What's the deal with tempering chocolate?

I reheated a chocolate glaze to make it spreadable. The first batch came out smooth and shiny when spread over cakes, but the second time I reheated the same chocolate it turned out a dull, chalky, clumpy glaze.

I have never been an expert chocolatier. What are the "rules" for getting consistently attractive, shiny, smooth results with chocolate--for ganache, frostings, glazes, etc.



Anitalectric October 18, 2011
Thanks for the help! I don't have a microwave. I did it on the stovetop. Once you get the chocolate warmed, does it have to stay at a certain temperature?
boulangere October 18, 2011
Yes, it's best if it does. So don't pull the bowl containing the chocolate out of the bain marie. Rather, remove both and leave the chocolate over the warm water. If it cools too much, you need to go through the whole (tedious) warming-cooling method again. One step that definitely helps on the reheat is if you add come more chopped chocolate. I went into culinary school expecting to fall in love with chocolate. I didn't. I feel your pain.
lallimusic October 18, 2011
this is a link to a quick-tempering method that is much easier than what they're teaching in pastry school. it works. detailed instrucs follow. http://everydayfoodblog.marthastewart.com/2010/03/mind-your-temper.html
JessicaBakes October 18, 2011
If you are going to do it in the microwave, do it for no more than 30 seconds at a time, preferably at medium power. Stir every time to allow the melted spots to heat some of the non-melted spots
gretchentorrey October 18, 2011
Ah! Here's a great website that will also help, http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/155/Tempering-Chocolate
gretchentorrey October 18, 2011
Hi There,

Tempering chocolate can be tricky if you heat it too fast or too hot. You want to melt the chocolate over a double boiler until the chocolate reaches around 105*. Remove it from the heat and stir until the temp comes down to around 88*-90*, this was probably how you did your first batch. The second time you reheated it did you do in the microwave? or over a DB? regardless of your method, one way you can thin out your clumpy chalky chocolate is to add droplets of vegetable oil. NOT A LOT, but this will help smooth the chocolate back out and bring it to the shiny consistency that you want. Be careful that you don't add too much.

Now Ganache is a whole different story because you mix the chocolate with cream and sometimes a small amount of corn starch to give it the glossy finish.

I hope this helps and good luck!
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