Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate in order to use it for coating, dipping or molding. Real chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cocoa or cacao bean. Because of the nature of cocoa butter, real chocolate requires going through a tempering procedure, which re-establishes the cocoa butter crystals, giving the cooled and finished chocolate the proper sheen, snap and taste.
Properly tempered chocolate is also great for molding candies because the candies will release out of the molds more easily and still retain a glossy finish. Additionally, and of vital importance, tempering prevents bloom, where the cocoa butter separates from the cocoa solids and comes to the surface, turning the chocolate whitish or grayish in color. If you are making candy or dipping items that won’t be consumed within a day or so, tempering is absolutely mandatory for all real chocolate.
A temper meter is a tool that allows a confectioner to test to see if they have correctly tempered their chocolate to achieve the proper cocoa butter crystals. This is accomplished by filing a small disposable creamer size cup with chocolate and placing it into the cup well of a TRICOR Temper Meter. TRICOR’s thermal electric cooling wells utilize a closed loop circuit to ensure that the cooling of the chocolate remains within +/- 0.1 degree Fahrenheit. This is critical to ensure that the measurement is consistent. Mounted inside the well is a heated thermistor probe that enters a perforation on the bottom of the sample cup. The probe takes temperature readings every five seconds as the chocolate is cooled. At the completion of a five-minute run, the slope of the time vs. temperature curve is calculated by the temper meter and the result is displayed and printed. The slope reading allows the user to know the degree in which they are over and under temper. This result is particularly useful to assist in making changes to the confectioner’s tempering machines to achieve the best temper possible, thus providing all the benefits that come with properly tempered chocolate.