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Why did my chocolate get streaky?

r
Redbone Dec 10, 2004 06:49 AM

Help! I'm trying to make an assortment of dried, chocolate dipped goodies--ginger, apricots, figs. Thankfully I only did a few last night.
On the advice of the pastry chef at work (I'm a line cook but clueless about sweets), I heated some bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler to about 120F, then cooled it to just below body temperature before dipping. It tastes great, but has a whitish, marbled appearance. What did I do wrong?

  1. l
    leslie Dec 10, 2004 07:23 AM

    Did you stir it constantly and vigorously while it was cooling? Also, I never heat the chocolate over 110 degrees or so, depending on how well it is melting in the first place. You have to stir it the whole time it is cooling so that it gets tempered and the fat molecules re-arrange in a good way. If you don't stir, you get streaks and there is no "snap" when you break the chocolate (after it sets again).

    Good luck!

    L

    2 Replies
    1. re: leslie
      j
      jennyantepenultimate Dec 10, 2004 09:26 AM

      The "easy" way to temper is to add in some room temperature pre-tempered chocolate to your melted puddle and stir stir stir. The "easy" is in quotes because sometimes it doesn't work. (The hard way involves getting out your candy thermometer and heating to 100s and then cooling to low 80s and then rewarming to high 80s for dark chocolate. And the even harder way involves messing around with melted chocolate on a marble slab with your hand.)

      You know, even if your temper fails, who's going to turn down your homemade chocolate candies?

      1. re: jennyantepenultimate
        c
        curiousbaker Dec 10, 2004 10:02 AM

        This is definitely the method to use. You can test your chocolate by dipping the tip of a room temperature metal spoon into the chocolate and putting it to the side. If after a minute or two it has begun to set up - it can still be tacky, but it's firm - you've achieve temper. If not, if it's still completely wet, it's not tempered yet. Keep stirring. If the chocolate is still warm, it won't be tempered yet - it should be wet but cool when touched to your lower lip. If it gets too cool and starts to thicken, while still failing the test for temper, jsut warm it up for a minute over hot water, stirring all the while. Add another piece of tempered chocolate if the first has melted entirely.

        If you make sure you have enough fully tempered chocolate on hand, and you test it before you dip, there's no reason you can't have perfectly tempered chocolate every time.

    2. t
      texasmensch Dec 10, 2004 09:21 AM

      Whenever chocolate gets whitish, it is the fat separating due to heat. I agree with the other poster, reduce heat and stir more.

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