Bad tempered chocolatiers

Time is really precious in this household. There is not  a lot of it spent as a family all together- so when it does, it’s precious and really looked forward to. Sundays are a day usually crammed full of as many lovely things as we can. Yesterday being Sunday that’s just what we did.

Fast forward to 10.30, the in-laws were over, and the monkeys sidetracked. Time we got cracking in the kitchen, with trying to temper chocolate. Last time my husband (Mr Chocolate) and I tried to temper, we followed a well-known English chocolatiers’ instructions. Obviously this world re-known Chocolatier with many fancy shops doesn’t know what he is talking about as we couldn’t do it. The chocolate was bad tempered (excuse the pun) from the start. Ok, we thought, thats alright we will just try again. (Ok, maybe it was our handy work rather than the world re-known chocolatiers instructions….. maybe.)

Which brings us to yesterday. Change a few things around from last attempt and away we go. Follow instructions, and…. nothing. Heat damaged, again.

Inlaws are still here, so we try and fix it, lets do it again we say. Result?…. still bad tempered cranky chocolate…. Right, now its really starting to bug us. The kids are asleep, give it ONE more go and then we really need to start getting ready to go to a friends house. Again, cranky bloody chocolate, and two cranky little chocolatiers. Four and half hours later and we have three types of flavoured chocolates and truffles, our own orange paste, and box full of messy looking badly tempered chocolate to take as a goodbye gift to a friend. Many mutterings of what a waste of time, we could have done sooo many other things, how disappointing. etc…. etc….

So what did we learn?

* Tempering chocolate is time consuming when you don’t know what you are doing.

* Orange paste is delicious, and well worth the effort of making.

* Making chocolate is messy business, and your daily chocolate intake rises dramatically when you “have” to keep  trying the different flavours you have concocted to make sure they are ok.

* Badly tempered chocolate will still be eaten by good friends, who say it is delicious. Thats why they are good friends.


11 thoughts on “Bad tempered chocolatiers

  1. Sigh..Brydie, it is really tricky. It took me ages to get right. If you’re interested in trying again, I wrote a post about it on my blog (in the Chocolate section). I’ve never mastered the “melted chocolate on marble” technique, if that’s what you’re trying to do. I find it much easier to use a microwave, thermometer and heat mat. I also don’t have any success with heating the chocolate over simmering water – it always results in either the chocolate getting too hot or seizing up because of the moisture.

    You can retemper your rejects (providing you haven’t scorched it) – it’s just a case of starting again from scratch. Don’t give up! What technique did Mr Chocolate learn on his course? And do you have a really good thermometer? That makes a big difference too.

    Some friends have told me they’ve had success with the technique of keeping back a % of chocolate and stirring it into the melted chocolate until it’s incorporated, but I find that technique a little hit and miss. I always add a lump of tempered chocolate to my melted, and cool it to between 88 – 90F. It always works with dark chocolate, and almost always with milk and white (although you have to drag the temperature there a bit lower).



    • We will have to try it again, might wait a few weeks until the enthusiasm builds up a little more again though…sigh

      I had your how to temper post open and two books open when we did the last two tries. Making sure we hadn’t forgotten something. We were doing the pot over the water though, so next time maybe try the microwave. The thermometer is good and we did try and re-temper the rejects- I now have a big bowl of harden chocolate in the fridge waiting to be used in cooking.

      Mr Chocolate was told the seeding method over water, saying that, they also had a tempering machine there(a wise investment!!!)- chocolate on the bench top method seems far too messy for a little kitchen.

      We will just have to keep trying, and it’s going to be a very joyous day if we ever get this right!


  2. each time i want to try tempering for the first time i come across a post like this. must be fate 🙂
    i guess i’ll just eat mine, and sigh. someday…


  3. I have also been wary of tempering chocolate. I kept reading Celia’s post…and thinking…but not doing. Then at Easter I invited myself around to Celia’s, armed with chocolate and told her I wanted hands-on instructions! what I learned was: it can be done (!!); it takes a lot more patience that I would have shown had I tried it on my own; and the good thermometer and heat mat are probably essential. It takes a long time for the chocolate to reach the desired temperature (I was worried the whole time that it would have started to set/harden, but it was fine). And then when it happened, it was magic. I am not great with the microwave so I am sure when I try it myself I will burn it in the microwave or something. I might try the bowl over a tiny bit of water (minimise the amount of steam?). then again, perhaps I should just stick to the instructions from Celia the chocolate queen!


  4. Oh dear, and I was just trying to gear myself up to giving this a try. All sounds rather too complicated and it’s possibly a bit too far for me to pop over to Celia’s for a demo. Also don’t have a microwave. Well done for trying again.


  5. Hi, I saw your comment on my Tea Chocolates at Chocolette’s site and also noticed that you were having some issues with tempering. I have written a guide that’s a bit alternative and I have had a few food blogging friends try it out. The method seems to be working okay- would love to send you the instructions and get your feedback on it!!



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