Tempering Trouble
April 3, 2012 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Chocolate just wont temper

My dad wants an easter egg made of his favourite chocolate - Bournville Old Jamaican Rum and Raisin. I'm finding it impossible to temper. I tried tempering the first batch for over 4 hours. Every tempering guide I've found has slightly different temperatures and I feel like I've tried them all. I also tried adding some 70% couveture.

The chocolate is dark (34%) and has raisins and rum flavouring in it which I assume is messing it up. After the 5 hours of heating cooling and heating again, testing the temper and finding it failed I gave up and poured it all out on a silicone mat and left it overnight. In the morning I smashed up the streaky, bloomed chocolate mess and started again and I did get that batch to temper - I heated it until it was all melted (I think it was around 110F) and then cooled it to 90F (I didn't go to 82 and reheat to 90F, I just cooled to 90) and it worked but I don't know why.

Unfortunately that was only 1/6th of the chocolate I need for the egg. I tried doing the same (heating until approx 110F and cooling to 90F) with the next two batches and it didn't work.

I've tried again today and the same thing - no matter what I try it just wont temper. So I've poured it all out and I'm going to try again later but I'm running out of time.

Any ideas?
posted by missmagenta to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a pretty awesome cheat for chocolate tempering-- at the very end, while it's still liquid but cooling, add a little bit of chocolate (chopped) that's already in the temper you want, and it'll cause the crystallization in the kiquid chocolate to match its own.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:10 AM on April 3, 2012

Is it hot or humid where you are? Humidity can certainly make chocolate bloom like nobody's business.

Also, if you melt the chocolate, but reserve some unmelted and add that to hot, melted chocolate as it cools, that sometimes helps avoid blooming.
posted by xingcat at 7:11 AM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: Most attempts were seeding with already tempered chocolate (I'm all out of that now), it didn't help.

According to the internet the current humidity is 72%
posted by missmagenta at 7:16 AM on April 3, 2012

I'm sure you've considered both of these things, but just in case:

Is the system you're using for tempering (e.g., water bath or bain marie) getting steam into the chocolate? Even one drop can throw off tempering.

I've not heard of tempering chocolate with anything in it like raisins. It seems to me that might be the sticking point.

I don't work with chocolate very often -- to get around tempering, I usually make a ganache. Might that be an option for you with the rum-raisin chocolate? Then make something (little cakes, cheesecakes, truffles) and dip it, or dip strawberries?
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:33 AM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: I'm using a chocolate melting pot (so no steam). I'm sure its the rum flavouring and raisins causing the problem (although the weather may be a factor - I usually only make chocolate at christmas) but I did get one batch to temper (I hope that I haven't cooked off all the rum flavouring with all the failed attempts)
posted by missmagenta at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2012

I agree with you that the add-ins are most likely the big problem. My no-fail tempering method for dark chocolate is: heat it up to 115 F. Add enough tempered chocolate to equal one-quarter of the weight of the melted chocolate--I like to keep it in one big chunk, but several smaller chunks works too. Stir, stir, stir. (Agitation helps the tempering process.) I Cool to 90 F or a little under and then begin testing for temper. Once tempered remove any of the remaining unmelted chunk of chocolate so it doesn't continue to cool the chocolate too much. Honestly, as long as you're seeding with tempered chocolate this method is SO reliable. It sounds like you have been seeding and truly--it should not take 5 hours/a million attempts. The chocolate is probably the issue, not you.

Can you make a work-around by tempering (regular) dark chocolate and then adding raisins and oil-based rum flavoring at the end? It might not taste *exactly* the same but hey, neither will a soft, bloomed egg that's been tempered a trillion times. :) Good luck!
posted by Bella Sebastian at 8:03 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Another vote for the add-ins (especially the rum) causing the problem; could you change plans to a chocolate shell with a rum raisin filling?
posted by easily confused at 3:31 PM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: I'm pretty sure there's no actual rum in it, just rum flavouring. I can't change the plan at this point, I have to finish it tomorrow to get it packed and shipped tomorrow (plus I already did 1 half of the egg)
posted by missmagenta at 3:42 PM on April 3, 2012

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