How to Temper Chocolate
Tabling Method

Are you trying to understand the tabling method? It can seem overwhelming because there are some steps that must be followed.

That's why I'm "making chocolate candy making, a solution"

Tabling method is similar to, but not the same as, the seed-method. To save some time, and probably some money, read the entire directions before you begin..., I'll wait for you. :)

I temper chocolate on a polished marble to help draw the heat from the chocolate. Granite, and stone are equally useful.

Feel free to add to this article including pictures. Others will be greatful for your help and input, including me,

Working with chocolate on other non-porous tabletops such as laminate will do fine if you don't have the any other source.

It may take a bit longer to cool perhaps, a bonus maybe, if you're new to tempering.

To instill the importance of all procedures, we'll cover the more difficult way of tempering referred to as the "tabling method." Then we'll move to the easy way of tempering chocolate called the "seed" method.

How to Temper Chocolate - Tabling Method

Temper with double boiler

In these directions we'll melt chocolate using a double boiler on simmering heat (not boiling), around 140-180 °F (60-82 °C) will do fine.

Using One Pound (16oz) of dark chocolate, break the chocolate into moderately small pieces

Note: If you want to melt it quicker, simply grate or shave the chocolate. But it'll probably take just as long shaving chocolate as it does simply melting chocolate.

Step One: Heating the Chocolate

  • Melt a little over 1/2 of the broken chocolate, stirring and moving the chocolate until smooth.

Check the Temperature Regularly

Dark chocolate:
Bring the temperature to about 115-118 °F (46-47 °C).
Milk chocolate:
Bring the temperature to about 112-115 °F (44-46 °C).
White chocolate:
Bring the temperature to about 110-112 °F (43-44 °C).

TIP: For less mess and nothing goes to waste..., use your spatula to squeegee the chocolate from the sides of the pan to keep all the chocolate moving while you stir. Chocolate loves the movement!

A good chocolate tempering thermometer can offer quick readings for better accuracy (I like digital).

Note: Even though you can, don't push the temperature of either type of chocolate. Leave some room for error and alleviate risk of burning, or scorching altogether.

Step Two:
Cooling the Chocolate

  • Add the remaining chunks of chocolate into the pan of melted chocolate to prepare for the tabling method.

Continue to heat to temperature.

Dark 115-118 °F (46-47 °C)

Stir, and move the chocolate just until the chocolate is melted smooth and to temperature.

  • Then pour a little over 1/2 of the melted chocolate onto the work surface.

Use a wide chocolate trowel, or whatever you have that works for you (4 inches blade [10.2 cm] or so)

Then spread the puddle of chocolate out thin about the thickness of a CD (compact disc) to begin the tabling method.

Use the trowel to scoop the chocolate back into a puddle.

TIP: Spread the chocolate left to right, or right to left pattern (your preference), piling it up each time.
Use a spatula to remove chocolate from the trowel so that all the chocolate stays the same temperature.

How to Spread Chocolate with Trowel

Check the temperature of the chocolate puddle; target temperature is 82 °F (27 °C).

Continue spreading the chocolate and returning it to a puddle.

How to Wipe the Chocolate Trowel

Spreading brings the chocolates temperature down a little at a time.

The chocolate will begin to cool, crystallizing the makeup of the cocoa butter

The chocolate will ultimately thicken, and get a distinct (different) appearance similar to a gooey state.

This is when you'll know it's close to temperature.

Return Cooled Chocolate to Pan

The finial stage of the tabling method will show signs of puddling..., should stack somewhat without flowing too much.

  • When the temperature is about (no less than) 82 °F (27 °C)...

...add the mass (puddle) of chocolate back into the 1/3 melted chocolate you left in the pan or bowl.

Step Three:
Slightly Reheat

  • Reheat while mixing the chocolate together.

Continue until it is a smooth liquid and the temperature reaches about 88 °F (31 °C) for dark. Stay under 90 °F otherwise, it will take the chocolate out of temper.

  • Hold the temperature here

Remove it from, or return it to heat as needed

  • Keep mixing and moving for a few minutes
This helps create even more durable cocoa butter crystals.

Dark Chocolate; 88 °F (31 °C)
  Milk Chocolate; 86 °F (30 °C)
  White Chocolate; 83 °F (28 °C)

Step Four:
Maintain the Final Temperature

Tip Test for proper temper by touching (tiny dab) the melted chocolate with the flat of your metal trowel or knife then set aside for a minute or two.
See if it has a satin/shinny gloss to it without any whitish chocolate bloom.

Hold this temperature

Keep the temperature as close as possible to 88 °F (31 °C) (dark chocolate) until you finish using it.

Use it for molding during your chocolate candy making experiences, dipped strawberries, and covertures (covering) for truffle centers.

Cooling Time

I found that whatever little tidbit you're cooling, let it set for around five (5) minutes per quarter thick (1/4) inch (.25 in = 0.6 cm). My chocolate cooler is set around 48 °F (9 °C) and will kick on around 58 °F (14 °C).

Here's a HUGE Tip: I know it's tempting, but try to stay away from touching after you pour a mold, dip your fruit, or whatever..., let them cool.

Once cooling time goes by, test it with gloves on (synthetic, powder-free, vinyl). Using the side of your little (pinky) finger, gently touch the chocolate briefly to see if it feels cool to the touch.

But that's it..., leave it alone (even after). Remember, cocoa butter has a melting point lower than your body temperature.

Touching the chocolate (even cooled) will definitely "leave a mark." 

       You've Been Delightfully Scolded!

I know the refrigerator is not the best idea for cooling tempered chocolate if you want to avoid moisture. But this is a test to show how things can go at home.

If room temperature is 65-70°F (18-21 °C), you could simply leave it out on the counter with a small breeze from a fan would do.

The solid chocolate block has some condensation on the top (temp too cold & too long in fridge perhaps).

However, the goal of how to temper chocolate at home in Elma Washington was successful.

Here's the final outcome on this version of "how to temper chocolate" after a some time in the refrigerator at home.

A couple of taps and it fell out of the glass container (forgot my molds at the shop).

As you can see, the bottom of this chocolate block is very glossy or shiny like that of molded chocolate. Why the large chocolate block? Too me it is the hardest to cool properly after tempering...

That's my version of tempering using the table method..., What's yours?

There's always a better way, or tip, and you might know how to temper chocolate easier!

By the Way, I promised you the "Seed Method" so look down at the bottom of this page to continue there!

...So, Do You

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Does the Tabling Method
Seem Hard?

The tabling technique may be easier to grasp if we look at the tabling method, as performing the "seed technique" twice, or two different ways simultaneously.

As you go, you may discover that tabling is two-methods-in-one..., a double-seed (if you will).

This may be why "tabling" is hard for most folks to comprehend, and why it takes so long to explain.