How to melt and temper chocolate

Working with chocolate is straightforward, as long as you have the right expert to guide you. Here, Molly Bakes shares her simple instructions for melting and tempering chocolate. Her new book, Molly Bakes Chocolate, is packed with over 100 simple recipes for classic chocolates, cakes and bakes, all written in her trademark friendly, reassuring style.

How to melt and temper chocolate

You will need:

450g chocolate, chopped, or callets

Cook's thermometer

Place 300g of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat 5cm of water in a pan and place the bowl of chocolate over the top, ensuring the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly until the temperature reaches:

45-50C for dark chocolate

40-45C for milk chocolate

40C for white chocolate

As soon as the temperature is reached, remove the bowl from the heat. Add the 150g of unmelted chocolate into the melted chocolate. Stir the chocolate together until the temperature reaches:

28-29C for dark chocolate

27-28c for milk chocolate

26-27C for white chocolate

This will take 5-7 minutes. It's important to keep stirring during this process, as getting as much air as possible into the chocolate will help cool in down quicker. You can place a small bowl of ice or cold water underneath the bowl of chocolate to help cool it down quicker.

Now you need to increase the temperature but only by a few degrees, so take care. Place the bowl of chocolate back over the pan on a low heat until the temperature reaches:

31-32C for dark chocolate

29-30C for milk chocolate

28-29C for white chocolate

Now your chocolate is tempered and ready to use. When working with tempered chocolate it's best to keep it 'in temper', especially if you are not using it all in one go, for instance if you are making lots of different things or dipping. This means maintaining it between the last set of temperatures listed. Placing a bowl of warm water underneath the chocolate keeps it warm and within the above temperature range. Keep a thermometer in the chocolate and if the temperature begins to drop, place the chocolate back on the heat for a few seconds. If it begins to get too warm, place it over a bowl of cold water.

If the chocolate does drop too low in temperature and begins to set, the tempering process will have to be started again from scratch. If you overheat the chocolate, don't worry; as long as it hasn't burnt you can let it cool down again to set, and then restart the tempering process.

Tempering tips

Take your time, rid yourself of distractions and keep all the tools you need within easy reach.

Make sure the room you are working in is not too cool or too warm.

Don't try to temper too much chocolate in one go - it can be overwhelming. Take care not to allow any steam or water into the bowl of chocolate as this will either cause the chocolate to seize or prevent correct tempering. Use a low heat to avoid over-steaming. It's also a good idea to keep some paper towels handy.

Use your chocolate tempering skills to try out this amazing Heart Shaped Chocolate Box Cake from the Molly Bakes Chocolate book.

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