Generally speaking chocolate starts to melt from 30 to 32 C, just a little bit lower than your body temperature (that’s why chocolate tastes so good, when you melt it on your tonque!). But the exact melting temperature depends on the content of the chocolate you are melting (or try not to melt!).
Before we go into the scientific explanation of chocolate melting, what you probably want to remember is that white chocolate melts at the lowest temperature, milk chocolate somewhere in the middle, whereas dark chocolate takes the longest to melt.
When I run my chocolate making courses, I get often asked questions about chocolate truffles and working with ganache. So in this chocolate blog post I wanted to look at commonly asked questions and give you the answers with simple solutions.
But first of all, if you don't know how to make delicious chocolate truffles at home you can check out this recipe. Now that you have made your first batch of homemade chocolate truffles we can start with the questions!
Chocolate truffle making tips
How do you keep truffles from melting?
The best way to prevent your chocolate truffles from melting when you are working with them is to wear catering gloves and form your chocolate truffles first with your fingertips and then roll them gently in your palms to finish shaping them into a smooth ball. It’s also useful to chill your chocolate truffle mixture before you work with it (1-2 hrs is fine or overnight if you have the time).
When you finish making your chocolate truffles, chill them for a few hours and then store them in a room temperature (anything around 18 C is ideal).
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Best chocolate tempering machine to buy - Review Guide (2020)
Whether you are just starting with chocolate making or you are thinking of starting your own chocolate business, chocolate tempering is going to be essential part of your chocolate work.
Chocolate tempering is a fairly complex task and one that has to be done correctly otherwise you might end up with bloomed chocolate, which doesn't look very sightly and it also shorterns the final product shelf-life.
My chocolate courses students have been asking me which chocolate tempering machine to buy, which inspired me to review a few tempering machines for you and write up this chocolate tempering guide.
This chocolate tempering machine guide focuses on small scale chocolate making - either at home or small business.
When to consider buying chocolate tempering machine
If you want to just try working with chocolate and make a few chocolate treats for your friends and family once in a while, you probably don't need to buy tempering machine (unless you really fancy having another kitchen gadget). You'll be perfectly fine with chocolate tempering on a marble or using the seeding method.
However if you are thinking of setting up a small chocolate business or you are planning to make a lot of chocolate, tempering machine will significantly cut down the time that you'd otherwise need to use for hand chocolate tempering. It will save you time, that you can dedicate to preparing your moulds, decorating your chocolates or prepare your chocolate fillings.
What to consider when buying chocolate tempering machine
Tempering machine size
This will very much depend on how much space do you have in your kitchen or chocolate workshop. Ideally your tempering machine should be placed on a firm and sturdy hard surface area (kitchen worktop, table or a free standing cupboard). The average size of tempering machine could be anything from 40cm to 60cm both in depth and width. Tempering machines are also fairly heavy and the more chocolate volume you can input the more they will weigh.
Tempering machine volume
The smaller table top tempering machines take about 500 g of chocolate, whilst the large types can take up to 5 kg. The smaller tempering machines are adequate for occassional chocolate work or for a hobby chocolatier, but if you want to start even a small scalle chocolate production, you'll need at least 1-2 kg volume.
Tempering machine price
The cost of table top tempering machine varies from few hundred pounds to several hundred. Chocolate tempering machines are a bit of an investment, so I'd often recommend carry on tempering chocolate by hand, until you reach the point when you need to temper 1- 1.5 kg and then invest in a mid range tempering machine.
This chocolate tempering machine is a great value, considering the specifications. It will temper up to 8 litres of chocolate (which is around 10 kg) in two different compartments. This machine is also fairly compact and simple to set up. Temperature can be set to anything from 1C to 100C.
More importantly, this tempering machine heats up your chocolate with dry heat, which means that there is no additional humidity like with heating up chocolate on a bain marrie.
Two separate container vats
Max. 100°C, continuous heat
Volume Capacity - Maximum of 8 litres - 2x4L
Machine weight (without chocolate) 7,35 kg
Dimensions - 34.5 x 28.2 x 29.4 cm
Each container is 15 cm deep
Led display for temperature control
Benefit of two separate containers for different chocolates
Easy to clean as it's stainless steal and the containers are dishwasher safe
Continous heat (doesn't automatically stop heating when it reaches desired temperature)
This is great starter machine as it's very affordable, compact and holds good amount of chocolate. The machine has two separate containers, which means that you can have milk or dark chocolate melting together at the same time. It's made from stainless steel, which makes it very easy to wash.
It heats the chocolate by slowly heating water container which sits underneath the chocolate containers. Whilst this cuts cost of this tempering machine by half from other models, it also means that you need to be more careful when taking the chocolate containers from the machine.
2 separate containers with 1.6 litres capacity each (about 2 kg)
Measurements - 22 cm wide, 44cm deep, 17cm tall
Each container is 13 cm deep
Weight (without chocolate) 5kg
Perfect for a start up business on a budget or home chocolate enthusiast
Gradual heating of the chocolate by heating the water compartment underneath
Easy to clean (stainless steal)
Automatically stops heating when the container/chocolate reaches desired temperature
Water heated machine (be careful when taking the containers off the base as they might have water dripping)
Analogue temperature setting, which could be sometimes incorrect (double check with a digital thermometer)
This tempering machine is a good value for money, as it has 3 different compartments, which can be used for white, milk and dark chocolate or use to keep your colouring cocoa butter warm. It is still fairly compact, considering that it has 3 different compartments. This machine will save you money and space as you don't need to buy separate tempering machines (if you need to temper white, milk or dark chocolate at the same time).
Temperature range 0-80 C
Capacity 12 kg in total (about 4 kg each container)
Measurements: 66 cm deep, 36 cm wide, 18 cm tall
3 separate compartments for white, milk and dark chocolate
Each tempering machine comes with a detailed user guide, so here are just a few tips on how to use tempering machine correctly.
Most tempering machines have been designed for 'seeding' method of tempering chocolate. This means that you add chocolate to your chocolate machine, let the chocolate melt slowly and when it's fully melted, you add about 1/3 of the original chocolate volume in new chocolate calets. You need to lover the heating temperature at this point, depending on what chocolate you are working with. Let the new, unmelted chocolate to crystalise the rest of the chocolate and when fully melted, you are ready to start your chocolate work.
The seeded method does take a longer time, than tempering on a marble, but this give you the time to prepare the chocolate moulds, fillings or pack your chocolates whilst your new chocolate machine tempers your next batch of chocolate.
This is a question I often get asked by my students at my Chocolate Courses. It’s a fair question. Tempering chocolate is quite complicated process, and it can be very frustrating if you think you’ve tempered your chocolate enough and you end up with a bloomed chocolate bars. Don’t worry; I’ve been there too!
So, why melting your chocolate is simply not enough?
If you just melt your chocolate without tempering it properly, you’ll end up with a chocolate that will bloom (you’ll get white streaks and lines running across your chocolate, when it finally sets). It will also take a long time to set and it will melt very quickly when you touch it.
It’s not going to make a ‘snap’ when you break your chocolate bar and it will even taste slightly grainy. Saying that it’s perfectly safe to eat chocolate that hasn’t been tempered properly, but the look is not great, and the texture won’t be probably as smooth as if you temper your chocolate well.
When we’re running our various chocolate making courses we often get asked lots of questions from enthusiastic chocolate makers about every aspect of the chocolate making process. And, of course, it’s a pleasure to share our knowledge with so many keen and eager course attendees and chocolatiers to be. Sometimes the questions are technical and detailed– such as those about the tempering and the chocolate crystallisation process. Others are more general, but equally practical, like when do we get to eat it all?
What’s your favourite chocolate treat when you go to the cinema or settle down at home to watch a film? With me, it’s a Bounty because after I’ve licked away the chocolate, I can silently slowly chew the coconut to enjoy the flavour and try to make the bar last as long as possible. A Crunchie bar, on the other hand, is just too, well crunchy, and every bite can be heard three rows back.
Buying my favourite chocolates and candy to enjoy a film or tv programme got me thinking about my favourite movies. For many of us, the cinema experience just isn’t complete without diving down into a bag of Revels or Minstrels whilst staring up at the big screen at the same time.
Here at Cocoa and Heart, we’re fascinated by all things chocolate. And chocolate itself and how it was first cultivated in Central America as a bitter drink and then brought over to Europe and gradually developed into a chocolate bar for eating, has a fascinating history all of its own. Here are some of the key dates in the History of Chocolate Timeline.
1,500 BC: The people of Central America begin to drink chocolate. The cacao tree may have been cultivated earlier than people first thought. Linguistic links to the words cacao and chocolate can be traced back to the Olmec peoples which pre-dates Maya and Atzec civilisation by several hundred years.
900 AD: Maya Civilisation: Pottery cups found in the tombs of Maya nobility contain symbols for cacoa and images for its preparation.
I'm normally not too keen on fruit cakes, but this Rich Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe is quite special. The flavour changes depending on what dried fruit you bake the cake with and the type of alcohol you use to 'feed' the cake. This fruit cake is best made about 4-6 weeks before Christmas to give you enough time to feed it and for the flavour to develop.