Tempering Chocolate: Seed Method

This is part two of my first hands-on exercise for Ecole Chocolat. Previously I tempered the chocolate by hand using the tabliering method. This method is called the seed method, and involves using properly tempered chocolate as seed crystals for a mass of untempered chocolate. As before, the exercise starts with melting the chocolate in a double boiler.

I used the chocolate from the previous exercise. Notice that some of it has bloom on it – this means that my chocolate was knocked out of temper when I left it to cool as a mass, likely due to residual heat within the thick mass. No big deal, as long as the chocolate isn’t burned due to excessive temperatures and hasn’t been exposed to water or steam (which will cause it to seize) and doesn’t have any other ingredients in it, it can be re-tempered over and over.

I’m using Amano Ocumare as my bulk chocolate, and just to be safe, I’m using chocolate direct from the manufacturer as my seed chocolate – since there’s no question it’s been properly tempered. Amano just announced they’re about to run out of Ocumare stock for a while, so I ordered another kilo just to be safe. It’s great chocolate and will definitely get used up.

I used 2.25 pounds of chocolate for melting, then set aside another 25% of my total mass (3 lbs) seed for tempering. I just used the discs as is from the manufacturer, but I think I probably would have had a better result if I would have grated the chocolate first. I didn’t feel like grating a bunch of chocolate, though! Here’s my 3/4 pound of seed chocolate.

Once my chocolate mass melted to 110 degrees, I took it off heat, began stirring, and started to slowly add the seed chocolate a bit at a time. This brings the temperature down, and introducing the tempered chocolate helps form the desired V Form crystals.

It took a while to get the temperature down to 88-90 degrees, and I had a couple of stubborn chunks of seed chocolate that wouldn’t completely melt. This is where the grated chocolate would have given me a better result. I didn’t use all of my seed chocolate – I ended up using about 2/3 of it. Once I brought the temperature down to 88-90 degrees, my assignment was to hold the temper for 20 minutes. This involved constant stirring and monitoring the temperature. If the temperature started to drop too much, I just put it over the simmering water for a short time.

I took samples of the chocolate at four intervals. Sample one is untempered chocolate, from the 110 degree mass. The result is dull and it doesn’t break with a snap. Test two was taken as soon as the chocolate hit 88 degrees. Samples three and four were taken in ten minute intervals as a test to see if I was holding the temper for 20 minutes.

The last three samples turned out beautifully. Very shiny and they break with a good snap. All three look the same. Once I’m done, I spread the chocolate out on parchment to cool.

This is an example of a broker temper. The bloom on there is an indication that residual heat from the thick mass broke the temper. Notice that on the edge, where the mass is thinner, the chocolate is shiny and still in temper. This isn’t a big deal, the chocolate will be re-tempered again and it isn’t an unusual problem. Of course I’d love it if my chocolate came out in a beautiful shiny tempered blob, but I’m happy with the outcome anyway.

This method of tempering is less complicated and easier than tabliering, but can be less reliable. I think my results turned out better than in the tabliering method, though.

1 Comment

  1. k ate

    how about hammering the chocolate all closed up in a bag!

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