Chef Christophe Rull (former Executive Pastry Chef of the Park Hyatt Aviara and one of the stars of the Bake Squad) shows us his favorite chocolate tempering machine for making the perfect batch of tempered chocolate.
So if you're looking to take the leap into working with chocolate, you don't want to miss this blog post. We'll be going over the basics of chocolate composition, why we need to temper, and of course, HOW to temper with this amazing machine! You won't believe how easy it is (I know I was blown away!)
Ingredients & Equipment
When you need to make a lot of chocolate pieces at a time, you don't have time to melt small batches at a time like I do with the microwave method. But there are still some time-saving techniques you can adopt using the tools that Christophe uses.
EZ-Temper Machine: The EZ-Temper machine is a great little gadget that melts cocoa butter to the exact temperature it needs to be for the good crystals in cocoa butter to form. It can be held at that temperature indefinitely so that any time you need tempered chocolate, you just add it to your melted chocolate and you're good to go! Super duper easy and time-saving.
Cocoa Butter Drops: I love these small cocoa butter drops from IFI Gourmet because they are really small and able to be melted perfectly in the EZ Tempering Machine.
All you have to do is add 1-2% of this melted cocoa butter to your melted chocolate at 89ºF (32ºC), stir, and your chocolate is tempered!
Waring Chocolate Warmer: This is a must for big chocolate projects. After your chocolate is tempered, the waring chocolate warmer keeps your chocolate at the perfect temperature so that you don't have to worry about your chocolate getting too cold and falling out of temper before you can use it.
Thermometer: You simply cannot temper chocolate without a trusty thermometer! I love the infrared thermometer from Thermoworks because it's super accurate and you don't have to touch the chocolate to get a reading. Sometimes the difference between tempered and untempered is two degrees so it's important to always know the temperature of your chocolate.
Cold Spray: A good, food-safe cold spray is a must for quickly setting your chocolate pieces.
What's In This Blog Post?
Why Do You Need To Temper Chocolate?
When you melt chocolate, you are breaking up all the components that make up chocolate (cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, milk, etc). If you were to just let this chocolate solidify naturally, you will notice that the chocolate has some streaks in it (cocoa butter separation), it will not be shiny and will most likely have a grainy texture (untempered crystalline structure).
Tempering chocolate controls how the cocoa butter solidifies so that only the proper crystals form and all the components come back together to form a smooth, strong, and shiny chocolate once again.
When you're making gravity-defying showpieces, high-end chocolate pastries, and showpieces, your chocolate needs to be tempered to perfection.
Tempering is also important for when you're using chocolate in polycarbonate molds like you use to make shiny hot chocolate bombs or for making bonbons.
So we only need to temper "real" chocolate. Real chocolate contains cocoa butter and is derived from the cocoa pod, not imitation chocolate which may contain wax or palm kernel oil in place of cocoa butter which cannot be tempered.
What Chocolate Should I Use For Tempering?
Whenever you hear us talk about "real" chocolate, we're referring to chocolate that is derived from a cocoa pod and contains cocoa butter. If your chocolate doesn't have cocoa butter, tempering won't work.
Christophe and I both love to use Cacao Barry chocolate. The chocolate not only tastes delicious but there are SO many options for flavor and workability. The best part is, every bag says right on the side what the cocoa solid content is, the cocoa butter content and what temperatures it needs to be tempered to. So it's great for aspiring chocolatiers.
For today's lesson we are using Cacao Barry extra bitter, Guayaquil which has 64% cocoa and 40% fluidity which makes it perfect for making little toppers that need to be strong and shiny.
You, of course, can use any kind of chocolate that you like but just keep in mind that different chocolates will have different amounts of fluidity even if they do contain cocoa butter. You can add in more cocoa butter to get your chocolate more fluid but be careful, it is possible to add too much.
We also really love working with Cacoa Barry because they put a lot of effort into ethically sourcing their chocolate and paying their workers a fair wage. Learn more about how chocolate is made from bean to bar.
It is possible to use imitation chocolate for some projects but for our purposes, we will only be talking about using real chocolate.
How To Temper Chocolate With An EZ Temper Machine
Tempering chocolate can seem really complicated but it's pretty simple. We are heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures to make the good, strong crystals in the cocoa butter form and for all the components to come back together. Most people's problems come from not using the right chocolate or not knowing what temperatures their specific chocolate needs to be tempered to.
If you're a beginner, I highly suggest using the same chocolate Christophe is using or at least real chocolate that is 60-70% cocoa content.
Remember to turn your EZ Temper on the day before you need to use it so that your cocoa butter has time to melt down to the correct temperature and be ready to use.
Step 1 - Melt 600 grams of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler to 113ºF (45ºC) It's important to melt the chocolate to this temperature so that all the crystals in the cocoa butter are broken down properly and new crystals can re-form successfully.
Step 2 - Add in a few handfuls of tempered (chocolate comes tempered) chocolate to bring the temperature down. Stirring occasionally, cool your chocolate to 95ºF (35ºC).
Step 3 - When your chocolate is at 95ºF (35ºC) add in 6 grams (1-2% of total chocolate weight) of your tempered cocoa butter paste from the EZ temper machine to the melted chocolate.
Step 4 - Stir and cool the mixture to 32ºF. At this point, the chocolate is tempered but make sure you do a test to make sure your chocolate is in temper before using it.
How Do I Know If My Chocolate Is In Temper?
It's always a good idea to test your chocolate to see if its tempered properly before you start using it because it's easy to test, it's not easy to scrape untempered chocolate out of your mold and start all over.
To test your chocolate, dip a piece of parchment paper into your chocolate and lay it on the table. Your chocolate should solidify in about 5 minutes. The surface should look smooth, shiny. The chocolate should snap in half and not melt too easily in your hands.
Note: Your room should be between 64ºF (18ºC) - 68ºF (20ºC) for your chocolate to solidify properly. A warm room and chocolate do not mix.
If you see some streaks in your chocolate (blooming) a dull surface or the chocolate is not solidifying, you may need to add more tempered cocoa butter or re-temper your chocolate and pay closer attention to your temperatures and make sure you are stirring well to distribute the cocoa butter crystals evenly.
How To Store Tempered Chocolate
Now that our chocolate is tempered, you want to keep it that way! Christophe stores his tempered chocolate in a warming machine at exactly 89ºF (32ºC) so that it's ready to use at any moment.
You can leave the chocolate in the warmer as long as you need to.
Once you are done with your chocolate it's a good idea to pour it out onto parchment so it doesn't solidify into your warmer. Then you can chop it up and store it in a container to be used again later when you need some tempered chocolate.
How To Make A Chocolate Heart Topper With Tempered Chocolate
Making a simple chocolate cake topper is a great way to add detail to a cake that is really simple to reproduce, tastes amazing and looks amazing! All you need is a heart cookie cutter, a 3" circle cutter, some metallic dust, kitchen torch, brush and cold spray.
Step 1: Place the heart cutter and circle cutter on top of some parchment paper on a sheet pan. Pour the tempered chocolate into the mold until it's about ½" thick.
Step 2: Repeat the process with the round cutter.
Step 3: Place the sheet pan into the fridge for about 10 minutes. The cold causes the tempered chocolate to contract and pull away from the cutters.
Step 4: Remove the chocolate from the cookie cutters with gloved hands so you don't leave fingerprints.
Step 5: Use a paintbrush to cover the chocolate in the metallic dust.
Step 6: Use a toothpick or other sharp tool to write a word in the dust. I wrote the word "love".
Step 7: Use your kitchen torch to heat the tip of your offset spatula and melt the center of the chocolate circle slightly.
Step 8: Place the heart on top of the circle and use the cold spray to set the melted chocolate and it will hold the heart in place.
Step 9: Now you can place your heart topper on top of the cake!
So now you know the basics of how Christophe tempers his chocolate in large batches to create so many different things! As you can imagine, now that we have the basics down, we will be building upon these basic concepts for all our future chocolate projects.
If you don't have an EZ Temper machine or warmer, you can always temper your chocolate by hand using the seeding method. You'll have to pay close attention to your temperatures to make sure your chocolate stays at the proper temperatures by moving the bowl back onto the simmering water if it gets too cold. Make sure you don't get it too hot or it will fall out of temper and you'll have to start all over again.
More Chocolate Recipes & Tutorials
- EZ Tempering Machine
- Waring Chocolate Warmer
- 600 grams Chocolate https://www.cacao-barry.com/en-US/chocolate-couverture-cocoa/chd-p64ebpu/extra-bitter-guayaquil
- 6 grams Cocoa Butter https://ifigourmet.com/collections/chocolate-products/products/cocoa-butter-1
- Place your cocoa butter into the internal warmer of the EZ Tempering Machine the day before you need it. Let it warm overnight.
- Melt 600 grams of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler to 113ºF (45ºC) It's important to melt the chocolate to this temperature so that all the crystals in the cocoa butter are broken down properly and new crystals can re-form successfully.
- Add in a few handfuls of tempered (chocolate comes tempered) chocolate to bring the temperature down. Stirring occasionally, cool your chocolate to 95ºF (35ºC).
- At 89ºF (32ºC) add in 6-7 grams (1-2% of total chocolate weight) of your tempered cocoa butter paste from the EZ temper machine to the melted chocolate.
- Stir and cool the mixture to 32ºF. At this point, the chocolate is tempered but make sure you do a test to make sure your chocolate is in temper before using it.
- Carefully warm your chocolate to the ideal working temperature (usually found on the side of the bag if your chocolate is from Cacoa Barry) before using.