Level: Novice
Reading/watching time: 4 min

Today I’m going to hit a few short questions about tempering and cocoa butter that have cropped up the last few weeks.

I usually need around 10 lbs of chocolate around the holidays, to spread on homemade English Toffee.  I do temper the chocolate before I use it, but I was wondering if I can store the freshly made chocolate in bulk without tempering until I need it.  Then temper and use it as needed. 

If you are cooking with your chocolate where it is going above 100 F (Toffee goes over 200 F) you don’t need to temper as your temper will just be destroyed anyway.   You can store your chocolate untempered until you need it.  Just keep it cool and dry and sealed.  There is no need to refrigerate or freeze.

Do I have to store my Silk in the freezer?

No, sealed, cool and dry is just fine. 

I am confused about using silk.  When do I lower the chocolate to 82 F and raise it back up to 88 F?

This one, somehow, as come up A LOT.  Using Silk is a method of tempering unlike any other.  Lowering chocolate to 80-82 creates Type V seed.  Silk IS Type V seed.  So it is more akin to any seed tempering method you use except you use a higher temperature (92F vs 88F) because the silk is pure and aggressive and can handle the higher temperature.  So you don't ever lower and raise the temperature.  You add the silk at 92-93 F and you are done.

What  temperature do I have to use for milk chocolate if I am using Silk to temper?

The beauty of silk is that you don’t have to change your working temperature at all when you change chocolates.  It is always 92.5 F.

I have used untempered cocoa butter to temper my chocolate with moderate success.  Why do I need  to use silk?

I’ve heard about this.  It can work some of the time as you are finding.  And sometimes it fails, as you are finding.  The reason is that solid cocoa butter has some Type V naturally in it.  If there is enough you can add it to your chocolate at 88 F and have a fine temper.  The temperature destroys the non type V crystals and the remaining V acts as seed.  But you have way to know or control how much V is there and in some cases there isn’t enough and your temper fails.

How important is it that the cacao butter be from the same region as the cacao bean?

I personally don’t think it is important at all from a flavor perspective.  And unless your sweetener is also from the same origin, it is just silly from a ‘single origin’ perspective.  I’ve seen WAY too many bars claiming 100% single origin and make a huge deal about pressing their own butter only to use a sugar from somewhere else.

The cocoa butter I ordered arrived melted.  Is it ruined?

As long as it is not Silk (melting ruins the temper) your cocoa butter is fine.