"Françoise" wrote in message
What is tempered chocolate? What do you have to do to retemper?
Tempering is a function of 3 interrelated factors: Time, temperature and
agitation. Although most directions for tempering focus on the temp, the
time and stirring are important too. This means that even if you religiously
follow all the steps to get the right temps, you may not have a good
tempered chocolate yet. This isn't a failure...it just means that the time
and agitation requirements have not yet been met. Stirring a little longer
may be all it takes to do the trick.
You'll need some good quality, tempered chocolate. We're not talking Hershey
bars here. It should be one consistent color, dark and shiny. You can temper
any amount you like, because leftover tempered chocolate can be reused! Yay!
You'll need a 4 quart heat proof bowl, preferably stainless steel, along
with a rubber spatula, an instant read thermometer, and...if you like...a
Set aside 1/5 of the chocolate in one or two large pieces. Chocolate the
remaining chocolate into small pieces (no larger than 1/2") and place in the
bowl. Warm the chocolate slowly. It shouldn't register much more than 100*f
when it is entirely melted. You can do this by setting the bowl in a large
skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently at first, and then
constantly after it is 3/4 of the way melted. Remove from the heat and stir
1-2 minutes. If not completely smooth, return to the heat and stir.
If the temp exceeds 100*f when you remove it after melting, stir until it
reaches 100*f. Drop in the reserved chunks of chocolate and stir them around
until the chocolate registers 90*f. The way this works is, as you stir, you
are simultaneously cooling the melted chocolate and melting the surface of
the tempered chocolate. As the temperature reaches 91*f, the stable cocoa
butter crystals from the surface of the chunks mingle with the melted
chocolate, creating more stable crystals. When there are enough of these
stable crystals, the chocolate is "in temper", or tempered. The object is
not to melt the chunks, but to use them to provide the stable crystals.
To test for temper:
Drizzle some chocolate on a knife blade (or a piece of waxed paper). Set the
test chocolate in front of a fan. If it sets within 3 minutes and hardens
without streaks or a dull finish, it's tempered. If it is still soft after 3
minutes, it is not tempered yet.
Another method involves starting fresh, by melting all of the cocoa butter
crystals completely. To do this you'd follow much of the same steps,
especially in the beginning, but you'd bring the chocolate up to 115*f to
melt the crystals, and cool it to 85*f to start the seed crystals forming.
You'd then bring it back up to 91-93*f, and your chocolate would be
Hope this helps,