CHOCOLATE 101

Working with chocolate can be difficult, especially when you aren’t used to it. But we want to help! We’ve created a Chocolate 101 page, where you will find answers to previously asked questions, blog posts specifically about chocolate, and you can ask us your own chocolate questions. We promise we will answer, and your question will also be posted here for others to learn from.

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What is a couverture chocolate?

Couverture chocolate means that the chocolate has a rich content of cocoa butter. It is a true chocolate. Most people prefer the taste of a couverture chocolate to a compound coating, but it does require more care. In order to melt it down for dipping and molding, it does require a process called tempering.

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What is tempering and how do I do it?

Tempering is the process used to melt a couverture chocolate down for dipping and molding. When tempered correctly, your couverture chocolate will have a glossy finish and a snap when bitten, but it will melt in your mouth.

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Are there different ways to temper?

Yes, there are a few different methods of tempering. Below is a list of methods with descriptive posts on how to use each method.

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What is a compound coating?

A compound coating is not a true chocolate. This is because the cocoa butter content has been replaced with oils. A compound coating does not need to be tempered, but rather melted down using the 20 second rule. It’s easier to work with, but the taste doesn’t compare to that of a couverture chocolate.

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What colors of compound coating do you carry?

We have a variety of colors from a variety of brands. You can shop for them on our online store.

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There are so many kinds of chocolate. How do I know which is right for me?

This is a good question. It all comes down to personal preference. The first step is to decide if you want to work with a couverture chocolate or a compound coating. Ask yourself this question: Are you looking for less stress or to impress? If you are looking for less stress, use a compound coating. If you want to impress, use a couverture. From there, you’ll have to taste a few different brands and see which one your pallet leans more towards.

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Is chocolate gluten-free?

Pure, unsweetened chocolate is gluten-free. However, chocolate can become contaminated with gluten in 3 different ways. Read the post below to find out how, and see if your favorite brand is gluten-free.

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I want to make different colors of chocolate? Can I color white chocolate?

The answer is yes. But not so fast… you CANNOT use regular food coloring! Water causes chocolate to seize. Be sure when coloring chocolate to use an oil-based food coloring. You can use regular food coloring, but if you do it needs to be mixed with Flo-Coat.

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What does it mean when chocolate seizes?

When chocolate seizes it turns cement-like really quickly when any type of moisture is added. This is why you need to be cautious when melting chocolate with a double boiler. The steam from the double boiler can cause the chocolate to seize. When it has seized, you can no longer use if for dipping or melting. You can bake with it, but that’s about it.

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What is chocolate bloom?

Chocolate bloom is the white substance that is seen on chocolate. It is caused from drastic changes in temperature or from not being stored properly. It does not affect the taste of chocolate, but isn’t very pretty. It’s the cocoa butter (or oils) in the chocolate making their way to the surface. If you are melting your bloomed chocolate down, it will all mix back in place and will be fine for dipping or molding.

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Does bloom affect the taste of chocolate?

No, bloom doesn’t affect the taste of chocolate, and it does not mean your chocolate has gone bad. You can still eat it. When you melt it down, it will mix back into the chocolate and will go away.

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Can chocolate chips be melted down for dipping?

Yes they can, but we don’t recommend it. Chocolate chips have been formulated to hold their shape in high heat. (Like when you back cookies at 350 degrees F–they still hold their shape). Because of this, a lot of people tend to burn the chocolate because they don’t LOOK melted. If you choose to use these for dipping, we recommend using the 20 second rule. But again, chips are for baking. There’s chocolate that has been made specifically for dipping.

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What is the best way to store chocolate?

Store it in an air-tight container away from strong odors. Chocolate is like a sponge, and tends to absorb odors.

  • -The Proper Way to Store Chocolate

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What does room temperature have to do with chocolate?

If you haven’t already picked up on it, chocolate is fickle. If you want your chocolate to set up just right, then be sure that your room temperature is between 60-65 degrees F. Watch the humidity as well.

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Do you have any tips on using chocolate molds?

We do have a few tips. Read the post below to find out more:

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How many strawberries can I cover with a 5 lb. bag of chocolate?

In a 5 lb. bag of chocolate, you get 80 – 1 ounce servings. It really depends on how big your strawberries are, but we have found that you can get approximately 40 medium sized strawberries good and coating with 1 – 5 lb. bag.

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Do you have any good recipes that include chocolate?

Yes we do! Here’s a list of yummy chocolate recipes. Be sure to check out Gygi’s Recipe Box for more delicious (non-chocolate) recipes!

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What kind of fun crafts or DIY projects can I make using chocolate?

There’s all sorts of crafty things to do with chocolate! We are so glad you asked. Here’s a few of our favorites:

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I’ve heard about your Chocolate Extravaganza. What is it and when is it?

We hold an Annual Chocolate Extravaganza here in-store at Gygi’s. It’s held towards the end of the year, usually in November. It’s a few days of FREE chocolate classes taught by the professional chocolatiers from our friends at Peter’s. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about chocolate is taught in these classes, but because they are free you’ll want to register early. Registration is based on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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Do you have any tips for shipping chocolate during warmer months?

Yes, we have a few suggestions that you should follow if your chocolate is going to be exposed to heat above 70 degrees F. Read the post below for more information.

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Can I melt chocolate in a crock pot?

No, you can’t. If you do, it will burn. Read the post below for more information.

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Can I use ANY chocolate in a chocolate fountain?

Yes, you can use any chocolate, but it must be formulated for fountain use. Read the post below to learn how to formulate your chocolate.

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How do I formulate chocolate for fountain use?

We do carry milk and dark chocolate already formulated. But if you are wanting white or another color of compound coating, follow the simple recipe in the post below.

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What’s the difference between natural-processed and dutch-processed cocoa powders?

Find out by reading the post below:

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Can you tell me more about Guittard A’Peels?

Yes, we can. There’s a whole post about them:

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What can you tell me about Callebaut Snaps?

They are a compound coating. To find out more, read the post below.

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What are Merckens Buttons?

Just another compound coating that makes dipping easy. Read more below:

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    kara
    May 11, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Do you know which brands have gluten free chocolate?

    • Reply
      Cait
      May 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Kara,

      All of Guittard’s chocolate products and processing is gluten-free. To be sure, you can check the FAQ’s on their website. Is there a specific brand you are looking for? If so, I can look up that information for you. Just let me know.

      Thanks,
      -Cait

  • Reply
    Judy
    July 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Do you have to re-temper the chocolate after it has cooled to use it again?

    • Reply
      Cait
      July 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Yes. If you want to re-melt the chocolate, then you do have to re-temper it. The couverture chocolate that you purchased has been tempered and cooled. So the first time you melt it, you have to temper it. The same principle applies each time you would like to melt it back down.

  • Reply
    FAQ’s: Can I Melt Chocolate in a Crock Pot?
    July 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    […] For more information about tempering chocolate, read this post. You can also read more about chocolate on our Chocolate FAQ Page. […]

  • Reply
    Be Inspired: Bridgey Widgey + Milk + Cookies = Party!
    July 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    […] things you should know: How to Melt A’Peels // Chocolate 101 Tweet Pin […]

  • Reply
    Ari Eliefja
    July 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    RE: Callebaut 11 lb. Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Bar

    I see from the website that this bar is “certified kosher.” However, is it dairy or parve? Also, certified by which agency?

    • Reply
      Cait
      July 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      It is certified Kosher Dairy. I have contacted the supplier to get you a copy of the certificate and to see which agency certified it. Hopefully that helps! I’ll be in touch with you soon!

    • Reply
      Cait
      July 31, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Ari, I’m sorry I was mistaken. The chocolate you inquired about is certified Kosher Pareve by Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashruth Administrator. I have sent you the certificate via email. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

  • Reply
    Caramel Apple Supplies: Everything but the Apple!
    September 24, 2012 at 7:02 am

    […] 2. Chocolate: From compound coatings to courverture chocolate. We’ve got it all! Use whatever dark or milk chocolate suits your fancy, but might I recommend using the Vanilla A’Peels for the white chocolate choice. You can learn how to melt chocolate by clicking here. […]

  • Reply
    donna williams
    November 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    ARE MERCKENS CHOCOLATE MADE ON A LINE WITH PEANUTS OR TREE NUTS

    • Reply
      Cait
      November 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Donna, I have just contacted our manufacturer for this information. I will get back to you as soon as I hear from them. In the meantime, Friday I will posting all about Guittard’s peanut-free chocolate. Stay tuned!

  • Reply
    stripes
    December 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Hello – Can callets be substituted for baking chips? I need bitter sweet chips but you only have semi sweet listed. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Cait
      December 4, 2012 at 10:18 am

      No, callets cannot be substituted for baking chips. Baking chips have been formulated to hold their shape in high temperatures. Callets are made for melting.

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