This type of tempering is a little less accurate, but it’s good if you don’t have a digital thermometer or much time. If you are very careful to heat the chocolate gently, there is no need to re-temper
(i.e. use a digital thermometer to heat the chocolate to the three exact temperature ranges), as the original temper will not be lost. It is all about keeping the original formation of the fat molecules in place and not scrambling them with too much heat! The original chocolate maker did the hard work, you just need to keep that temperature low.
You can do this in a bain-marie – a heatproof glass bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water. Or in a microwave on a very low setting in a microwaveable plastic bowl. All good shop-bought bars will be tempered already – you can easily tell, as they will have a nice ‘snap’ when they’re broken and
will be shiny. We use tempered couverture chocolate drops in the bakery, as they can be heated quickly and consistently. Use couverture drops, or grate your good-quality white, dark or milk chocolate into fine pieces. Grating the bar, or using little button drops, means that it melts faster, so is less likely to overheat and lose its original temper. If you are grating a lot of chocolate, it’s quicker to just blitz it in a food processor until it’s in little bits.
Place roughly two-thirds (just do this by eye) of the grated chocolate in a microwaveable plastic bowl (not glass, as glass conducts too much heat in the microwave and will continue to cook the chocolate when you don’t want it to). Put your microwave on its lowest setting, and heat the chocolate in 10-second blasts. Take the bowl out and stir after each blast. It will take around five 10-second sessions to melt the chocolate. You want it so that it JUST melts when you stir it. If you are doing it on the hob, place the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl over a bain-marie and stir until it JUST melts.Now add the reserved one-third of melted chocolate and stir until it melts. You may need to give it another 5-second burst in the microwave, or one more stir over a bain-marie, until it all comes together. You are now ready to use it!
Remember to let the chocolate harden and cool at room temperature, not in the fridge.