If you buy chocolate in bulk, and plan on using it for candy-making or dipping, it’s necessary to temper it. Have you ever bought a candy bar, and snapped of a piece to pop in your mouth? That snap occurs because the chocolate has been tempered.
Tempering refers to a process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping and enrobing. The tempering process ensures that the cocoa butter in chocolate hardens in a uniform crystal structure. Chocolate that is tempered has a smooth texture, a glossy shine and a pleasant “snap” when bitten or broken. Chocolate that is not tempered might be cloudy, gray, lumpy, and sticky at room temperature. Tempering chocolate can be accomplished at home with a chocolate or instant-read thermometer and a double-boiler. (about.com)
You will need:
Large metal mixing bowl
First, it is important to start with at least 1 pound of chocolate.
Chop the chocolate into small sized pieces, approximately the size of a quarter.
Place two-thirds of the chocolate in a medium-sized metal mixing bowl, and place over a double-boiler. Make sure the heat is on low- you don’t want the chocolate to melt too fast.
Stir the chocolate as it melts- insert a candy thermometer into the chocolate making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl- this will give you a false reading. Once the chocolate has reached a temperature of 115 degrees, remove it from the boiler.
Add the remaining one third of chocolate to the bowl and stir. Continue to mix the chocolate until all of the bits have melted, and the temperature reads 80 degrees.
At this point, the chocolate is ready to use.
If the chocolate begins to cool, you may put it back on the double boiler for a minute or so to bring the temperature back up to 80 degrees. The chocolate may also re-heated in the microwave at 15 second intervals.
Chef Chuck Kerber