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Masterclass: Learn the technique of tempering chocolate

Learn the technique of tempered chocolateGooey, melted chocolate. Who doesn’t love it? Le Cordon Bleu Australia lecturer and chef Antonia Abiuso, who teaches pâtisserie students at our Melbourne campus, shows us how to easily temper chocolate for dessert garnishes. 

What you’ll need: 


  1. Place chocolate in a plastic, microwave-safe bowl and microwave for one minute. Here, we are trying to achieve half the chocolate to be melted in liquid form and half of it to be in solid form. 
  2. Zap in microwave for a further 30 seconds. 
  3. Remove from microwave and give the chocolate a little stir. 
  4. Return to microwave and heat for another 30 seconds. If you find that you've got too much solid chocolate still, at this stage, you will need to return to the microwave, but for smaller increments of time. 
  5. If chocolate is mostly melted, give it a good stir to get any lumps out. 
  6. Check temperature of chocolate. For dark chocolate, temperature must be 32°C, milk chocolate 31°C and white chocolate 29° to 30°C. 
  7. Once chocolate is the correct temperature, you can then unleash your inner creativity and produce chocolate garnishes to your liking.

Antonia’s hot tips: 

  1. Chocolate tempering is all about controlling crystals. The fat molecules inside chocolate (cocoa butter) have the ability to stack into six different configurations. When tempering chocolate, we want a stable, shiny snap that doesn’t melt quickly in the hands. Only one of these configurations (form 5) will result with our chocolate “in temper” — smooth, shiny and delicious. If we do not achieve this, our chocolate will not set easily and will result in a dull matte or grey finish.
  2. Movement is very important when tempering chocolate. The stirring process encourages the correct configuration of chocolate crystals and ensures the chocolate pieces are melting and cooling at an even rate.
  3. Controlling the temperature of your chocolate is also important as the fat molecules are very sensitive. Once melted and well-stirred, if your chocolate is above the final working temperatures listed above, you will need to keep stirring until your chocolate is at the correct temperature to work with.
  4. A plastic bowl is always best. If you use a glass or ceramic, they tend to retain quite a lot of heat and it makes the microwave method a little bit more tricky.
  5. Couverture chocolate contains cocoa butter which is why it must be tempered. Compound chocolate is chocolate that has had the cocoa butter removed and replaced with vegetable fat. Compound chocolate can simply be melted without tempering and it will set, but it doesn’t taste as delicious as couverture chocolate!
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