Monday, May 27, 2013

How to: temper chocolate the easy way using a microwave and no thermometer

How to: temper chocolate the pretty fail safe easy way using a microwave and no thermometer.

Check it every 15 seconds and give it a good stir

So everyone always says that tempering chocolate is really hard, but it's really not.

First of all what is tempered chocolate?
It's when the chocolate breaks, like a chocolate bar does. It snaps. If you melt chocolate and don't temper it or don't do it right, it doesn't snap but bends like a gummy bear does when it's completely cooled and back to solid.

Secondly you need to understand what you're doing when you temper chocolate so you understand why you're doing what you're doing:
Chocolate in its solid state is like New York, buildings on a grid. When you melt it, it's like a big storm went right over New York and there's trees and cars and mess everywhere. When it starts to cool down, nothing happens to that big mess, it's fixable but you need something that is going to clean everything up and get everything back in place. For this you need solid chocolate. Solid chocolate knows how to be a grid, it knows how to be neat and orderly and it will tell the rest of that melted chocolate to clean up. That will get New York looking good again and your chocolate back in snapping instead of bending stage.
And by the way, if you overheat chocolate it's like a fire broke out and burned that entire mess... you're never getting New York back or your chocolate. You'll have to start over with new chocolate.

I'm sure a scientist would have a much better explanation but you probably get the concept, right?

So how to temper chocolate:

Break your chocolate into pieces. They don't have to be super small about half an inch squared.
Take 1/4 of the chocolate and cut or grate it fine. It doesn't need to be a flour consistency, just small enough to easily melt.

Put your 3/4 chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat it on half power (400 watt on mine) for 1 minute. Stir and heat again for 15 seconds. Take care not to coat the side of the bowl when stirring because the thin film on the side will burn.
Repeat the stirring and 15 seconds heating until only small clumps of chocolate remain in a yummy bowl of molten chocolate. Stopping when small bits remain will keep you from overheating and burning the chocolate.

Take your bowl out of the microwave and add the finely chopped/grated chocolate. Stir so everything is combined and leave it for a few minutes. Repeat until no pieces of chocolate remain. It can take quite a while to melt everything and the chocolate, even though it's liquid will feel quite cool.

If it just doesn't want to melt, or you want to reheat the chocolate because it's gotten too firm to dip or pour or whatever you want to do with it, just reheat it for 10 seconds. Don't reheat it too much or long because then it will be that big mess again and you'll need more solid chocolate to get it tempered again.

Any leftovers can be reused, and tempered again. 

And try not to drink the molten chocolate, that's not good for you. Really yummy, but not good.

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