Tempering on a worktop (marble)

Ramon Morato

How to temper chocolate on a marble worktop

  1. Melt the chocolate at a temperature of 40 to 45°C in a bain-marie or in a melting tray.
  2. Pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate onto the cool marble worktop (at an ambient temperature of ±20°C).
  3. Keep the mass in motion by constantly stirring it with a palette knife and a triangular spatula.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the pre-crystallised chocolate into the remaining melted chocolate and stir it until you obtain an homogeneous mass.
  6. 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.