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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

390 posts in this topic

did you stack the molds or turn them upside down (cavities down)

if so, you probably untempered the chocolate by trapping the heat from the

exothermic crystallization. when you do molds you want to put em in the fridge

right away putting them on the side..

cheers

t.


toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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Another thought is that the tempering unit itself overheated between the time you dipped and the time you molded. No way to go back and check that at this point. Did you turn the heat up as the chocolate started to thicken on the wheel?

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im sure latent heating wasn't the cause nor hot hands. You would have to hold your hand there for a long time to throw it out of temper, if thats even possible because polycarbonate is not the best conductor in the world, not even close.

It sounds something on the lines of kerry's second post. Your test was a fluke, the chocolate was heated in the bowl some way from the time you tested to the time you used it. and 20C is the absolute perfect room temp, they should have set up in less than three minutes.

also, you can't agitate chocolate too much.


Edited by chiantiglace (log)

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Yeah, that's what I thought.

The couverture in the melter wasn't out of temper. For one thing there's almost 12 kgs of couverure in there, and the melter is a waterbath type, with about 8 liters of water in it. In order to raise the temp it would take almost 20 minutes--and I didn't touch the thermostat. I also did a test after discovering the bloom on the molds, and the couverture was in good temper

The bloom on the molds was a very consistant, even layer. The molds that spend the most time in the vibrating table had the most bloom on them, the simpler molds had less--when I finally got the shells out, the outside layer was still in good shape, but the inside had turned grey.

The room is quite small--about 6' x 8' (2 meters by 21/2 meters) with central airconditioning and no heat sources other than the two chocolate melters. There are two tables, one 6" and one 2', and each topped with a 3/4" (20 mm) continous marble slab.

The chocoalte wheel is good, but the noise was unbearable. I contacted the mnfctr, and let him listen to the noise on the phone--they agreed that the motor was faulty, I Fed-exed the motor on Monday, and will try again molding with the wheel when I get it back.

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Theoretically, I get that the whole idea of tempering however there are some things I really don't understand and Calebaut's website and chocolate TV is only confusing me more...Callebaut shows 3-4 different ways of tempering but what I'm really interested in is the seed method vs. microwave...from what i understand,with the seed method you must first bring the temp. of the chocolate to a certain high (all temps are approximate) 118ish then cool it down to a certain low 85ish then heat it up to 90ish. In the video and on other sites, when using the microwave, you merely nuke it gently at 1/2 power until it starts to melt, then it's at temper...Why don't i have to bring it up down and up again as I did with the see method??? It seems ridiculously more easy, but i still don't get how the pre-crystallization takes place without the up down up of standard tempering....

I'm trying to square my brain around this but it seems like i'm missing a piece.

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I think you're mixing terms. I use the seeding method, and I use the microwave to accomplish it. Sounds like you're talking about seeding vs. "direct warming". In essence:

. Seeding refers to the method where you melt part of your chocolate to the "virgin" state where all the cocoa butter crystals have melted -- 118F or so. Then you add unmelted (seed) chocolate that's already in temper (as it should be when you receive it unless it's been stored badly), and stir like mad. As the unmelted chocolate softens and melts out, the good (beta) crystals it contains grab onto the melted cocoa butter in the virgin chocolate and encourage the formation or more beta crystals. Once the mixture gets to the proper working temperature range (88-90F-ish), you remove any chunks of unmelted chocolate that are left to prevent over-tempering and work with the now-tempered chocolate.

. Direct warming takes advantage of the fact that if you're careful, you can gently warm chocoalte to the point where it's melted and at proper working range without taking it above the point where the beta crystals start to melt out. In essence, you're melting the chocolate without ever going out of temper. Just warm and stir, warm and stir, a bit at a time until the chocolate is melted and in working range. Make sure you don't get the chocoalte above 90F or so, and you should be in good shape. It's a bit fiddly and fussy to do for folks who are new to tempering, which is why I stopped teaching that method and went back to seeding.

Whatever method you use, it's always good advice to test the batch of chocolate to ensure you've gotten it into good temper before working with it -- saves heartache later. Just use the tip of a spatula or knife or a scrap of parchment paper. Dip into the tempered chocolate and let it sit at room temp. If it sets within a few minutes, you're in good shape. If not, you're probably not in temper (and/or your room's too hot).

Hope that helps.


B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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To add a little more to what Keith said…

When you work with the microwave until the chocolate just starts to melt you are basically using the seeding method. You are not melting all the chocolate, so the remaining chocolate will seed whatever cocoa butter comes out of temper. If you use this method you have to make sure that you are using chocolate that was already in good temper.

Also, when using the seeding method you don’t have to bring the temperature down and then heat it back up to working temperature. This is only needed if you are tabling the chocolate (or any other rapid cool method). The tabling method quickly lowers the temperature of the chocolate, thus producing Form V crystals along with some lower form crystals. By heating the chocolate back up to working temperature all the lower form crystals are melted away leaving just the good Beta crystals. The seeding method, if done right, does not result in these lower form crystals and therefore you don’t need to drop the temperature and heat it back up.

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bkieth:

yes, it helps quite a bit---I'm going to assume that the callebaut couveture chips I'm using are already in temper, though I still have a couple of questions:

1. Does this asssume if i do the direct warming via the microwave or stovetop with these chips and it exceeds 88-90 degrees, it will go out of temper?

2. Does this also mean that if I do seeding technique that I will always have to add tempered chocolate as seeds? Which is to say, If I use chocolate that i screwed up on tempering, can I re-temper it without adding new tempered chocolate by bringing it up to the requisite temp and cooling it down to desired temp?

thanks so much for your help!

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Just so I get this right...Once I drop the chocolate from it's high of 118 to its low of 89, it's in temper and I can use it at that point?

Also, i'm looking at the crystallization curve on the bag of my callebaut and it gives me a range:

113-122

80.6

87.8-89.6

94.1

I'm assuming that once it goes beyond 94.1, i'm out of temper, and below that, I'm hardened...is this correct?

Thanks again!

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bkieth:

yes, it helps quite a bit---I'm going to assume that the callebaut couveture chips I'm using are already in temper, though I still have a couple of questions:

1. Does this asssume if i do the direct warming via the microwave or stovetop with these chips and it exceeds 88-90 degrees, it will go out of temper?

2. Does this also mean that if I do seeding technique that I will always have to add tempered chocolate as seeds? Which is to say, If I use chocolate that i screwed up on tempering, can I re-temper it without adding new tempered chocolate by bringing it up to the requisite temp and cooling it down to desired temp?

thanks so much for your help!

1. Yes, although I have found that if I go just a bit above and quickly add some fresh chocolate, it will temper fine. And the exact temper range will vary depending on the chocolate you are using.

2. Yes, if you are using the seed method you always need to have tempered chocolate as seeds. The only way to re-temper chocolate without fresh seed chocolate is to use a method such as tabling described above, which uses a completely different method to introduce the appropriate crystals.


Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
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Just so I get this right...Once I drop the chocolate from it's high of 118 to its low of 89, it's in temper and I can use it at that point?

Also, i'm looking at the crystallization curve on the bag of my callebaut and it gives me a range:

113-122

80.6

87.8-89.6

94.1

I'm assuming that once it goes beyond 94.1, i'm out of temper, and below that, I'm hardened...is this correct?

Thanks again!

To your first question - if you add fresh seed chocolate to chocolate that's at 118 and stir it until it's 89, then yes, it will probably be in temper. But you should always double check by doing a temper test anyway, because there's nothing worse than thinking chocolate is in temper when it's not!

Re. your temper curve - I'm not entirely sure how Callebaut gives its numbers. I'm particularly confused about the 94.1 measure. But I'd assume that 113-122 is the temperature you should heat your chocolate to to melt out all the crystals. If you were tabling the chocolate, you'd want to cool it down to 80.6 to introduce the right crystals, so that's what that number is. And the chocolate is in temper between 87.8-89.6.

The 94.1 might be the maximum temperature you can achieve once you are overcrystallized. Basically, the crystals continue to multiply, and eventually even though you are in the right temperature range your chocolate becomes to thick to work with. Then it's possible to heat it above the typical temper range and have it remain in temper, although you need to be cautious about it. But maybe some Callebaut users can weigh in on if that's what that number is for.


Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Just so I get this right...Once I drop the chocolate from it's high of 118 to its low of 89, it's in temper and I can use it at that point?

Not exactly. It depends on how you are dropping the temperature of the chocolate. If you just heat it up and leave it to cool, then the chocolate won't be in temper. If you heat it up and put tempered chocolate in it to cool it and seed it, then it should be in temper.

However, it is usually not best to use chocolate that has just reached the required temperature. Initially there might not be enough seed crystals distributed through the chocolate and you could get spotty temper or streaking. So, usually once the chocolate cools to under 90°F you want to agitate (stir) it for a little bit to get a good quantity of seed crystals throughout the chocolate.

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bkieth:

yes, it helps quite a bit---I'm going to assume that the callebaut couveture chips I'm using are already in temper, though I still have a couple of questions:

1. Does this asssume if i do the direct warming via the microwave or stovetop with these chips and it exceeds 88-90 degrees, it will go out of temper?

2. Does this also mean that if I do seeding technique that I will always have to add tempered chocolate as seeds? Which is to say, If I use chocolate that i screwed up on tempering, can I re-temper it without adding new tempered chocolate by bringing it up to the requisite temp and cooling it down to desired temp?

thanks so much for your help!

1. Yes, although I have found that if I go just a bit above and quickly add some fresh chocolate, it will temper fine. And the exact temper range will vary depending on the chocolate you are using.

2. Yes, if you are using the seed method you always need to have tempered chocolate as seeds. The only way to re-temper chocolate without fresh seed chocolate is to use a method such as tabling described above, which uses a completely different method to introduce the appropriate crystals.

Thanks, Tammy, for jumping in. I haven't had a chance to check in here since Wednesday morning.


B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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thank you all for passing on your understanding of chocolate --- i think i get it!!! (thank god)...one more question: what is happening in the tabelling process that allows un-tempered chocolate to be tempered? Thanks again for all your help!

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thank you all for passing on your understanding of chocolate --- i think i get it!!! (thank god)...one more question: what is happening in the tabelling process that allows un-tempered chocolate to be tempered? Thanks again for all your help!

In tabling you are - as in merlicky's response - forming the form V crystals along with a variety of 'undesirable' crystals. When the tabled chocolate is added back to the remaining warm chocolate in the bowl it is warmed back up to the working temperature. If the working temperature isn't exceeded then you will melt out only the undesirable crystals, leaving the good beta or form V crystals to predominate and multiply.

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Hi everyone - I've been making truffles for a number of years (hobby-level) using my Revolation 1 to temper the chocolate and dip the centers. More recently I've been using molds. Throughout this time I've stayed quite amateur/ignorant about the tempering process since the machine did it for me, although I had a high level understanding of what the machine was doing. I recently outgrew the Revolation, so I bought an ACMC Tabletop temperer. I've tried to temper four times in a row and failed each time, and I'm getting desperate. I've read everything on tempering out there (including these forums) but can't figure out the problem. I hope you can help.

Environment: 68F degrees (20C), 50% humidity

Chocolate: Callebaut bittersweet. Manufacturer recommends: 113-122F (45-50C) melt, 81F (27C) seed, 88F (31C) working temp. Chocolate is not tempered (already used a few times), except for seed chocolate. Trying to temper about 1.5 lbs at a time.

1st attempt: Followed ACMC directions - melted to 115F (46C), held for 10 mins, added small pieces seed/tempered chocolate (2 oz) directly to melted chocolate, cooled to 82F (28C) (seed completely melted), held for 10 mins, raised to 89F (32C), held for 10 mins. Tempering failed. My theory: perhaps I didn't add enough seed chocolate as I later read it should be 25% of total chocolate.

2nd attempt: Same as previous but this time added 6 oz of seed chocolate in medium sized chunks. Removed chunks when reached working temp - the removed chunks were 8 oz of chocolate (had melted chocolate stuck on it), so it doesn't seem like much if any seed melted. Tempering failed.

3rd attempt: Tried the Revolation since this worked for me in the past. Revolation melted at 110F (43C), cooled to 86F (30C), I added 4oz seed (only 1/8 oz melted & the rest removed), raised to 89F (32C). Tempering failed again. (The revolation uses preconfigured temps which are not adjustable.)

At this point after some research I concluded my problem could be that using the chocolate many times over without tempering it meant I had lots of "bad" crystals that needed to be melted out, so I should use a higher melting temp for longer. (And Greweling recommends melting at 122F/50C.) I also realized I didn't need to do both seed chocolate and the raise-lower-raise temp cycle.

4th attempt: Back to the ACMC. Melted at 120F (49C) for 2+ hours. Dropped temp. Added 6oz seed chocolate when temp dropped to 113F (45C) - medium/small chunks, most added behind baffle and some added directly to melted chocolate. Dropped temp to 89F (32C). Pulled out remaining seed and tested temper right away. Result: Failure again. Chocolate seemed thicker (?).

At this point I've started to question whether I am even correct in thinking it's not tempered, but I'm pretty sure it's not. Using the Revolation for years, I always just assumed it was tempered, so I didn't get good experience in learning characteristics of tempered chocolate. And generally it seemed to be tempered, since I could use molds with the Revolation and the shells would release OK. Generally with the Revolation I was starting with tempered/fresh chocolate, whereas in these attempts I'm not. Maybe that makes it more difficult.

Here are the symptoms I'm noticing that make me think it's not tempered: 1) If I smear a small blob on a flat surface, it dries very dull and is somewhat soft if I break it. 2) Not drying fast. 3) Not releasing easily from molds - I have to refrigerate/freeze, then whack the heck out of the molds multiple times to get the shells out, breaking half in the process and a bunch don't come out at all. Those that do come out look pretty good though - shiny on the outside and snap well. When dipping centers, works OK but seems thick (centers are chilled though), surface is matte but not horribly dull.

So...... any ideas about what I'm doing wrong? I'm grateful for any help you can give. Sorry, I know this is yet another "I can't temper" post, but I've read all the previous ones and still can't figure out my problem.

Thank you!!

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I've never used a tempering machine when working with chocolate, but I'm a bit surprised its giving you that much trouble (isn't the point of those machines to make tempering easier?). My first guess is that the chocolate is contaminated somehow, water maybe? By your descriptions of the chocolate it most definitely is not tempered correctly. I would start with fresh chocolate, especially if you've been using chocolate that has been melted down after being in the fridge/freezer since it's likely absorbed some water. It sounds like your conditions are pretty ideal otherwise.

So while I can't really suggest how to use your machine, this is what I do (and I've yet to incorrectly temper a batch).

Starting with tempered chocolate I slowly melt it down over a bain-marie (heat turned off) until it's about 80% melted, take off the heat and continue to agitate, using my spatula to pull the chocolate up the sides of the bowl to help cool. The unmelted chocolate acts as the seed in this case, and once it reaches about 90 degrees, or feels slightly cool against your lip, I test, and use! Pretty simple, and I've used this for molded chocolates with excellent release, shine, and snap. I don't know what temperature I melt it to, but if you start with tempered chocolate there's really no need to go above 100 anyway (I don't usually even use a thermometer)

If I do use a seed (working with untempered chocolate or I can't find any mycryo), I don't add it until mid to high 90's since beta-crystals (the desirable variety) don't start forming until around 93, so if you add the seed too early you may just end up melting out the seed before the beta crystals could even start to form. I also make sure to agitate a lot to ensure a good temper, if the chocolate looks streaky it may be in temper but just need more stirring (I assume though that the machine does this for you).

It sounds to me that this machine is complicating things far too much! Chocolate is sensitive, but not that sensitive, and just takes a little practice. Hope that helps!

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I was wondering if you have been able to double check the temperature of the pool of chocolate against a thermometr so you are sure the machine is giving you good temperature information?

And also when you decide to pull out the seed chocolate and check for temper has the main pool of chocolate had time to start developing enough good crystals. The seed chocolate is just that, it starts the development of the right crystals but even at the right temperature you may need to wait and just keep the chocolate stirring for a while for the whole pool of chocolate to get seeded enough. Then if it starts to get over crystallised you need to melt a few out.

I have often read that to temper an amount less than 1kg is not so easy and it looks like you are working with a bit less than that but that advice may just apply to tempering 'manually'.

Hope that helps, I have not used a table top temperer so no direct experience to call on.

Lapin

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Try melting at 120 or so as you mention, dropping down to 90-92, and adding seed then. Wait at least 10 minutes or more and test for temper. You are probably adding your seed when the chocolate is still too hot. Good luck!


Jeffrey Stern

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cocoapodman at gmail dot com

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I use a larger Chocovision (X3210) but have hand tempered chocolate many times. Melt your chocolate to approximately 118F, add at least 10% of the weight of your melted chocolate in seed, large chunks work well, let the temp fall to 90F and remove remaining seed. Continue to cool and agitate to 82F - 83F, and then bring back to working temp which will vary based upon your chocolate (approx 88.5F for dark chocolate). Test your temper.


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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I'd second the advice to check the calibration of your temperature probe. I've got the same tempering machine(the ACMC) and quickly discovered that I need to up my figures a notch to compensate for its readings. Don't be afraid to work on the upper limits for your chosen chocolate type and to shut the machine down for a few minutes once you do get a working temper.

Mark


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restaurant, private catering, consultancy
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are you using seed chocolate straight from the Callebaut block or has it been previously tempered yourself? It may be a problem with improperly tempered seed crystals.

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