Watch Chef Ramon Morato explain what Chocolate really is!
The snap that is famous worldwide amongst connoisseurs of chocolate; what the chef wants to see in your chocolate making skills and is nothing but the magic of what is called Tempering. A process that encourages the cocoa butter in the chocolate to harden into a specific crystalline pattern that helps it to maintain the sheen and texture for a long time, tempering my friend, is no child’s play.
This 8 minute video will show what tempering is
Beta crystals are the goal of tempering. Unlike a lot of ingredients we work with, Chocolate can achieve 6 different crystalline structures, of which only the V-form or the Beta Crystals are what we try to achieve while tempering chocolate. If you heat and cool chocolate without controlling the temperature the crystallization of cocoa butter will result in bad crystals and your chocolate will bloom (appear matte and covered with white patches). Worst part is it will also crumble or might be soft rather than snap. Tempering controls the crystals so that only consistently small Beta crystals are produced which is smooth with a homogeneous texture, without white blooms and of course with “Snap”.
Given below are the steps that are involved in tempering:
Melting the cocoa butter in the chocolate completelyCooking literature advises us to not get the chocolate over 120° F for it might burn the cocoa solids or cause the chocolate to irreversibly separate into solid and fat. But technically melting curves of chocolate tells a different story- that most of the fats in cocoa butter aren't melted until 122° F, and some requires heating as high as 131° F. This is because cocoa beans from different geographical locations vary in their composition. If tempering professionally, one must consult the manufacturer of the chocolate for best results.
Rapid cooling to about 82° F for dark chocolate & 79° F for milk and white.
This gets the crystallization of the good beta crystals started. This process also allows some undesirable beta-primes to form.
A slight warmingOnce cooled rapidly on a marble slab, the chocolate is heated back to 86° F for dark (84° F for milk and white) for a few minutes. This is done to help the beta crystals to continue forming. A final warming to 89° to 91° F for dark and 87° to 89° F for milk and white chocolate is done to kill the remaining undesirable beta-prime crystals that were formed.
Verifying that the chocolate is temperedIf the chocolate is tempered, a thin smear onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper will peel off easy after 5 minutes. This chocolate will also be shiny, not blotchy, and if tasted will be smooth. We hate to break your heart unless you want to wade through lumpy chocolate. If after the tempering process your chocolate do not tempers, start the tempering process again.
Chocolatier and Chef Ramon Morato explains in Harvard University about why tempering chocolates is necessary, the temperature changes involved in crystallization of chocolate and how to achieve it. An interesting video that’ll make you respect chocolate!
Chocolate emulsions are a different story altogether. To have a beautifully elastic ganache you’ll need to maintain the temperature of friction. To demonstrate this, you’d need a bowl of chocolate (melted) at about 40 degrees and a bowl of water. Now, this water component can be anything- whether a fruit infused water, whether juice, or cream- it’s upto the flavour of ganache or chocolate emulsion you are looking at.
The chocolate break down
When we pour some water over chocolate and start whisking at a slow pace, you’ll face a classic chocolate component break down- the solids and fats would separate and form one big fat mass of lump. This is because the water gets the temperature of the chocolate mixture below the melting point of cocoa butter making it lumpy.
The Chocolate ganache build up
Surprisingly when added more water and whisked vigorously, the same broken lump of chocolate will rise to be a beautiful, shiny ganache. At this point, note the temperature. If you have a shiny ganache, the temperature of your final product will always be higher than the melting point of your coco butter which is 34–38 °C (93–100 °F)
Your work is not over with ganache. If you want to incorporate the chocolate as in bonbons or moulds, you need to decrease its temperature down to 28 degrees, so that it thickens.
A snippet from the same video by Chef and Chocolatier Ramon Morato