Posts Tagged ‘tempering chocolate’

tempering chocolate

My chocolate doesn’t have much of a temper apparently. At least for tonight it’s got more patience than I have. Tomorrow is a new day though. Meantime, here is how not to temper chocolate.

The chocolate I bought for my chocolatiering attempts this year talked about how to melt but not how to temper. It shows beautiful truffles and all kinds of chocolate dipped things on the front. I questioned whether I needed to temper or not. I put a lot of effort and time into these truffles (the ganache is wonderful BTW) and I decided I didn’t want their finishes to be less than I was capable of because I wasn’t willing to try. Better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.

In preparation I watched a couple of videos on tempering chocolate. The one I linked is not the method I used, but it is a much more enjoyable video to watch. I could listen to Jacques talk about chocolate for a long time. Also on the opening bit did you notice all the beautiful confections? Key lime ganache? mmmm.

Knowing how candy making goes I had all of my chocolate cut, bowls clean and very dry, candy thermometer handy. I even had my candy canes chopped for topping my mint truffles. With this much prep exactly what can go wrong?

{feel free to make a long list or laugh at this point}

I separate out my chocolate for seeding and melting. In the bowl goes the melting chocolate and on top of my slowly simmering pot of water. I’m watching my temperatures close because I have mixed chocolate and one of the videos I watched had different temperatures for dark and milk chocolate. Fortunately they overlap so I’m planning on moving it off of the heat at 118°.

In all my planning I didn’t grab a towel so I could pull the bowl off of the make shift double boiler. I’m at 95° and my towel is two steps away. Shouldn’t be a problem should it? Well, something unusual happened and my temperature jumps up to 125°. Yes, far above my goal temperature.

It can’t be that bad can it? Really it probably just means it will take a little longer to cool down to 80°. So I dump in my seeding chocolate wondering if I left too much out. One of the videos mentioned if you get to 80° and you still have chunks of seeding chocolate that haven’t melted to pull them out and save them to use next time. What if I have too much seeding chocolate?

Having too much seeding chocolate was not a problem. My seeding chocolate was melted and my temperature was at 122°. Hmmm, I start to think this might be a problem so I pick up the bowl and carry it over to the counter where it’s cooler than by the stove thinking the cooler side of the room should help. 30 minutes later, I’m still working the chocolate and the chocolate is still over 100°. How is that possible? The Epicurious video was only 04:23 and he even discussing storing chocolate. I know the magic of editing but this is ridiculous.

I put down the spoon and grab a glass baking dish and put some cool water in it. {yes, go ahead laugh} and put my bowl inside of it careful to not get any water in my chocolate because I know I don’t want it to seize. I’ve had chocolate seize before and it’s not recoverable. I’m working the chocolate, from the edges in because I know it’s going to be cooling there the most and it starts to get a little thicker. Oooo, yeah! Temperature finally gets down to 80° and I move it back over to my double boiler set up. Yes, I know Jacques says to use the hairdryer instead but I’m not listening.

The cold from the bowl continues to work and in 2 seconds I have chocolate that is setting up. Not thickening up but setting up. Again, this can’t be good. I don’t have the double boiler heating because I know I want it to warm up gently, almost as if by a hairdryer.

88°, I can do that right?

Or not.

The chocolate around the outside is a lovely 88° and the center is still setting up. So I stir faster hoping it all evens out and I still have tempered chocolate (I rarely give up on things working out for me, I like to push through until the very end) By now my bowl is hot enough it keeps heating up the chocolate well over the 88° and into untempered territory.

At least I can try again, as I said the chocolate is very forgiving and up for trying again tomorrow! Now if I can figure out how to deal with my bowl heating up my chocolate. I wonder if I can pour my melted chocolate over top of my seeding chocolate in a not warmed up bowl? I guess it’s worth a shot. It’s not worst than anything else I did to the chocolate tonight.

I will post truffle pictures if I ever manage to get them dipped before I eat all of the ganache balls.

Peppermint truffles


I decided to try one truffle in the chocolate and see how it set up. Good news is they set up beautiful so either I did manage to temper my chocolate (doubt it) or the chocolate I picked up doesn’t need to be tempered (most likely in my opinion) either way I’m happy. Bad news is, I didn’t pick up enough chocolate so they are only partially dipped tonight.


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