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How to Temper Chocolate

Tempering is the easiest part of working with chocolate — a little stirring is all that’s required.

chocolate dipped strawberriesTempering allows the right crystal structure to form from the cocoa butter in chocolate, making the texture smooth, shiny and crisp. Chocolate that hasn’t been tempered is softer, melts more easily and often shows blooming or streaking.

Printable Recipe          recette imprimable

Yield: Equals the amount selected per recipe.

Timing: Varies according to the type and amount of chocolate selected. With the temperature set at 115 °F / 46 °C, a 1‑lb / 0.5‑kg solid block of dark chocolate will gently melt in about 2.5 hours. After it is melted, the Proofer can hold the melted chocolate for an extended time at 90 °F / 32 °C.

Ingredients: Dark, milk, or white chocolate containing cocoa butter.

Equipment: Brod and Taylor Folding Proofer (without water tray), thermometer, bowls, and spoons or utensils.

All surfaces in contact with the chocolate should be thoroughly clean and dry. Consider the temperature and humidity of any surfaces or tools your chocolate will come in contact with. For example, a very cold spoon could develop condensation when moved to a warm area. The resulting moisture will likely cause your chocolate to seize, becoming lumpy and unworkable.

Tempering Instructions:

Step One: Melt the Chocolate.  Set up the Proofer with wire rack in place and the thermostat at 115 °F / 46 °C. The water tray may be placed underneath the rack, but make sure it is completely dry. The entire Proofer should be dry to prevent the chocolate from seizing. Place about 3/4 of the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, setting aside the other 1/4 to use as “seed” chocolate. Your chocolate can be white, milk or dark, but it should be real chocolate containing cocoa butter, not palm oil or other non-chocolate fats (candy melts or some brands of white chocolate should not be used for tempering). It is not necessary to chop the chocolate, but smaller pieces will melt considerably faster. Place the bowl on the wire rack in the Proofer and allow the chocolate to melt slowly and safely. A quarter pound / 113 g of chocolate will be completely melted in 60 minutes or less, larger quantities may take longer.

tempered chocolate vs. non-tempered chocolate

Tempered chocolate (right) is smooth and shiny.

Step Two: Adjust the Proofer Temperature.  When the chocolate is completely melted, remove it from the Proofer and lower the thermostat to the correct holding temperature, normally about 90 °F / 32 °C for dark chocolate or 86 °F / 30 °C for milk or white chocolate. Leave the top open briefly so the Proofer will cool.

Step Three: Seed the Chocolate.  While the Proofer is cooling, add a piece (or pieces) of the reserved, un-melted chocolate to the bowl to provide seed crystals for the cooling chocolate. Stir continuously as the seed chocolate melts, and continue stirring until the temperature of the chocolate cools to 90 °F / 32 °C for dark chocolate or 86 °F / 30 °C for milk or white chocolate. To check if the chocolate is tempered, dip a spoon into the melted chocolate and place in the refrigerator until firm. The chocolate should be hard and smooth with no streaking. If this test is a success, place the chocolate back into the Proofer to hold at the right temperature to maintain the temper. If the chocolate is streaked, the tempering process may need to be repeated.

Chocolate Tempering Table

Below indicated is the temperature range to maintain temper while frequently stirring. Do not exceed the indicated temperature range.

Chocolate Temperature range
Dark chocolate 86-90 °F / 30-32 °C
Milk chocolate 84-86 °F / 29-30 °C
White chocolate 84-86 °F / 29-30 °C
2017-05-12T13:59:12+00:00 Chocolate|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Nedra September 26, 2016 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Can this be used to temper chocolate if you don’t have already tempered “seed” chocolate?

    • Diane January 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Nedra, Yes, the Proofer can be used to temper chocolate. Cocoa butter is the fat in cacao beans that give chocolate its stable properties. A bar or a chunk of chocolate should only contain real cocoa butter and no other type of fat to achieve tempering. The “seed” chocolate also needs to be tempered chocolate which is in hunks, shavings, bits, or wafers and generally is about 25-30 percent of the total amount of chocolate you are tempering. All the best in working with chocolate!

  2. Jennine quiring December 31, 2016 at 3:02 am - Reply

    How long will the chocolste stay in temper in the proofer. I want to dip 2 lbs of ganache in tempered chocolate

    • Diane January 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      Jennine, Cocoa butter is the fat in cacao beans that give chocolate its stable properties. A bar or a chunk of chocolate should only contain real cocoa butter and no other type of fat to achieve tempering. The “seed” chocolate also needs to be tempered chocolate which is in hunks, shavings, bits, or wafers and generally is about 25-30 percent of the total amount of chocolate you are tempering. We suggest you have at least 24 ounces of chocolate when you begin to temper in order to have enough for 2 lbs of ganache. This way you will have enough to work with when dipping. Keep in mind that the temperature of the ganache, your hands, the bowl and tools can affect the temperature of the tempered chocolate you are dipping in and affect whether it remains in temper. Dark chocolate should be held between 88-89F / 31C. Milk and white chocolates should be between 84-86F / 29-30C. If the bowl is resting on the base plate of the Proofer and set at the appropriate temperature (above), all you will need to do is stir occasionally to be certain the temperature remains constant. Enjoy making those chocolate treats.

  3. Jennine M Quiring May 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you. I am going to enter Chocolates in the California State Fair in July. If I win many blue ribbons I will tell everyone how I did it.

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