So after my many failed tempering attempts I took a step back and did more reading. Thankfully I found a few things that could have caused my tempering fails…
First thing I re-read was the part on molding in The Science of Chocolate. Sadly I got the whole “warming” thing wrong. In the book it says to: pre-heat the empty molds to within a few degrees of the temperature of the tempered chocolate before the start of the molding process. I heated the molds correctly, but stupid me kept on heating the molds even after the chocolate was poured in.
I was also warming the air, thinking that would keep the chocolate out of the temperature range that the Type IV crystals would crystallize, but this was horribly wrong. Apparently you want the ambient room temperature to be 68-70 F when molding the chocolate. Some folks even say that a short stint in the refrigerator (5-10) will encourage the Type V crystals to grow faster and thus improve the temper.
But my biggest Ah-Ha moment came while reading some of the Chocolate Alchemist’s Q&A on Tempering. In some of his “Musing” he talks about "Over Tempered" chocolate. Over tempered is when you have too many Type V crystals in the chocolate, and the chocolate gets very hard. (The Alchemist calls them “Types” rather than “Forms”.) When tempering you are not looking for 100% Type V, instead you want a mixture of Type V and Type IV that will give the most pleasing chocolate eating experience and NO BLOOM.
One thing that will create too many Type V crystals is too much seed. I had been using Cocoa Butter Silk (super tempered cocoa butter) to seed my chocolate, and I added the Silk at a ratio of 2%+ of total weight. The Ah-Ha was when I re-read the instructions and saw that I should have been using 0.5% to 1%. I had been using way too much Silk!! The overabundance of seed was causing all kinds of problems.
So I re-melted my Batch #2 chocolate and re-tempered using 0.75% Silk. I also turned on the AC and lowered the temperature in the house to 70 F.
And guess what ---- IT WORKED!!!
No bloom in sight, lovely dark chocolate color, robust snap, and best of all, the taste and mouth feel. The chocolate melted quickly in my mouth, dissolving into a silky puddle of mellow, buttery chocolate.
I may get the hang of this Chocolate Making stuff yet….