Tempering and Molding

Our tempering kettle

Tempering chocolate is the process that creates the desired crystalline structure in the solid chocolate, which is essential to achieve the desired qualities in the finished chocolate: a high melting point so the chocolate melts in your mouth but not in your hands, an attractive glossy finish and a stability that keeps the chocolate this way.

Some technical background is required to understand chocolate tempering. Chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa butter in the chocolate, is “polymorphic.” This means that when liquid chocolate crystallizes (solidifies) it may do so in several different ways depending on the manner in which it is cooled. Because cocoa butter contains many different kinds of fat, there are several possible crystal forms (shapes) that can form during solidification. Only one of these possible crystal forms, known as form IV, has those qualities we desire in chocolate.

When we temper chocolate we are establishing the “seeds” (tiny solid crystals in the liquid chocolate mass) for this crystal form. We “seed” by lowering the temperature of the finished liquid chocolate to about 85 degrees F. while applying continuous mixing. At this seeding temperature relatively small crystals form which are desired to create a fine-grained solid chocolate with the desired “snap.” After allowing seeding to occur, the liquid chocolate’s temperature is raised to about 90 degrees F. to melt out any unwanted seeds, i.e. crystals with the wrong shape that may have also formed. At 90 degrees F. the desired form IV crystals do not melt but the other crystal forms do melt away back into liquid. The liquid chocolate is now tempered and will remain tempered as long as the temperature remains about 90 degrees F. and mixing continues. Even though 90 degrees F. is below the freezing point of the tempered chocolate, the constant mixing prevents solidification from occurring much like the way running water below 32 degrees F. doesn’t freeze.

We temper, mold and wrap our chocolate inside our air-conditioned, ultra-clean tempering room to assure that our products are stable and attractive.