Tempering, a word met with fear in most home kitchens but don’t worry we are here to help and take you through the process step by step.
You have probably seen extravagant and fancy techniques on tv involving beautiful marble benches and equipment not usually found in your average kitchen. Fortunately there is a much easier way and it is easily done at home. All you will need is a microwave, heatproof bowl, spatula and a candy thermometer.
Microwave tempering is not usually shown on tv or by chefs but it is the easiest and most efficient way to temper chocolate with the least amount of variables. When you purchase chocolate, you are buying it in a tempered form. So with microwave tempering the aim is to gently melt it whilst still keeping it in temper. This means, we will need to maintain certain temperatures. Follow the steps listed below to learn how to easily temper chocolate.
Step one - weigh out your desired amount of chocolate into your heat proof bowl, the smaller the amount, the shorter amount of time it will need in the microwave. But, don't forget the smaller the amount the more chances of it overheating, so I would suggest using at least 500g of chocolate.
Step two - pop your chocolate in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes on half power. Chocolate likes to melt slowly, so making your first melt on half power gives it some time to adjust. After this, stir thoroughly and place back in the microwave for 30 seconds this time on high. You are aiming for half callets and half melted chocolate, if you have already achieved this you no longer need the microwave but if not put your bowl back in the microwave for 10 second intervals and mix in between whilst also checking your temperature, we are aiming for no higher than 32C or we risk the chocolate untempering. When you are happy with the consistency, remove and keep mixing until all the chocolate is melted.
The residual heat will help melt the excess lumps. When you think it's ready, use your thermometer to check the temperature again. Depending on the chocolate chosen, you are aiming between 29-31 C. If it is only slightly above pop a couple more callets in and mix until melted, with the hope that it will bring it down slightly in temperature.
You are now ready to use your chocolate!