How To: Temper Chocolate

Tempering Chocolate

Basic Tempering Principles

The process of tempering chocolate involves incorporating a small amount, typically 2-4%, of solid, stable cocoa butter crystals into melted chocolate. Cocoa butter is capable of solidifying into several different polymorphic forms that, as they cool and set, affect the surface finish, setting time, snap, and mouthfeel of the chocolate. It is important that the cocoa butter crystals in tempered chocolate exist in the correct polymorphic form; we call these stable cocoa butter crystals. The objective in tempering is to arrange the physical “packing” of stable cocoa butter crystals in the right number and size.

The three critical variables that affect the type, size, and number of cocoa butter crystals being formed during chocolate tempering are: temperature, time, and agitation.

  1. Temperature – critical because cocoa butter crystals both form and melt at specific temperatures.
  2. Time – necessary for cocoa butter crystals to form and grow.
  3. Agitation – needed to ensure the cocoa butter crystals are well distributed within the melted chocolate and to prevent their premature growth.

Stable cocoa butter crystals will provide the following properties:

  1. Snap
  2. Gloss
  3. Proper texture
  4. Bloom resistance
  5. Good contraction for moulding
Chocolate is in temper when 2-4% of the cocoa butter is in the stable crystal form.

It is important to provide conditions that grow “good” fat crystals and minimize “bad” fat crystals.

There are four to six different forms cocoa butter crystals assume and each has a unique melting point, set of characteristics, and stability point.

  1. Gamma – exists in this form for only a few seconds before transforming into Alpha
  2. Alpha – melts between 50-75° F (not stable)
  3. Beta I – melts between 60-83° F (not stable)
  4. Beta – melts between 64-94° F (stable)
wilbur tempered vs untempered chocolate
Understanding Proper Chocolate Temper

Properly tempered chocolate will have the following characteristics:

•Shiny/glossy surface
•Even color
•Good snap
•Smooth texture
•Good contraction
•No bloom

Improperly tempered chocolate will have the following characteristics:

•Dull finish
•Fat bloom
•Soft uneven texture
•Poor contraction
•Poor snap
Testing Temper


Manual Method

To check if chocolate is in good temper, dip a metal spatula or knife blade into chocolate and leave a small film on the blade. If the chocolate is firm and not tacky after five minutes at normal room temperature (68° F), it is in good temper. If it is still tacky, place the chocolate chunks back in the bowl and cool about 2° F. Repeat test until tempered.


Using a Tempermeter

The degree of tempering, indicating the quality of stable crystals that have been formed, can be measured by means of a tempermeter. 
A tempermeter produces a temper curve that is a temperature-versus-time curve resulting from uniform cooling of the chocolate sample over a specified period of time.
The slope of the temper curve provides a quantitative means of interpreting the amount of heat of crystallization (latent heat) produced during the cooling of the test sample.

A negative slope indicates over-tempered chocolate and a positive slope indicates under-tempered chocolate.
Wilbur Products at BFS

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Caper Snapper Piccata

sun-dried-tomato-caper-snapper-piccata

Sun-dried tomatoes and capers are a summery flavor pairing for lightly breaded, deliciously delicate snapper fillet. Both are served over a bed of angel hair or linguine pasta in this twist on classic chicken piccata.

Make this a weekly special on your menu for a light summer supper, or make it  a mainstay for pescatarians or anyone who would like to add more fish to their diet.

sun-dried-tomato-caper-snapper-piccata

INGREDIENTS

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND CAPER OIL SAUCE

PASTA

1 lb  angel hair pasta – you can also substitute linguine or whatever long pasta you prefer
Water to boil + salt
1 tbsp olive oil

SNAPPER PICCATA

 

FINISHING TOUCHES

METHOD

PREPARE THE SAUCE

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and wine.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are tender and starting to fall apart, about 35 minutes.
  3. Add the parsley and salt and remove from heat. (If not using right away, let it cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to six days. Makes about two cups.)

PREPARE THE PASTA

Boil water with lots of salt and prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and drizzle with the olive oil. Set aside warm.

FOR THE SNAPPER PICCATA

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, Parmesan cheese and salt. Coat each snapper fillet with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the snapper fillets and cook, flipping until the fillets are golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

In the same sauté pan, add the cooked pasta and the tomato-caper oil and cook, stirring frequently, until just heated through, about four minutes.

SERVE IT UP WITH STYLE

It is best to cook the snapper right before serving. Pile the cooked pasta on a beautiful plate and top with a hot snapper fillet fresh from the pan. Drizzle sauce over the fish and pasta, then garnish with more capers and parmesan. Cut a few ribbons of basil over the plate to add a burst of flavour and colour.

Consider serving this stand-out dish with a light salad of mixed greens or fresh cucumbers, and perhaps even garlic bread. 

You can also serve this dish on a buffet, if you lay the cooked fish out and not on top of each other to disturb the coating.

This recipe was written by the Sysco Culinary Team.

Recipe: Grilled Mahi with Grilled Vegetables

Mahi aka dolphin fish, is caught throughout the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Florida’s southern coast. Mahi is available by the side or in 4 oz or 6 oz vacuum-sealed portions at BFS. The firm, white meat is enhanced in flavour by citrus and bright, simple seasonings and simple presentations such as Fish Tacos, grilled over Caesar Salad, rice or pasta; in a Fish Sandwich or even Bahamian Stewed Fish.

It is best to remove the bloodline, which is the dark lateral stripe in the fillet and wash thoroughly with lime or lemon juice. The flesh will become tough the longer it is cooked, so Mahi is best when it is cooked quickly, such as grilled, broiled, pan-fried, deep-fried or stir-fried.

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