No case of walking into a candy store and glancing and sighing at those lovely, shiny truffles who stare back at you, tempting you to get one or two has ever been made possible without tempering.
The reason for this process is the pre-crystallization of the cocoa butter present in the chocolate which is a pivotal step for making the chocolate ready for further processing. The goal is for the chocolate to take on a stable crystalline form as this is what makes for a gorgeous finish product with a satin gloss.
Apart from looking better, the product will also taste better this way because it will have a hard snap when someone bites into it.
Untempered chocolate, on the other hand, does not harden fully and its finish is dull, unappealing and blotchy. It can also have white streaks or spots, usually referred to as “bloom”. Untempered chocolate has a soft and chalky mouthfeel and it melts easily. And instead of the much sought-after hard snap, untempered chocolate melts easily and has a chalky feel when someone bites into it.
The process of tempering is done by a chocolate dipping machine which is specifically designed to consistently temper chocolate thus improving its quality. Anyone who’s in the business of making candy or baked goods needs to consider investing in a chocolate dipping machine unless all of the products made do not require tempered chocolate. Depending on the facility, the capacity of the machine is also an important consideration (90 kg per hour being the preferred option).
Untempered chocolate is used for the making of products that are meant to be consumed quickly. This means that the chocolate is used for decoration or garnish, whereas the final product will be coated in something else (coffee beans, nuts, etc). Generally, all baked goods or recipes that include chocolate as an addition to ingredients such as milk, flour, sugar or cream do not require tempered chocolate.
Tempered chocolate, on the other hand, is the preferred option for anything that is to be fully covered or simply dipped into chocolate. It is a must for chocolate bars and all sorts of moulded or filled chocolates since untempered chocolate is almost impossible to remove from moulds.
To sum it up, it all depends on the type of products being made, but for anyone in the chocolate/candy making business, to temper or not to temper shouldn’t even be a question.