October 24, 2005
I have come across 2 hand tempering methods. In the Scharffen Berger method, all the chocolate is melted, and 2/3rd of it never gets below 91F. In the other method 2/3rds of the chocolate is melted, and all of the chocolate is lowered to 85F. These are very different - so which one works best???
(1) From scharffen berger (whole batch is melted)
- melt to 115 degrees.
- Bring entire mass to 95 degrees while stirring over a bath of cool water.
- Remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the choocolate and cool this portion further to about 85 degrees while stirring to make certain the temperature is uniform.
- Maintain remaining chocolate at approximately 95 degrees, stirring occasionally.
- When the cooler portion of the chocolate just begins to thicken, add it to the 95 degrees portion, remove from the warm bath, and stir gently to make sure the two portions are fully mixed. The chocolate should now be around 91-92 degrees and fully tempered.
(2) Other method (2/3rds of batch is melted)
- Melt 2/3 of the chocolate to approx 113F
- place it on a towel on the counter.
- Stir in the remaining 1/3 of chopped chocolate letting the mixture cool to approximately 84-85F.
- Hold until is just starts to thicken.
- Warm the chocolate back to 89F.
May 29, 2005
I temper by hand all the time. I use a marble slab. What I have learned is that the chocolate must be heated high enough to melt all the fat crystals. YOu can use a thermometer or what I do is use my top lip. Your lips are actually one of the most heat sensitive parts of your body. If the chocolate feels quite warm, but not hot enough to burn my lips then I know I have heated it high enough. This procedure is important! Then I pour about 80% of the chocolate onto a marble slab and cool the chocolate quickly. I have that 20% to compensate in case I over cool the chocolate on the slab. Again, I test the chocolate by using my top lip. If there is absolutely no sensation of heat when applied to your lip, then the chocolate is tempered. I will put a thin strip on wax or foil paper and see if it hardens within a couple of minutes and also what the colour is of the set chocolate. Dark chocolate is the easiest to work with. With white or milk the chocolate must actually feel cool on your lip. If you heat and cool the chocolate properly you will get a nice shine, snap etc to your chocolate. If you do not have a marble slab then submerge your chocolate into a double boiler that contains cold water and remember to always stir quite well and quite often to keep the cocoa butter crystals mixed well with the rest of the mass (as the cocao butter will want to microscopically rise to the top!!).
Well, you've got my opinion!!
August 1, 2006
Both are fine and accomplish the same thing, although I have to admit I have not seen SB's technique too often. Deb's method is one of the most common, as is the second one you mentioned. It's basically called the "seed" technique and is often preferred if you don't (or can't) use a marble slab. Basically, when you heat the chocolate to 120-150 F, the chocolate falls out of temper, and so you add a "seed" of tempered chocolate for two purposes: 1) to cool the chocolate down, and 2) so that the fat crystals can align back to its tempered state. Basically, you kill two birds with one stone and eliminate the need of a marble slab. I use this method exclusively and have never had bad results.
A word about the lip test: I sometimes find this a bit unreliable, and because I am hesitant about spending all day re-tempering, I use a thermometer to measure the exact temperature. You should still have a good thermometer anyway.
September 30, 2004
SB's method is the traditional method of doing tempering, and is traditionally known as the slab/mush method. You're essentially melting out all the crystals, and then when you remove 1/3 of the product and 'mush' it around on a cold surface (such as a marble slab), you're overseeding it. add this back to the warm melted mix, and it melts out the overseed, cools it, and leaves behind an appropriate amount of see to thoroughly temper the product. This is the method I typically use at home, although I'll use a microwave and seed it from time to time if i'm in a hurry or doing it with my daughter. As with most things, there's many means to the same end!
August 1, 2006
Ah, well SB's method doesn't mention anything about using a slab. It just says one must allow the mixture to cool. Instructions like that should be exact and very straightforward because leaving out important information like the slab will leave many people confused as to how one should "cool" the chocolate. If I were an average Joe not knowing any better, I would automatically assume that I would have to set 1/3-1/4 of the chocolate in another bowl, constantly stirring until the desired temperature is reached, and then add to the warmer pot. To me, if this were the case, then it sounds like a slight deviation (and slower version) from the traditional method requiring a slab.
March 17, 2005
August 1, 2006
The "seed" contains properly formed crystals, and the untempered chocolate follows this pattern and cools in the process when the cooler seed is added.
September 30, 2004
Monty - what you describe would work jsut as well as a slab, although your arm would get quite the workout. As i said, many routes lead to the same destination, there's no one way to do it. most often i use a cooling cabinet to expedite the process, interrupted by frequent stirring (so i can control temperature, crystal growth, and get a visual confirmation of when i have proper seeding - the more you temper the better you'll understand how it should look, feel, behave, etc and the less you'll rely on a thermometer..). however, most folks don't have cooling cabinets sitting around, nor the time to allow something to equilibrate to room temperature, so the assumption is that something should be used to transfer the energy.. note that this does not have to be amarble slab - regular countertops work just fine, as do cookie sheets.
Ellie - a quick cooling isn't necessarily the key, but cooling and movement are. I've tempered plenty of times by allowing something to come to room temperature (either on purpose or simpy because i've been distracted and had forgotten about it). The problem with allowing it to very, very slowly come to room temperature on it's own is that it tyipcally won't work very well for large amounts (say, 5 lbs or more), as you're not providing any agitation. agitation does a couple of things - first it prevents or minimizes temperature striations - ( you get the same temperature throughout the mass). secondly it stimulates the growth of crystals...the seed is called that because from it, other crystals form using it as a template... the seed effectively grows new crystals of the right form. w/o agitation, this happens only to a very limited extent.
for large samples, you can allow it to cool ambiently to a better degree if you allow the edges to essentially 'overtemper' - cool to the point of almost solidification, as when you mix the chocolate, the warm center will be cooled by the very cold edges, and the very cold edges will warm and melt and seed the center... it's sa bit of a tricky proposition, tho, and i'd not recommend it as the way to proceed if you're not comfortable with hand tempering to begin with. however, as you do more hand tempering, you'll run into situations where you'll have to compensate, and the more you do it, the better a feel you'll get for it.. that's the artsy part 8-)