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I've tried several times to temper chocolate and every attempt has been unsuccessful. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I purchased quality couverture chocolate thinking that was the problem and I still can't do it. I followed directions and temperatures exactly. Heat, cooling, heating again, stirring like crazy. I tried the seeding method and without seeding, thinking maybe the chocolate I was using had bloomed. The chocolate won't set unless I put it in the fridge and as soon as it's touched it starts to melt. I have to learn to do it and I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.

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    I'm generally suspecting overheating at the start as a common problem, but without details of your exact process, hard to be sure. I find that many people are prone to overheat chocolate if they wait to see it melt, rather than stirring it, since it will retain its form when adequately melted to be stirred, if it's not stirred. If you wait for it to visibly melt without stirring, it's gone too far, IME. – Ecnerwal Mar 26 '16 at 1:38
  • @Ecnerwal this sounds like a good answer and you should move it there. – Escoce Mar 26 '16 at 16:17
  • @Escoce Without further info, it's a guess, not an answer. – Ecnerwal Mar 26 '16 at 16:19
  • @Ecnerwal it may be a wrong answer, but it still sounds like a good one whether correct or incorrect – Escoce Mar 26 '16 at 16:24
  • "as soon as it is touched it starts to melt" - that's how high quality coverture behaves, there is no way around it. Is there any other sign of it not being properly tempered? Is it grainy? – rumtscho Mar 26 '16 at 18:08
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It seems that everything went well and your chocolate is tempered after all.

High quality chocolate has no other fat but cocoa butter, and couverture has much more cocoa butter than a chocolate bar. This is what it gives it the "snappy" feeling when bitten, and what makes it melt in the mouth (and in your fingers) instantly. The cocoa butter in tempered chocolate has a melting point of about 32 Celsius, 5 degrees lower than the human body, and you can't hold it in your fingers for long.

If you don't want this to happen, you will have to use something else. Cheap baking chocolate should be a good substitute - it also has a very high fat content, but it uses vegetable fat, not cocoa butter, and it is harder and less melty. Bar chocolate can work as well, but depending on which one you choose it will either have too much non-fat solids, or added fat of the wrong (soft) type. Depending on where you live, it can also be waxy - that is common for example in the USA.

Distempered chocolate is grainy, sandy, and has bloom (a dirty white powdery covering). As long as you don't have them, your chocolate is fine, no matter which kind you took.

  • I don't agree. Even tempered couverture chocolate shouldnt melt "as soon as it's touched." That highly indicative it really isn't properly tempered. And not all improperly tempered chocolate will be grainy, sandy nor have a bloom. – Jay Mar 28 '16 at 19:45
  • It won't make a puddle, but a nice dark couverture will start smearing on fingers within a few seconds of holding. – rumtscho Mar 28 '16 at 20:09
  • Ok so I'm a total amateur but my logical thinking is that if I did everything perfect the end result should be similar to the chocolate before I started the process. In pistol form the chocolate does not melt as soon as its touched or nearly as fast as the chocolate I tried to temper. I live in AZ and the room was a bit warm, probably close to 80, could that be the problem? Unfortunately cheap baking chocolate is not an option. I make chocolates for my son who can't have dairy and I have yet to find a cheap baking or melting chocolate that doesn't have dairy. – Jessika Mar 29 '16 at 18:12
  • Hershey's unsweetened baking chocolate is about as basic as it gets. The semisweet version has dairy. The unsweetened does not; add your own sugar. thehersheycompany.com/brands/hersheys-chocolate-for-baking-bars/… The store-brand chocolate chips at my local grocery store are also dairy-free, but do admit to being processed in a facility that also processes dairy, as almost all chocolate is. – Ecnerwal Apr 1 '16 at 16:59

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