The City Magazine Since 1975

How to Temper Chocolate

How to Temper Chocolate
December 2014
David Vagasky and Mark Gray of Cacao’s Artisan Chocolate share their method


2 lbs. good-quality dark chocolate


Carefully chop eight ounces of the chocolate into small pieces about the size of pecans. Place in a bowl and set aside. Chop the remaining 1½ pounds of chocolate.

Simmer about an inch of water in a medium saucepan; do not let the water come to a rolling boil or produce a great deal of steam. Place the 1½ pounds of chocolate in a stainless steel bowl that's large enough to rest over the saucepan without getting in the water. Remove the pan from heat and set the bowl of chopped chocolate over the opening of the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir frequently and do not allow any water to mix with the melting chocolate.

Once the chocolate reaches between 120° and 125°F on a candy thermometer, remove the bowl from the saucepan and dry the bottom completely. Add the reserved finely chopped chocolate two tablespoons at a time, stirring after each addition until the pieces melt. The chocolate will take on a heavier viscosity, turn a darker color, and “string” as you pull the spoon away from the melted chocolate. Continue this process until the chocolate cools to between 86 and 90°F.

A simple tempering test is to spread a small amount of chocolate on a piece parchment or the back of a spatula and let it cool or “set” for a few minutes. The chocolate is in temper if it sets quickly and has a fine, glossy shine. If the chocolate has white or gray streaks and is tacky to the touch, the temper isn't correct. In this case, start the process again by heating the chocolate to 120°F.