Tempering chocolate: finding the right balance. You’ve seen them do it on Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, stressing, sweating and shaking over their failed attempts to temper chocolate.
It might look easy, but if you’ve ever tried it yourself at home you’ll know it’s a delicate process that requires skill, patience and balance.
Chefs, chocolatiers and hosts of serious dinner parties use the delicate process of tempering chocolate to create professional cake decorations, fine chocolate twills and elegantly presented desserts and truffles. The perfect tempered chocolate should glisten with a delicate shine and break with a vibrant snap!
And while the results can look luxurious, getting it right can be laborious and very messy task…often ending in a kitchen covered in sticky dark chocolate.
To help you avoid this less than ideal outcome, we have put together a step-by-step, fool proof, recipe to temper chocolate with advice from the good people at Haigh’s Chocolates, the oldest family-owned chocolate maker in Australia.
Haigh’s Technical and Product Manager, Ben Kolly, says that the key to tempering chocolate is finding the right balance between low and high temperatures before cooling the chocolate to model it into delicious decorations.
“It’s a very delicate process, it’s all about getting the temperature just right from hot to cool in a very short period of time,” he said.
“It’s about using the best chocolate and the right equipment to support the fluctuations in temperature and to reach the perfect consistency.”
How to Temper Chocolate
- Chocolate pastilles – (70 % dark, dark or milk)
- Bain-Marie (a metal bowl placed over a saucepan with shallow boiling water)
- Bench, marble or granite chopping board.
- Kitchen knife- large and sharp
Directions: The Tempering process
- Place the chocolate in the bain-marie and heat it to 48°C so that all the chocolate crystals melt.
- Put two thirds of the molten chocolate on to a cold granite board or marble. You can use a spatula to spread the warm chocolate around the granite by moving it from the sides to the middle until it starts thickening.
- Check the chocolate’s temperature. Dark chocolate should be at 28°C and milk at 26°
- Remove the slightly thick chocolate from the marble or granite to the bowl with the remaining third of the warm chocolate. Mix to a perfect consistency.
- Use a spatula to scoop chocolate in and out of the bowl to ensure that it has runny and thick consistency. The chocolate is now tempered and ready to make decorations.
- Use a spatula to apply a thin layer of the tempered chocolate on the granite or marble. Work it until it begins to thicken.
- Test the chocolate for the right consistency by checking that it is not sticky.
- To create fans, quills, twirls and shards with the chocolate, drive a large kitchen knife under one side and run its blade along the stone’s surface.
- Place the decorations inside the fridge to cool and to set properly.
- Use your chocolate artwork to decorate a cake or dessert.
My question to readers, have you ever tried to temper chocolate before? Have you tried and succeeded or tried and failed? I hope these tips will help you create the perfect tempered chocolate decorations for you desserts.