How to: Melt and Temper Chocolate in the Microwave

Sweet cakes and pies

Work with chocolate It can sometimes be a bit of a thankless task. But the ingredient likes constancy e technique. And a little patience.

Melted chocolate.
Photo: Coffee Master

There are several ways to to melt and the most important season the chocolate. To melt, I definitely prefer the microwave. It's faster and without the danger of water vapor from the water bath. But if you're not careful, it will also burn.

Remembering that: water in chocolate is only a problem if you are going to use it as chocolate again. If you need to season it again, it must not come into contact with water. In other words, dipping truffles, cones in general, chocolates, decorative pieces and so on.

And for seasoning, if I can choose, I prefer to do it the classic way: on granite (no, it's not marble) or stainless steel countertop. Even more so after I learned the technique correctly (read: Practical Chocolate Class).

But we don't always have a granite stone at our disposal and we need to work with chocolate. Come in here, do everything in the microwave, paying greater attention to the temperature.

If you don't like microwaves, you won't like this technique either. Sorry (or not…). It is ideal for small quantities or quick uses. If you have to temper 5kg of chocolate it means there is demand and it would be more interesting to invest in granite.

As we like, there are several explanations. The technique is described step-by-step at the end, if you want to skip it.

Cocoa butter

How to make it: Cocoa ButterHow to make it: Cocoa Butter

As texture characteristics of chocolate are practically the responsibility of cocoa butter. Therefore, it requires extra care. You know when you take a chocolate bar, break it and there’s that “snap“? Thanks to cocoa butter.

The entire tempering stage is to achieve the snap, the shine and solidification of the chocolate. But as we know, it's not that simple. Always comes a prank.

For lack of a format, cocoa butter has six possibilities. This feature has the beautiful name of polymorphism. And only one of them is the desired one, as it influences the appearance, flavor and texture.

The sought arrangement is called type V or beta crystals, depending on the author the name changes. This type is in the desired melting temperature range when consumed, around 31-33ºC. In addition to well-defined properties and high organization.

If you let the chocolate cool without tempering, IV crystals will form as well. However, this mixture is not interesting. Types I-IV melt at lower temperatures that V will soon compromise the chocolate. This is why untempered chocolate cannot withstand heat.

O cristal VI does not form at this stage, it occurs during storage after months. Form V becomes VI, which is the most stable, hardest and takes the longest to melt when consumed. The melting temperature is around 36ºC. It seems like she would be ideal, right? No. Sensory quality is compromised. Who would like chocolate that doesn't melt in the mouth when consumed?

How it's done: Cocoa Butter PolymorphismHow it's done: Cocoa Butter Polymorphism

Melting

The chocolate is solid and needs to be melted to be remolded and used. Each type has a specific temperature and is directly linked to the cocoa butter.

Complete melting temperature

  • Semi-Bitter: 45-50ºC
  • To Milk: 40-45ºC
  • Branco: 40º

The values ​​may seem high and they really are. Chocolate can get to them doesn't mean it needs to. It is not always necessary to reach such limits. It's important to know that it will only burn even if you're not careful.

Generally, these ranges are reached in melting when tempering is traditional or melting/tempering machines. All cocoa butter crystals have been melted.

Temperagem

How to do it: TemperingHow to do it: Tempering

In general terms, it is to help cocoa butter stay in ideal format inside the chocolate controlling the temperature e agitation. Agitation is also necessary to distribute the desired shape of the butter throughout the chocolate.

The process is often called thermal shock. Technically, the shock is not that sudden. In fact, cooling should be gradual.

The way correct/ideal tempering involves three steps: melting, cooling and heating.

  • Stage 1: After the cocoa butter crystals have completely melted;
  • Stage 2: The chocolate must be cooled slowly to encourage the formation of V crystals of cocoa butter in the chocolate. The other less stable types will also form;
  • Stage 3: And then a new heating to melt the unwanted crystals at low temperatures that do not affect type V. This way, the other types of crystals can become type V.

In practical terms, these steps are not always followed exactly. Adaptations are made to speed up the work. As long as the temperature and agitation parameters are followed.

The microwave technique is based on setting the temperature at which the cocoa butter crystals melt completely. Instead of causing them all to dissolve, just enough heat is given to start the melting.

The limit temperature depends on each type of chocolate (due to the proportion of cocoa butter and other ingredients). As not all type V crystals are dissolved, they induce single molecules to form new type V crystals. Explanation of the method seeding It's practically the same, when adding tempered chocolate (or cocoa butter) to the melted chocolate, the same induction of formation occurs.

How to do it: MeltingHow to do it: Melting

Melt and Temper Chocolate in the Microwave

Pre-preparation: 10 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

Makes: 100 g


  • 100 chocolate (milk, semisweet or white)
Use the quantities in units of measurement in weight and volume when present. The measures in cups/spoons are just one system courtesy e less accurate .

1 cup: 250mL | 1 tablespoon: 15mL.


  • The chosen chocolate must be grated or crushed. The processor with vegetable grating discs can be used. Or the mini blade processor, but if you are careful, the friction generates heat and the chocolate may start to melt.
  • If you use chocolate already in drops, there is no need to grate it. Currently, there is already an option for real chocolate in drops, not just fractionated, hydrogenated or bakeable ones.
  • In a microwave-safe plastic bowl (glass could be used, but it retains more heat than plastic) place the grated chocolate. Reserve a small part of the grated chocolate.
  • Microwave on high power for 15 seconds. Remove and mix. Repeat the process until the chocolate starts to melt. The first few times it seems like nothing happened, but it is necessary to stir to distribute the heat already present. When it starts to melt, you need to stir even more, as the residual heat will be enough to melt the remaining chocolate. If it still needs to be microwaved a little longer, microwave for 5 seconds. We don't want the chocolate to heat up too much, if this happens, traditional tempering in granite or seeding will be necessary.
  • If you have a thermometer, check the temperature. The ideal range varies between types of chocolate. Semi-Bitter: less than 32ºC; For milk: less than 31ºC; White: less than 28ºC.
  • He measured the temperature and rubbed it a little, that's what the grated chocolate reserved at the beginning was for. Add and continue stirring. The added chocolate helps to lower the temperature and acts as seeding.
  • You need to grate the chocolate so that less energy is used to melt it. It is easier to melt a “powder” than an entire bar.
  • The number of times depends on the amount of chocolate and microwave power. For 200-300g: about 3-4 times in a 1350W microwave.
  • The chocolate is ready to be used, it is worth remembering that it will not be as fluid as when tempered in the traditional way.
  • It can be used to dip truffles, candy cones or Easter eggs, decorations. In the case of cones, after they harden, put them in the fridge for 5-6 minutes, no more than that, to help them unmold.

Nutritional information is just a courtesy of the system and generated automatically; may not reflect the nutritional reality of the recipe.

References

  • AKOH, Casimir C.; MIN, David B. Food lipids: chemistry, nutrition and biotechnology. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002.
  • GHOTRA, Baljit S.; DYAL, Sandra D.; NARINE, Suresh S. Lipid shortenings: a review. Food Research InternationalVolume 35, Issue 10, 2002, Pages 1015-1048.
  • COHEN, KO; LUCCAS, V.; JACKIX, MNH Review: Tempering or pre-crystallization of chocolate. Brazilian Journal Of Food Technologyv.7, n.1, p. 23-30, 2004.
  • HERMÉ, Pierre. Larousse do Chocolate. São Paulo: Larousse, 2007.
  • LUCCAS, Valdecir; BONOMI, Élida Castilho; KIECKBUSCH, Theo Guenter. Comparative characterization between milk chocolates formulated with anhydrous milk fat and milk fat stearin. Brazilian Journal Of Food Technology, Campinas, vol. 17, no. 2, June 2014.
  • LUCCAS, V.; KIECKBUSCH, TG Comparative study of the polymorphism of cupuaçu fat and cocoa butter by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Brazilian Journal of Food Technology, Hills, v.9, n.1, pp.63-6 2006.
  • McGEE, Harold. On food and cooking: the science an lore of the kitchen. New York: Scribner, 2004. (Portuguese | English)
  • RICHTER, Marissol; LANNES, Suzana Caetano da Silva. Ingredients used in the chocolate industry. Rev. Bras. Cienc. Farm., São Paulo, v. 43, n. 3, Sept. 2007.
  • Royal Society of Chemistry. The importance of structure: chocolate.
  • Compound Interest. The Polymorphs of Chocolate.