Well, Fall 2007 has begun!
This semester I am taking two classes. Hospitality Supervision and Advanced Pastry. I feel kind of cool at school this semester because I can tell who the new students are and I feel a sort of smug sense of "I know what you don't know, neener-neener." Wrong, I know, but honest.
Last night was the first night of Advanced Pastry and I learned how to properly temper chocolate. Well, dark chocolate anyway. We are going to be using a method called 'tabling'. Here is how it works.
1. Finely chop your chocolate. The pieces really need to be uniform because if you have one really big piece it will take longer to melt than the rest of the chocolate and by the time it does you will have heated the chocolate too hot.
2. Melt the chocolate to 120F. A double boiler, with water heated to the boil then brought down to a bare simmer is best. You are taking the chocolate way above working temp (about 85 depending on brand) because you want to make sure all the cocoa butter is melted. True chocolate is made up of three things: Cocoa Mass (cocoa powder), Cocoa Butter, and Sugar. When chocolate is really smooth and creamy the cocoa butter is very evenly distributed in the chocolate. Melting out the cocoa butter before you temper will ensure that your final product is very smooth.
3. Take 2/3 of the chocolate and spread it over a piece of marble, or other cool food safe surface (not wood). Spread the chocolate and then gather it back up, repeating until it is cooled and thickened, but not forming hard pieces.
4. Return the chocolate to the bowl and mix with the still warm 1/3 and gently combine them. Take the temp. It should be 80F.
5. Heat the chocolate gently to 86F and it is ready to use.
Tonight we make truffles. Mmmmmmmmmm …
Supervision is Mondays and I reserve judgment. This class will either be a lot of fun or a total yawn, and it is because of the subject matter. Supervision is not exactly tops on my must learn list.