How to Temper White Chocolate

How to Temper White Chocolate

While it still comes from the cacao plant, white chocolate is simply made from cocoa butter and often, added sugar. Compare this to both dark and milk chocolate, which in addition to cocoa butter and added sugar contain cocoa solids, the portion of the cacao bean that gives chocolate its characteristic bitter flavor and dark color.

Tempering is a process that involves heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures before using it in recipes. When done correctly, it gives the chocolate a beautiful luster and satisfying snap, typical of chocolate bars and bon bons.

So, we know a little about white chocolate and a little about tempering, but how do these two work together? Here, we’ll cover two methods for tempering white chocolate as well as a few general tips and tricks so you can nail your next recipe.

Tempered Chocolate Recipe

How to Select White Chocolate

White chocolate should be made from just two ingredients: cocoa butter and added sugar. Many white chocolates, especially chips, aren’t truly white chocolate at all but are made from oils and flavorings. It’s important to choose true white chocolate because it’s the only kind that will actually temper. There is no benefit to attempting to temper artificial white chocolate. You’ll also want to ensure the chocolate you purchase is already in good temper before using it in a recipe. This means it should be shiny and have a firm snap, not be crumbly or streaked. Callebaut is a widely available chocolate brand to use for tempering, but it’s by no means the only option.

melted tempered white chocolate in a bowl with spatula

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Troubleshooting

While tempering chocolate is a pretty formulaic process, there are several snafus you can encounter. First, it’s important that absolutely no water contacts the chocolate, as this will cause it to seize, or become a crumbly mess. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do if this happens to your batch, apart from using it in another manner. If only a small amount of water has touched the chocolate, you may be able to whip up a white chocolate mocha or make white chocolate ganache, instead.

If the tempered chocolate has cooled below 81 F, you can readily solve the problem by starting the tempering process over again—sure, it takes more time but it’s good to know the damage is reversible. If your chocolate climbs to 145 F or above, however, the chocolate will burn. At this point, your batch can’t be recovered. White chocolate is more susceptible to burning than milk or dark chocolate, so treat it with extra care and attention while tempering.

“Tempering white chocolate can be tricky, but following this recipe closely will definitely get you there! I suggest using high quality white chocolate since it does make a difference in taste and the finished product. Make sure you chop the chocolate into small and relatively similar size pieces so they melt at the same time.” —Bahareh Niati

How to Temper White Chocolate/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white chocolate

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, you can make one with a heatproof bowl that can nestle into a pot or large saucepan without touching the bottom.

    white chocolate and double boiler

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  2. Finely chop the white chocolate (the pieces should be similar in size for uniform melting). Divide the chopped white chocolate into 3/4 and 1/4 portions.

    chopped white chocolate on cutting board

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  3. Place 3/4 of the chopped chocolate in the top of the double boiler or heatproof bowl. Set the remaining 1/4 portion aside.

    chopped white chocolate in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  4. Fill the bottom of the double boiler or the pot with about 2 inches of water and place on low heat. When the water begins to steam, nestle the bowl with the white chocolate into the pot. Be sure that the water is just steaming, not boiling, and that the bottom of the pot does not touch the water.

    white chocolate in a double boiler

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  5. Stir the white chocolate constantly as it melts. Once the temperature rises past 80 F, remove the bowl from the pot occasionally while stirring constantly to allow the residual heat to continue to melt the chocolate until it reaches 110 F. Pay attention to the temperature since white chocolate melts quickly.

    thermometer in a bowl of melted white chocolate

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  6. Remove the top of the double boiler or the bowl from the pot and add the remaining 1/4 portion of the chocolate. This is often referred to as “seeding” the chocolate, which lowers the temperature of the melted chocolate and helps to bring it into temper.

    melted white chocolate in a bowl

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

  7. Stir constantly until the white chocolate cools to 87 F. Use the tempered white chocolate right away. To maintain its temperature while working with the melted chocolate, place the bowl on top of a pan filled with warm, not hot, water.

    melted white chocolate in a bowl with thermometer

    The Spruce/Bahareh Niati

Testing the Temper

To make sure your white chocolate is properly tempered, dip a knife into the white chocolate and allow it to cool at room temperature. It should dry in about 5 minutes, have a sheen, and snap cleanly once removed from the knife.

How to Temper White Chocolate Using the Microwave Method

Chop and divide the chocolate into 3/4 and 1/4 portions, as above, and place the larger portion in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the white chocolate in 15- to 30-second increments, removing it after each increment to stir and check for temperature. Depending on how powerful your microwave is, you may need to shorten or extend the duration of the increments.

Once the white chocolate reaches a temperature of 110 F, add the remaining 1/4 of the chopped chocolate. Continually stir the chocolate and occasionally measure its temperature until it reaches 87 F. Use the tempered chocolate immediately.

How to Store White Chocolate

The high cocoa butter content in white chocolate means it has a shorter shelf life than dark chocolate, but it can still last up to 6 months if stored properly. So, if you have any leftovers from your baking escapade, simply lay out some parchment paper and pour small, thin discs of tempered chocolate onto it. Once cooled, you can then wrap them up, place them in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dark place (avoid the fridge or freezer).

How Can I Use Tempered White Chocolate?

Similar to milk and dark chocolate, tempered white chocolate can be used for dipping, coating, or making candies.

  • White Chocolate Heart-Shaped Thin Mints
  • White Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
  • Peppermint Bark
  • Matcha Green Tea Truffles

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