Mastering the use of chocolate in the kitchen is a critical skill, particularly for those with a penchant for creating desserts.
Couverture chocolate differs from commonly available chocolate, even ‘cooking’ chocolate, in that it contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter- usually between 33% – 38%.
This increased cocoa butter content greatly improves the gloss, snap and smooth flavour of the chocolate once it has been tempered.
Tempering chocolate has a reputation for being difficult, and while it can be difficult to perfect the process at first, the results are worth the effort.
The tempering process subjects the chocolate to a distinct temperature cycle, the result of which is the formation of fat crystals. When the final cooling is applied to the chocolate, this create a gloss and crispness that is ideal for coating truffles, creating chocolate decorations and much more.
How to temper couverture chocolate
If using couverture in block form, break into small pieces. Place into a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of water heated to a maximum of 40˚C.
Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring carefully.
Remove stainless steel bowl and set over a bowl or pot of cold water. Stir gently (taking care not to introduce bubbles) until a small amount of the couverture begins to set at the bottom of the bowl.
Return the bowl to the top of the saucepan of now-warm water (which has been allowed to cool slightly). Stir continually until the cooled, solidified couverture has melted and is thoroughly dispersed.
The temperature should be brought back to working temperature:
Dark – 31˚C
Milk – 31˚C
White – 30˚C
There are several other popular methods for tempering chocolate. Two are demonstrated by Thomas Schnetzler, Maître Chocolatier for Lindt & Sprüngli Australia, in this exclusive The Essential Ingredient video.
- Always store your couverture chocolate in a cool, dry place.
- Do not allow any moisture, steam or impurity to contaminate the chocolate as it will granulate.
- The chocolate will be ruined if a temperature of 40˚C is exceeded.
The Essential Ingredient stocks the highest quality couverture chocolate, including the peerless Lindt range of Swiss chocolate.