Chocolate 101: Tempering
Working with real chocolate – chocolate made with cocoa butter and a certain percentage of chocolate liquor – requires tempering. Tempering is the heating and cooling of chocolate that ensures that the chocolate has a nice shine, hardens and sets properly, and doesn’t melt on your fingers – a necessity if you are planning on using it to make chocolate treats.
Different types of chocolate require different temperatures to be tempered properly. Chocolate is initially heated before being cooled. During the cooling process, small crystals are created by moving the chocolate around. Then the chocolate’s temperature is slowly raised once again.
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At our chocolate factory, we have machines that we can set to the desired temperature. But the best way to heat chocolate to the right temperature at home is with the help of a double boiler. Start by heating the water to the correct temperature, then remove the double boiler from the heat. Place a pan with the broken-up chocolate pieces on top of the heated water and melt the chocolate until it reaches the desired temperature.
PRO TIP: The aid of a candy thermometer will help with the accurate reading of the temperatures. The heating and cooling process should happen very slowly over time.