Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate in order to use it for coating or dipping.
Proper tempering gives chocolate a smooth and glossy finish. Tempered chocolate will have a crisp snap and won't melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate.
Properly tempered chocolate is also great for molding candies because the candies will release out of the molds more easily and still retain a glossy finish.
Tempering can be accomplished in several different ways, including the following simple methods:
Grate or chop the desired amount of chocolate. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler. Heat over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly, until chocolate reaches 110°–115°F.
Place the top pan of the double boiler on a towel. Cool to 95°–100°F. Add the remaining chocolate to the top pan, stirring until melted. The chocolate is now ready to be used for molding candies, coating, or dipping.
Starting with a pound of broken chocolate, melt two-thirds of the chocolate over indirect heat, such as in the top pan of a double boiler. Melt just until the chocolate is liquid and smooth (at 110°–115°F). When it is smooth, add the remaining one-third of broken chocolate and heat again until the entire chocolate becomes smooth.
Pour the chocolate onto a marble or laminate surface. Using a spatula, scrape and stir the chocolate across the surface to smooth and cool it. When the chocolate cools to 80°–82°F, return it to the top pan of the double boiler. Place over hot, not boiling, water.
Heat and stir constantly, until it reaches 87°–91°F. Remove the top pan of the double boiler. The chocolate is now ready to be used for molding candies, coating, or dipping.
Tips for Tempering
- Do not heat above 130°F since chocolate, especially milk chocolate, is very sensitive to heat and will scorch or seize easily.
- Be sure no liquid gets into the chocolate. This will cause clumping or seizing.