How to temper chocolate – our expert guide

Award-winning British Chocolatier Paul A. Young teaches us how to easily temper chocolate to achieve a shiny professional finish in a step-by-step guide.

The definition of tempering is to introduce hardening crystals into melted chocolate to make it shiny, smooth and so it shrinks slightly when set.

Here we go… don’t be afraid! 

You will need 600g of fine quality dark chocolate, which sounds a lot but you can always use an remaining chocolate another time. Remember have fun, cover the floor with newspaper to save any spillages hitting the floor and practice a few times. If you get it wrong then simply remelt the chocolate and start again – no wastage at all! 

What you need

  • 600g fine quality dark chocolate

What you use

  1. Place pieces of your chosen chocolate into a bowl.
  2. Place over a pan of very hot (but not boiling) water, ensuring the bowl is not in direct contact with the water.
  3. Melt the chocolate slowly, stirring occasionally. The temperature should be 55°C.
  4. Pour two-thirds of the chocolate onto the slab, ensuring no water drips onto it.
  5. Scrape the chocolate from the outside of the slab into the middle. Repeat this spreading and mixing movement four or five times.
  6. When the chocolate reaches 27°C, scrape it back into the bowl with the remaining chocolate and mix well.
  7. The chocolate will be ready to work with when the temperature is 31°C.

Tip: To check the tempering has worked, dip the end of the palette knife in the chocolate and allow to set. If it sets without streaks or grains it’s ready. If not, just melt the chocolate again and repeat the process.

Our ‘How to Make Chocolates’ book includes recipes from Paul A. Young for chocolate delights such as real ale truffles to delectable strawberries and cream ganache. With a little bit of practice and a lot of fun, you’ll be tackling these exquisite and unusual treats in no time and, to help you on your way to becoming a master chocolatier, we’ve included some hints and tips here so you can achieve perfect, glossy results.