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Temper, Temper, Temper! The Science of Tempering Chocolate *

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible. Use caution when using a stovetop. Hot chocolate can burn. Use care when working with hot chocolate. Adult supervision recommended.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Nut clusters, chocolate-dipped candies, and chocolate-dipped strawberries are just some of the delicious goodies that have a thin, rich layer of chocolate wrapped around them. But how do pastry and candy chefs make these delectable treats? The first step is to melt and temper chocolate. Tempering is a process in which the cocoa butter in chocolate is hardened into a specific crystalline pattern. When the cocoa butter molecules are in this pattern, the chocolate is shiny and breaks with a sharp snap. Tempering chocolate is an art and a science. It is a science because the tempering is temperature dependent. If the temperature of the melted chocolate is too high, the chocolate will burn. If the temperature of the melted chocolate is too low, it might never harden properly. In this science fair project, investigate how different temperatures affect the resulting melted chocolate. After tempering, brush some of the chocolate on wax paper. Does the chocolate harden or does it stay soft? Is it shiny or blotchy? Can you peel it off or does it stick to the paper? Try tempering dark chocolate and white chocolate. Is there a difference in the tempering temperature for each one? Once you have figured out the tempering process of your favorite chocolate, use your recipe to cover nuts, strawberries, or your favorite treat. Share your goodies with your friends and family and let everyone know that your science fair project has a sweet ending.
Cooking and Food Science Project chocolate

Figure 1. Stacks of various kinds of chocolate. (Wikipedia, 2008.)

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Temper, Temper, Temper! The Science of Tempering Chocolate" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p038.shtml?from=FB>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 10). Temper, Temper, Temper! The Science of Tempering Chocolate. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p038.shtml?from=FB

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Last edit date: 2014-10-10

Bibliography

This website from the Exploratorium in San Francisco has information on various aspects of chocolate.

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