When I teach my chocolate making courses I usually keep the tempering with cocoa butter demonstration right to the end of the class. That’s not because I wouldn’t want to share this technique with my students, but it’s because it’s not something they can easily do at home. It’s also because I think that traditional table tempering is still much more reliable for large quantities of chocolate.
Some people consider tempering using cocoa butter as a bit of cheating, but I think it’s a good technique to have up your sleeves if you are short of time or you can’t use the traditional tempering methods. It’s also a good option if you don’t have the space for a tempering machine and you want to temper your chocolate quickly.
This technique works best on smaller quantities of chocolate and it’s best to use on chocolate that’s been pre-crystalised.
When to use Mycryo
- If you have amall amounts of chocolate to temper
- If you are short of time
- If you’ve made a mistake and you need to correct it quickly
- Cocoa butter or
- Chocolate coverture
- Mixing bowl
- Microwave, Bain Marie or chocolate melting pot
- Digital thermometer
- Mixing spoon
- Hair dryer or heat gun
- Digital scales
When you don’t need to temper chocolate
One thing to note here is that if you buy professional chocolate callets/coverture like Callebaut, Cocoa Barry or Belcolade this chocolate has already been pre-crystalised.
It means that if you melt the chocolate very slowly and you bring it to the working temperature (e.g. 27-32 C depending on the chocolate) you can get away with using that chocolate as it is.
This is perfect if you want to make a quick batch of rolled chocolate truffles, covered chocolate strawberries or something small and flat. It’s not so brilliant if you want to make something big (like an Easter Egg) or something that needs to be strong (like a hot chocolate bomb) – for those chocolates, I would always temper my chocolate properly to strengthen the chocolate structure.
How to temper chocolate with cocoa butter
Simple method (using pre-crystalised chocolate)
- Heat the chocolate in a microwave in a burst of 20 – 10 seconds (depending on the amount of chocolate you want to melt) and stir after each heating.
- Ideally, you want to stop just before you melt all the buttons as they will carry on melting even when you are not adding any heat.
- I usually stop when I have about 1/3 of buttons left to melt
- Add the cocoa butter and stir in.
- The amount will depend on the amount of chocolate – it’s 1% of the cocoa butter (e.g if you have 300 grams of chocolate add 3 g). You will definitely need to use digital scales for this.
- Leave to melt and stir occasionally. You will know when the butter has melted as it looks slightly grainy and your chocolate will eventually look smooth and non-grainy again.
- Gently bring the chocolate to the working temperature (usually 27 C for white, 29 C for milk and 32 for dark chocolate, but refer to the callets packaging to tell you the exact temperature)
- You can double check that your chocolate has been tempered well, by doing the pallet knife test.
- Heat up the chocolate to make sure that’s the right temperature again and you are ready to go!
Alternative method (suitable for any chocolate)
- Melt the chocolate completely (temperature depends on the type of chocolate you use – around 40C
- Leave the chocolate to cool down in a room temperature to slightly lower than body temperature 34-35°C
- Add 1% Mycryo® cocoa butter powder of the total of your chocolate quantity
- Stir in gently and leave for a bit
- Stir in completely, making sure the Mycryo powder has disolved. At this point the chocolate will cool down to the working temperature (27C white, 29 C milk and 32°C for dark chocolate
- Double check that you’ve achieved temper & check that you have a right working temperature and your chocolate is ready to be used.
Difference between cocoa butter and Mycryo
Mycryo was developed by Collebaut and it was originally used by professional chefs for frying meat and fish as cocoa butter can withstand high temperatures and doesn’t smoke when fryed. It comes as cocoa powder (or it looks like that) formed by tiny cocoa butter crystals.
Callebaut has cleverly pre-crystalised (tempered) the cocoa butter powder and added a strong beta crystals, which means that if you add it to chocolate it reacts with it and crystalises the rest of the chocolate.
It’s like using the seeding method but with cocoa butter instead of additional chocolate. The reason why we need just 1% of cocoa butter powder is because the crystals are so strong that they can easily crystalise the rest of the chocolate.
Most solid cocoa butter is not pre-crystalised as it’s usually meant to be used for colouring chocolate, thining chocolate or making bean to bar chocolates.
I’ve once worked with a raw chocolate company to help to design a recipe that involved pre-crystalising the regular cocoa butter so that they can use it to seed their chocolates and temper their chocolates that way.
It worked a treat – we basically tempered the cocoa butter first on marble and let it set back into a block. Afterwards, we used shavings of the tempered cocoa butter to seed the rest of the chocolates.
One thing is for sure, we couldn’t re-create such strong crystals like a commercially produced cocoa butter powder, which ment we had to be careful about not adding too much cocoa butter in to the chocolate (as it would thin the batch too much).
Using the cocoa butter block
To make sure that your cocoa butter dissolves as quickly as possible (without heating the chocolate too much), grate it using a small grater (like for parmesan cheese). Add 1% of cocoa butter shavings in to your chocolate and mix in.
Using the cocoa butter callets
You’ll need to check the packaging or the product description to see whether they are pre-crystalised or not.
Questions & answers
If I have any leftover chocolate that sets, can I re-temper it by adding more cocoa butter in ?
Yes, this can be done especially if you are using dark chocolate. By adding more cocoa butter in, you are ‘thinning’ the chocolate which changes the structure of the chocolate and makes it slightly trickier to re-crystalise.
In my experience, you can do this about twice, but after that you increase the cocoa butter content too much and the chocolate starts to misbehave.
You can easily temper the chocolate by table method, where you re-introduce the crystals by movement rather than by adding more crystals in.
You can also use the chocolate to make ganache, bake with it, make puddings or chocolate creams.
Does adding cocoa butter to chocolate increases fluidity?
Yes, it does and in most cases you don’t want your chocolate to be more liquid that the original. But, if you are for example dipping strawberries slightly more fluid texture will be perfect. Add extra 1-2% percent of cocoa butter to thin down the chocolates.
How to store Mycryo or cocoa butter
Treat both the mycryo or cocoa butter as a ‘chocolate’ and keep it in constantly low temperature (around 18C is good), wrapped in an airtight container and out of direct sunlight (or light). Don’t store your chocolate in the fridge. Use the shelf-life and sell-by date on the package as a guide and make sure you use it before that time.