Tempering and Melting Chocolate Lesson Plan

Teaching students about chocolate tempering can be a very fun and effective way of incorporating some basic science into your lesson plan. This lesson will expose your students to the various ways in which heat alters the molecular structure of chocolate.

Aim Lesson Objectives
The aim of this lesson is for your students to achieve an understanding on how to temper chocolate. This lesson will also serve as a demonstration on how to change the texture of chocolate through heat.  By the end of this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Understand the purpose and science behind tempering chocolate
  • Effectively use an instant heat thermometer
  • Measure ingredients independently

 

Lesson Checklist / Things to Consider
 Ingredients  14 ounces/400 grams of dark chocolate buttons. Please note that other variations of chocolate are more sensitive to heat. Therefore you will find that dark chocolate is the easiest chocolate to temper.
 Equipment A spatula, heat-proof mixing bowl, digital heat thermometer, saucepan, normal knife, sharp knife, water, apron, oven gloves, weighing scales and most importantly, an oven! Due to the nature of this activity, please ensure that your students do not have access to the sharp knife. It is advisable to complete step three on their behalf.
 Organisation You may wish to organise your students into large groups as resources may be limited and you will need to monitor them closely throughout the task.

 

Lesson background

Start your lesson by explaining the purpose of this activity to your students. This is a fantastic opportunity to introduce your students to the science of heat and food technology.

Before you begin this task, provide your students with a basic explanation of why it is so important to apply the correct techniques to tempering chocolate. Chocolate has very a complex molecular structure, with half of it consisting of cocoa butter and the other half, cocoa solids. When heated too fast or high, the cocoa butter crystals begin to lump together and this creates an undesirable chocolate texture. Therefore, the chocolate must be melted gradually by using a low setting (55 degrees) in order to avoid any lump formations.

 

 Tempering chocolate guide: Step by step on how to temper chocolate

 Step one

Start by dividing your chocolate into four quarters, each quarter should weigh approximately 100 grams each. You can measure the weight of your chocolate by using the weighing scales.

Step two

Take three quarters of your chocolate (300 grams) and begin cutting your chocolate into smaller pieces. This can be achieved by using a normal/blunt knife. Please ensure that you monitor your students very closely during this step.

Step three

You must then chop the remaining 100 grams with a sharp knife in order to achieve finer sections of chocolate. (You as the teacher will complete this step for your students to ensure it is done safely).

Step four

Place the first 300 grams of chocolate into your heat proof mixing bowl. Fill your sauce pan half way with water and position your heat proof mixing bowl on top of it. Please ensure your bowl does not reach the bottom of the saucepan.

Gradually heat up the water in the saucepan by adjusting the temperature of the hob. Do not allow the water to boil.

Melted Chocolate Dripping Off Spoon

Step five

Take your spatula and gently move it across the chocolate so that it helps the chocolate to melt at a gradual pace.

Step six

Measure the temperature of the chocolate with the digital heat thermometer. When your chocolate reaches the temperature of 55 C, take the chocolate away from the saucepan.

Step six

Take out 100 grams from your 30 grams of melted chocolate and keep it in a separate bowl.

Step seven

Add the remaining 100 grams of chocolate that have been finely chopped up with the sharp knife into the mixing bowl containing the other 200 grams of melted chocolate and stir repeatedly. Your chocolate should now be at the temperature of 28 C.

Step seven

The final step is to combine all of your chocolate together. Add the 100 grams of melted chocolate in the separate bowl into the main mixing bowl. Mix all of the chocolate up together slowly and eventually you will achieve the desired texture.

[Picture by Peter Pearson and used with Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license]