Sunday, 11 April 2010

The well tempered gourmand

Oh dear a punning title and warning of a glut of edits.

Anyway this is about chocolate. Hard as it maybe to believe chocolate is pretty complicated stuff, it exists in 6 different crystal forms. The one we really want is the β crystal and to get that we have to temper the chocolate.
Normally chocolate already comes in this form, by melting it we mess that up, this is where tempering comes in. The old fashioned method involves heating the chocolate till its fully melted and up around a temperature of 41c. Then removing 3/4 and working that on a cool marble slab down to 28c then adding that to the remaining 1/4 and bringing it to a temperature of 31c.
However we can take advantage of a bit of science and do this in a slightly easier way, using seed crystals. Since our chocolate is already tempered,we can reserve a bit and use its crystals to get the melted chocolate to behave. A bit of reading suggests about 10% is enough. So put the remaining 90% in your double boiler and melt it, stirring to bring the whole lot to a uniform temperature of 41c. Take it off the heat, and drop in the reserved chocolate, stir till the whole lot is at 32c, the chocolate ought to be tempered. Its then time to use the chocolate, of course if it goes above 32c you'll have to temper again.

You should end up with a glossy chocolate that snaps very definitely. It is a bit of fuss, but it does provide a much better chocolate for some applications.

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