Questions for Lisa Yockelson: How To Temper Chocolate at Home?

Questions for Lisa Yockelson: How To Temper Chocolate at Home?

Faith Durand
Jan 23, 2008

Here's another good question for Lisa Yockelson, our guest expert this week on all things baking and chocolate. Lisa is the author of the rich chocolate encyclopedia ChocolateChocolate, a treasure trove of chocolate recipes and tips.

Here's the third of several reader questions for Lisa. Tempering chocolate can be tricky, but it's essential to good homemade molded chocolates. Read on for Lisa's answer...

Q: What method do you recommend for tempering chocolate at home? I've had inconsistent results with my attempts in the past.

Also, is there a chocolate thermometer you'd recommend for this? Thanks for your help!

Tempering chocolate requires a climate-stable and controlled environment, patience, and specific equipment. I use best-quality couverture (Ed: See our definition of couverture here) for tempering and temper chocolate manually, at least 4 or 5 pounds at a time, on a marble slab (by heating the chocolate, cooling it, "seeding," and heating).

Since you did not mention any specifics of your problematic results, let me point you in the direction of a wonderful book called CHOCOLATES AND CONFECTIONS by Peter P. Greweling and The Culinary Institute of America (Wiley, 2007): the book is a treasure of first-rate information on obtaining professional results and is worth the investment.

The temperature probe I use is the Thermapen Digital Thermometer (available from The Baker's Catalogue/King Arthur Flour). I recently bought a second thermometer to use when I bake while travelling.
I hope that this information helps you!

Thank you Lisa!

(Image credits: ChocolateChocolate cover photo and author photo both by Ben Fink. Cover design by Vertigo Design, NYC.)

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