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Oct 10, 2006 01:43 PM

Tempering Chocolate -- How Frustrating is That!

Last night, after making caramels and buttercrunch, I attempted to temper about 1.5 lbs. of Callubaut bittersweet chocolate to enrobe the caramels and coat the buttercrunch. I used a chocolate thermometer and followed all the directions (raise temp. to 125, reduce to 86, raise to 91) and it failed. Then, I began all over again and my attempt failed again. (So now all my candy is in the fridge and needs to be eaten before those white streaks start forming.) I've successfully tempered chocolate in the past (though not for at least a year) and I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas to prevent another failure. It's a very messy business and frustrating when it doesn't work. Anyone have any thoughts on tempering machines? Thanks.

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  1. I have to be honest that I don't use a thermometre when tempering chocolate -- it comes off the double boiler, it gets set in ice water, and I whip it until it glistens... that's it.

    1. Did you put in a piece of chocolate as a seed? This helps the melted chocolate to reform in the same crystalline structure as the seed.

      David Lebovitz has a very clear description of the process here (scroll all the way down, it's the August 3 entry):

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheryl_h

        Thanks. I did add several chunks of the chocolate to the melted chocolate, once I took it off the heat. I'll check out the link -- thanks for that!

      2. I have been making chocolates for over 30 years and thanks to the invention of the microwave melting and tempering chocolate is so easy now. I just put my chocolate in a plastic microwave proof bowl and start it on 1 minute intervals. I usually take it out every 30 seconds and give it a stir then continue to heat until it melts. You have to watch this carefully because the chocolate will burn really fast this way. The chocolate usually doesn't heat up as hot this method and I just stir quickly until it glistens. Using the microwave helps prevent the chocolate siezing due to water contamination.
        It makes life much easier than having to heat it so high and then letting it cool down to temper. No white streaks ever!

        1 Reply
        1. re: MeffaBabe

          once the chocolate melts, do you seed it then? or will one single melting in the microwave work for the temper?

        2. What I do is I'll melt my chocolate & then add a big block of chocolate to it & then stir until the block can't melt anymore. Always works.

          1. Some gourmet stores offered tempered chocolate chunks that are ready to go and can save you a LOT of trouble...


            7 Replies
            1. re: Dommy

              I think that all bar chocolate is already tempered -- however it goes out of temper once it's melted, and I need to melt it to dip caramels in it!

              1. re: Susan Hope

                Sorry, I should have explained myself better... Restaurant and Gourmet Stores offer "molding' Chocolate which doesn't need to be tempered. It's like already tempered dark chocolate. All you need to do is melt and dip...



                1. re: Dommy

                  Yes, I think that's often called summer coating, which I've never used, because I've been told that it's not "real" chocolate and lacks flavor, though after last night's disaster, it's very tempting! Thanks for the suggestion.

                  1. re: Susan Hope

                    Maybe more inexpensive brands, but it IS chocolate... But although not as good as Valhrona, this brand is pretty tasty! They make a white chocolate as well! :)


                    1. re: Dommy

                      What you are talking about is "non tempering chocolate" or "molding chocolate" or "coating chocolate." It varies from "real" chocolate in that it contains little or no cocoa butter, which is replaced by vegetable shortening. For chocolate to be in temper the cocoa butter crystals must be lined up in a certain fashion on a molecular level. "Non-tempering chocolate" does not require this process of tempering because the vegetable shortening will be solid at room temperature (think Crisco) and will coat your candies accordingly.

                      1. re: Dommy

                        So can you use it as a dipping or coating chocolate? We make these yummy chocolate creams at Christmas time, and for about two decades now we have been trying to avoid using the paraffin that is called for in the original recipe. We haven't found any other way (including our own fiasco-laden attempts at tempering) to get the chocolate coating to set up well.

                        1. re: zorra

                          Yes, I was introduced to it in a Truffle Making class as the Tastiest and EASIEST thing to coat truffles with.