Monday, November 7, 2011

Temperature is Everything

Ever wonder why chocolate bars have such a nice snap? Why they are glossy and creamy? Why the chocolate decorations at a bakery are so much better than the chocolate decorations you make with melted down Hershey Kisses? It's all in the tempering.

Death By Chocolate
Tempering is a process in which the chocolated is melted, heated, cooled and the warmed to achieve all of the wonderful qualities we have come to know and love about a good quality chocolate confection.
On a molecular level, cocoa butter has six different formations, and we are after one formation in general. the one that will give us the perfect snap, sheen and color.

Every type of chocolate is differnet, therefore they need to be cooled to different temperatures before working with them.

White Chocolate: Heat up to 110 degrees; Cool down to 78 degrees; Bring Back to 82 degrees
Milk Chocolate: Heat up to 115 degrees; Cool to 80 degrees; Bring back to 86 degrees
Dark Chocolate: Heat up to 120 degrees; Cool to 82 degrees; Bring back to 90 degrees

So, lets break it down, step by step.

Rubber Spatula
Metal Offset Spatula
Putty Knife, or Another Offset Spatuala
Metal Teaspoons

Place your chcoclate in a double boiler, stiring occasionally, until it is melty, gooey and creamy, or about 120 degrees.

Pour about one third onto a marble slab (or an upside down sheet tray) and try to pile it on itself in a blob in the center of the marble with the putty knife, using a spatula as a wiper. After it is all piled up, spread it thin again and work back into a pile.

Chris Tabling Chocolate

After about five piles have been spread and re-piled, return the chocolate to the bowl and mix vigorously.

Pour more out and repeat the process.

Continue on until the chocolate is noticably thicker, duller and beings to hild its shape when working. Dip a spoon in the chocolate and allow to set for five minutes, if it is still wet, keep tabling.

Make sure to work clean so fragments of the chocolate don't harden and create lumps in the warmer chocolate.

Once finally tempered make sure it stays at body temperature when working with it. If the chocolate hardens, it must be retempered.

You can make all sorts of cool things with tempered chocolate.

Chocolate Truffels, Chocolate Mousse Cups, and Choclate Swirls
To make the Chocolate cups, simply blow up balloons in the desired size. Dip in tempered chocolate, allow to harden for about 20 minutes on a parchment lined sheet pan and then pop and remove the balloon. Voila!

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