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  1. Tempering Chocolate

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  1. Homemade Rocky Road, from The Great Book of Chocolate As you can see, there is a dull white sheen on the surface of this piece of chocolate.

  2. So that’s what happens to chocolate that’s not properly tempered: the cocoa fat rises to the surface and “blooms”, making it unappealing and unattractive. When you buy chocolate, like a candy bar, the chocolate’s been tempered and it should be nice and shiny and snap when you break it. If you leave your candy bar in a warm car and later open it up, often it’ll become white and gray. The heat caused your chocolate to lose it’s temper. When you buy chocolate for baking, it should arrive well-tempered. But once you chop it up and melt it, the beta crystals change, the chocolate loses its temper, and you’ll need to re-temper it again if you plan to use it as a coating. If you’re going to cook with it, just use it in your recipe, as indicated.

  3. Pages and volumes of technical research have been written about tempering chocolate, but here are the main reasons for all you home cooks out there:

  4. To avoid fat (and sugar) bloom, characterized by unappealing white streaks or blotches on the surface.

  5. To raise the melting temperature of finished chocolate so it doesn’t melt on contact with your fingers.

  6. To preserve the keeping quality of chocolate by stratifying the fat.

  7. To cool chocolate quickly. Tempered chocolate cools fast, within 5 minutes.

  8. To give chocolate a glossy, shiny appearance, and a crisp, clean snap when you break it.

  9. As I’ve said, you don’t need to temper chocolate is you’re going to bake a chocolate cake or make chocolate ice cream. The only time you need to temper chocolate is when you need an attractive, shiny coating for candies that will sit at room temperature. You can get around tempering by dipping chocolates in melted, untempered chocolate and storing them in the refrigerator. Just remove them from the refrigerator a few minutes prior to serving them. The coolness of the refrigerator will stratify the cocoa fat and it’s won’t bloom.


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