How to temper chocolate on a marble worktop
- Melt the chocolate at a temperature of 40 to 45°C in a bain-marie or in a melting tray.
- Pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate onto the cool marble worktop (at an ambient temperature of ±20°C).
- Keep the mass in motion by constantly stirring it with a palette knife and a triangular spatula.
- Continue until the chocolate begins to thicken (the temperature is then lower than the processing temperature by 4 to 5 degrees): crystallisation takes place. You can see it by the 'mounds' that form when you let the chocolate run off the palette knife.
- Pour the pre-crystallised chocolate into the remaining melted chocolate and stir it until you obtain an homogeneous mass.
- The chocolate is now ready to be processed. However, if the chocolate is too thick, heat it until the mass is more liquid once again while remaining pre-crystallised. Take a sample: push the point of a knife into the chocolate. If it is perfectly tempered, the chocolate will harden in an equal manner in 3 minutes at an ambient temperature of ± 20°C.
Why do you need to temper chocolate?
Tempering chocolate means pre-crystallising the cocoa butter in the chocolate. This has everything to do with the temperature at which the chocolate is processed. When tempered, the cocoa butter is transformed into a stable crystalline form. This is what guarantees the hardness, shrinkage force and brilliance of the final cooled product. If you melt chocolate normally (at ±40°C) and let it cool again until it reaches its processing temperature, you will not obtain a brilliant result. The three factors that play a role during tempering are duration, temperature and movement. If you use a special technique to bring the chocolate up to its temperature you will achieve the expected result. This is what is meant by tempering: bringing the chocolate up to the temperature at which you wish to work so that it contains sufficient stable crystals.