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How do you temper chocolate?

This page gives you the basics you need to temper manually using several possible techniques.

 If you are a serious "Chocolatier" and prefer a fail safe method.....

.....consider getting your own  Chocolate Tempering Machine

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1. Using a Double Boiler

    A. Melt the chocolate to 100-105 F
    B. Allow the coating to cool to:

      1. 83-84 F if Milk Chocolate
      2. 85-86 F if Dark Chocolate
      3. 87-88 F if Rainbow Coating

    C. Hold the coating at this temperature until it starts to thicken

      1. Thicker coating means more "seed" crystals
      2, Thinner coating means there are less "seed" crystals

    D. Allow the coating to warm to:

      1. 86-87 F if Milk Chocolate
      2. 89-90 F if Dark Chocolate
      3. 90-92 F if Rainbow Coating

    E. Hold the above temperature.

2. Hand Dipping

    A. Melt some coating by either:
    1. Placing some coating in a sauce pan in a warm oven

      a. Do not heat above 105 F
      b. Stir occasionally while melting

    2. Or placing some coating in a double-boiler

      a. Use low heat
      b. Stir coating while it melts
      c. Do not allow water or water vapor to come into contact with the coating

    B. Cool the melted coating to about 92 F
    C. Pour about 1/2 lb. of the melted coating onto a cool surface
    D. Mix and fold the coating with the hand until it become fairly thick
    E. Add about 2 lbs. of the melted coating to the thickened coating
    F. Mix the two together very thoroughly

      1. Add more of the 92 coating if it is still too thick
      2. Add less 92 coating for more advanced temper

    G. Coat the centers

      1. Cover the center with tempered coating
      2. Shake the excess coating off the center
      3. Place coated center on a tray, foil, or waxed paper
      4. Trace a design on the top using a finger

3. Shaved Coating Method

    A. Melt some coating as in Part 2, a.
    B. Cool the melted coating to about 92
    C. Using a knife or a spatula, slice some coating from a block of coating that is in good temper

      1. Make a slice as thin as possible
      2. The ratio of shavings should be I part shavings to 9 parts melted coating

    D. Stir the shavings into the melted coating until the shavings are completely melted and thoroughly mixed into the coating
    E. Adjust the temperature of the coating to the appropriate temperature (as listed in Part 1, e.)

      1. Use room temperature air to cool the coating
      2. Heat the coating very gradually if it is too cold F. The coating can now be used for either enrobing or molding

4. The 80/20 Method of Tempering

    (NOTE: this method will work with both chocolate and compound coatings that have a melt point of approximately 92 F. It will automatically adjust the coating to the proper final temperature.
    A. Melt some coating as described in 2, a.
    B. Cool the coating until it is 93-95F
    C. Pour 20% of the coating into a separate sauce pan
    D. Stir the coating in the pan containing the 20% until it starts to become pasty
    E. Return to 20% to the pan containing the 80% of the coating F. Mix the two together thoroughly
    G. The coating should now be in temper

5. Important Temperatures

    A. Work area 75-85 F
    B. Molds 78-82 F
    C. Candy Centers 70-75F
    D. Cooling Area 65-70 F (initial cooling)
        Cooling Area 45-50 F (main cooling)
        Cooling Area 65-70 F (final phase)

6. Useful Tools 

    A. A thermometer - preferably a metal thermometer that can be calibrated
    B. A wood handled spatula with a rubber blade
    C. Metal sauce pans

~ ~ ~ Troubleshooting Guide for Tempering Chocolate ~ ~ ~

PROBLEM: BLOOM (Gray Surface!)
Probable Cause #1: Excessively cold air or too rapid a cooling rate Solution: Use warmer air during initial cooling in cooling area
Probable Cause #2: Lack of "seed" crystal Solution: Allow the chocolate to thicken more before heating the chocolate to the deposit temperature
Probable Cause #3: Excessive amounts of incompatible fat
Solution: CANNOT BE CORRECTED BY TEMPERING (small amounts - up to 5% - can be added to pure chocolate to recover the product
Probable Cause #4: One of the most common causes is improper storage conditions in which the product is temperature stressed
Solution: Do not allow the chocolate to be subjected to alternating periods of warm temperatures and cold temperature during storage


Probable Cause #1: Fingers are warmer than the temperature at which cocoa butter will melt
Solution: Do not handle the chocolates unless hands are cool and dry or wear gloves


PROBLEM: GRAY IN SOLID CHOCOLATE (has the appearance of slate)
Probable Cause #1: Cold air is blowing on the chocolate as it is poured into the mold
Solution: Raise the temperature in the work area and keep drafts from blowing on the chocolate


Probable Cause #1: The chocolate was too cold when it was deposited
Solution: Raise the chocolate to the proper deposit temperature
Probable Cause #2: Excessive "seed", the chocolate is too advanced in temper
Solution: Add some untempered chocolate to the tempered chocolate to dilute the amount of "seed" to the proper level


Probable Cause #1: Moisture is condensing on surface of the chocolate (sweating)
Solution: Dehumidify the air in the room or allow the chocolate to warm up before exposing it to room air


Probable Cause #2: The chocolate was not properly tempered
Solution: Be sure there is enough "seed" before molding


Probable Cause #1: The chocolate was not properly tempered
Solution: Be sure there is enough "seed" before molding


Probable Cause #1: The chocolate was deposited without being tempered
Solution: Follow one of the listed tempering procedures


Probable Cause #1: The "seed" material was not mixed adequately with the untempered chocolate
Solution: Be sure the chocolate is thoroughly mixed before attempting to deposit it
Probable Cause #2: Hot air was blowing on the stream of chocolate as it was being poured into the mold
Solution: Be sure the air in the work area is not warmer than the chocolate that is being deposited


Probable Cause #1: The mold is too cold
Solution:  Be sure the mold is approximately 80 F before depositing the chocolate