One of my confessions is that I LOVE to work with chocolate. If I could work all day with chocolate and have a stable income I would do it in a second. I enjoy everything about it, the smell, the process, even the fickleness of it! Tempering chocolate is just that, fickle. It is a delicate process but one you have to learn to be able to truly work with chocolate versus just melting it and dipping stuff so if it doesn't work right the first time don't get discouraged. When I first started working with chocolates it was the hardest thing for me by far but now I truly enjoy it! Tempered chocolate is chocolate that sets quickly at room temperature, hardens as it dries, is shiny, has a smooth mouth taste, and doesn't use its luster or soften at room temperature, think Godiva or a fancy chocolatier. Here is how to temper your own! What you need:
Chocolate!! Good Quality - I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate- it can be dark, milk, or white this has instructions for all! The more you make the longer it will hold its temper.
A glass bowl- these are my absolute favorites for chocolate!
A digital thermometer- this is the one I use for chocolate
Chop your chocolate up! This is easier to do with bars than with chips but both need to be chopped.
Once it is chopped you can either use a microwave (easiest and safest) or a double broiler. If you use the broiler make sure no water or steam touches the chocolate. Chocolate hates water! Either way you are going to melt 70-75% of your chopped chocolate. For microwaving, use 60 second intervals at 50% power stirring each time until the chocolate reaches between 155°-120°F (46°-49°C). Let set for 10 minutes.
Once ten minutes is up you begin the "seeding" method which is adding chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate to reduce the temperature. Add handfuls and stir until fully incorporated and test the temperature each time. Your goal is to reach 86°F (30° C) for dark or 81°F (27°C) for milk or white. If I am tempering milk or white I only melt about 70% of my chocolate because it takes more to seed it.
Now it gets weird. Once your temperature is set you reheat the chocolate (I know but bear with me because it is so worth it). For dark you need to reach 89°F (32°C) and for milk or white you need to reach 86°F (30°C). Now you test for your temper. There are a few ways to do this but my favorite is the smear method. You just pour a strip of chocolate on parchment or wax paper and smear it a bit bit. If the line is clean and holds its shape it is tempered. If it seems uneven or separated it is not. The only trick now is to maintain the temper. The easiest way to do this is reheat in small 4 second spurts and add some more chocolate if necessary. Once your chocolate heats over 90°F (32°C) the temper is broken so be careful!
You can use this to dip fruits, truffles, or do molds!
Happy Chocolate Making!!!