How to Temper Chocolate

The tempering process is done when you are making truffles and chocolate candies. This is not something you do not need to do for baking or making a chocolate sauce. This is science. And, similar to baking  all the elements have to be correct in order for it to work. Here are two methods:

The Classic Method
  1. Melt 1lb of chocolate in a double boiler. Follow the temperatures below* for melting the chocolate you are working with. Once it has reached the temperature (For dark chocolate 120F) pour 1/3 of the chocolate on a cold table or marble surface. Keep the remaining 1/3 at the same temperature.
  2. Use your bench scraper and offset spatula and work the chocolate. You will continually spread the chocolate with the spatula and wipe it up with the bench scraper. This is the process to cool the chocolate, which can take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes. The chocolate needs to cool to the cooling temp from the chart** below. (For dark chocolate 82F). This will turn your chocolate to "mush". Yep, that's the technical term!
  3. Now you add your mush back to the 1/3 chocolate that has kept it's melting temperature. Use your rubber spatula (be sure there is no moisture on it). Stir your chocolate gently until it is smooth. Don't be rough, or you will get air bubbles. Do this until your chocolate reaches its reheat temp on the chart*** below. (For dark chocolate 90F). That's it. Now you are ready to pour into chocolate molds. Be sure that your continue to check your temperature and keep it constant.
The Seeding Method
If you don’t own a marble slab, you can still temper your chocolate like a pro using small, finely chopped pieces of chocolate incorporated into your already melted chocolate. This technique relies on adding stable, crystalized chocolate that naturally lowers the temperature of the melted chocolate until you reach the range you need for perfectly tempered chocolate.
Tool's Needed:
1 lb chocolate
1 chef’s knife
1 kitchen thermometer
1 flexible spatula
1 food processor
Heat safe bowl
  1. Chop 3/4 of the chocolate on a chopping board. You can also use chocolate that is already in buttons or pistoles.
  2. Finely chop the last ¼ of the chocolate or process it in your food processor.
  3. Fill a saucepan with water and place it on the stovetop. Slowly heat it, but don’t bring it to a boil. Put your heat safe bowl on top of the pot, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot. Put the 3/4 quantity of chocolate into the bowl and stir regularly with the spatula until chocolate melts smoothly.
  4. To begin the seeding process, melt the chocolate to the following initial temperature ranges: Dark chocolate: 28-29° C (82-84° F), Milk chocolate: 27-28° C (81-82° F), White chocolate: 26-27° C (79-81° F). These temperatures are established to ensure the chocolate is at a point where the cocoa butter fats melt.
  5. Once the above ranges are achieved, slowly stir in the remaining finely-chopped chocolate you have set aside. Stir until you reach the final temperatures: Dark chocolate: 31-32° C (88-90° F), Milk chocolate: 29-30° C (84-86° F), White chocolate: 28-29° C (82-84° F).

QUICK TIP: Work in a cool area, that is not too humid. Moisture will kill your tempered chocolate every time.

Chocolate Temperatures For Tempering
Melting Temp*
Dark Chocolate   120F
Milk Chocolate    115F
White Chocolate 110F
Cooling Temp**
Dark Chocolate    82F
Milk Chocolate    80F
White Chocolate  78F
Reheating Temp***
Dark Chocolate    90F
Milk Chocolate    86F
White Chocolate  82F
Signs of Good Tempered Chocolate
  • Glossy sheen
  • Firm snap
  • Tastes good
  • Melts near your body temperature
Bad Tempered Chocolate
  • Dull sheen
  • The cocoa fat rises to the surface and “blooms”
  • Unattractive
For more inspiration, visit our Chocolate and Truffles Pinterest board.