We need to use chocolate on various occasions at home. For that reason, we need to temper our store-bought chocolates. In this article, we will see how to temper chocolate in a microwave oven.
What is Tempered Chocolate?
Before we learn temper chocolate in a microwave oven at home, we need to know what exactly tempering chocolate is.
When we say we are tempering chocolate, we cool our chocolate after we heat it in a certain way. Inside the cocoa butter, there are crystals. If we do the tempering process correctly, the crystals are rearranged differently from when we cool chocolate after heating. The chocolate which has been tempered correctly will give a shine, it becomes hardened in the room’s temperature, and when we bite it, there will be a snapping sound.
When the temperature rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the chocolate melts, losing its original temper. The result is soft and dull-looking chocolate that will not set. The tempering process at home in the microwave oven is very simple. You will just need a few tools, that’s it.
On the one hand, we have our real chocolate, and on the other hand, we have fake compound chocolate. Without reading ingredients, we will not be able to tell them apart. So, we have to select real chocolate with cocoa butter as one of the original constituting ingredients for our tempering process.
It is possible to work with fake chocolate too, but it will not give you the snapping sound like the real chocolate gives. From a mold made in polycarbonate, the fake chocolate will be able to release itself. Besides, fake chocolates need a lot higher temperature to melt than real chocolates. Real chocolate tends to melt away the moment it enters your mouth. It needs your body temperature to melt. But compound chocolate will not melt in your mouth. You have to chew properly.
Semisweet Callebaut is a common choice as it is not too expensive and standard. Its 54 percent contains cocoa solids, and 36 percent is cocoa butter. An increasing amount of cocoa solid will give you increasingly thicker chocolate. There are dairy and sugar in white and milk chocolates.
Why does chocolate need to be tempered?
We temper chocolate to do decoration of various kinds and also remaking chocolate. When we temper chocolate, it gives us a shiny product that is very snappy to bite. Tempered chocolate is very easy to handle, and chefs at the pastry department use this to their advantage and do many kinds of chocolate manipulation and decoration. If we temper our chocolate, our chocolate will not lose shine and will not look dusty and chalky.
- For chocolate tempering, temperature control is the most important thing. If chocolate is semisweet, it will not cross the 90 degrees Fahrenheit mark. The maximum melting point for milk chocolate is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and for chocolate with color cannot cross the 84 degrees Fahrenheit mark. Cocoa butter must be in the chocolate to work in this process.
- 12 oz of semisweet chocolate goes into a plastic bowl and heat inside a microwave oven for half a minute and then stir. And move from the oven.
- Then again put it inside the microwave oven for half a minute and then next time 15 and then 10 seconds. Keep stirring during the interval, and do not hurry.
- Thermometer must be checked for correct temperature – not over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When chocolate melts, we can use it as we wish.
We must remember that the trick to perfect tempering is the control of the temperature. It is ok if the temperature does not cross above the recommended degrees. If we have to work with bigger chocolate, then we need to chop it up into very fine pieces.
Seeding Method of Chocolate Tempering
- Using a double boiler, melt two-thirds of the chocolate needed. Let the boiler melt chocolate until 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Constant stirring will stop hotspots from happening. Take an appropriate bowl that fits the mouth of the boiler so that water splashes or steam does not enter the chocolate.
- Stop the heat and move the chocolate from there. For the rest of the un-melted chocolate, use half of it into the melted chocolate bowl and stir to melt it. This way, the hot chocolate will cool down. If you transfer the chocolate to another fresh bowl, it will expedite the cooling process. Keep stirring till the temperature drops to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the rest of the chocolate. When the temperature reads at 98 degrees, add the chopped-up chocolate and keep stirring to melt. When the temperature reading is at 95 degrees, the cocoa butter crystal will bloom, so keep adding chocolate before the temperature reading reaches this mark. This way, untampered chocolate will also be tempered.
- Until the temperature is at 79 degrees, keep stirring at a 5-minute interval.
- Increase the heat of the chocolate again by cutting back on the boiler for five more seconds. At 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the chocolate becomes workable for various purposes.
Working with Chocolate when It Becomes too Hot
If the temperature of my chocolate is too much, we can work with it by using a seeding method. In this process, we put our chocolate in a separate bowl and add chocolate that is unmelted to the hot melted one we have prepared so far; and then keep stirring until the mixture cools off and the temperature drops to 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that we have learned how to temper chocolate in a microwave oven, we all can try doing it at home and try out various decorations and newer flavors of chocolate. It is fun when we do it at home with family members. I hope the readers will give this a try and enjoy a kitchen time of their own.