Learning to temper chocolate like a pro requires time and patience, but the shiny snap of tempered chocolate is worth the effort. Here's how to temper chocolate, plus tips and techniques to help you get professional level results!Adapted from King Arthur Baking
1 to 2poundschocolate, dark, semisweet, milk, or white, see Recipe Notes
Chop the chocolate into small pieces using a serrated knife. Set aside ¼ of the total for seeding the chocolate later.
Melt the remaining chocolate (see the Recipe Notes on methods). Use a digital thermometer or an infrared temperature gun to make sure the melted chocolate doesn’t go over 122 °F for dark and semisweet chocolate or 113 °F for milk and white chocolate.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the reserved chocolate, a bit at a time, and stir until the chocolate cools to 82 °F to 84 °F for dark and semisweet chocolate or 79 °F to 81 °F for milk and white chocolate. When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature, check to see if the chocolate is ready.
To test to see if the chocolate is in temper, place a small amount on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper and wait for it to dry, about 3 to 5 minutes. If the chocolate appears shiny, and it snaps when broken in half, it's in temper and ready for use for dipped your treats. Place your dipped treats on the Silpat or parchment paper to dry and harden.
If the sample appears dull or bends but doesn't snap, the chocolate isn't in temper. Unfortunately, you'll have to start over by melting and seeding again.
Keep the chocolate in the correct holding temperature range: 88 °F to 91 °F for dark and semisweet chocolate or 84 °F to 86 °F for milk and white chocolate. This requires a bit of ingenuity, so see the Recipe Notes for some ideas. Check your temperature occasionally to be sure you’re still within range.
You might be tempted to use chocolate chips instead of chopping a block of chocolate, but try to avoid that impulse. Many types of chocolate chips have ingredients (stabilizers and preservatives) that interfere with tempering. Best to stick with high quality baking chocolate and leave the chips in the pantry this time.To melt your chocolate, you have a choice of how to go about it. Whichever method you choose, be careful not to heat the chocolate above 122°F or it will burn.
Use a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 20 to 30 second bursts at half powder until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Use a pan set above 1-inch of simmering water, being careful that the bottom isn't sitting in the water itself and being careful that no water gets in the chocolate.
Use a tempering machine set to 120°F. Remove the bowl from the machine once the chocolate is mostly melted and stir until it is completely melted.
To hold your chocolate at the correct temperature, there are numerous ways to go. Whatever method you choose, always check the chocolate's temperature with a digital thermometer or infrared temperature gun to ensure you don't go above 91°F. Otherwise, you're out of temper and have to start again. Here are a few ideas:
Use a double boiler or a short burst at half powder in the microwave (about 15 to 20 seconds) to rewarm the chocolate
Place your bowl on a regular heating pad turned to medium heat and covered with a dish towel
Use a tempering machine to hold the temperature
To warm just the surface of the chocolate, you can use a hair dryer set to low heat for a few seconds.