Updated: Oct 30
WHAT WE WILL LEARN IN THIS POST:
I. 4 tempering methods:
(Marbling / Tabling Method, Seeding Method, Microwave Method & Mycro Method)
II. Common Errors & Troubleshooting
COVERTURE VERSUS COMPOUND CHOCOLATE
Coverture chocolate only contains cocoa butter as fat, which is naturally found in cacao bean. This fat is a polymorphic which contains 6 different crystals form. This means that, when melted, cocoa butter will set in 6 different ways.
Tempering is a process necessary to generate only the stable crystals to give the desirable quality, which is a good snap, glossy finish, and melts slightly under body temperature (melts in your mouth, not your hand). The stable crystals that will help achieve these qualities are the Beta V or type V crystal. Stable beta V crystal will set and contract, which helps release from chocolate moulds easily.
Compound Chocolate has partially, or all of the cocoa butter fat substituted for hydrogenated fat such as palm oil that sets at room temperature. Without the complicated polymorphic crystals like cocoa butter, hydrogenated fat will solidify naturally at room temperature without the need for tempering. The only downside is, it does not give the quality of a tempered coverture chocolate does and does not contract upon setting. This means that if you cast compound chocolate in polycarbonate chocolate moulds, they will not contract and release from it. You can, however, use silicone mould in this case for compound chocolate.
COCOA BUTTER AND ITS CRYSTALS FORM
The 6 Cocoa Butter crystals can be categorized as type I, type II, type III, type VI, type V and type VI crystals.
The different types of crystals have a different melting point, being type I crystals will melt at a lower temperature and type V at a higher temperature. The lower type crystals, such as type I and type III crystals has a more vulnerable and looser crystal structure, making them less stable, where type V and type VI crystals are more compact and solid.
TEMPERING COCOA BUTTER
When working with Coverture Chocolate, the Chocolate is first melted to the point where all the cacao solids and cocoa butter completely melts to a liquid stage at above 45 ٴC. It is then agitated and rapidly cooled to a specific temperature depending on the chocolate you are using. This process of heating and cooling down through agitation is called “tempering”. The tempering process encourages crystals, particularly the type V crystals in the cocoa butter to form.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEMPERING AND ITS APPLICATIONS
There are 4 ways of chocolate tempering methods:
I. Marbling/ Tabling Method
This tempering method involves first melting the chocolate to at least 45 ٴC, then spreading 2/3 of a melted chocolate on the marble bench back and forth, maintaining the other 1/3 of melted chocolate standing at 45 ٴC. The 2/3 chocolate is spread out and agitated over a marble bench until it cools a little below the melting point of beta V crystals – usually between 26 ٴC - 27 ٴC for dark chocolate and milk chocolate and 24 ٴC- 26 ٴC for white chocolate.
This is an intentional process called “over cooling” of the cocoa butter. Overcooling ensures that more type V crystals are created that allows for a quicker multiplication of the stable crystals as it cools, which helps the chocolate to set quicker.
When cooled to below the melting point of beta V crystals, beta IV crystals are also present. Because beta IV is an undesirable crystal, once tempered, the 2/3 of the chocolate is than added back in to the 1/3 melted chocolate. The heat of the melted chocolate will melt off the undesirable crystal in the chocolate.
The ideal temperature for a well-tempered chocolate is as follows:
Dark Coverture : 31 - 32C
II. Seeding Method
Seeding method involves the process of melting chocolate to 45 ٴC to completely melt the cacao solids and cocoa butter and then adding in 1/3 of pre-crystalised chocolate buttons or shavings and rapidly cooled through agitation to the working temperature of the type of chocolate you are tempering.
Unlike Marbling method, we are not creating stable crystals to be then added and dispersed in the melted chocolate. Pre crystalise chocolate that already have type V crystals are being injected into the melted chocolate instead.
The action of agitation in the early stage helps to melt down the cacao solids in the buttons but also disperse the stable crystals to suspend in the melted chocolate.
III. Microwave Method
The Microwave method or 2/3 method is when you place all pre crystalised chocolate together and gently heat at a small burst intervals in the microwave, giving some agitation along the process until all chocolate are melted, but ensuring that the bowl of chocolate never exceeds the working temperature, depending on the type of chocolate you are tempering.
IV. Mycro Method – Cocoa Butter Method – Quick Method
Mycro is a pre-crystalised cocoa butter in powdered form from Cacao Barry Chocolate. This method involves melting of your chocolate to at least 45 ٴC then leave to cool at room temperature until it reaches 34 ٴC.
1% of Mycro is then added into the chocolate and agitated until it cools to the working temperature of the type of chocolate you are using.
This method involves cooling the coverture chocolate to the melting point of type V crystals and then adding in pre crystalised cocoa butter powder and stirred to dispersed in the melted chocolate.
This method works best when powdered pre crystalised cocoa butter are used, as it cam easily melt in comparison to cocoa butter buttons or shavings.
3 KEY FUNDAMENTAL STEPS TO CHOCOLATE TEMPERING:
Temperature that the chocolate is melted to; temperature that the chocolate is cooled down to (working temperature) & temperature of your environment (ideally between 18 ٴC - 23 ٴC)
Melt Coverture to 45 ٴC - 50 ٴC for Dark Coverture, 45 ٴC for Milk Coverture and White Coverture.
At 45 ٴC above, the cocoa solids will fully melt giving you a liquid chocolate to work with. The higher percentage of cacao solids in the chocolate the higher the temperature is needed to fully bring the chocolate to a liquid state.
Temperature above 60 ٴC tends to burn the chocolate, especially Milk and White Chocolate which contain milk powder. Therefore, care must be taken when melting the mentioned chocolate.
All Cocoa Butter crystals chain breaks into weaker chain and slowly disappears above 36 ٴC.
The ideal room temperature for tempering chocolate is between 18 ٴC - 23 ٴC is ideal.
II: AGITATION – Movement helps dispersed the stable crystals in the melted chocolate.
“Movement” catalyses the formation of beta V crystals and help disperse them in the melted chocolate and creates a chain reaction that encourages the crystal to stack and interlock together to become a solid mass.
Too much movement or agitation, however, can cause the chocolate to “over crystallize”, which results in a chocolate that is viscous in consistency and dull.
III: RAPID COOLING
Rapid cooling through movement is important to discourage the warm temperature of the chocolate from melting the stable beta V crystals as you create them.
Putting Melted chocolate in the fridge or freezer is discouraged as this promotes unstable crystals.
Rapid cooling needs to be associated with movement.
CHOCOLATE TEMPERING CURVE: MARBLING METHOD
CHOCOLATE TEMPERING CURVE – SEEDING METHOD
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUGAR BLOOM AND FAT BLOOM
Fat bloom refer to improperly tempered chocolate that has unstable crystals present in the chocolate. This result in the fat rising to the surface of the chocolate leaving a white residue. The chocolate usually looks dull with white patches on top.
Properly tempered chocolate can untemper and go through fat bloom if stored in an environment that is too humid and warm, often above the melting point of the stable beta V crystals.
Sugar Bloom is usually the result from bad storage of the chocolate product. Too much humidity during storage can cause the sugar in the chocolate to rise to the top as sugar are hygroscopic and would attract to the moisture in the atmosphere. Storing unset chocolate in the fridge for a prolonged period of time can also cause sugar bloom.
Sugar bloom are often not detectable from appearance and usually have a grainy texture on the surface. Remelting chocolate that has absorbed moisture will result in a very viscous chocolate to work with.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. DOES BLOOMED CHOCOLATE MEANS IT IS BAD AND CAN NO LONGER BE USED?
Chocolate that is bloomed just means that they have unstable crystals formed in the chocolate. If the chocolate is within its used by date, you can still remelt them and use it. Melting it back to 45 ٴC will eliminate all of the unstable crystals and allow you to start from scratch again.
2. CAN YOU TEMPER BLOOMED CHOCOLATE?
The simple answer is YES. You couldn’t, however, use bloomed chocolate to do the seeding method, since there are no stable crystals present to disperse into the melted chocolate, which is the reason why it bloomed in the first place. The best method for tempering a batch of bloomed chocolate is using the marble/tabling method, where you create beta V crystals with 2/3 of the melted chocolate on the marble bench.
3. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAT BLOOM AND SUGAR BLOOM?
Fat bloom occurs from improperly tempered chocolate that has some unstable crystals in it. The most obvious sign of a fat bloom is when you see white streaks that has risen and set solid on the surface of the chocolate and the chocolate has a crumbly or overly soft texture.
Sugar bloom occurs when there is a massive fluctuation of temperature or when the chocolate are stored in areas that has a high humidity level (during summer) or moisture (fridge).
The perfect way to detect sugar bloom is by feel as it is quite hard to detect them visually. The surface of the chocolate will feel grainy to touch. This is due to the sugar in the chocolate rising to the surface and sets there. The most common scenario for this to happen is when chocolate was stored in the freezer and then taken out at room temperature, where the chocolate surface starts to sweat / or putting a wet chocolate in the fridge when the sugar can still freely travel to the surface.
4. CAN I TEMPER WITH CHOCOLATE THAT HAS SUGAR BLOOM?
The answer is partial yes and no. If you use sugar bloomed chocolate and seed it with pre crystalised chocolate buttons, you will end up with really thick chocolate to work with. This is because there already has some moisture in the sugar bloomed chocolate.
5. WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHOCOLATE HAS SUGAR BLOOM?
Although, you cannot use it for chocolate tempering, all is not lost. You can use this chocolate to make mousses and ganache.
Chocolate tempering refers to melting and agitating the cocoa butter to generate crystals and then controlling the temperature to maintain only the stable beta V crystals.
Agitation is important to catalyse the formation and dispersion of cocoa butter crystals.
Chocolate is very sensitive to moisture and can cause the chocolate to seize due to the sugar content in the chocolate.
Milk and White chocolate are more prone to burning during heating because of the milk powder added in the chocolate.
It is important to do a test after you have tempered the chocolate. This is to ensure that they are properly tempered before using. Dark chocolate should take around minutes, milk chocolate 10 minutes and white chocolate 12 minutes to set in an environment of between 18ٴC - 23 ٴC.
Chocolate test should not be placed in the fridge to set as this will give you an inaccurate reading of whether your chocolate is properly tempered.
Fat Bloom is from improperly tempered chocolate that has unstable crystals present.
Properly tempered chocolate can untemper itself and begin to bloom if placed in an environment that is too warm.
Sugar Bloom is often due to bad storage of tempered chocolate that has a high humidity or moisture.