat and water. One component of fat/water is broken up into tiny size 10 microns within the other ingredient. The broken micron bits are the dispersion and the thing the microns are broken up into is the continuous phase. When fat microns are dispersed  in continuous water phase, this is a fat-in-water emulsion and includes ganache. When water microns are dispersed in continuous fat, this is a water-in-fat emulsion and includes butter. The emulsion breaks because there is too much of the micron dispersion phase so they do not remain separated for too long and clump. When clumping happens, the separate from the continuous phase. In a broken ganache, there is a too much fat micron dispersion in the continuous water phase – so that’s why you need less fat and more water to repair your ganache. Agitation of the ganache when it is neither too hot or too cold, will cause the fat microns to clump together and then break the emulsion.  

When making a ganache, use tempered chocolate. Do not heat above 94 F or else the stable crystals will be killed off. The ratio for ganache is: 2 parts chocolate and 1 part cream. Then little bit of buttery, corn syrup, and liquor.

·         The glucose syrup is there is absorb the excess water from the cream which will then prevent bloom and stabilize the emulsion. The amount of syrup required would be 10 -40% of the cream. 25-30% is a good amount. Syrup isn’t added for sweetness (that comes mostly from the chocolate). The syrup stabilizes the emulsion because it makes the liquid thicker (thereby preventing the movement and separation of fat in water). When cream is added to chocolate, the sugar in the chocolate seeps into the liquid in the cream and then can later recrystallize as sugar crystals – breaking the emulsion. The syrup prevents this re-crystalization process. Syrup is not counted as a liquefier because it binds more liquid than it gives.

·         Liquor is added to thin out the thick fluid and also for flavor. Butter is optional and is added to substitute for cocoa butter in the liquor (it also adds dairy flavor). The amount of butter should be 50% of the liquor.   

·         Cream and liquor both add water. The cream also adds butterfat. This butter fat is responsible for the lower melting temperature of ganache vs. dark chocolate.

·         Storage. Cream based ganaches are safe for only 3 weeks. You need liquor, invert sugar, and glucose syrup to soak up the water and extend the shelf life.

·         Chocolate. If the cocoa butter is very high, then the chocolate will be harder and the risk of the emulsion breaking and bloom is higher owing to the high cocoa butter. If the cocoa butter is very low, then the chocolate will be softer but can be too soft to set properly. Chocolate for confectionary purposes should contain at least 32% cocoa butter. In sum, butter fat softens chocolate while cocoa butter hardens it.

 

Steps to making a ganache: (

(1) Heat the cream to boiling;

(2) pour it into tempered chocolate and let sit for 1 minute undisturbed;

(3) start stirring a circle from the inside out, melting the chocolate;

(4) if some chocolate is un-melted, heat but not above 94 F (enough to melt but does not destroy stable crystals);

(5) now add soft but not melted butter (butter cannot be melted or its emulsion will be separated);

(6) now add liquor or flavorings (after butter because you don’t want to cool the temperature until butter is melted into ganache);

(7) cool to room temperature, about 72 F, but do not refrigerate or else emulsion will break. This may take up to 1 hour depending on your room temperature;

(8) agitate briefly to help crystalize the fat (both cocoabutter and milk butter). Do not agitate too much or else it will change the texture from smooth and creamy to short; **Remember, you can agitate ganache either when it is really hot or really cold but not in the middle. Agitate when it is really cold to about 72 F here.

(9) once the room temperature is reached, you have to pipe it within 15 min or else it will crystalize;

(10) once piped, wait 15 min to overnight for the ganache to fully harden. Do not refrigerate ganache because it will form unstable crystals. 

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There are various things to consider, especially about the evolution of how artisan chocolatiers work.

 

The tabling method is a tradition that's really old. It was the standard method for all artisans during most of the 20th century. Up to 1980-1990 there were really few artisans that knew how to work chocolate, they knew what to do but not why. To learn working with chocolate you had to go to an artisan and hope he was willing to teach. He taught what he knew: how to do it, not the scientific whys. Books on the subject were really few, you needed to know they existed (really difficult without internet) and where to find them (even more difficult). So it was just a matter of word of mouth: you do it this way because yes, repeat it.

Chocolate knowledge became readily available only recently, now you only need an internet connection to get to know everything. At the same time, technologies evolved: artisans could afford buying tempering machines, so the tabling method was relegated to emergencies, everyday production was relegated to tempering machines. In the past decade things changed again, due to the explosion of the small scale artisans (here we have many examples), but they use other tempering methods (seeding, now the EZTemper, so on).

 

This to say that when the tabling method was the standard one, then the needed knowledge was almost impossible to find (it was a prerogative of the few chocolate industries). When knowledge became more readily available, then people had more convenient methods at their hands.

 

So why did the tabling method spread in that way? because of reliability. They needed a method that worked each and every time without failures. They did not have instant read thermometers of infrared thermometers (they costed an eye), they just had to go by feel (literally, they used to put some chocolate on the lower lip and feel with the lip if the chocolate was tempered). Going by feel they were not able to tell when the chocolate was at 32°C, they had the "feel" when it was lower. So they had to heat it again to melt the bad crystals. There's the additional problem that the chocolate continues to cool while it's on the table: if you stop tabling at 31°C, then when it will be in the bowl its temperature will have lowered below 30°C (it takes time to collect the chocolate, while you collect it you continue tabling it and it continues to be in contact with the marble surface).

It developed this way because it was an empyrical method, based on limited technologies (almost none) and limited kowledge (almost none). It remained that way because it's outdated, nowadays there are really few cases when it's used in the professional world.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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1 hour ago, teonzo said:

Going by feel they were not able to tell when the chocolate was at 32°C, they had the "feel" when it was lower. So they had to heat it again to melt the bad crystals.

Thank you, Teo. You are saying that theoretically, when I temper from "scratch" (without introducing new, ready crystals, lets call it "tabling"), there is no need to reduce temperature that much, to the point where unstable crystals form. I can, theoretically, stop just below 34C, if I could, and at this point I will have, again, theoretically, all stable crystals. It is because of the practical difficulties, the ones that you listed, that we have to reheat again, not in principle. Is this correct?

 

konstantin

 

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Correct, but better going to 32°C for dark chocolate, not 34°C.

You can even use a simple method like this: melt the chocolate in a bowl, leave it there to cool to 32°C (if you have a thermometer with an alarm that rings when the temperature goes below a set one then it's perfect), then agitate it with a spatula (beware to not add too many air bubbles, you need to keep the spatula at around 45°, not vertical, and make circular motions). You need to agitate it for enough time to promote the formation of enough crystals, so if you don't have experience then always make a temper test before using this chocolate. I used this method various times when in "emergency" (needed few quantities without using a tempering machine and without having time to loose), always worked fine. I agitated the chocolate down to 31°C (started manual agitation at 32°C and ended at 31°C).

Some tempering machines work this way: there's the huge tank (40 kg or more) of melted chocolate at around 45°C, some of it gets sucked up by a screwpump and cooled down while in the screwpump. When it gets out of the screwpump it's tempered. If you set the machine at 32°C then the chocolate never goes below 32°C, the agitation during the cooling process from 45°C to 32°C is enough for tempering it.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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8 hours ago, teonzo said:

You can even use a simple method like this: melt the chocolate in a bowl, leave it there to cool to 32°C (if you have a thermometer with an alarm that rings when the temperature goes below a set one then it's perfect), then agitate it with a spatula (beware to not add too many air bubbles, you need to keep the spatula at around 45°, not vertical, and make circular motions).

But this actually works! Thanks. I just tried this. It took me a bit longer than when I use seeding method. The tempering test was taking more than a couple of minutes that I usually get with seeding, so I wanted to improve the degree of tempering (if this is the right term) by stirring longer. I had to heat it a little when it cooled to about 30C while stirring, but I never cooled it to the proposed 28-ish degrees. Until now I did not know that it works this way, thanks! Strange that the three temperature points method is presented everywhere in literature etc as an axiom. Including the "On food and cooking"...

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Of course it works.

 

If you want to speed up the process throw exactly one callet into the untempered chocolate at working temperature and you'll seed it from that whilst stirring it.

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4 hours ago, akonsu said:

But this actually works! Thanks. I just tried this. It took me a bit longer than when I use seeding method. The tempering test was taking more than a couple of minutes that I usually get with seeding, so I wanted to improve the degree of tempering (if this is the right term) by stirring longer. I had to heat it a little when it cooled to about 30C while stirring, but I never cooled it to the proposed 28-ish degrees. Until now I did not know that it works this way, thanks! Strange that the three temperature points method is presented everywhere in literature etc as an axiom. Including the "On food and cooking"... 

 

Some more considerations.

When someone write a book to teach something, then his goal his writing a foolproof method, something that works for the novice. A teacher needs to adjust his lessons to the level of his students. When teaching the tabling method to someone that has no chocolate experience, the teacher needs to give him a method that works for a student with no knowledge. There are many things that can go wrong during the tabling method, the only correct way that gives consistent results is the old traditional method: if you follow it that way then you get the correct results almost immediately, because it's intended to correct what could go wrong. The method I suggested needs more knowledge and more equipment (you are forced to have a thermometer).

McGee wrote that book in 1984, when chocolate knowledge was scarce, plus his book was aimed to the home cook. It's been revised, but it's been revised keeping in mind the home cook. Besides that, there are no perfect books out there, each book has its flaws. Julia Child said she was correcting errors in her masterpiece for her whole life. The more advanced a book is, the easier for errors to slip in. So never think that what you are reading is the bible: it's possible that there are some unseen errors (even the most skilled scientist is a human); it's most probable that what we know now will be considered utter crap 200 years in the future.

It takes time for knowledge to be transferred in books. If my memory is right I've seen only one book that talks about Mycryo. Same with EZ Temper (ok, this is younger than Mycryo, but it's been out there for some years). If someone wants to teach tempering, then he should name all the possible methods, including these 2 even if they use patented products. Still hasn't happened, at least to my knowledge.

 

Another very important thing: never take tempering temperatures as a supreme rule. Thermometers are not perfect, they have an error margin, so if you read 32.0°C you can't be sure it's really 32.0°C perfect, the real temperature can be +- the error margin. Thermometers can break too and give false readings. Besides that, each chocolate has its own working temperatures, not just dark - milk - white, I mean each singular rìproduct and each singular production lot. Working temperatures depends on how each product is formulated (ratio of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, whatever else is added). You can find different temperatures even in 2 different lots of pure cocoa butter: cocoa butter is not formed by a single molecule, it's composed of a class of different molecules, each one with different features. Cocoas harvested at different latitudes give cocoa butters with different features: the nearer to the Equator, the higher their working temperatures (small differences, but they are there), this is a general approximation and not a supreme rule.

 

It's important to follow the rules and the thermometers readings, but they must be considered as guidelines, not as rules to be followed blindly. When working with chocolate your best friend is your guts, not your thermometer. You need to develop the "feel" for tempered chocolate, it's just a sum of the sensations you feel while working with it: how it shines, its viscosity, how it smells and so on. Tempered chocolate gives a different set of sensations than untempered chocolate. You don't notice this consciously, it's your subconscious that notice this stuff, and that's the beauty of our brain: there are a lot of things working and that we do not notice because they happen out of our conscious. But they are still part of our brain, so they have the same intelligence level as our conscious side. If your guts say the chocolate is untempered then try trusting this feel, it comes from the same brain you use to read the thermometer.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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3 hours ago, keychris said:

Of course it works.

 

If you want to speed up the process throw exactly one callet into the untempered chocolate at working temperature and you'll seed it from that whilst stirring it.

I'm so glad to see someone knowledgeable say this about using seed in the tempering process. The amount of seed usually specified is much higher (I think I've seen 1/3 of the amount of melted chocolate). But when the chocolate is higher than 92.8F/33.8C, the Type V crystals in the seed are just melting away (I realize those temperatures are approximations). So I don't bother adding seed until the chocolate has cooled to around 95F/35C, and then I don't add very much. When I am tempering large amounts of chocolate, I use the Chocovision Delta, and its constant rotation tends to overcrystallize the chocolate sooner than desirable, so adding just a small amount of seed helps with that problem.

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34 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

I think I've seen 1/3 of the amount of melted chocolate

 

That's wild. Like, if you need 33% pre-tempered chocolate just to temper...

 

I tend to stick to the 1% diy silk stuff that's currently en vogue.

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1 hour ago, jimb0 said:

 

That's wild. Like, if you need 33% pre-tempered chocolate just to temper...

 

I tend to stick to the 1% diy silk stuff that's currently en vogue.

The first result from a Google search produced this:

 

Quote

Place two-thirds of the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler. ...Add the remaining chocolate to the top pan, stirring until melted.

That's from ghirardelli.com.  Ecolechocolat.com says 25-30% for seed. Jacques Torres says 30%.

 

 

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I didn't mean to imply that I disbelieved you, I just think it's a crazy amount.

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31 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

I didn't mean to imply that I disbelieved you, I just think it's a crazy amount.

I didn't think you didn't believe me; I just wanted to see if my memory was correct and posted those quotes because the idea of using a lot of seed is widespread. I looked in Greweling, and he (sensibly) says "slowly add increments of solid tempered chocolate" (no quantity mentioned, at least as far as I could tell from a quick look).

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6 hours ago, Jim D. said:

The amount of seed usually specified is much higher (I think I've seen 1/3 of the amount of melted chocolate).

 

That's because the usual instructions are to add the "seed" just after melting the chocolate, so when it's around 45°C. In that case most of the "seed" has the function to lower the chocolate temperature quickly. It's meant to minimize the time between when starting melting the chocolate and when you finally have tempered chocolate.

You can melt the chocolate, let it rest undisturbed until it's around 32°C-34°C, then seed it. It takes more time overall (from when you start to when you have tempered chocolate), but takes less active time.

You can use a single block (something around 200-300 g, obviously it depends on how much melted chocolate you are tempering) as seed instead of the usual little pieces, so you don't risk to find small pieces of unmelted chocolate (you just need to take out the big piece).

 

 

 

Teo

 

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25 minutes ago, teonzo said:

 

That's because the usual instructions are to add the "seed" just after melting the chocolate, so when it's around 45°C. In that case most of the "seed" has the function to lower the chocolate temperature quickly. It's meant to minimize the time between when starting melting the chocolate and when you finally have tempered chocolate.

You can melt the chocolate, let it rest undisturbed until it's around 32°C-34°C, then seed it. It takes more time overall (from when you start to when you have tempered chocolate), but takes less active time.

You can use a single block (something around 200-300 g, obviously it depends on how much melted chocolate you are tempering) as seed instead of the usual little pieces, so you don't risk to find small pieces of unmelted chocolate (you just need to take out the big piece).

 

 

 

Teo

 

Yes, the "early seed" helps with cooling. I always throw in some callets/pistoles just after I set the Chocovision to go from 115F/46C to 95F/35C, but not a huge amount since it's so annoying to have those little chunks remain unmelted as the temp nears 95F/35C. Then, for tempering, I put in a large chunk that can be removed easily. The Chocovision instructions (and the default behavior) say to add the seed at the top melting point and leave it in until the temp reaches 90F/32C.

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20 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I wouldn't assume out of the bag that the seed chocolate was in proper temper.

 

Most of the time we do make that assumption though when seeding!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, everyone, for the responses. This is much clearer now. I have one more related question. When chocolate is at the right working temperature and is tempered properly, how/why does it stay tempered when it is applied (moulded, poured, etc) and is left to set? What happens when it "sets"? As it cools, it goes through all these temperatures where other types of crystals form, but yet, we end up with solid piece that has all (most) stable crystals. What prevents the other types of crystals form alongside the stable ones when chocolate cools?


Edited by akonsu (log)

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Essentially you overwhelm the mass with the right crystals and they multiply as it cools so the the undesirable crystals have too much competition to form in any significant numbers.

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