I have purchased a Matfer wheel tempering machine complete with temperature probe so the temperature is the chocolate - not the water bath. Sending me NUTS! It is plumbed to the main water supply. As per manufacturers directions I melt dark chocolate (couverture) to 49C (120f), press the button to bring in cold water which drops it to 28C (82f) (over about 2 hours) then press again to increase to 32C (90f). Wheel turning. But the chocolate gets really thick and if I I let it go will become quite solid. Over tempering I guess. I really can't use the chocolate at any stage. It DOES temper but gets too thick quickly. Any thoughts please? I'm stumped. Also, I have repeated this several times so the chocolate has gone in and out of temper several times. I assume the crystals are "reset" at 49C (120f) so I can always start again. But should I start with yet another batch of fresh chocolate? It is NOT seizing. Thanks!
Thanks for that Clay. It helped me a heap. The temperature is measured with the Matfer probe part of the wheel system. However I added a thermometer that I had on hand (once purchased from a specialist thermometer company) and also checked with a laser thermometer. Interesting variations. At one point the probe said 41.4, thermometer 39 and laser 37.5. Anyway, overnight I heated the chocolate to 50C (it's what it was when I came in this morning). So set it to drop temperature and it took 2 hours to get to 29C (which is what the crystallisation curve stipulates for this dark chocolate). At that point the probe measured 29, thermometer 28.5 and laser 28.3. Then I set it to increase to the stipulated 32C. At that point the probe said 32C, thermometer 32C and laser 31.2C. The room temperature was 21-22C throughout and the room is dehumidified to 49rH. Question, just HOW vital is totally accurate temperature please? As you can see I have some variation. I made a few things and they came out fine. Nicely tempered chocolate. I tested it with a bit of paper and it took a while to come into temper. It stayed fluid until I had to leave it for a while (30 minutes) and when I got it was far too solid to use. Is that normal? I can work with that but wondering... Also, someone told me to hold some chocolate aside HOT - around 50C, and if the tempered chocolate started getting thick just to add a little of the spare chocolate until it thinned down. Is that a good idea? Wouldn't I have a mix of tempered and untempered chocolate? I can pan pretty well now but this stage of my development is challenging! Thanks again!
Where did you get the temperatures you're using? Have you put a calibrated thermometer (not infrared) so you know the temps are accurate?
It could be you're taking the chocolate too cold and not warming it up enough.
Another thing to consider is the ambient room temp - where is that set? These wheel tempering machines expose a huge amount of surface area that can suck the heat out of the chocolate. A heat lamp can really help.
As long as the chocolate is not seizing you should be able to bring it above 45C, keep it there for a while to melt out all the crystals, and you should be able to start the tempering process all over.