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Hi Bold Bakers!
When it comes to my baking I am all about technique. But there are just some things I think life is too short for and Tempering Chocolate is one of them. Rather than do it over a bain-marie, I make it quickly in the microwave. It’s easier and you get the same result. Be sure to watch my video below for the method and get the written recipe and rationale below.
Why does chocolate need to be tempered?
Tempering chocolate is used mostly in Chocolate making or creating chocolate decorations. Tempering chocolate yields you a silky smooth product that gives your chocolate a glossy sheen and a nice bite to it. Tempering also makes chocolate more pliable and easier for pastry chefs to manipulate for dessert decorations and edible art. You know that kind of chalky, dusty color you can get on chocolate sometimes? Tempering will stop that from happening.
Here’s the science:
Chocolate is made up of various crystals. If they are not aligned correctly, chocolate will not have that nice, glossy snap when it sets, and will streak and “bloom,” developing a white, sandpaper-like exterior made of cocoa butter. Tempering chocolate by heating, stirring, and cooling aligns the chocolate crystals so that the chocolate sets up correctly when it hardens. Traditionally, one step involved melting chocolate over a double boiler, which adds time and runs the risk of moisture — chocolate kryptonite — getting on the chocolate.
This time, it’s easy. With little more than a bowl, a spatula, and a microwave, you can have perfectly tempered chocolate, every time.
Here’s how to temper chocolate in the microwave:
You will need: a spatula, glass bowl, microwave, and a good, accurate thermometer with a range as low as 70°F (21°C). Since you have to end up in a very specific temperature range, a good thermometer is key.
Now, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Divide the chocolate into 2 batches: 3/4 of the chocolate in 1 bowl and then the leftover 1/4 in another to be used later.
Put the bowl with the large amount of chocolate into the microwave and melt on high in 20 to 30 second bursts, stirring gently, until it is melted and glossy, in between 114 to 118° F (57oC-59oC). You may even need to microwave in 5-second bursts toward the end. The goal is to hit the temperature “sweet spot” and not burn or overheat the chocolate.
The temperature range is different for milk and white chocolate. Milk chocolate should be melted to between 108 and 113° F (42°C-45°c); White chocolate’s range is 105 to 110° F (40°C-43°C). White can burn very easily — be careful.
Next, begin “seeding” the melted chocolate by adding the reserved (1/4 amount) chocolate pieces, a bit at a time, stirring gently. The seeding and stirring will realign the chocolate crystals into temper. Stir and seed until the temperature of the chocolate is 88 to 89° F (31°C-32°C), and the seeding pieces are fully melted. Milk and white chocolate should cool to 85 to 86° F(29°C-30°C). Done!
Your chocolate is now in temper. Work with the chocolate in its tempered range. If it starts cooling too much, you can microwave it at half power to bring it back up.
I used FOOD52.com as a reference for this method. If you would like to read their full article on Microwave Tempered Chocolate click here.
You can make Homemade Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Truffles just like these with Tempered Chocolate.
Recreate some of your favorite chocolate like I did here. I made Rolos.