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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

390 posts in this topic

I am so glad chocartist mentioned those pre-molded shells! I've been wondering if anyone used those -- Eliseo Tonti introduced us to them, and I remember asking him if he didn't think it was "cheating" and wasn't it better -- more "artisanal" -- to hand roll everything. He gave me a pitying glance and said "Senora, that's a nice idea but it's just impossible -- you will never leave the lab if you roll everything by hand!"

I rolled mushy truffle balls all morning because I was still resisiting those shells -- and what a piece of work this has been! In and out of the fridge every two seconds, two or three layers, ganache on the ceiling -- BAH!

Tomorrow I am ordering truffle shells so I can concentrate on other things, like perfecting dipping technique and garnishing.

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Thanks chocartist, you have been a great help.

I read somewhere, that molded chocolate should set at room temperature and then placed in the fridge to finish setting, how true is that?

How cold must the fridge be? If it is to cold, won't the chocolates crack?


Edited by suechoc (log)

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Setting up chocolate at room temperature is the preferred method--provided the room is very cool (68 degrees or cooler). If your room is that cool you won't need the refrigerator at all. If it isn't, set up the chocolate in the refrigerator first--at least until it dries--and then at room temperature (provided the room isn't warmer than 70-72 degrees). Or, let it set up completely in the refrigerator (which is what I normally do). The time it takes to do this will vary considerably depending upon whether the chocolate is a thick molded piece or a dipped truffle. Normal refrigerator temperatures do vary somewhat, so you'll have to be vigilante until you've done it a few times.

If you're moulding a hollow piece of chocolate, such as an Easter egg, you shouldn't leave it in the refrigerator beyond the time that it takes to set up or the thin shell is likely to crack. There's no need to worry about a dipped truffle cracking.

One word of caution when using the refrigerator: Avoid bringing cold chocolate directly into a warm environment because condensation may form on the surface of the chocolate, resulting in sugar bloom.

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Finally...someone has found my problem, I always finish setting my chocolates in the freezer and bring them out to a warm room temperature, that is why I find my chocolates full of sugar bloom. Thank you chocartist :biggrin:

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Finally...someone has found my problem, I always finish setting my chocolates in the freezer and bring them out to a warm room temperature, that is why I find my chocolates full of sugar bloom. Thank you chocartist :biggrin:

I believe that's what I was saying last week on the other "Tempering Chocolate" thread you posted. :hmmm:

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Yes, I remember nightscotsman, but you said to leave it out over night and not to use the fridge. The problem is the room tempreture, the coming out of the fridge to a warm enviroment. I find the chocolates work better in winter and that is why. :wink:

Thanks for your help Nightscotsman. :smile:


Edited by suechoc (log)

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Does the "seeding" chocolate need to be the same brand as the melted chocolate to achieve a good temper?


"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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No, though it can help your learning curve to work with one chocolate, work with it consistently and really figure out its personality. When you start combining different chocolates it might not handle the same way--but if you have a bowl of 120 degree chocolate couverture, and seed with new pistoles of another brand of chocolate couverture--it should work just fine. I've done that myself many times over the years.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Hello all,

I have been browsing the innumerable resources here and elsewhere regarding tempering chocolate, but am still unsure on what to do for this truffle recipe.

I wish to make the following truffles

http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/view?id=109085

but there is no mention in the recipe of tempering. Furthmore, I plan to use Lindt Rod. Lindtfils Chocolate, the one in the silver wrapper with blue and gold writing.

My understanding of terms like 'couverure' is limited, and thus in my readings I am not sure if this chocolate requires tempering, or if it is required in this recipe for the coating of the truffles.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Simon

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Why bother? You'll probably eat them so fast you won't notice the difference. And if you dip them and refrigerate them, they shouldn't bloom Tempering chocolate is actually easier than you think. Couverture is a name for chocolate which has extra cocoa butter, it's more fluid when melted and covers in a thinner layer. I don't think it's any more difficult to temper.

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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.

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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

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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.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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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.

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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.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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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.

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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.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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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.

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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.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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...


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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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.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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........


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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

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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.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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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.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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