Chocolate manufacturers use equipment to precisely control the temperature of the chocolate (aka tempering chocolate) during processing to cause the fat molecules in the cocoa butter to align neatly and tightly together. It is firm at room temperature and has a crisp snap when you break it. When at home you heat the chocolate to melt it, you undo that process and so it is no longer in temper. Until now :) You can now use your thermomix
The tempering process involves slowly raising and lowering the temperature of melted chocolate while constantly stirring. This process causes the structure of the large cocoa-butter crystals in the chocolate to repeatedly break and then reform.
The reasons for tempering chocolate are:
- To avoid fat (and sugar) bloom, characterised by unappealing white streaks or blotches on the surface.
- To raise the melting temperature of finished chocolate so it doesn’t melt on contact with your fingers.
- To preserve the keeping quality of chocolate by stratifying the fat.
- To cool chocolate quickly. Tempered chocolate cools fast, within 5 minutes.
- Tempered chocolate will shrink slightly when cooled, which allows it to slip out of molds easily.
- To give chocolate a glossy, shiny appearance, and a crisp, clean snap when you break it
The best way I find to do this is to always use a good quality reputable brand of chocolate.
Place 3/4s of your chocolate into Thermomix bowl and break chocolate up into crumbs for a few seconds on speed 9. This ensures the melting process will occur evenly and quickly. Please note that it is very important that your bowl must be completely dry – even a drop of water can affect chocolate and cause it to seize.
Heat chocolate in bowl 4 mins/50°C/speed 2. The Thermomix is a great asset to have for this process as it is constantly stirring the chocolate whilst heating it to 50°C. Half way through the 4 minutes remove lid of TM bowl and scrape down any chocolate from sides or any that is on top of blades.
Then add the remaining quarter of your chocolate and stir through for 1 min/speed 2 with no temperature selected which will bring the chocolate down to 37°C which makes it then easier to work with. By adding more chocolate it introduces good crystals into the warm chocolate and it cools it down.
It is important to not overheat chocolate as it can burn easily. It is good too, to be mindful that white and milk chocolate due to the additional milk and sugar content will melt more quickly than dark chocolate
Tempering chocolate is beneficial for using chocolate in chocolate molds or wanting to give it a glossy finish.
When it comes to baking, chocolate does not need to be tempered because it is being incorporated into another form. For example; chocolate does not need to be tempered to make chocolate ganache or chocolate frosting, as there are other ingredients added to the chocolate in generous quantities relative to the amount of chocolate.
So here is an example on how I temper 200g chocolate:
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