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Tempering is the process by which chocolate (couverture), when cool and solid after melting, becomes glossy, shiny and has that certain crispness that cracks, even at room temperature. This technique is mainly used when producing chocolate decorations, pralines and coatings. When chocolate is melted, the cocoa butter (the fat content of the chocolate) forms crystals and tempering ensures that these crystals are stabilized and evenly applied throughout the chocolate. Most of the chocolate when bought commercially is tempered. Once melted however it will loose this and needs to be tempered again. If one simply melts chocolate and pours it in a mold, the chocolate will be greyish, matt and sometimes even has a sort of powdery finish. This is called “bloom”. The taste generally stays the same, but the appearance looks inferior.

There are two main techniques for tempering chocolate:First:

  1. Melt chocolate over steam or in a water bath until it reaches 45C (115F).
  2. Remove 2/3 of it and pour on a marble or granite surface.
  3. With a spatula, spread the chocolate back and fourth until it has cooled down to 27C (80F). The consistency should now be thick and slow running.
  4. Combine this chocolate with the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate, reheated to about 32C (89F) for dark chocolate, about 30C (85F) for milk or white chocolate.


  1. Melt two-thirds of the chocolate to be tempered to a temperature of 45C (115F).
  2. Finely chop the remaining one-third of the chocolate and under constant stirring add to the melted mixture.
  3. Reheat until the mixture has reached 32C (89F) and is smooth and shiny.


  1. Tempering chocolate needs a bit of practice, but, the good news is, that if the tempering has failed and the solid chocolate does not achieve the desired result, you can always melt the chocolate again and repeat the process.
  2. To get the temperature right, it is a good idea to just simply measure it with a infrared or probe thermometer. The old method of testing the heat of the chocolate by feeling it with your underlip is just not very exact especially if one is not very experienced with tempering chocolate.

Thomas Wenger

Born in Bern, Switzerland, Thomas followed in the footsteps of his mother and entered a three-year cooking apprenticeship program and graduating it at the age of 20. Working a few short stints in a winter ski resort and a city hotel in Basel/Switzerland during the following years he took the opportunity to work in New York in 1986. What was originally planned as a one-year experience in New York lasted three years and went on to a global career, which led him to Australia and on to Hong Kong in 1990. For the past 15 years, Thomas has explored South East Asia and it’s cuisines and regional specialties. He worked in some of the most exciting cities in the world - Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok and his culinary style reflects the many experiences and the people he worked with. Throughout his career, Thomas liked the challenges and diversity of hotel operations. He recently joined a Hotel & Restaurant Management school in Manila, Philippines as Senior Culinary Faculty.

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