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Trouble With Tempering

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Within the past few months, I've expressed a big interest in chocolate and sugar work. I've been trying to temper chocolate with the seed method for a few weeks now and have not yet been successful. I bought Ewald Notter's video on chocolate techniques (as well as his textbook on sugar work) and have been following the tempering method that Chef Notter demonstrates (which is essentially the same as what I was doing previously). I melt 2/3 of the (dark) chocolate (ghiradelli chocolate chips) in a double boiler to 115 degrees. I then incorporate the rest of the seed chocolate in batches. Here is where the problem begins: the seed chocolate is supposed to melt into the already melted chocolate and the temperature is supposed to drop to around 82 degrees (and then later brought to about 90 degrees). However, when I do this, not only does the seed chocolate not completely melt, but the temperature only drops to around 90-93 degrees, leaving me with clumpy chocolate at the wrong temperature. It then takes upwards of 10 minutes of vigorous stirring to drop the temperature to 82 degrees, if I can even get it to that temperature. I then raise the temperature of the chocolate to around 90 degrees but the seed chocolate remains semi solid. When I test to see if the chocolate is tempered, it does not set within 5 minutes and when I pour the chocolate, it develops fat bloom and does not set properly. I think one of the problems is that it's hot in my area during this time of year, between 75-85 degrees on most days, but I am not sure if this is the problem. I would be happy to hear what you guys think is the reason that I can't properly temper the chocolate.
post #2 of 15
Spenc,

try to get to a class and do some hands on with a teacher with experience.

you should learn to table before you seed, this will give you the feel for chocolate.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #3 of 15
"Clumpy chocoalte at the wrong temperature"......

That phrase tells me you have water in your melted chocolate. Water and chocoalte do not mix well, and when they do, it clumps up like cement.

Most likely culprit is the double boiler. Steam from the bottom part of the boiler has escaped and condensed, falling down into your melted chocolate.
Not much you can do with this chocolate in terms of chocolate work--you can defineltly bake with it, but forget about tempering it.

Start again with fresh chocolate, but use a lower heat and make sure the water NEVER boils. I like to use the microwave in short 30 sec. blasts--works very well. Others like to wrap an electric blanket around the bowl and forget about it for a few hours.

Good luck and tell us how you made out
...."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 #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys for your replies. But I don't think that the chocolate is seizing, it's just that the chocolate chips that I use as the seed chocolate remain mostly solid, rather than melting.
post #5 of 15
How old are the chocolate chips, and how have they been stored?

Assuming that the chips are pure chocolate, there's a humidity issue here somwhere. If not the ambient room humidity, then the chips have soaked up humidity.
...."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 15
Thread Starter 
I normally just buy the chips on the same day of my attempts.
post #7 of 15
That really does NOT address FoodPump's question, they may have been sitting on the store shelf for a lloonngg time...
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
That's true, but I really don't think that is the problem, as the chips look and taste fine and I see people buy them all the time.
post #9 of 15
Chocolate Chips from the grocery store are not couveture.
They have extra fats and are formulated to behave in cookies, not to be tempered.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I thought that might be one of the problems; I've heard that chocolate chips have additives that prevent them from melting at higher temperatures.
post #11 of 15
purchase couveture (couverture) from a commercial vendor or in bulk at a specialty store.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'll try using higher quality chocolate.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
So, just as an update, I got some Callebaut chocolate a few days ago and tried to temper that. But, before I used 2 and a half pounds of chocolate, I wanted to try tempering the Ghirardelli chocolate one last time. But, this time I used the microwave to melt my chocolate, and the tempering worked!!! It was either because I used the microwave (no water involved) or because it was around 65-70 degrees that day (or a combination of the two). I'm very pleased!
post #14 of 15
Thanks for the update, glad to hear your tempering worked out well.

One thing that really irks me about N.American lableling laws is about chocolate--anything brown and sweet is "chocolate".

What you wrote above is partially true, but not "additiives, but instead "substitutions". Chocolate comes fromt the cocoa bean, which naturally contains 50%-54% cocoa butter--the stuff that gives chocolate it's gloss, snap, and good mouthfeel. It's also an expensive commodity, and gets top dollar from the cosmetics industry. Cheap chocoalte--especially Baking chips has the cocoa butter removed and another fat put in it's place. The mnfctr's claim this is to prevent the chips from melting when making cookies. Dunno about that, kind like saying a broken clock tells the time accurately--but only twice a day for a minute.......
...."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 #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah, I know. Chocolate that has more cocoa butter (couverture) are generally more "liquidy" when melted, so I tried melting Hershey's or Nestle's (I forgot which one) chocolate just as an experiment and it was like paste :eek:...
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