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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trends & Techniques Tuesday! To Temper or Not Temper??

Welcome to Trends and Techniques Tuesday! After much deliberation we have finally figured out a format for our beloved blog. Make sure you come back tomorrow for Wow Factor Wednesday; we will be featuring an artist from either Etsy or Artfire!

I decided to make this first article about something that is near and dear to my heart...CHOCOLATE!! I love chocolate and it is fun to work with, once you have the proper techniques. Chocolate is a funny creature as it can go from silky smooth and cooperative to rigid and frustrating in a matter of seconds.

So, what is "tempering chocolate" anyway? Well, tempering is a method of allowing the crystals in the chocolate to be distributed and suspended evenly throughout the final product. Correctly tempered chocolate will produce a shiny, bright and crisp chocolate, while incorrectly tempered chocolate will appear streaky and dull.

There are a couple of different methods of tempering, my personal perference is the "seed method".

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler while stirring to ensure unform temperature.

Once the chocolate has fully melted and reached a temperature of over 105°F (41°C), remove it from the heat. At this temperature, all the crystals, loose or stable, should be melted. Add a piece of unmelted chocolate to provide the seed crystals. This piece can be as big as 2 ounces (if you're melting a sizeable amount of chocolate) or can be chopped up into a few smaller pieces.

Stir until the chocolate's temperature enters the tempering range, 88-90°F (31-32°C). The chocolate should be kept at this temperature until used.

Specific Tempering Temperatures
Depending on the cocoa butter content of the chocolate and introduction of other ingredients, the tempering temperature of chocolate varies. Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking provides these values for the three broad categories of chocolate:

Type of Chocolate Tempering Temperature
Dark (no milk content) 88-90°F (31-32°C)
Milk 86-88°F (30-31°C)
White 80-82°F (27-28°C)

Note that although white chocolate does not contain any cacao solids, it is still subject to the same tempering procedures since it is made of cocoa butter.

Tempered chocolate can be stored for several months without blooming at constant cool room temperature, 60-65°F (15-18°C).

Now you are ready to make a confection creation to die for!! Hope you enjoyed this little chocolate tutorial and come back to see us soon!!


  1. Too funny...I went and grabbed a chocolate snack cake before I cliked your ink. Thank goodness I had some chocolate! LOL

  2. Mmmmm, what a great way to kick of this new feature! Makes me want to start playing with chocolate (^:^)