Table Tempering of Dark Chocolate Couverture

Tempering gives chocolate a beautiful shine and a crisp snap. It can be done in three different ways. Tabling method, Seeding method and machine method. This blog is going to cover on how to temper Dark Chocolate Couverture using the tabling method. It is a basic method, that can be mastered with practice and the right temperatures. When Dark Chocolate Couverture is correctly tempered, along with its beautiful shine it is going to provide a complete consuming smooth experience on the consumer’s palate.

What is tempering? And why do we do it?

Cocoa Butter the fat in Pure Chocolate Chocolate is a six phase polymorphic crystal. The crystals present are beta I, Beta II, Beta III, Beta IV, Beta V and Beta VI. Out of the six forms, only Beta V and some of the Beta IV has the tendency to harden into shiny chocolate piece.

Tempering is the process of melting and then cooling and further bringing Dark Chocolate Couverture to a working temperature of 31C. This process, makes the Beta V form a dominant crystal structure, hence solidifying it into a hard shiny block. Well tempered chocolate easily de-moulds itself from a polycarbonate mould.

What happens if you don’t temper it properly?

In case tempering is not done properly, the other crystals tend to form a dominant structure leading to fat bloom and a crumbly snap in Chocolate. If the temperature goes higher, then the chocolate may not harden at all.

Equipment Required: Double Bath/Microwave; Bowl and Silicon Spatula; Dry Napkin Cloth; Scraper/Palette Knife; Thermometer; Hot Air Gun/Hair Dryer. Marble/Grantie Work Top;

Environment Required: Cool dry room with a temperature of 18C-24C and a humidity of 45%-55%.

Process of Tempering:

Before you start the process its important to note water and high heat are enemies of Chocolate. Ensure at all times, you stay away from moisture and high heat

Step 1: Measure required amount of chocolate in a clean and dry bowl. Melt (Refer to the detailed blog on how to melt pure chocolate) to a temperature of 40C-45C for Dark Chocolate. Do not overheat Chocolate and ensure stir continuously.

Step 2: Pour 2/3rds of the melted chocolate onto a marble/granite work top (Ensure the marble/granite top is cold and completely free from moisture by checking with the back of your clean palm/a thermometer). Keep the chocolate in motion by moving it continuously with a palette knife or a scraper or a combination of the two.

Step 3: Continue the above process until the chocolate starts to slightly thicken and reach a cooling temperature of 26C-28C

Step 4: Pour the slightly thick chocolate back into the bowl with the rest of the melted warm chocolate. Stir the mixture thoroughly in circles, ensuring not to incorporate air bubbles. Keep on stirring until the whole becomes smooth and free from lumps.

Step 5: If it does continue to have lumps, add hot dry air in batches using either a hot air gun/hair dryer. Once the mixture has reached a working temperature of 30C-31C (do not heat it beyond working temperature), it is ready to be moulded into different shapes. If the Chocolate hardens while work bring it to working temperature using a hot air gun/hair dryer.

Temper Test

Once the chocolate is tempered, you need to test for its shine and snap. Do this by simply coating your palate knife with a little bit of chocolate and wait for a couple of minutes (1-4 minutes based on the room temperature and the amount you coat your palette knife). If it sets, your chocolate is ready to use. Else repeat :D

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