Tempering in the microwave
The purpose of tempering chocolate is to pre-crystallise the cocoa butter in the chocolate, which is related to the working temperature of the chocolate. During tempering, the cocoa butter in the chocolate changes into a stable crystalline form. It ensures the hardness, shrinking force and gloss of the finished product after it has cooled. If the chocolate is melted in the normal way (between 40 and 45 °C) then left to cool to working temperature, the finished product will not be glossy. If you make the effort of using a special way of bringing chocolate up to the right working temperature, you are guaranteed to get the desired end result. And that is what we mean by tempering: bringing chocolate up to the right working temperature so that there are sufficient stable crystals. The 3 factors which are important during tempering are time, temperature and movement.
Pour some Callets into a plastic or glass bowl.
Put the bowl into the microwave and melt the Callets at 800-1000 W.
Take the Callets out of the microwave every 15 to 20 seconds and stir well to ensure that the temperature of the Callets is evenly distributed and that they do not scorch.
Repeat this procedure until the chocolate has almost all melted. Some small pieces of Callet should still be visible in the bowl.
Remove from the microwave and stir the chocolate well, until all the pieces of Callet have disappeared and a slightly thickened even liquid has been obtained: the chocolate is tempered and ready to work with.
All chocolate should be tempered before you use it to
mould/pour, to use for creating blown figures, for coating cakes or
pralines. In short, whenever chocolate needs to have a perfect
sheen and be hard.
When you add chocolate to dishes to add flavour (when preparing mousses or Bavarian creams for instance), it usually suffices to melt the chocolate. Tempering is not required in these instances. All recipes will indicate clearly if the chocolate should be tempered or not.