Sunday, 21 September 2014

Week 1 - Tempering Chocolate!

When I said last week I was looking forward to tempering chocolate I didn't think it would be the first thing we attempted on the course. I felt a little like the underdog on a talent show and came away feeling like I needed to up my game to keep up with my colleagues and stay in the competition. We were a small group of mixed nationalities and abilities - I'm really looking forward to learning alongside them.

I may have looked the part kitted out in my loaned chef's whites but I struggled to master the technique of tempering chocolate on my first attempt - never mind practice makes perfect and I'll try and master it at home. I suspect the equipment list for this course could be endless and turn out to be a bit expensive - thermometers, acetates, good quality ingredients ... this 5kg bar of 54% cocoa solid dark chocolate, for example, costs about £40!

After tempering the chocolate (heating and cooling to specific temperatures - more science in the kitchen) we spread it onto acetate sheets to create a freestanding shape, which needed to set hard in the fridge. This was later filled with a chocolate mouse and decorated with chantilly cream and piped decorations. I think I will blog more about the technique when I feel a little more confident at it.

My first attempt - bit of a mess in all honesty!
What's the old saying - less is more?
My tempered milk chocolate teardrop shape was nowhere near as shiny and impressive as Steve's dark chocolate marbled cylinder, In my defense he runs his own bakery business, trained in professional kitchens and has worked for Gordon Ramsey in the past. He's going to be the one to watch and was definitely our 'star baker' this week!

Steve's masterpiece

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