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July 4, 2006
I’ve been trying to make some Amedei chuao dipped dried cherries. I’m relatively new to tempering so I’m finding it a bit tricky.
What I’ve found is that I may temper a batch of chocolate correctly and all is fine until I get through a third or quarter of the chocolate then it starts to thicken up.
I’ve been using a digital thermometer and keeping the tempered chocolate at 88*F/31*C by moving the bowl on and off a pan of warmish water and stirring frequently with a spatula. Even whilst maintaining the temperature it seems to thicken.
I’ve tried warming it by a couple of degrees more to get the chocolate to return to a good dipping consistency but it ends up coming out of temper.
I’m very careful about not getting any water into the chocolate but the dried cherries are moist-ish so I’m not sure if that’s affecting the chocolate. It doesn’t sieze though as raising the temperature a few degrees makes the chocolate liquid again.
Does anyone have any suggestions/tips?
December 9, 2004
I’m not a confectioner so perhaps someone may have some better guidance than I but I’ll give it a shot in either case.
1) Are your cherries at a lower temperature than the chocolate? If so, it is likely that as you dip the cherries that the temperature of the chocolate drops causing it to thicken and start to harden.
2) You may want to stir the chocolate more while you are dipping the cherries. This will help break up any cocoa butter crystals that are forming and keep their size small.
3) When you warm your chocolate, I’d bet that you are warming it up too much. Rather than trying to warm the entire bowl of chocolate, you may want to warm it for just an instant. In this case, the chocolate along the bottom of your bowl will lose its temper but the remaining chocolate will not — and the remaining chocolate will seed the untempered chocolate with the stable beta crystals. Be sure to stir the chocolate well after you warm it slightly to incorporate the untempered chocolate back into the tempered chocolate and to begin the seeding process again. It will also help to even out the temperature.
I hope this helps,
Fine Chocolate Made From The Bean
October 13, 2009
Yes, that’s typical. Remember, at the temper point (31 C) the chocolate is starting to crystallise,
so it will inevitably thicken. Dipping cooler objects into it only hastens the process, especially
as the volume of remaining chocolate diminishes. It’s best to use a LOT of chocolate – this is how
the pros do it. At the temper point chocolate solidifies fast.
The moisture could have a role, if it’s excessive, or if the cherries are coming out of the fridge.
In that latter case condensation may be spoiling the result. But thickening and seizing are decisively
If you warm by a couple of degrees then it will come out of temper unless you retemper it. However, if
you don’t want to work with sizeable quantities at a time this may be the only solution. When dipping
moving quickly is vital. Have everything ready to go in assembly-line format before you temper the
chocolate. Then quickly get those cherries through. Practice makes perfect.
October 14, 2005
September 30, 2004
Confiseur – i’m not sure i follow – the absence/presence of lecithin shouldn’t affect your ability to temper chocolate (actually, if you have sensitive enough equipment, you will find SOME crystallization differences, but the practical implications are naught..), that is, assuming, the chocolate has sufficient ccb to make it low viscosity when melted, which chuao does…
Chrissie – with chocolate, temperature and time are absolutely everything. Your room may be too cold, there may be lots of airflow that takes the heat away from your bowl, you may be working with too little product (little bit of mass looses heat very quickly), each time you dip a cherry you remove heat and add water (although it doesn’t sound like waters your problem as when you reheat it refluidizes), your thermometer may be inaccurate, etc. there are lots of variables, and troubleshooting over the ‘net is a tough thing
I will say that your experience is absolutely normal during the ‘learning to temper’ phase. I’ve recently hired someone new, she’s a bit of a perfectionist, and i set the stage by telling her I expect her to fail consistently in achieving perfect temper for the first weeks. It’s a learning process, and it’s as much art as it is science. The more you do it, the better you become. The great thing is that if you fail (and you will, i’ve been doing this for over a decade and I still get it wrong sometimes), you can start over and all is not lost..
October 14, 2005
…..to reiterate….obviously the chocolate has to be correctly tempered,that is a given.. however the lack of lecithin in chuao means that the chocolate has a lower viscosity than a chocolate containing lecithin.
One small tip and please, I do not wish appear patronizing in any way or form but if you are new to tempering then chuao-glorious product that it is-is possibly not the best practice material.
October 14, 2005
….with reference to the above, I spoke with Alessio Tessieri at the presentation of the World Chocolate Awards in London last Friday.As one of the award winners and using chuao in my entrys he asked me how I found the product to work with and I said..great for bars but difficult to enrobe..his answer..a loud laugh and an ‘I know’!
May 29, 2005
October 13, 2009
Originally posted by deb
I have some chocolate from Ecuador and it does not contain lecithin. Very hard to mould with!! Why is it a trend to not use lecithin with high end chocolate manufacturers? Lecithin is very healthy. Anyone know why?
It seems to have emerged originally as a trend as a way to avoid GMOs. Some chocolatiers had before that been making lecithin-free chocolate but it hadn’t been common. Then with GMO soy there was an explosion of concern, and many if not most of the top-end chocolatiers leaped on the bandwagon. Cluizel is the first chocolatier I can remember making a point not to use soy lecithin and advertising it.
Anyway, once the movement was underway people realised another benefit. Lecithin diminishes the flavour of chocolate. Even in relatively small amounts the gain in fluidity was offset by a significant loss in flavour impact. In addition, as more chocolatiers gained mastery over the process, the high-end sector of the industry realised more and more that lecithin was ultimately unnecessary. It’d been a “default” ingredient added before – a bit like vanilla – whose use nobody had really thought to question seriously and without which many had thought one could not get the very best chocolate (at least not texturally). Again I have to give the nod here to Cluizel for publicising the possibility of a no-compromise texture and flavour without lecithin.
These days, meanwhile, the GMO aspect is quickly becoming a non-factor because of the development of widespread availability of non-GMO lecithin. But now that chocolatiers have made the switch, I don’t think they’ll be looking back because they now understand fully the lack of necessity for lecithin. When it comes to moulding, it’s not necessarily that lecithin-free chocolate is more difficult to work with per se but that you have to adapt your process to the new variety. Guidelines developed under the assumption that the chocolate did contain lecithin are no longer accurate. But once you’ve got the new process parameters, it’s very doable.
October 14, 2005
…..personally I can not taste the lecithin( certainly at the general manufacturers dosage of less than 0.5% )in chocolate..I will have to leave that one to the great masters…However…in their absence I believe that a thinner chocolate is preferable as it will give a better flavour release and a far superior mouth feel…