How to Temper Chocolate

Tempering is the easiest part of working with chocolate — a little stirring is all that’s required.

Tempering allows the right crystal structure to form from the cocoa butter in chocolate, making the texture smooth, shiny and crisp. Chocolate that hasn’t been tempered is softer, melts more easily and often shows blooming or streaking.


Step One: Melt the Chocolate.

Set up the Proofer with wire rack in place and the thermostat at 45º C. The water tray may be placed underneath the rack, but make sure it is completely dry. The entire Proofer should be dry to prevent the chocolate from seizing.

Place about 3/4 of the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, setting aside the other 1/4 to use as “seed” chocolate. Your chocolate can be white, milk or dark, but it should be real chocolate containing cocoa butter, not palm oil or other non-chocolate fats (candy melts or some brands of white chocolate should not be used for tempering). It is not necessary to chop the chocolate, but smaller pieces will melt considerably faster. Place the bowl on the wire rack in the Proofer and allow the chocolate to melt slowly and safely. Four ounces (113g) of chocolate will be completely melted in 60 minutes or less, larger quantities may take longer. 

Step Two: Adjust the Proofer Temperature.

When the chocolate is completely melted, remove it from the Proofer and lower the thermostat to the correct holding temperature, normally about 32º C for dark chocolate or 30º C for milk or white chocolate. Leave the top open briefly so the Proofer will cool.

Step Three: Seed the Chocolate.

While the Proofer is cooling, add a piece (or pieces) of the reserved, un-melted chocolate to the bowl to provide seed crystals for the cooling chocolate. Stir continuously as the seed chocolate melts, and continue stirring until the temperature of the chocolate cools to 32º C for dark chocolate or 30º C for milk or white chocolate. To check if the chocolate is tempered, dip a spoon into the melted chocolate and place in the refrigerator until firm. The chocolate should be hard and smooth with no streaking. If this test is a success, place the chocolate back into the Proofer to hold at the right temperature to maintain the temper. If the chocolate is streaked, the tempering process may need to be repeated.

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