A Guide to Chocolate Tempering Machines

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Are you familiar with the technique of tempering chocolate? It’s an essential method for stabilizing this ingredient through heating and cooling, providing it with a glossy and smooth finish.

Despite the variety of tempering methods, large-scale production requires the use of tempering machines, which automate and speed up the process. These machines are available in different sizes, ranging from small to large. Each size is designed to temper batches of different weights.

There are numerous models of tempering machines designed for the production of artisan chocolate.

The following guide will introduce you to everything you need to know about the technique and machines.

What is chocolate tempering?

The process of tempering chocolate involves increasing and lowering its temperature for the purpose of altering its crystal formation. Tempered chocolate is known for its glossy and smooth finish, as well as for its special snapping sound produced when broken. This term is derived from the word temper, which originates from the field of metallurgy, meaning an improvement in hardness through reheating and cooling.

The best way to gain insight into this process is by understanding cocoa butter, the fat found inside cocoa beans, essential for making chocolate. Since cocoa butter is polymorphic, it’s no wonder it comes in various crystal forms, more precisely six. From a scientific point of view, tempering refers to the crystallization of fatty acid glycerides found in cocoa butter.

Temperature plays a tremendous role in forcing the cocoa butter fatty acids to crystalize into a single stable form. Once these acids bond tightly, a much higher temperature is necessary for them to pull apart. The goal of temperature manipulations is to lead to the stabilization of crystals in cocoa butter, known as beta crystals.

These crystals are supposed to reach the fifth state to create perfectly shiny chocolate. When the heating process commences, crystals acquire all six forms, but the first four forms are destroyed in the course of tempering.

Milk, white, and dark types of chocolate differ when it comes to their melting points. The first two contain a high amount of milk fats, which complicates the process. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance for optimal temperatures to be used. Read more about the fat content of milk and the methods for reducing and detecting fat content.

Why use tempering?

There are significant differences between untampered and tempered chocolate. The former blooms and breaks apart easily without producing any snapping sound. It’s dry, crumbly, and features a dull surface. Additionally, it melts incredibly quickly, and it’s susceptible to developing marks and spots.

In contrast, the surface of the latter is glossy and shiny. It feels smooth and creamy when consumed after making a snap when breaking off a piece. Most importantly, its solid form remains stable in warm temperatures. The benefits of the latter affect not only the texture but the appearance and mouthfeel of this product.

Tempering methods

There are multiple methods for performing this process, such as tabling, seeding, and the machine method. The tabling method is unquestionably the oldest and most challenging, as it requires a certain level of skill. The essentials for its performance include a granite or marble surface, a double boiler, a scraper, a thermometer, and a pallet knife. In order to perform this process, individuals need access to such a surface and need to be quick and focused.

The seeding method requires fewer essentials, only a thermometer, and a double boiler. Even though it requires not much equipment, it isn’t appropriate for tempering large chocolate amounts due to the limits imposed by the size of the bowls. Follow this link, https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-a-double-boiler-995647, to learn how a double boiler works and how to use one.

Nevertheless, the easiest method is the use of a tempering machine, which is most suitable for chocolate production of large scales. It’s doubtlessly the least complicated and time-consuming method, allowing individuals to perform other tasks in the meantime. These machines are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from compact to extremely large, matching the needs of different manufacturers.

How do tempering machines work?

These machines automate the process of tempering and require only a couple of simple steps. The key factors worth considering are temperature, time, and movement. The process commences with the cook switching the start button on and tossing chocolate nibs into such a special machine. Then, the thermostat is supposed to be set to a temperature of 45˚C, after which the lid is closed.

Once the nibs melt, the temperature should be reduced to 32˚C for dark chocolate or 29˚C for the milk and white variant. The wheel for mixing and stabilizing the content is started in order to cool it to a lower temperature. The following step includes adding the seeds, referring to pre-tempered nibs, which aid crystallization. The fatty acid crystals of these nibs serve to attract the loose crystals from the new nibs.

The moment this step is completed, chocolate becomes tempered, meaning it’s smooth, thick, and ready to use. It’s dripped into a mold and stored for further use. As mentioned before, there are different machine sizes for manufacturers to consider, small, medium, and large.

Small models temper batches whose weight is between 500 grams and seven kilograms. These are tabletop, portable, and convenient to use. Medium-sized models temper batches between ten and thirty kilograms. These machines feature speed control, granite wheels, and a base. Large models are suitable for large-scale production, working with batches between thirty and sixty kilograms.

Moreover, small tempering machines are even appropriate for home use, as they don’t take up plenty of space. These models maintain tempered chocolate fluidity for as many as twelve hours. Conversely, models of medium size are equipped with calibrated dosing for molds and enrobing. Large machines feature high-speed dosing, automatic baking tray coating, mold transports, etc. Buyers can test the equipment before making a purchase.

Final thoughts

Machines provide automation and convenience.

A series of simple steps are necessary to complete the process!


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Meet Vishal Gaikar, the tech wizard hailing from Pune, India, who's on a mission to decode the digital universe one blog post at a time. When he's not tinkering with gadgets or diving deep into the digital realm, you can find him concocting the perfect cup of chai or plotting his next adventure. Follow his tech escapades on Twitter and buckle up for a wild ride through the world of innovation and geekery!

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