How to Temper Chocolate
Aimee HerringTempering chocolate is a process of heating and cooling chocolate to make sure it sets up properly. If you simply melt chocolate, it will set with gray streaks called bloom and have a soft, mushy texture.
Chef Peter Greweling of The Culinary Institute of America uses the seeding method, which is fairly straightforward. The idea is to cool down melted chocolate by adding pistoles or a block of chocolate into a bowl with warm, already-melted chocolate. The lower temperature of the new chocolate "seeds" the melted chocolate. Chef Greweling adds the chocolate block to his bowl of melted chocolate, then stirs continuously. After a bit, he uses a thermometer to test the temperature. If the chocolate is above 90F, it's not possible for it to be tempered. If it's below 90F, it may or not be, and there's only one way to tell: Take a spoon and dip it in the chocolate. Chef Greweling puts the chocolate-coated spoon on a plate and waits to see what it does. If it's tempered, it will set in about 5 minutes and be smooth and shiny. Chances are the first couple of times you test the chocolate, it may not be tempered. All you have to do is to keep stirring the melted chocolate (with the block) until the spoon tests properly. Chef Greweling does three tests. His first test didn't set, the second test set, but with streaks, and on the third test, the chocolate has set beautifully.
Once it's tempered, you can take the block out. You're left with a bowl of tempered chocolate ready for candy making or dipping strawberries.
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Hi, I'm Chef Peter Greweling from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to temper chocolate by the seeding method.
Tempering chocolate is a procedure of heating and cooling the chocolate, and we do this in order to make sure it sets up properly. If you simply melt chocolate, it'll always set with grey streaks called bloom, and with a texture that's both too soft and not homogeneous. It'll be grainy in your mouth. The seeding method can be performed using either chocolate pistoles or a single block of chocolate. I'm going to put the block in, and begin stirring. That block of chocolate is going to cool off our melted chocolate. As it brings it down in temperature, it's going to seed it so it will set properly.
Now a good thermometer comes in handy. You test the temperature. If the chocolate is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it simply cannot be tempered. When it's below 90 degrees, it may or may not be tempered, and there's only one way to tell. Take something like a spoon, and dip the spoon in the chocolate. Then you put the spoon down on a plate, and simply wait and see what it does. if the chocolate is tempered, it will set within about five minutes, and when it sets it'll be smooth and shiny.
So, it's been about ten minutes - and our first test hasn't set yet. Chances are, the first couple of times you test the chocolate it may not be tempered. All you have to do is keep stirring with the block. Don't heat the chocolate again; just keep stirring with the block until the spoon tests properly. Dip another spoon, put it down, and now we'll see if this one sets.
It's been about ten more minutes. You can see that the first test still hasn't set. The second has set, but it has streaks in it; it's not a very nice temper. I've continued stirring this entire time, and now I'm ready to test the chocolate one more time. I think this time it should set just fine.
Five minutes after our third test, the chocolate has set beautifully. It's set quickly, without any streaks, it's smooth, it's shiny. Once our chocolate is tempered we can take the block out. Now we have a bowl of perfectly tempered chocolate, ready to use for dipping strawberries or truffles - whatever you're using it for.
That's how you temper chocolate by the seeding method. For more great tips, log on to kitchendaily.com!