Tempering is an important process conducing to the shine of the final chocolate. It's a process in which mechanical manipulation and temperature control is used to coerce chocolate into one particular crystalline form so that when molded the chocolate has a shiny, smooth and stable texture. Tempered chocolates are wonderful to dip fruits, pretzels, marshmallows, etc. Improperly tempered chocolates result in dull-looking, poor textured chocolates. So the next time you see shiny, glazed chocolates, remember that a lot of effort has gone into the chocolate to get the shine. But what does it mean to temper chocolate?
How to Temper Chocolate at Home
Step 1: Tempering chocolate is quite a simple process. Before you melt your chocolate you need to chop it. So take a knife and start cutting pieces of the chocolate. Remember, whenever you make chocolate, you need to use freshly cut chocolate pieces. Cutting chocolate the previous night and using it the next morning is a strict no. This will only increase air bubbles in the chocolate and spoil the entire end product. Moreover, until it's time to chop, don't break open the chocolate pack. The lesser exposure raw chocolate has with air, the better will be the end product. To prepare chocolate, you need both dark and milk chocolate. The proportion of each is up to you. Chop them both in required proportions and keep aside.
Step 2: For melting of the chocolate you need a double boiler. Take a pan and add water into it. Next take a copper bottomed vessel and place it in the pan. Then heat till the water comes to a boil. The inner vessel is hot because of secondary heating.
Step 3: Drop the freshly chopped chocolate into the copper bottomed vessel. You will see how the chopped chocolate begins to melt. After a minute take the copper vessel out and place it on the counter. In clockwise fashion, using a spoon mix the chocolate such that you have no chocolate lumps. Once the milk chocolate has melted, add chopped dark chocolate. Place the copper vessel back in the boiler and allow it to melt. Once it melts bring it out on the counter and mix well.
Step 4: The melted chocolate is now ready to be tempered. For tempering what you need to do is take your spoon and hold it in the center of your vessel. Now move from the center to the circumference of the vessel, such that the back of the spoon touches the walls of the vessel. Continue moving the spoon clockwise in this fashion.
Step 5: You will find that some chocolate adheres to the sides of the vessel. So, in between stop the tempering motion and scoop in the chocolate sticking on the sides. Continue tempering for the next 6-7 minutes. You will get smooth, free-flowing, shiny chocolate consistency. To test if the chocolate has been tempered enough, just lift the spoon at a distance and watch the chocolate. If it freely flows down into the vessel, it has been tempered perfectly. Another way to test perfectly tempered chocolate is by dipping the tip of the knife into the chocolate and leaving it for two to three minutes. If the chocolate at the tip is still sticky, you need to temper for some more time. If it has set onto the knife, it has tempered well enough.
I hope these 5 steps help you temper chocolate for dipping. This tempered chocolate can be used for various purposes, for example, fruits like grapes, strawberries, raspberries, etc. can be dipped into this tempered chocolate. They just need four hours to set in the refrigerator before you can have them! One can also add pretzels, marshmallows, biscuits, dry fruits, etc. into the chocolate and put it into molds for setting. Chocolate is something that satiates our palettes. What better than making it on our own and presenting it to loved ones!