I am teaching myself to temper chocolate right now and I'm wondering the best way to hold the temperature of the chocolate. I'm using a double boiler and using both milk and dark chocolate. I followed the temperature curve but still got fat bloom. I dipped approximately 25 chocolates and only about 5 of them turned out without the bloom!
When using the double boiler method, should the temperature of the burner be lowered once the chocolate has reached it's melting temperature?
Any tips for keeping chocolate at a working temperature will be greatly appreciated.
I've been looking into getting a tempering machine or the more European style pan melter at some point. Can the melter be used for tempering? How should I decide which one to get (aside from cost, unless one is more economical with the same results)?
A melter (such as a Mol d'Art is used for keeping chocolate at working temp. It melts the chocolate at a high temp, then you temper the choc and reduce the temp on the melting tank. When you put the tempered choc back into the unit, it holds it at the correct temp. A melter will simply hold the choc at a given temp, it will not temper the chocolate for you.
A tempering machine will do both - it will melt your chocolate, temper it and then hold it at the working temp.
To understand tempering chocolate, you need to keep in mind that with the exception of your melting temperature, the cocoa butter is crystalizing ALL the time. At it's ideal working temperature, if you don't agitate it, the chocolate will go solid on you. Also, room temperature plays a big part in the crystalization - especially if you aren't agitating your chocolate properly.
Agitation is THE most important part of working with chocolate. ALL tempering machines will be agitating the chocolate at all times, in order to keep in a working state and prevent it from solidifying. If you are tempering chocolate by hand, you need to be stirring it 100% of the time you are working with it, or you will always get bloom.
One other thing: When you reheat your chocolate on your double boiler (after melting and cooling it) to it's working temperature, remove it from the double boiler approximately 5 degrees LOWER than your target temperature. The reason for this is because your pot will still be hot, and will continue to drag the temperature up (and out of temper) for a few minutes after it is removed from the heat. If you remove it too soon, you can always bring it up a degree or two with a blow dryer on the low setting blown directly on the chocolate while you are stirring it.
Thank you so much! This is exactly the kind of advice I was seeking! I should have been stirring more while I was dipping. I'm making my first large test batch of chocolates in 2 weeks and I will keep that in mind.