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seawakim

Tempering Chocolate

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Most likely too hot when reheating - although insufficient seed could also play a part.  

 

For dark chocolate and seeding - it is only necessary to cool down with seed in place to about 90-91 (I work in C so to around 32-33).  As long as there is a tiny bit of unmelted chocolate when you get down there (or it is just melting out when you reach the temp) - you should be golden.  Once I've been in temper for a while and I notice my chocolate starting to get thicker and over tempered - then I might heat it up to a max of 34.5 (94).  If I heated it this high initially I'd throw it out of temper.

 

To correct - add more seed - and stir!  You don't need to start from scratch.  I add seed a bit at a time rather than all at once so I don't end up with a lot of unmelted seed when I reach working temperature.

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I don't know about the rest of you, but although I learned in school to take the temp down to around 86, then bring it back up to 90 and it's in temper, I never do that now.  

 

I just take it down to ~89, pull out the seed (as I use a block of chocolate for dark, not callets), test it in parchment to ensure it's in temper, which I do a little before it hits 90 as well because you can usually tell it's close by looking at it once you've tempered the same type of chocolate for awhile, and them I'm good to go. I will also raise the temp on the melter a touch so that the chocolate stays at around the 90-91 degree range for shelling and dipping, and will give a stir now and then to mix in the warmer chocolate from the bottom with the cooler chocolate from the top.  I'll also use a heat gun or add warm untempered chocolate depending on the viscosity of the chocolate as well. 

 

I do agree that molds are way more forgiving than hand dipping, but I think it's important to nail the tempering process down, otherwise you will be limiting yourself on what you can do, which I don't think is as fun.

 

On a side note, I also take my chocolate up to around 120 degrees (we were taught 115 in school, but did some research on the optimal temp setting for the chocolate I use and that was the mark), then generally bring it down to around 110 before adding seed, unless I'm in a huge hurry to drop the temp, then I'll add it right after it hits 120.  I was taught that if you took your chocolate below 105 you had to take it back up to 115 and then lower it again before adding the seed.  To eliminate that from happening, I stick with 110, since there is nothing more frustrating that getting busy and forgetting to add your seed chocolate and before you know it your chocolate is at 100 degrees.  Just food for thought.  

 

Everyone has little nuances to how they temper with the same result, so I think you just need to find the best method that works for you Tony.  And I'm guessing if you research Guittard "Lever du Soleil", you will find the charts of the optimum tempering temperatures.


Edited by YetiChocolates (log)
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Thank you Kerry & Yeti. That is great information. While I love working with chocolate, I don't do it very often. This was my first attempt in a couple of years. So I haven't realy developed a feel or eye for what's right. I probably should've did a bit of a refresher on the details. I'm going to try again tomorrow so hopefully I can effectively apply this info and get it right.

 

I'm curious now about using a block of chocolate as seed vs discs/pistoles. Is one more effective than the other? I've always used pistoles b/c that's what I learned with and I hate the idea of having to chop down a block before melting. And since I'm tempering w/o a machine, I would think stirring a bowl of melted chocolate w/ a block in the middle has the potential for a lot of mess. But if experienced chocolatiers say using a block is more effective or easier, I'll consider trying it.

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I personally prefer it to callets because I don't have to worry about not putting enough seed chocolate in at the beginning and not having it all melt away before I realize it or too much at the end that I have to fish out. It's just one block that I put in and if it gets small enough that I think it will melt out before hitting 90, I add another, and when it's hit 90, I don't have to stress about fishing around for extra seed that I added a little too late.  And it's not messy at all, just a blob in the middle of the bowl that you swirl around while stirring.  I get my dark in 10lb blocks so that's why I use the block to temper.  However, with the milk I recently switched to Oro du Soleil from E Guittard, and will have to get the callet seed method down!

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At 60º, you should not have had to put them in the fridge...brrrr....I keep my room as close to 68ºF as possible. This morning I worked at 64º

 

Maybe the ganache was too cold, but based on how you describe setting it out, I doubt it. 

I think the temper was just off. Try, try again!

What would you say the margin of error is on that? I keep reading that the room should be at about 68 degrees. 

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I'm pretty sure too warm isn't my issue being in London. I'd say the room average is about 70 degrees. hmm just thought it was worth exploring as a possible explanation for the temper not setting up perfectly. 

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I made some bars this morning and I thought the chocolate was in temper (I tested it), however the bar still did not turn out perfect, was the temper not as correct as I though or did I do something else incorrectly?

image.jpg

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The issue with bars is that as that large mass of chocolate sets, it releases energy in the form of heat, which can have an effect on the final product. I believe this is what has happened here, if your test was good. The fix is easy - you need to remove that excess heat, which you can do by placing the filled moulds in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set, then let the chocolate contract fully at normal temperatures.

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Wondering if someone can help me out. I have been tempering my chocolate in a Mol'd art for some time now making small batches for molding or dipping chocolates. The night before I plan to work, I turn up the heat on my dark chocolate to 118 F, then in the morning I begin tempering. I have noticed some small granular pieces of chocolate that don't seem to melt out. When I squish them between my fingers, they are soft and not hard pieces. I thought that by raising the temp a bit more, I may melt these pieces out, so I pushed it up to 120F. Still have the granular pieces. I decided to temper it the best I could and pour it out to use for ganache and start over again with new chocolate. Things were going well but a few weeks ago I added some of the granular chocolate into my current batch wondering what would happen, and now I have granular covature once again. I thought I had read somewhere that I should take the immersion blender to my covature to work these bits out. So I did that yesterday, and now I have air bubbles everywhere! It is hard to tell if I got all the grains broken up due to all the air bubbles. I just kept stirring yesterday trying to release the bubbles, but would like to get to work today. 

So my questions are:

What are these grains and how do I get rid of them?

What do I do to eliminate air bubbles?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I don't know what they are, but I get them when I leave untempered chocolate and then re-use it later, so I assume they have something to do with storing chocolate in untermpered state.

 

I use an immersion blender to get rid of them. Keep the immersion blender fully submerged to stop air bubbles. Alternatively, you can strain the chocolate, but I don't have an issue with the immersion blender and find I lose some chocolate by straining it.

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The lumps could be cocoa solids clumping together perhaps? I find this sometimes, as with Gap, when I remelt chocolate that's been stored untempered. But I also found last week that they just melt back out after a couple of days, I only stirred it a few times a day.

 

Best way to prevent bubbles is to make sure the mixer never goes above the surface of the chocolate. Have you tried tapping the metal bowl on the bench for a while to get all the bubbles to rise up? Do it when the chocolate is at 45C so it's more fluid, the bubbles will move more easily.

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Thanks Gap, Keychris and Kerry. I'm sure you are all correct. It was older chocolate that I had in the melter, let cool (without tempering), and when solid, I placed on parchment paper. So . . . now, is there anything I can do to correct this chocolate? Warming it up to 120F doesn't seem to get all the little lumps out, not sure I want to strain it, I will use the immersion blender again making sure to keep it deep in the chocolate, at this point is it salvageable for covature or do I need to use it for ganache or throw it out?

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Never throw it out!!:) Using for ganache would work as long as it isn't hard lumps. You could also use it for bark or for a drizzle. I really think it should smooth out.

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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gfron1, on 20 Dec 2014 - 5:12 PM, said:snapback.png

At 60º, you should not have had to put them in the fridge...brrrr....I keep my room as close to 68ºF as possible. This morning I worked at 64º

 

Maybe the ganache was too cold, but based on how you describe setting it out, I doubt it. 

I think the temper was just off. Try, try again!

 

What would you say the margin of error is on that? I keep reading that the room should be at about 68 degrees. 

 

Some food for thought, when I was in school they always had the chocolate/candy kitchens very cold, I would say around 60 degrees or below, enough that I would wear extra layers under my chef coat because it was always freezing (albeit I am always cold), but it was quite chilly in these rooms and it was because they wanted the chocolate and candy to cool much more rapidly than the baking kitchens.  And my house is usually 62-64 when I work with chocolate because I'm a cheapskate and don't want to pay for extra heating.  Although I'm sure that 68 degrees is fine, personally it seems a bit warm to me.  I'd rather have a colder room when working with chocolate than a warmer one.

 

With that said, I always put my molds in the fridge when shelling and finishing because my hands are so hot usually when I mold and cap that I can throw the shells that my hands touch out of temper just by the heat transfer.  There is also the latent heat of crystallization to think about, so for me, to err on the side of caution, regardless of room temp, I pop the molds in the fridge when shelling and capping.

 

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Thanks Gap, Keychris and Kerry. I'm sure you are all correct. It was older chocolate that I had in the melter, let cool (without tempering), and when solid, I placed on parchment paper. So . . . now, is there anything I can do to correct this chocolate? Warming it up to 120F doesn't seem to get all the little lumps out, not sure I want to strain it, I will use the immersion blender again making sure to keep it deep in the chocolate, at this point is it salvageable for covature or do I need to use it for ganache or throw it out?

 

I just had a similar issue with my chocolate, but I used the immersion blender like gap suggested and it totally worked! No more lumps!  It was like magic...you should definitely give it a shot :)

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Interesting - at this years conference, we discussed temperature of our work rooms and (If my memory is working) Mark said that a work room should be around 90F (+/-) but that is impractical to work in.....does anyone else remember that?

I try and keep my work room around 65 if I can -

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Bob, I pulled out my notes and this is what I wrote:

 

Moulding: 80F

General purpose room: 70 - 72F

Storage: 65F

Refrigerator: 50F

 

Not sure that I have been paying much attention to my room temps as of late! :)

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Thanks! I recall it was warm.....I like to keep my room about 68 when I'm working.....

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