How to temper chocolate

    Fancy your chances as a master chocolatier? Here's a guide to tempering chocolate to help you on your way...

    Tempering by seeding 

    This tempering method uses the addition of finely chopped pieces, disks or pistoles of chocolate into already-melted chocolate. Adding stable, crystallised chocolate lowers the temperature naturally, enabling regular crystallisation of the chocolate mass. The method is a replacement for using a marble working surface or a cold-water bath.

    Melting chocolateWhat you'll need

    400 g (14 oz) chocolate, 1 serrated knife, 1 kitchen thermometer,1 flexible spatula and 1 food processor fitted with a blade attachment.

    How to temper chocolate

    • Chop three quarters of the chocolate (300 g/ 10 1/2 oz) on a chopping board, using a serrated knife. Even better, use couverture chocolate in the form of fèves, buttons or pistoles.
    • Finely chop the remaining quarter (100 g / 3 1/2 oz) or process it with the blade knife attachment of a food processor.
    • Place the roughly chopped chocolate in a bowl. Half fill a saucepan with hot water, and put the bowl over it, making sure that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the saucepan. Slowly heat the water, ensuring it does not boil. Alternatively, use a microwave oven if you wish, but in "defrost" position or at 500 W maximum. Stir regularly using a flexible spatula so that the chocolate melts smoothly.
    • Check the temperature with a thermometer. When it reaches 55C-58C (131F-136F) for bittersweet/ dark, or 45C- 50C (113F-122F)  for milk or white, remove the chocolate from the bain-marie.
    • Set aside one-third of the melted chocolate in a bowl, in a warm place. Add the remaining finely chopped quarter (100 g/ 4 oz) of the chocolate into the remaining two-thirds of the melted chocolate, stirring constantly. Bittersweet/ dark chocolate should reach a temperature of 28C-29C (82F-84F); milk chocolate should reach 27C-28C (81F-82F); and white or coloured chocolate should reach 26C-27C (79F-81F).
    • Then add the melted chocolate that you have set aside to increase the temperature. Bittersweet/ dark chocolate should reach 31C-32C (88F-90F); milk chocolate should reach 29C-30C (84F-86F); an white or coloured chocolate should reach 28C-29C (82F-84F). Stir until the right temperature is reached.

    Top tip: If the chocolate has attained the right temperature and there are still pieces of unmelted chocolate, remove them before increasing the temperature. If you leave them, the chocolate will thicken very quickly and become sticky because of over-crystallisation.

     

    Cooking with chocolate book cover

     

    This extract is taken from the Valrhona Chocolate book - Cooking with Chocolate published by Flammarion.

     

    Comments, questions and tips

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    Comments (3)

    Loobyloo456's picture

    Followed this recipe to the letter and then wondered why I had 300 very wrong looking profiteroles, after looking elsewhere every other recipe says only take dark chocolate to 45°c NOT 55°c, now I have a 4am start on a sunday morning to try and remake all the profiteroles again. Further looking on the page I realise someone has commented 2 YEARS AGO about the mistake, and the website didn't follow it up. Very disappointing BBC good food

    AlderleyCB's picture

    Good luck trying to use the current Galaxy milk chocolate. What have they done to it? Kept a gluttonous mess whilst other chocolates just melted straight away in similar bowls.

    chocchess's picture

    the temperature for bringing the dark choc up to seems to be way to high - 45 degrees C not 55 would seem to be right.

    Questions (2)

    jamefish's picture

    I am using cocoa powder instead of melting commercial chocolate, therefore there is a difference in tempering technique. Can you advise a method?
    Thank you,
    Jim

    goodfoodteam's picture

    Hi there, you don’t need to temper cocoa powder, hope this helps, thanks.

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