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Shalmanese

Tempering chocolate with warm water

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I'm planning on making chocolate truffles in the near future so I've been reading a bit about chocolate tempering. Now, as far as I understand it, as long as chocolate is already in temper (like most chocolate that you can buy), keeping the chocolate liquid, but in temper is simply a matter of heating it to between 90F and 94F. Conventionally, this is either done by suspending over a pot of simmering water or by using a microwave.

But that always seemed rather illogical to me, if you want something to get to, and stay at 94F, then why would you use something hotter. Whats wrong with simply getting a large water bath, heating it to exactly 94F and then suspending the chocolate in the water until the chocolate comes into equilibrium with the water?

First of all, it allows you to keep the chocolate at a stable temperature for longer, the water has a huge amount of thermal inertia so it can keep within the 90-94 band. Secondly, you don't have the problem of steam condensation like with a bain, water at 94F is less than body temp and wont steam. Finally, as long as you have a good digital thermometer, keeping the water in range is very easy. Just have a large pot of boiling water on hand and just pour some in and stir if it starts dropping.

Is there some hidden flaw with this technique that I am missing? It seems eminently sensible for the home cook who cant afford marble slabs and $10,000 tempering machines.

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Typically the water in the bain marie would not be simmering but just warm enough. I don't know how you would suspend chocolate in water without it contacting the water but I have known people who drop a thermometer in the bain marie water.

For the record, a marble or granite slab should cost about $20 or $30 and is attainable for the home cook.


Edited by Trishiad (log)

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With a bain marie, you heat water to a simmer and suspend the chocolate in air and rely on the steam to warm the chocolate. With this method, you heat the water ONLY up to 94F (about tepid) and place a stainless steel bowl directly in the water and rely on the liquid to heat up the bowl.

It's true that a marble slab would probably be affordable, the problem is a) it looks like it requires a few months of hands on training to master the skill and b) I don't need more bits of kitchen equipment at the moment.

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As *I* understand it, once you melt your tempered chocolate, you bring it out of temper.

Once you melt it, no matter how you do it; micro, bain marie, whatever, you STILL need to

re-temper.

In all I know about tempering, I don't recall that anyone ever told me if you melted tempered

chocolate correctly is would still stay in temper. I've always been told, once melted, re=temper.

I've always found the easiest way to temper chocolate (if you don't have a fancy machine) is

the seeding method. Not real complicated.

Just:

-melt your chocolate with desired method.

-chop up some of your tempered chocolate (small small chunks)

-add it to your melted chocolate (off heat, of course)

-stir it around, monitor the temp with a thermometer, and when your melted chocolate

reaches 90 degrees (thereabouts), remove any remaining seed chunks and you're good

to go! :smile:

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From everything I've read, chocolate under 90F = fudge consistancy, chocolate above 94F = out of temper, chocolate b/w 90-94, melted but in temper.

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I’m sure you know that if you are making chocolate truffles, it isn’t necessary to temper the chocolate unless you were planning to dip them. However, if you do need tempered chocolate it is possible to use a bain marie as you suggest, but this method works well only if you have a small job to accomplish. First, here are a couple of things to consider:

1) If you plan on starting with tempered chocolate and placing it in a bain marie kept at the working temperature (or close to it) you will be waiting a long, long, long time for the chocolate to melt.

2) Once the chocolate is tempered, it will not stay that way for very long; you really will have to work to keep it in temper. Remember: more than a couple of degrees off the target temperature and your chocolate will no longer be in temper.

3) The tabling method, which is the classical method of tempering chocolate, is no longer considered hygienic. Additionally, you must work very quickly once the chocolate starts to set. And the room temperature plays a more important role as well. Try using the seed method, instead.

Seed method:

1) Chop the chocolate into slightly coarse grind. The chocolate in this step doesn’t have to be tempered.

2) Set it in a glass bowl over 55°C water bain-marie, stirring occasionally until completely melted.

3) While that is melting, finely chop your seed chocolate (about 20% or so of the mass in the bowl). The seed chocolate MUST be tempered chocolate. (The chocolate will have a nice sheen and no streaks).You can use a food processor for this step: 15 – 20 second pulses. We will use this chocolate to quickly bring our mass of chocolate down to the right working temperature (see below) or at least just slightly warmer.

4) Break off 2 or 3 large chunks of already tempered chocolate from the slab. We will use this as a seed for the crystallization process once all the smaller bits have melted.

5) When the chocolate in the bain-marie has reached a temperature between 40 - 45°C, take it off the bain-marie and toss in your ground up chocolate and chunks. (It’s good to toss in the chunks at this stage because they may have some tiny bits of chocolate clinging to them; you want them to melt at this stage.)

6) Stir vigorously (try to avoid whipping in air) until the ground chocolate is completely melted. When you reach your target working temperature, the chocolate is tempered. To test, coat the back of a palette knife and place in the refrigerator. Check in a few minutes to see if the dried chocolate has set and has no streaks.

7) Remove the chocolate chunks to a parchment paper covered plate to be used the next time.

Note: While you are making shells, if the chocolate temperature drops below your working temperature (see below), you can remove some water from your warm bain-marie and place the bowl back on top. You don’t want the water to touch the bowl. This should allow you to keep the chocolate at the right temp while you’re working.

Target Working Temperature

Dark Chocolate: 31°C

Milk Chocolate: 29°C

White Chocolate: 29°C

Hope this helps!

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John DePaula said what I said.....although mine was in much simpler terms.

I had probably not heard that melting the tempered chocolate at a working temperature would keep the chocolate tempered because it's so impractical, for the reasons John stated above. :wink:

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As *I* understand it, once you melt your tempered chocolate, you bring it out of temper.

Once you melt it, no matter how you do it; micro, bain marie, whatever, you STILL need to

re-temper.

In all I know about tempering, I don't recall that anyone ever told me if you melted tempered

chocolate correctly is would still stay in temper. r.

If you overshoot the temperature for the kind of chocolate, it will go out of temper. But if you can bring it up to and not exceed that temperature, it will stay in temper. It's easiest to do in the microwave. Trouble is, you can't do a whole lot of it this way.

I've been using Mycryo from Barry Callebaut to temper chocolate and it works pretty well.

edited to add, referring to point #2 of the instructive post above...I once worked at a country club where I had a small warming cabinet to use as a proofer. It took so long to warm up I would literally turn it on in April and off in November. I used it to melt big big bowls of chocolate and found out that if I put them on the bottom shelf, they would melt to exactly 90 degrees and never go out of temper.


Edited by McDuff (log)

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I love using Mycryo. For dark chocolate, it works so well. With milk chocolate, Ive noticed that sometimes the Mycryo clumps up and I get balls of cocoa butter in the chocolate. Any ideas??

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I have to admit something: Long before I knew anything about chocolate I liked to eat it (duh!), I liked to dip things into it, I liked to give such things as gifts. I had no idea chocolate needed to be tempered. I melted it in a "bain marie" (big pot of water and big stainless bowl), probably the bowl touched the water. I didn't use a thermometer, I just melted it until it was done. I never burned any chocolate and about 80% of the time the chocolate dipped items were quite lovely. Sometimes they had ugly white streaks (bloom, duh!) and it took a few years of Christmas dipping for me to bother finding out why.

My point is that it is possible to melt it just enough. It's not ideal and is really a crapshoot, but it can be done. Seeding is easier than it sounds but it does take some getting used to. For perfect chocolates a lot of things come into play, type of chocolate, proper tempering (some are more tempermental than others), room temp, temp of center, the weather......

Try it if you wanna learn a new skill, you'll be glad you did. Or try it and roll many of your just-dipped truffles into some cocoa or nuts or sugar or nibs......If you tempered well your truffles will have a nice snap to them. If you didn't quite make it happen the coating will cover any visible signs of bloom.

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first of all, you want to bring your chocolate up to 120 degrees to temper, 113 for white and milk. no higher. Continously stirring (agitatin) the chocolate. Whichever method you choose to cool it down wether it be seeding or tabliering. keep it above 90 degrees to be manageable depending on what your doing. The water on the other hand ideally should not be over 140 degrees. I like to have it right at 140 degrees, always comes out perfect.

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Just my two cents...

Like others have said, melt the chocolate to 120F. I've gone overtemp with no problems, but just not too hot. This melts all the crystals in the chocolate.

Add a seed of about 1/3 the total weight of your melted chocolate (or use the table methos). Bring to 87-91F, but you should get used to not having to rely on thermometers/equipment. Get a good feel for your chocolate.

Always test your temper! Tear off a little strip of parchment and dip it into the chocolate. If it sets up within a minute or two with no streaks then you are good to go. I'm sure this could decend into some horribly long conversation on the ins and outs of chocolate tempering, but I think all the basics have been covered.

Devin

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Myself, I have a tempering machine. But what I want to know is......

how do you figure the exact perfect temperature for each brand of chocolate being in temper?

You have a general range between 87-91 degrees....but I have found that while 90 might be

good for one brand of chocolate, it's not for another. I never know whether my ideal temperature

should be up or down. Wouldn't it be nice if chocolate had the perfect temper degree written on

their label?

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Myself, I have a tempering machine. But what I want to know is......

how do you figure the exact perfect temperature for each brand of chocolate being in temper?

You have a general range between 87-91 degrees....but I have found that while 90 might be

good for one brand of chocolate, it's not for another. I never know whether my ideal temperature

should be up or down. Wouldn't it be nice if chocolate had the perfect temper degree written on

their label?

Well, you make an excellent point. Usually, the professional couvertures have the crystallization curve printed on the package. If the chocolate you’re using doesn’t, the manufacturer should be able to provide this info. Using the “ballpark” figures listed above, however, should be pretty close.

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jean-pierre wybauw's book makes some good points regarding tempering chocolate. he prefers to call the process "pre-crystallizing" because he doesn't think you should be so much concerned with temperature as the appearance of the chocolate while you're stirring, melting, seeding, etc.

i agree with him because we can all become slaves to the thermometer when, as chefpeon says, it can change depending on what brand of chocolate you're using or what the weather is like that day, or any number of things that can affect the "temper" of your chocolate.

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I love using Mycryo. For dark chocolate, it works so well. With milk chocolate, Ive noticed that sometimes the Mycryo clumps up and I get balls of cocoa butter in the chocolate. Any ideas??

I was told to sift the Mycryo into the melted chocolate

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Wouldn't it be nice if chocolate had the perfect temper degree written on

their label?

Most large blocks (5kg) and boxes should have the "ideal" temp for that brand on it.

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Forgot to mention that in the seed method shown below, the bowl of chocolate is actually sitting in the water bath, as much as possible without spilling the water. Lots of bain marie methods tell you to not allow the chocolate bowl to touch the water, but that's only when you allow the water to boil (which would cause the chocolate to scorch).

Seed method:

  1) Chop the chocolate into slightly coarse grind.  The chocolate in this step doesn’t have to be tempered.

  2) Set it in a glass bowl over 55°C water bain-marie, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  THE BOWL OF CHOCOLATE IS ACTUALLY SUBMERGED IN THE WATER.  Be careful that you do not allow even one drop of water to come in contact with your chocolate or it will seize.

  3) While that is melting, finely chop your seed chocolate (about 20% or so of the mass in the bowl).  The seed chocolate MUST be tempered chocolate. (The chocolate will have a nice sheen and no streaks).You can use a food processor for this step:  15 – 20 second pulses.  We will use this chocolate to quickly bring our mass of chocolate down to the right working temperature (see below) or at least just slightly warmer.

  4) Break off 2 or 3 large chunks of already tempered chocolate from the slab.  We will use this as a seed for the crystallization process once all the smaller bits have melted.

  5) When the chocolate in the bain-marie has reached a temperature between 40 - 45°C, take it off the bain-marie and toss in your ground up chocolate and chunks.  (It’s good to toss in the chunks at this stage because they may have some tiny bits of chocolate clinging to them; you want them to melt at this stage.)

  6) Stir vigorously (try to avoid whipping in air) until the ground chocolate is completely melted.  When you reach your target working temperature, the chocolate is tempered.  To test, coat the back of a palette knife and place in the refrigerator.  Check in a few minutes to see if the dried chocolate has set and has no streaks.

  7) Remove the chocolate chunks to a parchment paper covered plate to be used the next time.

Note:  While you are making shells, if the chocolate temperature drops below your working temperature (see below), you can remove some water from your warm bain-marie and place the bowl back on top.  You don’t want the water to touch the bowl.  This should allow you to keep the chocolate at the right temp while you’re working.

Target Working Temperature

Dark Chocolate: 31°C

Milk Chocolate: 29°C

White Chocolate: 29°C

Hope this helps!

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Most large blocks (5kg) and boxes should have the "ideal" temp for that brand on it

Hmmmm....maybe some other brands do.....my Scharffenberger doesn't though..... :sad:

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Most large blocks (5kg) and boxes should have the "ideal" temp for that brand on it

Hmmmm....maybe some other brands do.....my Scharffenberger doesn't though..... :sad:

According to the Scharffenberger website you should aim for 91-92 F.

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Hi all I've tempered by hand a few times I've used the microwave on defrost, and the Bain Marie, I've no longer use a seed and consistently produced chocolates with a crack and shine.

First yes I believe it is true that tempered chocolate can be melted back to it's original temper but to achieve this would need an excact holding temperature a lot lower than for tempering.

First if you understand what your doing this is easier. The aim here is to melt all the chocolate fats with the solids suspended and then to reincorparate them into a blended mass. With all the fats melting and setting at different temperatures our aim is to get all the fats evenly distributed and set so they wont leak out, I've learnt to use my eyes to temper and no longer use a thermometer as you can see what I call the oil slick dissapear in the right light, you see a rainbow effect where the stirrer went, when this has gone its tempered.

All chocolates behave differently the hardest chocolate to temper is Valrhona(IMO) yet with a little cocoa barry added it becomes completly different and far easier to temper for months I struggled with Valrhona, I reckon if you can temper Valrhona by hand any come easy after this.

By seeding your dropping the temperature down to the lowest setting point of tempering yet stirring can and does temper just a little slower. Hope this helps someone!

Stef

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...All chocolates behave differently the hardest chocolate to temper is Valrhona(IMO) ...

I've always found Valrhona to be one of the easiest to temper....

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Is there any chance that someone could do a demo on tempering chocolate? I'd like to try my hand at this.

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I'm not sure it would demo very well. You either do it by temperature or by look and feel. Unfortunately, that look and feel won't photograph well. But maybe.

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Here is a trick that I learned from a great pastry chef that I used to work with--and this works every time!

Melt your chocolate over simmering water. When the chocolate melts, take a bit on the tip of your finger and touch it to your lip. It should feel hot enough that it almost (but quite) burns--like a bath that is a little too hot. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir vigorously to incorporate cool air. As you are stirring, continue the lip test until the chocolate feels pleasantly warm (like a nice bath that is just right) but not on the edge of burning your lip. Also, note the texture and appearance of the chocolate--it will have thickened slightly and be glossy.


Edited by scordelia (log)

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