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tempering chocolate

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
hello, i am no professional... yet.

I have a question about chocolate tempering.

i have done it many and I mean many times. (always the seeding method in a metal bowl)

BUt all of a sudden at my new job, I can't seem to get it right. I am doing everything the way I always have.

the only difference is the brand of chocolate. at all my past jobs i have only used valrhona. this is the first place I have used cacoa barry. could this have something to do with it? the temps are always the same right? (i feel so stupid asking that)

I have never needed to use a thermometer before, only my bottom lip. I am considering giving in and using one though, this is ridiculous.

what are some tips you can give me on getting right?

I am sooooo frustrated! I feel like I am doing it for the first time AGAIN! ugh!
post #2 of 9
For dark chocolate, the temperature should be 31-32 cel, irregardless of the brand.

What are you seeding with?
Sometimes the couveture or callets/coins/whatever may have been subjected to high heat during storage, which knocks them out of temper, or it could be you're not adding enough, it should be around 1/3 tempered to untempered. Or it could be that the kitchen you're in is hot and muggy.

Thermometers are cheap, get them at your local drugstore-- you need a regular thermometer, the very same you'd use for yourself when you have a fever.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 9
Promofood Products Menu

Scroll down to the middle of the page and you will see, under the headings of pastry chocolates, the two chocolates you mentioned. This should give you a chance to compare them.

Until you get the problem(s) sorted out, I think using a thermometer would be a good idea. At the moment I disagree with foodpumps recommendation of a thermometer like you would use if you had a fever, because I don't think it has the full temperature range you need for chocolate, especially if its in degrees Fahrenheit. As I recall they don't go beyond 110 degrees F or lower than 92 degrees F. Since you are in Florida that is most likely what will be available. On the other hand foodpump mentions temperatures from the Celcius scale and I have not seen one of those thermometers intended for use on humans so it may well have enough range on it to work. Certainly something worth looking into.
post #4 of 9
These days a lot of chocolate brands have the tempering range printed right on the wrapper.....at least the 11 lb bars do. I use Callebaut and it has the ranges printed out. You might want to see if your wrapper has the ranges printed and yes, use a thermo!
post #5 of 9
Have been using a drug-store (digital) thermometer for over 10 years now. The ideal temperature for dark couveture is 32 Celcius, body temperature is 36-37 Celcius, most thermometers have a range from 25-28 C to 45 C.

Cupcakes, a though just occurred. If you've been trying to temper the same batch over and over again, you might have "overworked" the couveture.

Cocoa butter is poly-morphic, which means that it cyrstalizes at different stages, most chocolate people concur that there are 6 stages, and out of these 6 only two are stable. Each stage crystalizes at a different temperature. With an "overworked" couveture, there are "bad" (unstable) crystals in there, and the only way to get them out is to melt them out. Warm up the couveture to 45-48 celcius and keep it here for at least 10 minutes, then seed as per normal.

One of the best books on chocolate is "Chocolate and Confections" by Grewling, from the CIA (Culinary Inst. America) Lots of tips, advice, ideas, and recipies
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 9
Chocolates and Confections = great refrence.

I'm with foodpump, don't overwork your chocolate. And different brands behave differently.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #7 of 9
While 31-32 C is a pretty consistent range for temper with all dark chocolates, I've seen some variability in the tempering curve in terms of how where the top of the curve is. I use Michel Cluizel, and the top of the tempering curve is 116 for that. But I've seen other chocolates that call for 120. If you're starting with untempered chocolate you might not be taking it up high enough to melt out all the bad crystals, so definitely look up the tempering curve and use a thermometer.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all,

I have that book and it is a good reference.

thanks again
post #9 of 9
If your new brand of chocolate is not behaving like a previous brand, email or, better, call the manufacturer of the new brand. I had to this at work when we changed from Callebaut to Guittard. I got a nice email from the R&D folks, and I got a full technical spec of the recommended temps.
Also, recommend you get a digital thermometer, at least at first, until your lower lip gets re-calibrated.
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