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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

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I still haven't gotten any Micro on hand to play with. It seemed there for a while it was getting mixed reviews..... Are any other members using micro to temper also?

I wish I could think of the name (perhaps Neil will know) but there are some inexpensive heated holding containers for tempered chocolate that some of the top chefs swear by (I saw them at a demo from The French Pastry School). They advertise in PA & D, they come in half pan or hotel pan size bins (the base is black or off white).

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I still haven't gotten any Micro on hand to play with. It seemed there for a while it was getting mixed reviews..... Are any other members using micro to temper also?

I wish I could think of the name (perhaps Neil will know) but there are some inexpensive heated holding containers for tempered chocolate that some of the top chefs swear by (I saw them at a demo from The French Pastry School). They advertise in PA & D, they come in half pan or hotel pan size bins (the base is black or off white).

There's an ad for the chocolate melters/holders in the latest PA&D. The brand is Mol d'Art and they are imported by Technobake Systems, 609-466-4588. They offer three sizes: 3kg, 6kg, and 12kg. Chef Rubber seems to have the same models here. And no, they ain't cheap.

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I still haven't gotten any Micro on hand to play with. It seemed there for a while it was getting mixed reviews..... Are any other members using micro to temper also?

I wish I could think of the name (perhaps Neil will know) but there are some inexpensive heated holding containers for tempered chocolate that some of the top chefs swear by (I saw them at a demo from The French Pastry School). They advertise in PA & D, they come in half pan or hotel pan size bins (the base is black or off white).

I bought some Mycryo this festive season to make chocolate pralines and bonbons for gifts, and tempering could not have been easier. As McDuff mentioned, you need to melt the chocolate to 40-45C and then then cool it to 34C before adding 1% Mycryo (that is, 10g for 1 kg of chocolate). Stir well and then cool further to 31C for dark chocolate and 29C for milk.

I used a hair dryer to keep the temperature within range to prevent it from setting too fast.

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I wish I could think of the name (perhaps Neil will know) but there are some inexpensive heated holding containers for tempered chocolate that some of the top chefs swear by (I saw them at a demo from The French Pastry School). They advertise in PA & D, they come in half pan or hotel pan size bins (the base is black or off white).

Wendy:

You're thinking of chocolate melters from Mol d'Art. Here's a link with a picture and a price:

Mol d'Art Chocolate Melter

Hilliard and others make them, too, but this is probably the one you're thinking of.

:Clay

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The higher-precentage chocolates can be more difficult to temper, since the higher amounts of cacao solids mean there's more acid in the chocolate, the reason why few professionals in France will use it for enrobing. (And which is why at Hershey's Spa they can do facials with their chocolate, and the like, due to the low cacao/acid content of milk chocolate).

This is perhaps why some of these chocolates cause a ganache to break as well. I had a very enlightening conversation with a scientist from a chocolate company when they had introduced a new line of high-percentage chocolates. I was told, "They're new, we don't know how they're going to behave in the future" when I asked what the tempering curve was. And they weren't being rude, they were responding to the 'newness' of these chocolates. To me, that's kind of the beauty of artisan chocolates. I normally find chocolate tempers between 88-91 degrees, but had trouble when tempering some of the high-percentage chocolate. My advice to newcomers is to use a chocolate with a range of 35% to 55%. I've never had problems with chocolates within that range.

And my 2 cents on the white chocolate issue: Why do we call milk chocolate "chocolate" when it has milk in it? Do we call a spritzer a glass of "wine" since it has club soda added to it? Both are fine, but I like to think of milk chocolate as "a confection made with chocolate" since it's adulterated chocolate.

David Lebovitz


Edited by David Lebovitz (log)

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Welcome to eGullet, David - and thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of the effect acid level had on temperability (is that a word?). May I ask what brand(s) of chocolate you prefer to work with?

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Welcome to eGullet, David - and thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of the effect acid level had on temperability (is that a word?). May I ask what brand(s) of chocolate you prefer to work with?

I use different chocolate for different things. In the US I use ScharffenBerger 70% a lot for baking (I love this chocolate), E. Guittard Sur de Lago (which rocks) for eating and desserts, and Guittard French Vanilla for large-scale baking. In France, I like Bonnat for snacking (they are really nice people and make interesting chocolates and are giving the 'big guy' in France a run for their money). For most of my baking I've been using Cacao Barry 'Cuba' and 'Santo Domingo' since it's hard to get other chocolates in bulk. I also like Callebaut, but it's hard to get in big blocks for me.

I don't know for certain is acid affects tempering for sure, but I did want to mention it as a possible factor. I did some experimenting a few years with a noted food scientist to try to determine how to use all these new, high-percentage chocolate. We did not come up with any conclusive answers, but I've heard that Alice Medrich addresses that in her latest book, Bittersweet.

I also like when a scientist says "I don't know", which proves the variances & uncertainties that can and do happen in baking and candymaking in spite of our best efforts.


Edited by David Lebovitz (log)

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Hello all,

I just rolled some dark choc. ganache in dark couverture ( Valrhona ) and although the chocolate was in perfect temper, I still got some white streaks on the coating. The temp. is rising around here and it was about 72 deg. when I rolled the chocolates and as a result, the coating didn't set till about 3 1/2 min. Could that be the problem? I did double dip because a dry enough coat didn't form on the ganache balls. Could that be it? Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks.

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What were you using to hold the couveture's temperature, and how thoroughly and often did it get stirred? It is likely, if the temper was otherwise good, that it was simply chocolate at slightly different temperatures within the bowl and it needed more frequent stirring. If you were using a double boiler or something not finely temperature controlled (such as a somewhat expensive chocolate melting tank), the temperature difference between the bottom/edges and the center can be significant (especially if the air is cold or there is a draft over the vat's surface). In any case, the chocolate needs to be stirred & mixed regularly to ensure it is homogenous.

That's my immediate thought in any case.

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I think the problem is infrequent stirring. Thanks so much!!

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The stirring could have been the problem

Or- if you rolled them by hand - and have warm warnds - the chocolate on your hands may have been pulled out of temper - when hand rolling truffles - especially if you have warm hands or are working in a warm room - it is wise to clean off your hands every 10 centers or so. Also, by the time you are working on center 6 - center 1-3 should be obviously crystalized - if not then you need to recheck the temper. Normally you get clear signal of crystalization in 1 minute.

what test did you perform to verify temper?

Are you basing perfect temper solely on temperature or do you do test strips or some other test?

3 1/2 minutes to set up and not 'dryinging' which is hardening or setting up indicate that you may not in fact have been in temper at all.

However there are other factors that can influence and affect the final appearance of your chocolate - even if it is in perfect temper - that result in streaks.

if you were working in a warm room - and it sounds like you were the temp can actually be high enough to retard the chocolate crystalization in which case even well stirred, perfectly tempered chocolate may well streak - it just doesn't like to set up slowly.

If there was alot of humidity - then your chocolate may well react to that and streak or take on a grayish/whitish cast as if it had bloom from not being in temper

If your ganache centers were cold and damp then they could have reacted with your chocolate to cause streaking

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If your room temp is too high, the chocolate will take too long to set and can go out of temper. Try popping the centers into the refrigerator just until set. Don't try to do all of them at once or the first ones may sit too long. HTH


Edited by John DePaula (log)

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Quite honestly it sounds like you brought the chocolate up too high. If it takes too long to set that means your chocolate got too hot.

Also, you cannot agitate chocolate too much. Do not be shy at all to keep that chocolate stirred. The more often its agitated the better.

And if there are streaks then that means it wasn't properly tempered. But the closer you get to properly tempered the longer it takes for the streaks to appear because there is a certain percentage of the fats that are being properly melted and cooled. The higher the percentage the longer it takes for the streaks to appear. So an almost perfect temper could take 24 hours to streak. Depending on the room conditions.

Try not to use a thermometer. Gauge it with your forearm. It should be slightly hot to the touch. If you use a thermometer, by the time it says 120, and you take it off, its possible it could go up to 122, 123, 124.

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Weighing in here (now that I have a moment after Mother's Day) I think it's the room temp. This time of year is challenging for chocolates. If they took a while to set and your work room was in the 70's, I think Mother Nature is the culprit. I learned that lesson the hard way a few years ago and now begin work at 4 am during the warmer months.

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70's doesnt sound too bad to me. Even 79 would be great. Usually this time of year for me is around 88, and thats outside. Inside would be around 90.

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Darn, I wish I'd read this thread a little earlier! I attended a truffle making class a few weeks ago. Came home and the next day turned out a perfect batch of truffles. Thus convinced that I knew what I was doing, I decided to do a little fundraising for my future culinary adventures by making and selling truffles for Mother's Day. Demand was greater than anticipated, and next thing I knew, I had orders for 250 truffles. Tempering did not go nearly so well this time. :sad: Definitely passable, given who my market is, but not up to my own standards. (Of course, realizing halfway through tempering my first batch of chocolate that my thermometer was no longer reading accurately was not a good way to start the day...)

But now, having read this thread, I know why my first time worked so well, why the next times messed up, and how to make it so much less stressful next time. Thank you. eGullet!

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tammylc,

i haven't read this thread completely, but eGullet has much more to offer you!

this is a demo on one method of tempering.

also, please don't make yourself slave to a thermometer. even if you're using a thermometer, you should test your chocolate on a strip of paper or on the counter to make sure it is in temper. use your eyes to get used to seeing what in temper chocolate looks like. use your hands to get to know what it feels like. try different techniques to see which works best for you.

although i mostly stick with seeding nowadays, i'll use the different techniques if i'm concerned my chocolate won't temper for any number of reasons.

and...practice, practice, practice!

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70's doesnt sound too bad to me.  Even 79 would be great.  Usually this time of year for me is around 88, and thats outside.  Inside would be around 90.

Do tell, Chiantiglace! How do you temper in such high temperatures! I'm intrigued, what kind of chocolate do you use?

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70's doesnt sound too bad to me.  Even 79 would be great.  Usually this time of year for me is around 88, and thats outside.  Inside would be around 90.

Do tell, Chiantiglace! How do you temper in such high temperatures! I'm intrigued, what kind of chocolate do you use?

Paraffin + Brown Food Coloring? :biggrin:

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Thank you so much for all your responses! Thanks chefette for your detailed response. Still haven't heard from chiantiglace though!!

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Its very difficult to temper chocolate in those conditions. Those are actually the conditions I taught myself to temper chocolate, what a boot camp huh. I failed so many times its unbelievable. I guess there are a few tricks.

I find its best to do seeding method when tempering at high temperatures, even when I had a marble slab. I put a half sheet pan in the reach in to cool for a while before tempering. It would be one quick sweep of events, because once everything is said and done you can always find a cool spot somewhere to keep your finished products. Once I start to melt my chocolate I pull my cooled sheet pan out and place my grated/fine chop chocolate on top for the seeding. By them time I am at the proper temp (119ish) my fine chocolate would be around 65-70 degrees roughly. Much cooler than the room temp 89. So I would seed to cool. I always had plenty of fine chopped chocolate ready to go. All the projects I made would me hardened in the reach in right next to me and I would keep a close eye on them. The second they hardened I pulled them out and stored them. If my chocolate got too hot at room temp I would heat it back up to 120 and re-seed with quick chilled grated chocolate.

That always seemed to work, but I had to be quick and on my toes. Also its not good to have too many projects that need attention during that time.

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Its very difficult to temper chocolate in those conditions. Those are actually the conditions I taught myself to temper chocolate, what a boot camp huh. I failed so many times its unbelievable. I guess there are a few tricks.

I find its best to do seeding method when tempering at high temperatures, even when I had a marble slab. I put a half sheet pan in the reach in to cool for a while before tempering. It would be one quick sweep of events, because once everything is said and done you can always find a cool spot somewhere to keep your finished products. Once I start to melt my chocolate I pull my cooled sheet pan out and place my grated/fine chop chocolate on top for the seeding. By them time I am at the proper temp (119ish) my fine chocolate would be around 65-70 degrees roughly. Much cooler than the room temp 89. So I would seed to cool. I always had plenty of fine chopped chocolate ready to go. All the projects I made would me hardened in the reach in right next to me and I would keep a close eye on them. The second they hardened I pulled them out and stored them. If my chocolate got too hot at room temp I would heat it back up to 120 and re-seed with quick chilled grated chocolate.

That always seemed to work, but I had to be quick and on my toes. Also its not good to have too many projects that need attention during that time.

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I know how to temper chocolate, but when I have to dip something, I lose temper. I think it's because the temperature lowers as I dip things into it (before I realize it), or perhaps what I'm dipping is too wet?

For the last two years, I've dipped brandied cherries (air dried a bit) wrapped in fondant the consistency of sticky, mold-able dough. Perhaps even that is too moist? Every couple of dips, I check the temp, stir, reheat, stir. I guess I'm looking for one of three things.

1) The obvious thing I'm doing wrong that I'm missing.

2) A great guide (book, URL...) for dipping chocolates

3) The best, inexpensive tempering machine you know of.

They taste good, but half of them look...well... :unsure:

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Are you checking the temper before you dip or are you just assuming it's tempered? I would just say to check it right before you dip...

There must be something with temperatures going on to blow the temper in your chocolate or it never being tempered at all...What method do you use?

Robert

Chocolate Forum

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Brought about 3/4 of the 2 lbs. of chocolate to 112 (or something thereabouts), added the remaining 1/4, stirred until it was 80 or so (exact temps I can't recall just now), then back up to 90 for dipping. That's the temp I remember - 88-90.

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