Tempering Chocolate – Why It’s Important and How to Do It

An innovative business leader, Edward Anderton serves as managing director and co-founder of Scarlata Chocolate in Seattle, Washington. Since starting the company in 2012, he has pioneered a monthly subscription chocolate service and grown revenue by more than 100 percent for four consecutive years. Edward Anderton also has developed chocolate-making classes, hosted by Scarlata Chocolate, that cover the process of tempering chocolate.

The tempering process stabilizes the cocoa butter found in chocolate. Cocoa butter consists of three to four types of fatty acids, all of which solidify at a different temperature. When a piece of chocolate is melted, these fatty acid crystals separate and create streaks or spots in the surface of the chocolate when it cools.

By tempering chocolate, the fatty acids are crystallized together. This creates a smooth finish on cooled chocolate confections and ensures the chocolate does not melt easily when held, and that it snaps when broken or bitten.

To be tempered, chocolate must be melted to a temperature that melts all the types of fat crystals, usually somewhere between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The chocolate should be constantly stirred while being allowed to cool to between 95 and 100 degrees if it’s being kept in a double boiler pan, or between 80 to 82 degrees if it’s poured on a cool surface.

Chocolate left in the double boiler is usually ready to use when it is between 95 and 100 degrees. When the chocolate is poured out to cool, it must be reheated to between 87 and 91 degrees in a double boiler before being usable.

Once the chocolate is properly tempered, it can be used to cover fruit or cookies as a dip, be placed in a mold to make a solid chocolate, or used as a shell for a candy or truffle, and left to return to room temperature.