All the Key Temperatures for Every Method of Tempering Chocolate

All the Key Temperatures for Every Method of Tempering Chocolate

Published: August 21st, 2021 | Last Updated: August 24th, 2021

The process of tempering or pre-crystallizing chocolate is really about ensuring there are enough ideal cocoa butter crystals (beta type V crystals) and less of the of the non-ideal cocoa butter crystals (types I - IV) so that when the chocolate sets, most of the crystals that form are of the ideal type, giving the chocolate the desired properties. 

This can be achieved with a variety of different techniques and methods. Each of these techniques can be categorised into two main methods to achieve the ideal crystal structure: the temperature curve method and the seeding method.

Temperature Curve Method 

The temperature curve method of tempering chocolate involves manipulating the temperature of the chocolate to promote the desired crystals. It requires increasing the temperature of the chocolate to melt the chocolate completely, then decreasing the temperature to introduce the desired crystals and then heating it back up slightly to melt away the undesired crystals and have the chocolate in a practical "working temperature" and fluidity. There are many techniques that can be used to heat up and cool down the chocolate, but the main idea is the same, to reach the required temperatures with precision.

The steps and temperatures to temper chocolate with the temperature curve method are:

  1. Heat the chocolate to 45°C (113°F)
  2. Cool the chocolate down to 27°C (80.6°F)
  3. Heat the chocolate slightly
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

The above temperatures are a good baseline but each brand of chocolate may have different temperature points. The reason why white and milk chocolate require different temperatures for tempering is because the milk solids they contain and their different composition changes the melting points of the crystals.

Here are some of the temperature curves of popular couverture chocolate brands.

Callebaut Temperature Curves

  • Dark
    • Heat to 45-50°C (113-122°F)
    • Cool to 27°C (80.6°F)
    • Heat slightly to 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
  • Milk
    • Heat to 45°C (113°F)
    • Cool to 27°C (80.6°F)
    • Heat slightly to 29-30°C  (84.2-86°F)
  • White / Gold
    • Heat to 45°C (113°F)
    • Cool to 27°C (80.6°F)
    • Heat slightly to 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)
  • Ruby
    • Heat to 45°C (113°F)
    • Cool to 26°C (78.8°F)
    • Heat slightly to 28.5-29°C (83.3-84.2°F)

Cacao Barry Temperature Curves

  • Dark
    • Heat to 45-50°C (113-122°F)
    • Cool to 27°C (80.6°F)
    • Heat slightly to 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
  • Milk
    • Heat to 40-50°C (104-122°F)
    • Cool to 25-26°C (77-78.8°F)
    • Heat slightly to 29-30°C  (84.2-86°F)
  • White / Zephyr / Zephyr Caramel / Blanc Satin
    • Heat to 40-45°C (104-113°F)
    • Cool to 25-26°C (77-78.8°F)
    • Heat slightly to 29-30°C  (84.2-86°F)

Valrhona Temperature Curves

  • Dark
    • Heat to 55-58°C (131-136.4°F)
    • Cool to 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)
    • Heat slightly to 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
  • Milk
    • Heat to 45-48°C (113-118.4°F)
    • Cool to 27-28°C (80.6-82.4°F)
    • Heat slightly to 29-30°C  (84.2-86°F)
  • White / Blond / Dulcey
    • Heat to 40-45°C (104-113°F)
    • Cool to 26-27°C (78.8-80.6°F)
    • Heat slightly to 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

Seeding Method

The seeding chocolate tempering method works by adding chocolate or cocoa butter into melted chocolate and then bringing the chocolate down to the correct temperature. The added cocoa butter or chocolate contains the desired crystals and introducing the right amount at the right temperature will "seed" the chocolate with the required crystals and allow it to set with the ideal crystal structure. 

For each seeding method, there is a particular form the seed is in, a particular temperature the seed is added, a particular amount of seed to add and a target temperature.

The seeding method of tempering chocolate uses either cocoa butter or chocolate which each have their own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

Methods for Seeding with Cocoa Butter 

There are two main forms when seeding with cocoa butter: cocoa butter powder (Mycryo) or cocoa butter silk.

Tempering with Cocoa butter in Powder Form (Mycryo)

Mycryo is cocoa butter in powder form. Mycryo can be stored and used at room temperature and the powder form allows it to be dispersed evenly and dissolve more easily into the chocolate.

seeding-chocolate-with-mycryo
Can you make Mycryo?

Yes, Mycryo (or something similar) can be made by using a fine grater or microplane. However, mycryo made this way usually results in larger particles which may be more difficult to melt and dissolve into the chocolate.

How to Temper Chocolate Using Mycryo
  1. Heat chocolate to 45°C (113°F)
  2. Cool chocolate down to required temperature:
    1. If dark chocolate, cool to 34°C (93.2°F)
    2. If milk or white chocolate, cool to 33°C (91.4°F)
  3. Add 1% of Mycryo to melted chocolate (e.g., 6g of Mycryo for 600g chocolate)
  4. Mix until completely dissolved 
  5. Stir to cool until it has reached the required temperature
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

Tempering with Cocoa Butter Silk

Cocoa butter silk is a paste of cocoa butter which is packed with the stable beta 5 crystals needed for tempering. It is created by heating cocoa butter for a long duration at 33.5°C (92.3°F). At this temperature, the ideal crystals will remain and the undesired crystals will melt away. The temperature must not exceed 33.5°C (92.3°F) or else the ideal crystals will also melt away. The exact temperature can be achieved using sous vide, or with machines specifically made for making cocoa butter silk like Magic Temper or EZ Temper.

How to Temper Chocolate Using Cocoa Butter Silk
  1. Melt the chocolate completely (it doesn’t need to reach 45°C)
  2. Ensure chocolate is between 32°C and 33.5°C (between 89.6°F and 92.3°F)
  3. Add 1% of cocoa butter silk to melted chocolate (e.g., 6g for 600g chocolate)
  4. Mix until completely dissolved 
  5. Stir to cool until it has reached the required temperature
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

Method for Seeding with Chocolate

Seeding with chocolate is one of the most commonly used ways to temper or pre-crystallize chocolate. The main idea is to heat the chocolate and then add an amount of unmelted chocolate which will cool the chocolate down and seed the chocolate with the ideal crystals. The unmelted chocolate already contains the ideal crystals, but the right amount needs to be introduced at the right temperature so that there are enough crystals by the time the chocolate is at the right working temperature. If the seed chocolate melts completely too soon before the required temperature is reached, then all of the ideal crystals will have melted away.

There are three main methods for seeding with chocolate: seeding with chocolate pieces, seeding with a block of chocolate and seeding with partially melted chocolate.

Seeding with Chocolate Pieces

Seeding with chocolate pieces is the most common way to seed with chocolate. The chocolate is in small pieces allowing them to melt completely and evenly when added to the melted chocolate. The chocolate can either be chopped up into smaller pieces, or purchased in Callets from Callebaut, Feves from Valrhona, Pistoles from Cacao Barry or drops.

seeding-chocolate-with-chocolate-pieces
How to Temper Chocolate by Seeding with Chocolate Pieces
  1. Heat chocolate to 45°C (113°F).
  2. Add up to 20% of room-temperature chocolate pieces (e.g., 120g of chocolate pieces for 600g chocolate).
  3. Mix until completely melted. If the chocolate has melted too quickly and the chocolate is still above 34°C, then add a little more chocolate.
  4. Stir to cool until it has reached the required temperature:
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

Seeding with a Block of Chocolate

The method of seeding with a block of chocolate is very much like seeding with chocolate pieces but instead of using chocolate pieces, it uses a single large block of chocolate. The chocolate block is added to the melted chocolate and removed once the chocolate reaches the desired temperature.

How to Temper Chocolate by Seeding with a Block of Chocolate
  1. Heat chocolate to 45°C (113°F).
  2. Add a single block of chocolate (it should be at least 20% the weight of the melted chocolate).
  3. Stir to cool until it has reached the required temperature:
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)
  4. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the remaining piece of unmelted chocolate.

Seeding with a Partially Melted Chocolate

Seeding with partially melted chocolate involves melting chocolate pieces partially so that the unmelted pieces melt in the residual heat and seed the chocolate with the ideal crystals. This method is also known as the “Microwave Method” because the microwave is quick to use and can melt the chocolate efficiently. 

How to Temper Chocolate by Seeding with Partially Melted Chocolate
  1. Heat the chocolate in short intervals, briefly stirring between each interval.
  2. Repeat the process until about 90% of the pieces are completely melted
  3. Stir the chocolate in the residual heat until the remaining pieces are melted.
  4. The chocolate should reach the required temperature
    1. If dark chocolate: 31-32°C (87.8-89.6°F)
    2. If milk chocolate: 29-30°C (84.2-86°F)
    3. If white/blond/dulcey/gold chocolate: 28-29°C (82.4-84.2°F)

chocolate-dark-chocolate-callets
chocolate-pistoles-for-tempering
pouring-tempered-chocolate-into-mold
tempered-chocolate
tempered-chocolate-falling-from-spatula

Recipes using tempered chocolate

Now that you've learned the key tips to temper chocolate, try out these recipes:

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