Tempering – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Decorating Techniques In Baking Glossary

I. What is Tempering?

Tempering is a technique used in baking and chocolate making to stabilize the crystalline structure of cocoa butter in chocolate. This process involves heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures in order to create a smooth and glossy finish. Tempering is essential for creating chocolate decorations, coating truffles, and making chocolate bars.

II. Importance of Tempering in Baking

Tempering is crucial in baking because it ensures that the chocolate has a shiny appearance, a crisp snap, and a smooth texture. When chocolate is not tempered correctly, it can result in a dull finish, a soft texture, and a grainy mouthfeel. Tempering also helps prevent chocolate from blooming, which is when the cocoa butter separates from the cocoa solids and rises to the surface, creating a white, powdery appearance.

III. Methods of Tempering

There are several methods of tempering chocolate, including:
1. Seeding Method: This is the most common method of tempering chocolate. It involves melting two-thirds of the chocolate and then adding small pieces of unmelted chocolate (seeds) to the mixture. The residual heat from the melted chocolate will melt the seeds, resulting in tempered chocolate.
2. Tabling Method: This method involves pouring melted chocolate onto a marble slab and spreading it out with a spatula. The chocolate is then gathered back into a bowl and reheated to the desired temperature.
3. Microwave Method: This method involves melting chocolate in short bursts in the microwave, stirring between each burst until the chocolate is smooth and glossy.

IV. Tips for Successful Tempering

To successfully temper chocolate, follow these tips:
1. Use high-quality chocolate with a high cocoa butter content.
2. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the chocolate.
3. Stir the chocolate continuously while melting to ensure even heating.
4. Avoid getting any water or moisture in the chocolate, as it can cause the chocolate to seize.
5. Be patient and take your time when tempering chocolate, as rushing the process can result in an unsuccessful temper.

V. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Tempering

Some common mistakes to avoid when tempering chocolate include:
1. Overheating the chocolate, which can cause it to burn and lose its temper.
2. Not stirring the chocolate continuously while melting, resulting in uneven heating.
3. Adding too much seed chocolate, which can throw off the tempering process.
4. Using chocolate that has expired or has been improperly stored, which can affect the tempering process.
5. Not allowing the chocolate to cool to the correct temperature before using it, which can result in a dull finish.

VI. Recipes that Require Tempering

Some recipes that require tempering chocolate include:
1. Chocolate truffles: Tempered chocolate is used to coat the truffle centers and create a smooth, glossy finish.
2. Chocolate-dipped strawberries: Tempered chocolate is used to coat the strawberries and create a crisp, shiny coating.
3. Chocolate decorations: Tempered chocolate is used to create intricate designs and decorations for cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods.
4. Chocolate bars: Tempered chocolate is used to create smooth, glossy chocolate bars with a crisp snap.

In conclusion, tempering is an essential technique in baking and chocolate making that ensures the chocolate has a smooth texture, glossy appearance, and crisp snap. By following the methods, tips, and recipes outlined above, you can successfully temper chocolate and create beautiful and delicious baked goods.