How To Temper White Chocolate

By Julie Sews - 3:11:00 PM

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Every Christmas I make a huge batch of chocolates and give them to friends and family.  I haven't made chocolates for awhile and I just followed the directions for making ganache.  I scoured the cream and stirred in the chocolate.  The first few turned out great, but the next one turned into a huge blob leaking out cocoa butter and oil.  I knew I had lost my emulsion because it was similar to what I had experienced with lotion trying to emulsify with water.  I just didn't know how to fix it.  I found the answer on 
Dr Chocolate. I can't remember what number it was but someone had the same problem, and they said to heat some cream up and slowly incorporate the white chocolate into the cream a little at a time.  It worked! Basically I had heated it too high and lost my emulsion as a result.  White chocolate has a lower melting point, which I had forgotten.  So now you know what to do if you don't temper correctly, let's learn how to avoid that mess to begin with.

What is Tempering?
Learn how to make chocolate mustache lollipops at VO Knits
Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate that gives chocolate a smooth and glossy finish. Tempered chocolate will have a crisp snap and won't melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate.  Untempered chocolate can be unsightly with streaks of light brown. This happens because not all of the chocolate has melted and is called blooming.  Chocolate contains cocoa butter in suspension as crystals until the chocolate is melted. There are several different types of crystals in chocolate and they don't all crystallize/melt at the same temperature. Tempering's goal is to get the best type of crystals to form.

 Tempering Methods
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  Place 2/3 of the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler.  Heat over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly, until chocolate reaches 108-110°F.  Add the rest of the chocolate and place the top pan of the double boiler on a towel. Cool to 80°–82°F. Add the remaining chocolate to the top pan, stirring until melted. The chocolate is ready to be used for molding candies, coating, or dipping.

Depending on the cocoa butter content of the chocolate and other ingredients, the tempering temperature of chocolate varies. Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking provides these temperatures for chocolate:

Type of ChocolateTempering Temperature
Dark (no milk content)88-90°F (31-32°C)
Milk86-88°F (30-31°C)
White80-82°F (27-28°C)

Tips for Tempering
  • Do not heat above 120°F since chocolate, is sensitive to heat and will scorch or seize easily.
  • Be sure no liquid gets into the chocolate. This will cause clumping or seizing.
  • if you do not melt the chocolate to 100 degrees it will turn grayish
  • Avoid tempering chocolate on excessively hot or humid days.
  • Tempered chocolate can be stored for several months without blooming at constant cool room temperature, 60-65°F (15-18°C) 

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