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Why Do You Need To Temper Chocolate? What Does It Do?

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Have you ever wondered what happens when you temper chocolate? Tempering is one of the most essential steps in preparing and processing chocolate. But why does this tempering matter so much?

In this article, let's learn what tempering is, what it does to your chocolate and the science behind the entire process.

What does it mean to temper chocolate?

what is tempering

First of all, you need to understand what chocolate tempering is. Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate over and over to create stable crystals in the chocolate. During this process, the cocoa butter in the chocolate takes on a stable crystalline form, which gives the chocolate its defining characteristics.

Why do you need to temper chocolate?

So, the tempering process helps create stable crystals, but why is this important? Why does chocolate need to be tempered?

The purpose of tempering is to give chocolate its well-known shiny gloss appearance. It also provides the chocolate with a snap when you break or bite into it.

Another benefit is that it gives it a good working viscosity and helps with easy demolding when using chocolate to make molded pralines or hollow figures. Tempered chocolate is also less finger sensitive, meaning that it doesn’t leave a fingerprint when touching the solid chocolate. Another benefit is that tempered chocolate is slightly more resistant to fat bloom.

The Science Behind chocolate tempering

When you lower and raise the temperature of chocolate you are essentially manipulating the crystal formation in the chocolate, this is largely due to the cocoa butter, which has six crystal formations. The most important crystals for tempering are the beta crystals since they give tempered chocolate its shine and snap. The beta crystals are the most stable of all six crystals in chocolate.

When tempering chocolate, you first need to know what kind of chocolate you are tempering, as each will have different tempering temperatures. Generally. you temper one of three chocolates:

  • Dark Chocolate: Melt till 45-50°C, then cool till 28-29°C, and the end temperature is 31-32°C
  • Milk Chocolate: Melt till 45-50°C, then cool to 27-28°C, and the end temperature is 30-31°C
  • White Chocolate: Melt till 45-50°C, then cool till 24-25°C, and the end temperature is 27-28°C

The reason why there are different tempering temperatures between the types of chocolate is that milk and white chocolate contain milk fats which change the properties of the fat we’re dealing with. 

Read more: What Chocolate Melts the Fastest?

To put it simply, by raising the temperature of the chocolate, we can eliminate unwanted crystals, and by lowering it to the end temperature, we create and multiply the beta crystals, which is what we want.

what happens if your chocolate is untempered?

why do you need tempering

Until now, we have talked about what will happen if you temper your chocolate. So, what happens if your chocolate is untempered? Will it affect the quality of your product?

Simply put, yes. Not tempering your chocolate properly can diminish the quality of the end product.

Here are some things that will happen if your chocolate is untempered:

  • It has a dull and blotchy appearance
  • It dries slowly and doesn’t harden fully
  • It has a grainy and crumbly mouthfeel
  • It doesn’t have that snap, which is what we look for in chocolate
  • It’s more susceptible to heat and humidity, thus melts more easily and spoils quicker
  • It becomes a problem when trying to demold
  • It may have white streaks or spots from blooming

Overall, untempered chocolate’s performance becomes less than ideal for food product usage.

The only time you may not need tempered chocolate is when you do not require that snap, texture, or glossy appearance. For example, if you are using it to make a cake batter, as part of a ganache and pipe it in between cake layers, or as a liquid filling inside a lava cake.

Read more: White Vs Dark Chocolate: When to Use Them

If you are looking to use couverture chocolate for your bakery, pastry, or chocolate foodservice business then consider Embassy Chocolate. We are a brand that wears our #ProudlyAsian hat with pride. Although we source and blend our beans from cocoa bean-producing countries worldwide, it is fully produced in Indonesia and allows us to create a couverture chocolate that we like to label: International Quality, Made Locally. For more information about our products, visit our products page.

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