The Chocolate Life

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 I roasted 2lbs. of some nice Madagascar beans. Everything seemed went fine with the first roast, winnowing and the melanger process. I put the nibs into the melanger very slowly and they liquefied in relatively short order. I ran the melanger for 24 hours then added turbinado sugar and ran it for 12 more hrs. I could not temper it immediately after the melanger had done its job (family emergency) so I put plastic wrap on cookie sheets, poured the chocolate on the sheets to cool at room temperature. It looked and tasted great. I attempted to temper it the next day using a new rev V, which seemed to work fine. I poured the chocolate into new and carefully washed and dried  polycarbonate molds only to find most bars had bloom and I cannot get them out of the molds. I did not put them in the refrigerator to cool but I don't think that would have prevented the bloom. I would like to use the same chocolate and try to re-temper it but need advice as to what I may have done wrong and whether I can re-temper it and try again? 

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First some background and a little on what we're trying to accompish...

The cocoa butter in chocolate 'crystallizes' when it cools. The problem is, that it can crystallize in many different forms (at least six). The type you want is the one that melts around 90F (called form-V or beta crystals). The ones you don't want are the four types that can form when the temperature falls below about 83F. Those are the ones that give you the white chalky look and the poor snap.

In this method you're going first melt out all of the crystals present, then you're going to create lots of beta crystals as the melted chocolate cools rapidly on a cool surface (counter top), and then you're going to mix them into the chocolate to form even more by moving the chocolate around. You're going to avoid forming the crystals you don't want (the ones that lead to bloom) by keeping the temperature above about 83F.


Here's what you'll need to get started:

1. A cleaned stone countertop, wiped with alcohol when you're done to ensure it is sanitary (or as close as you can get...). If you don't have a stone counter top go ahead and try on whatever you have, but it may take longer since it won't conduct heat as well.

2. A spatula to move the melted chocolate around on the counter top

3. An infrared thermometer (you can get one on Amazon for about $20 -- Note -- you can temper without one, but it's easier, especially when you're doing it for the first time, if you have the thermometer.

4. A glass bowl big enough to hold your chocolate

5. A blow drier (optional, but it makes this method very easy).


1. Put the amount of chocolate you want to turn into seed into a glass bowl.

2. Melt it in the microwave using several short cycles at half power (I start with about 30 seconds at a shot at the beginning, then after it is mostly melted I drop down to 10 seconds). Bring the temperature up to about 115F to melt out all of the crystals.

3. Let it cool down to about 100F, then pour the melted chocolate onto your cleaned counter top and using a spatula move it  around continuously until the temperature drops to 83-85F.

4. Put the chocolate back into the glass bowl and stir it thoroughly and then check the temperature again with your IR thermometer. Depending on how warm your glass bowl was to start with it may go back up several degrees. Your goal is to get it up to about 89F. If it is below 89F, hit it with the blow dryer while stirring until it reaches that temperature.

5. Pour it onto a piece of parchment or into a mold and put it in a cool place to let it solidify (yep, you can use the fridge -- just don't leave it more than about 10 minutes to avoid condensation when you remove it).

Congratulations -- you now have seed!

Let me know how you make out!!!

I just ordered the IR thermometer so it will probably be next week before I can make the seed. I am looking forward to doing this very soon. I did try tempering a small batch this morning and  the results were much better having raised the temperature to 120F, warming the molds and placing them in the freezer after filling them. If you don't hear from me next week it is because my mother in law is very ill and I may be out of town. Thanks for your sharing such helpful information.

Honestly, solid chocolate will work for seed, tempered or not. If you melt chocolate, then let it set, you will have various types of crystals in there. Then, you take that semi-solid chocolate, it won't be real firm, and use that as seed. If you keep your melted chocolate between 90-95F in your tempering machine, it will melt all the undesired crystals, but not the type V crystals that you want.

So, easier method is:

#1 -Melt some chocolate.

#2 - Pour it into a container, cover it and let it solidify at room temperature, slowly, it will take hours.

#3 - Melt your remaining chocolate, let it cool to 90-95F, add the previous chocolate.

#4 - Stir and you have tempered chocolate. (Or add it to your tempering machine). My tempering machine is a microwave and a spatula, but this method always works.

This process is explained in great detail on the Chocolate Alchemy site, which tells you how to temper chocolate in your wet grinder. I always use this process, but I just pour the tempered chocolate straight out of the grinder into a cookie sheet, let it firm in the refrigerator, chop it into blocks, and store in a plastic bag until needed.

That seems fairly easy. I now have two ways to temper chocolate and when I get the IR Thermometer I shall try both.


Good call - that really is a lot easier if seed is all you're after...


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