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WORKING WITH CHOCOLATE FOOD TIPS BY TALLYRAND

 

Storing Chocolate

  • Chocolate does not like moisture nor too low a temperature. It should be stored in a cool dark place and NEVER in a refrigerator.

  • Cooking chocolate stored in the refrigerator is likely to seize (see below) when melted.

  • Eating chocolate stored in the refrigerator is likely to form sugar bloom. This is the white powdery residue you will sometimes see on the surface - this basically means the chocolate has sweated. Moisture has been squeezed out of the chocolate due to the low temperature and then as it comes back up to room temperature it solidifies. It will do you no harm but it does affect the flavour.

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Eating Chocolate

  • Chocolate is always best eaten at least at room temperature. This is because the taste molecules require this temperature to develop.

  • If a bar of chocolate or chocolate product is refrigerated and eaten the chocolate flavour will be severely diminished and only when allowed to linger in the mouth will the full flavour be experienced.

  • Try this . . .
  • Place some chocolate in the refrigerator overnight and leave some out.
  • Eat a piece of the chilled chocolate first, bite it, chew and swallow.
  • Now try another piece but gently suck on it and allow it to slowly melt in the mouth.
  • Now try the piece left out at room temperature.
  • You should or will notice a remarkable difference in flavours.

Utensils for working with Chocolate

  • Ensure all utensils being used are free from any grease and moisture. It is always best to thoroughly rinse them off under hot running water and then wipe them with a paper kitchen towel or a fresh tea towel.

    Chocolate has a very strange peculiarity to it. Unlike most things that dilute when you add a liquid, a drop of water in melted or melting chocolate will cause it to seize, meaning it will revert back to a solid. When this happens it is totally useless for cooking (perfectly okay to eat though).

  • Use only metal bowls, spoons, etc when melting. Plastic and wood can retain fat and moisture.

Melting Chocolate

Chocolate can be successfully melted in a microwave if GREAT care is taken. As there are so many variables with this method I do not recommend trying it. Besides, working with chocolate should be a labour of love. It should be achieved slowly, it should be done so you can see what is happening, smell the beautiful aromas as it melts and be able to taste it, allowing it to slowly linger on the palate!

  • Place just a couple of centimetres of water into a saucepan. The chocolate will melt via the heat from the steam that is caused.

  • Do not allow the water to boil, if boiling water is allowed to come into contact with the base of the bowl, the delicate chocolate will burn and seize.

  • Having ensured that the bowl is clean place it over the saucepan. There should be as tight a fit as possible so as not to allow steam to escape that could condense back into the chocolate and make it seize.

  • Place the chocolate into the bowl (with clean, dry hands) and allow to melt as slowly as possible, stirring often to ensure the unmelted chocolate combines with the melted to form a smooth and even melt.

  • Once fully melted, remove the pan from the heat and use as required. If you are not ready to use it straight away, the heat from the water will keep it nicely melted for at least 20 minutes. If it solidifies slightly in this time, place the pan back over a low heat, DO NOT be tempted to try and heat it back up quickly.

Tempering Chocolate

Because cocoa butter exhibits what is called polymorphous or unstable crystal formation the mass must be tempered to produce the desired properties - smoothness, gloss and melts only when it is eaten and not handled.

Chocolate is normally in temper when it leaves the manufacturer but may go out of temper if not stored correctly - manifested by the appearance of chocolate bloom and will require tempering again.

Chocolate as far as I am aware, contains five types of crystals, which all melt at different temperatures. Tempering basically heats the chocolate above the first which melts at approximately 18°C, cools it to 27°C and then re-heats it to the next crystal level, with a melting temperature of approximately 37°C (body temperature) and in the process destroying the lower level crystals.

So, if you have ever melted and used chocolate to cover sweets / candies or to make decorations and found the final result to be dull and lacking sheen, it is because of a lack of tempering. To temper use the following procedure:

  • Place just a couple of centimetres of water into a saucepan - the chocolate will melt via the heat from the steam that is caused.

  • Do not allow the water to boil, if boiling water is allowed to come into contact with the base of the bowl, the delicate chocolate will burn and seize.

  • Having ensured that the bowl is clean place it over the saucepan. This should have as tight a fit as possible so as not to allow steam to escape that could condense back into the chocolate and seize it.

  • Place two-thirds of the required chocolate into the bowl (with clean, dry hands) and allow to melt as slowly as possible, stirring often to ensure the unmelted chocolate combines with the melted to form a smooth and even melt. Heat to 40°C.

  • Add the remaining chocolate and stir in to melt and then cool to 27°C.

  • Reheat to 32°C for dark, 30°C for milk and 28°C for white.

  • Keep at this temperature by removing and replacing the bowl from the heat as required.

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Tallyrand
Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand

 

Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site www.tallyrand.info (link in main menu)

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com