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Chocolate tempering - help!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all

 

I'm currently studying patisserie at a school in France. It's a very intensive course and I have exams at the end of it.

One thing that I'm constantly struggling with is tempering chocolate. I can't seem to tell when it's tempered. I'm the only person in class who is struggling with it this much and I need to get a grip of it because it will form part of our final exam!

 

I think my problem is that when I do a test I can't tell if it's done or not. Then we had one chef who said that for some things (eg things that will be sprayed) it doesn't matter if it's not properly in temper, you can use it anyway cos it will be covered afterwards. What does that even mean? I thought it was in temper or not?  Ahhh I need to master this!

 

Can anyone please help?

 

Thank you.

B

post #2 of 9

I'm not experienced in tempering, but I do know what the chef meant about sprayed chocolates. Untempered chocolate develops "bloom" when it cools. This is when it gets white streaks and is dull. If you spray it, it won't show.

post #3 of 9

1)  Get yourself a copy of P. Grewling's "chocolates  and confections".  The book goes into great detail about various methods of tempering, but more importantly why.  Most libraries have this, I know Chapters does, around $80.00, but you can sneak-peek it in the store.

 

2) How do you do your test?  Best method is to take a strip of paper and dip it in, the thinner the chocolate layer, the better.  If it doesn't harden within 5 minutes, it's not in temper.  If you have steaks, you're close, add in a bit more coins/pellets, stir some more and come back in a few minutes to do another test

 

3) Remember, you need three things to temper properly:  You need motion.  You need temperature.  And you need time.  

 

Every evening I turn UP my chocolate melters to 40 C, taking it out of temper.  In the morning, I turn down the thermostat to 32-35 C, and add my "seed", virgin couverture coins/pellets  to "immunize" or seed the couverture.  Then stir--not vigoursly, but smoothly and evenly--you don't want air bubbles.  Then do a paper test.

 

Spraying chocolate and/or cocoa butter:  Once the chocolate is broken down into a fine mist and forced through the air, it becomes tempered.  Don't sweat this one.

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post #4 of 9

It really just take practice. When I was first taught to temper chocolate in a patisserie in Switzerland I did not understand what I was looking for. Little by little I started to relax and the owner would watch me and work with me. It probably does not sound very helpful but try not to over think it. Trust your instincts and when you think it is ready you will probably be right.

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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the replies! I've bought a marble slab and 1kg Cacao Barry to practice with!

 

I know I just need practice cos I'm very unsure about it all. I get the science behind it, but I just can't get the practical side of it. When to tell it's ready; once I've lowered the temp how to get it up again without going too far. We don't use the seeding method, unfortunately. I should try it at home. I understand about the spraying, we were spraying montage pieces to cover any faults, but what threw me was the chef saying that 'it doesn't have to be perfectly in temper' -- I still don't get that?! Does that mean some lines, but solidified evenly?!

 

It took me three tries to temper on Friday -- what am I going to do for the exam :eek:

 

Nicko -- I wish I had your chef. The chef decided that we should know by now so he stood and watched me do it time after time without telling me if I was right or not. Apparently I had been right a couple of the times, but cos I was so confused about this 'not perfectly in temper' thing that I didn't have a clue. Ended up having a massive argument with him and a meltdown :mad:

 

Foodpump -- I will have a look for the book. I was looking yesterday, but they were mostly about recipes with a little information about the process. I need visual examples of what it should/shouldn't look like. Maybe once I've mastered this I will do it and post it for others!

I do the test with a strip of baking paper and leave it to see how it sets. I'm always a bit scared that it will go out of temper while I'm waiting for the test, though!

I like your comment about the streaks and adding more pellets. Do you know what the streaks actually mean? Is it saying that the choc is too hot/cold or that the crystals haven't formed enough?

What do you mean when you say you need 'motion' to temper?? Is this for stirring or working it on the bench?

 

 

I know I can do it, I just want to be able to do it constantly and after the first or second go, not five times later!!!!!!


Edited by BakingBee - 5/7/15 at 7:56am
post #6 of 9

NICE WORK!!!!

 

How do I explain it...Ok, it's like a Slurpee or Slushee at the convenience store.  The machine keeps the mix at the right temperature, too cold and you get solid ice, too warm and you get liquid.  If the mix doesn't move constantly, it will start to harden up in the corners and eventually form a skin and harden up on top.

 

One quick test to see if your couverture is properly tempered that isn't temperature involved is to take a ladle or spatula and let some couverture dribble down back into the pot.  If the stream of couverture holds it's shape on the surface of the melted couverture pool,it's in temper.  Just because the couverture is at 32 doesn't mean it's in temper--the "good" chocolate crystals need time to "immunize" or take over the rest of the melted couverture and convert them to "good" crystals.  This is accelerated  and improved with motion.

 

Couverture will only streak if it was cast too hot, or if it was not allowed to cool down quickly.

 

Trying to cast or mold with "cold" (30-28 c) couverture is not pleasant. At this temp it is lumpy and stodgy and wont' flow into corners of the mold, giving you air pockets and blisters.  It also won't release well from the mold.

 

I guess this sounds confusing.  See if you can get the book, it's probably the best one I've read in all my years that explains exactly what is going on with couverture when you melt and temper.

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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ahhh! I get you! Once you've achieved the good temps/consistency you have to keep it moving so it doesn't crystallise.

 

I've looked up the book and I will order it. I'm in France, but I think they ship it from the US. I've been doing experiments this afternoon to try to work it out. Not much fun when I don't have all the right equipment like in the lab, but at least I don't have the pressure!! I want to get this right -- I don't want to have to resort to using the cocoa butter powder to help temper as some ppl in the class are doing :/

 

Your advice has been very helpful. I wish I had you guys in the lab with me!

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I did some experimenting today. What I struggle with is getting the choc back up to 31c after cooling it to 28c. It can happen really fast and I end up getting it too hot. So today I tested to see what happens at different temps to see how far I can push it. I'm getting the hang of it now! Without the pressure of class. Hopefully I'll be able to do it in class now :)

post #9 of 9

LL Nice job ! Holding chocolate at 28 is very tricky. I like your stamina !

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