My lastest attempt at tempering (Batch #3 - Peru Chuncho) was the best so far; not perfect, but getting close. In the past my most nagging issue was a sharp drop in temperature after I added the 0.75% of Cocoa Butter Silk to the melted chocolate. I would stabilize the melted chocolate at 94 F, but after adding the Silk, the temperature would drop rapidly to 89 or 90F rather than the suggested 92F.
This time I decided to add the Silk a little bit at a time instead of dumping it in all at once, and it seemed to work better. By the time I stirred in the Silk and waited 2 minutes, the chocolate was sitting at the perfect 92 degree F temperature. (Note: I tested all three of my thermometers against boiling water (two infrared and one contact), and found that the contact candy thermometer was the most accurate. The infrared was easier to use, but the readings fluctuated too much to be counted on for chocolate tempering.)
I poured the chocolate into my new molds with the cocoa pod design, and shook to smooth out the top and release the air bubbles. One of the cavities was a little overfilled, but I didn’t scrape it smooth. I hate scraping the molds. Chocolate goes everywhere, and it is such a mess. You lose a lot of your precious and expensive chocolate too.
So once rattled, I popped the molds into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. After removing the molds I noticed that the top of the chocolate in the overfilled cavity had cracked. I guess the rapid cooling and the domed shape of the chocolate caused it to split. Lesson learned. When a cavity is overfilled – Scrape it off not matter how messy.
I let the chocolate sit in the molds overnight, and the next day every bar popped out as soon as I flipped the mold over. The tops of the bars looked pretty good, but not perfect.
They weren't as shiny as I would have liked and there were some contraction marks/release marks/condensation marks (?? don't know exactly what they were) in the center of each bar, but overall they looked pretty good. And best of all no veins or stringers of bloom. The bars also made a loud clinking noise when they were stacked, and they had a nice snap when broken.
But I wasn’t too happy with the bottom of the bars. I’m still seeing these patterns on the bar that looked like oil or grease slicks. I’ve noticed these slicks on the chocolate when it is still in the melanger. I’m not sure what is causing the slicks. Will need to do some investigating.
I brought all the chocolate to work, and the people devoured it. They said is was very, very good and they liked the unique "apple" taste of the Peru Chuncho bean.