Chocolate Tempering and Melting: How to Work with Chocolate

Chocolate is almost everyone’s favorite food. It comes for the beans of the cocoa tree harvested and left to ferment before being dried and processed. The fermentation process lets the cocoa beans develop the flavor and the quality of the chocolate. The finest quality chocolate is produced using a fully fermented bean.

Before picking a chocolate to work with, it is important to check the percentage of cocoa solids. The purest chocolate has the highest percentage of solids. Plain chocolate contains as much as 80 percent cocoa solids and is less sweet and features an intense chocolate flavor. Chocolate with 60% to 70% cocoa solids is slightly sweeter with a dense chocolate flavor. Milk chocolate has a low percentage of cocoa solids and white chocolate does not have any.

Chocolate Tempering

Tempering refers to the raising and lowering of the chocolate temperature. This process is used when making decorative chocolate shapes or molded chocolate. A tempering machine provides the chocolate product a sharp, crisp, snap, and a glossy finish. Tempering is not necessary when using chocolate in recipes or when adding baking or adding it to cake. Along with tempering, you chocolate depositing using a chocolate depositor is necessary if you want to fill your chocolate products with delicious treats.

Stove Top Chocolate Melting

Melting chocolate on the hob in either a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water is the best way. While this process takes more time than melting chocolate in the microwave, it provides you with more control over the melting process and reduced risks of burning.

The chocolate must be broken into small pieces and placed in a bowl or top of the boiler. The bowl’s bottom must not touch the water and the water must not come into contact with the chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, turn the heat off. Overcooking the chocolate may cause it to burn or go grainy.

Melting Chocolate in the Microwave or Oven

If you want to melt the chocolate in the microwaves, place the broken pieces in a microwave-proof bowl. On medium power, melt the chocolate in thirty-second bursts. Do not try to cook it for a long time since the chocolate tends to melt quickly. When melting chocolate in an oven, place small pieces in a container and put it in a warm oven at a low temperature like 225 F/110 C.  Remove the melted chocolate immediately.

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