TABLETOP TECHNIQUE FOR TEMPERING
- Start with a marble or granite surface, which is clean and dry and doesn’t absorb heat. Make sure the surface is cool (if not, or if the room is very warm, lay a rimmed sheet pan on the marble then fill it with ice. Let the chilled sheet pan rest on the marble for a few minutes to cool it down).
- Melt the chocolate to the proper temperature. Pour enough water into a saucepan to come 1 inch up the side, then bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl, then set the bowl over the simmering water (this is called a double boiler, or bain-marie). Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is fully melted and heated to the proper temperature listed below: Dark chocolate: 118°F (48°C), Milk chocolate: 113°F (45°C), White chocolate: 109°F (43°C)
- When the chocolate is ready, remove the bowl from the saucepan, making sure to wipe the bottom dry so condensation doesn’t drip onto the marble surface. (If you used the sheet pan with ice to cool down your surface, remove at the this time and wipe the marble until it’s completely dry. You do not want any water coming in contact with the chocolate.) Pour 80 percent of the melted chocolate onto the work space. Using two palette knives, slowly move the chocolate around to agitate it. Scrape the knives against each other to clean them as you work.
- Watch as the chocolate starts to thicken and develop a gleam. The temperature should be about 84°F (29°C), and the chocolate should feel slightly cool to the touch, as it’s just below body temperature.
- Use the palette knives to return the agitated chocolate to the bowl with the remaining melted chocolate. The agitated chocolate will reheat slightly as the whole amount comes to the proper temperature below: Dark chocolate: 88°F (31°C), Milk chocolate: 86°F (30°C), White chocolate: 86°F (30°C)
- In your first few times tempering, always make sure to test by dipping an offset spatula or piece of parchment paper into the chocolate to see if it sets shiny. If not, try again with the same chocolate. Once tempered, chocolate must be used immediately. If it solidifies, re-temper.