Making flawless tempered chocolate
Tempering chocolate is the process of heating the chocolate, cooling it down, and then heating it again. Chocolate contains fat, known as cocoa butter which solidifies into various crystalline structures at different melting points. By tempering, the formation of phase V crystals is encouraged, which have the desired characteristics.
To temper, take some cacao dark chocolate, shred it into fine pieces and place it in a glass bowl (saving about 34 % for seeding purposes later on), placed on top of a pan placed on the heat with water in it (water should not touch the glass bowl, let it sit just above the pan; nor should water reach boiling point). Heat the bottom pan so that the chocolate temperature reaches 45 to 50o C while mixing.
Once all the chocolate is melted, cool it down to around 31o C, at this stage add in the reserved chocolate for seeding while mixing continuously. After this proceed to the next step of under cooling which is bringing the temperature further down to 27o C.
Next, we raise the temperature back to 31o C while mixing, melting down any phase 4 crystals that may have formed when cooling ( Phase V crystals have a higher melting point than Phase I, II, III & IV crystals, about 34o C). Once the temperature reaches 31o C take the chocolate off the heat so as not to melt any phase 5 crystals and let it cool. Hence smooth solid chocolate is formed with only phase 5 crystals. This phase v crystal formation is important and hence gives the resultant chocolate desired qualities, such as a smooth glossy finish and texture, and sets in swiftly.
Alternatively, once chocolate is warmed up to around 55o C, pour some of the melted chocolate onto a marble slab or a pan and spread the chocolate to increase the surface area and mixing at the same time. Introducing hardening crystals and bringing the temperature down to 27o C, at which dark chocolate crystallizes and transitions to a solid state. Eventually the chocolate will thicken and then pour it into the same bowl with the melted chocolate that should be around 32o C, so as to melt all the crystals with the exception of phase V crystals; and mix for a couple of minutes and tempered chocolate is realized.