Tempering Raw Chocolate: Bain Marie Method
Tempering chocolate is fun but takes some time to master. Once you get the knack, it’s the best way to enjoy your chocolate. In basic terms, tempering is the process of heating chocolate to a certain temperature (in the raw vegan world, 42 degrees), cooling it with constant movement, and heating it again to create a stable crystal structure. The tempering process creates what we call the three S’s: Shine, Snap and Shelf Stability. If you would like to learn more about the science behind tempering, you can read my previous blog post HERE.
When you start tempering for the first time, the double boiler method gives you a good starting point to grow your skills. The most important thing to remember with this method is to always have clean bowls ready to transfer your mixture to, to help stay within the temperature guidelines. To test your temper, you should use polycarbonate moulds (also called professional moulds). If your chocolate does not come out of the mould, then the batch is not ‘in temper’. So, here we go, give this method a try and remember that practice makes perfect!
180g Raw Cacao Butter
120g Raw Cacao Powder
50g – 100g Coconut Sugar (Powdered) 50g = 86% 60g = 83% 70g = 81% 80g = 79% 90g=77% 100g=75%
Pinch Pink Salt *Optional
Melt Cacao Butter ‘bain-marie’ style. Stir regularly to prevent heat build-up. Once 50-60% melted, remove bowl & place on a tea towel. Wipe bottom of bowl to remove moisture from steam & take the temperature. Note: I recommend using a stainless steel bowl for this rather than glass because glass heats too quickly.
The butter should never go above 42 degrees to stay ‘RAW’. The melt point of cacao butter is 34-38 Degrees so removing at 50-60% melted will keep your butter below 42 degrees. You can put the butter back on the ‘bain-marie’ for short bursts of 10-30 seconds. Make sure to remove, place on tea towel, wipe moisture & take temperature until completely melted. Ideally, you want the temperature at 38-40 once all the butter is melted.
Immediately sieve the Cacao Powder & powdered Coconut Sugar over the butter. This will help to lower the temperature a little. Note: Make sure the coconut sugar is as fine as possible in order to achieve the smoothest chocolate possible. I use a Nutribullet dry blade for this.
Stir Powder and Sugar into the mixture until well incorporated. At this stage you have chocolate but it’s, not ‘in temper.’ Now we begin the tempering process!
Place mixture back on the ‘bain-marie’ and take the temperature up to 42 degrees. Use the same method as melting the butter: short bursts and taking off to check the temperature as you go. Have a new large bowl with a lot of surface area (which I call the tempering bowl) ready to transfer the mixture to.
Once 42 degrees is reached, quickly transfer the mixture into the large tempering bowl to prevent raising the temperature above 42.
Stir the mixture constantly, using the full surface area of the bowl, until the mixture reaches 28 degrees. It is important to keep the chocolate moving during this downward temperature fall so you need to stir the whole time. This is when the cacao butter crystals reform to obtain a good temper. It may take between 10-30 mins depending of the heat of the room. You want this decrease in temperature to happen as soon as possible. A cool room (20 – 22 degrees) & large bowl surface area will help this process.
At 28 degrees, the temperature needs to raise back up to 31.5 degrees. Place the bowl back on the ‘bain-marie’ for short bursts of 10 – 15 seconds stirring at the same time. Place on a tea towel between bursts to take the temperature. The temperature will raise quickly so be careful here. If you exceed 33 degrees, you will have to re-temper the chocolate!
Once your chocolate reaches 31.5 degrees it is ‘in temper’ and ready to be moulded. To prevent further temperature increases transfer your chocolate into another bowl before moulding.
After moulding, place your filled moulds in the refrigerator and allow to set –30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the mould.
When the chocolate has set, if you have properly tempered your chocolate, it should fall right out of the mould.