When chocolate is to be used for dipping and coating, such as when making truffles and confectionary or for decorating a cake, tempering makes it more malleable and glossy.
The easiest way to temper small amounts of chocolate by hand at home is called ‘seeding’, which involves stirring unmelted chocolate into melting chocolate that has been heated to 45˚C.
These instructions are based on 300g chocolate but you can do any quantity you like above this if you use the same two thirds and one third proportions.
You will need a sugar thermometer, plus a heatproof bowl, a spatula and a pan of gently simmering water to do this.
To temper 300g chocolate, first roughly break up or chop 200g of it and grate the remaining 100g. For other quantities of chocolate simply use the same proportions.
Place the roughly chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water until melted, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the hot water.
Use the sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the chocolate. When it has reached 45˚C, remove from the heat and stir in the 100g grated chocolate.
Keep stirring until the temperature of the mixture drops to 28˚C for dark chocolate, or 26˚C for milk or white chocolate.
Set the bowl over the pan of gently simmering water again and heat to 30-32˚C for dark chocolate, or 28-29˚C for milk or white chocolate. The chocolate is now tempered and ready to use.