Chocolate is not shiny on its own: It needs to go through a process called tempering to achieve its glossy appearance and a pleasant mouthfeel. This involves an alternating process of heating, cooling, and heating again to specific temperatures to stabilize the mixture to obtain the smooth, shiny texture and a good snap when broken. Well-tempered chocolate melts better in the mouth and ages better. The word “temper” refers to the way chocolate solidifies. Only the cocoa butter particles become melted: Sugar and cocoa powder remain solids suspended in the fluid cocoa butter. When the melted chocolate cools and becomes solid again, the cocoa butter particles form a crystalline structure. The evenness of distribution of cocoa butter, and the type of crystals they form, comprise the temper. Chocolate is in good temper if the cocoa butter is mixed thoroughly and evenly throughout and the particles have cooled uniformly and completely. If not tempered properly the finished chocolate will be dull and streaky with a tendency to bloom. The classic tempering method is to melt the chocolate until it is lump-free. Then 1/3 of the chocolate is poured onto a marble slab, spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 80 degrees F. This chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 of the melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 88 degrees to 92 degrees F for semi-sweet chocolate, 84degrees to 87 degrees F for milk or white chocolate. Care must be taken not to over-temper chocolate, which returns it to its original state

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