Couverture chocolate have a cocoa butter content of 31 to upto 45 percent, making them very fluid and extremely yummy. However, tt takes a little more care to work with. Once tempered, it has a lovely satin finish and a light crisp snap (BAR temper’s its chocolate before moulding it into 400gm slabs). If a couverture is in a large slab, ensure to cut it into small pieces to for even melting.
What does it mean to temper chocolate?
Tempering chocolate is a regulated melting process that enables the cocoa butter in the mixture to take on a stable crystalline shape by heating and cooling it. The fat molecules and solid crystals become unchained and fragile when chocolate is melted to a certain temperature range. Tempering chocolate aids in fat stabilisation and consistency in the mixture.
Ways to temper chocolate
1. Seeding: Melt a portion of chocolate to around 45ºC in a double boiler or microwave, then seed with room temperature chocolate and stir. Cool to around 31ºC. This method is recommended because it is simple to use and keeps a temper longer than microwaving alone.
2. Tabling: Chocolatiers and pastry chefs use it. After melting the chocolate to between 46ºC and 49ºC, a portion is poured onto a cold marble slab. It’s scraped and twisted until it reaches a temperature of 25°C. The chocolate is reheated in the warm melted chocolate until it reaches 31ºC.
Water and chocolate are enemies!
Ensure that the melted chocolate does not come into contact with steam or water. Water causes the chocolate to seize, causing it to lose its fluid, smooth texture. The sugar in the chocolate reacts with the water to form a syrup that binds the cocoa particles together, resulting in a grainy, lumpy mass.
Dry any bowls or spatulas used for melting chocolate thoroughly. When you’re working on the stovetop, make sure the steam doesn’t get into the tank. Until seeding, dry the bottom with a towel.
PS – A quick way however to fix a lumpy chocolate is to pour two spoonfuls of hot water in the chocolate and stir, which will give the chocolate its fluidity and shine back. This is a secret method, which is not widely recommended as it dilutes the chocolate but helps fix a over heated chocolate.
Chocolate should be stored at a temperature of 13ºC to 20ºC. To avoid moisture contact after the chocolate hardens, seal it tightly or place it in an airtight container for short-term storage in the refrigerator.
If kept at 25°C or higher, a greyish-white surface will develop over time. This doesn’t alter the taste or property of chocolate, it is simply the cocoa butter rising to the surface and crystallising, which is known as fat bloom.