1. Chop chocolate into 1/4" chunks. Put half of chocolate in a 1 1/2-quart microwave-safe bowl. (Use a 1-quart bowl when tempering 8 ounces of chocolate or less. When tempering more than 2 pounds of chocolate, use large bowl.) Microwave uncovered on MEDIUM (50%) power for 1 1/2-6 minutes, stirring every 1 1/2 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in remaining chocolate chunks.
2. Microwave uncovered on MEDIUM (50%) power for 1 1/2-3 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds, until chocolate is almost completely melted. Gently stir chocolate and when it is completely melted, check temperature. It should read between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or temperature recommended by manufacturer). If necessary, put chocolate back in microwave set on low (10%) power for 5-10 second intervals, until it reaches correct temperature. (Stir chocolate for at least 1 minute before checking temperature.)
3. Transfer melted chocolate to another 1 1/2 quart (or smaller or larger bowl depending on amount of chocolate being tempered). This will bring temperature of chocolate down to approximately 100 degrees.
4. Wrap heating pad (normally used for backaches) in plastic to protect from chocolate stains. Set control dial to lowest setting.
5. Pour 1/3 or melted chocolate onto clean, dry work surface (such as marble or Formica). Keep remaining chocolate in bowl on heating pad.
6. Using offset metal cake spatula spread chocolate evenly across work surface into rectangle. Using pastry scraper, bring chocolate together, and as you do so, scrape chocolate off spatula. Continue spreading and scraping process until chocolate cools to 80-82 degrees for milk and white chocolates and 82-84 degrees for dark chocolate, loses shine and forms thick paste with dull matte finish. Work quickly so that chocolate does not lump. This process can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes, depending on amount of chocolate, type, and brand of chocolate as well as temperature of kitchen. Chocolate is now seeded. Professional term for this is 'mush.'
7. Add mush to bowl of 100 degree chocolate and using clean, dry rubber spatula, stir chocolate gently, until smooth. Be careful not to create air bubbles as you stir chocolate.
8. Check temperature of chocolate. It should register between 80-91 degrees, depending on type and brand of chocolate. (In general, dark chocolate should register between 86-90 degrees and milk and white chocolates should register between 86-89 degrees.) If necessary, heat bowl of chocolate in microwave on LOW (10%) power for 5-10 second intervals, to raise temperature required number of degrees. (Stir chocolate for at least 1 minute before checking temperature. Be very careful not to overheat chocolate.) Chocolate is now ready to work with. As you work, regularly stir chocolate and check temperature. Adjust temperature and fluidity of chocolate by turning heating pad on and off. If for some reason chocolate becomes too cold, simply reheat in microwave oven set on LOW (10%) power for 5-10 second intervals. (Stir chocolate for at least 1 minute before rechecking temperature.) Never let temperature exceed 92 degrees or stable cocoa butter crystals will start to melt and temper will be lost.
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