Tempering Chocolate

If you’ve wanted to melt chocolate and mold it into different shapes, tempering chocolate is a necessity. For some people, this evokes fear and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tempering chocolate is done with three, simple steps:

  1. Melt the Chocolate
    • Don’t do this too quickly. The easiest way to do this is with a microwave, but don’t leave it in too long. You can easily scorch the chocolate. Cut the chocolate into chunks and into a dry, microwave safe bowl. Keep about a quarter of the chocolate out of the bowl, it will be used later. You don’t have to be exact. If you have a pound or more in the bowl, you can microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. If half or more liquefies, it is probably warm enough to be done, just stir until it’s all liquid.
  2. Cool the Chocolate
    • If you’re not in a hurry, just cover the chocolate and wait for it to fall to room temperature. I don’t use a thermometer, but you might want to until you have experience. You want the liquid chocolate to fall to a range of 85-90F. It won’t solidify at this point, so you can still mold it.
  3. Seed the Chocolate
    • Remember that chocolate you didn’t melt? Now it’s time to chop it up, the smaller the better, crumbs are the best, but it doesn’t have to be that small. Just bear in mind that these chunks won’t melt when you stir them into the chocolate, so unless you don’t care about large chunks, chop finely.
    • Stir the solid chocolate into the liquid. Stir vigorously.

At this point you have tempered chocolate. If you leave it alone for long, it will solidify and you will need to start over. Mold soon.

Pour the chocolate into your molds. Once poured, agitate the molds to remove the air bubbles. Then, cool quickly in the freezer, for a few minutes. When the chocolate is solid to the touch, remove it from the freezer. Don’t let it get cold or humidity will condensate on the chocolate and cause sugar bloom, not pretty. You will want the chocolate to set in a cool, dry place until it’s completely set, which could take hours, depending on the temperature.

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