Chocolate is a universally loved ingredient. As a child, chocolate was in your life more than you could remember. Your friends and family’s birthday parties were most likely centered around the highly anticipated time to cut the cake, which most likely had some variation of chocolate in or on it.
Loving and consuming chocolate has become synonymous with many different occasions. Chocolate can be seen being used as a coping mechanism during a breakup or oppositely used to celebrate Valentine’s Day to show your loved one you care. Chocolate has become a staple in many people’s diets. Whichever way you prefer to enjoy chocolate, whether that be ice cream, cookies, cake, or even by the bar, one thing remains constant. Chocolate will always be the most coveted form of candy making and will continue to be elevated.
Chocolate lovers are often referred to as “chocoholics” due to their extreme admiration for this ingredient. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Chocolate is a beautifully crafted candy. The same sentiment holds whether you get your chocolate from your local convenience store or a chocolatier. Chocolate is comforting for many. Its rich decadent flavor, creamy texture, and the satisfaction of enjoying a delicious piece of chocolate are unmatched. No wonder it’s considered an aphrodisiac.
This type of candy remains very special in a lot of people’s hearts. Some love chocolate so much, that they spend their lives studying it, crafting chocolate, and making it their career. The skill, patience, knowledge, and craft that goes into making chocolate professionally is truly something to admire. Chocolate is more than just what you see wrapped up in pretty packaging at your local grocery store; it’s more of an art form.
Traditionally, chocolate is surprisingly a tough ingredient to work with. The way it’s structured and the way it works in the presence of heat allow for any mishaps to occur. However, with enough training, patience, and precision, chocolatiers can master the craft of using chocolate for their recipes and candy creations.
The process that I’m speaking about is called tempering. I’m sure that word may make any chocolatier shudder. Tempering is a technique used to melt the chocolate that is very difficult to master, but any highly skilled candy maker or baker should learn this method.
Tempering chocolate is a sure way to achieve glossy, snappy, and smooth chocolate that is perfect for enrobing your favorite treats. There are a few ground rules when it comes to tempering or even just simply melting chocolate. Rule number one is to never heat your chocolate above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Candy thermometers can be easily found online or at your local baking store.
Rule number two is to never, under any circumstances, put water into your batch of chocolate. The biggest fear when it comes to tempering and melting chocolate is having the chocolate seize. When chocolate seizes, it will become chunky and cannot be melted back down to a smooth consistency.
The great thing about tempering chocolate is that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated after it’s hardened. Untempered chocolate will easily melt without refrigeration. The entire process for tempering chocolate is quite simple, you just need to maintain your patience and it will go smoothly.
The process consists of heating, cooling, and reheating chocolate within a certain temperature. There’s quite a bit of science behind tempering chocolate, as well. By melting chocolate and failing to temper, it will change the molecular structure of the chocolate. By tempering chocolate, it allows the molecules of the cocoa butter to rechain together and stabilizes the sugar crystals. After the whole process, the chocolate will harden to a smooth, snappy finish.
So, to start the process of tempering chocolate, you’re going to need a double boiler. A double boiler consists of a shallow pot where you can boil water and a glass bowl where the chocolate can melt. Boil a small amount of water in the pot and place the glass bowl on top. Make sure the water isn’t touching the glass bowl. This allows for indirect heat to slowly melt the chocolate to avoid uneven heat distribution and ultimately burning the chocolate.
Once you’ve got the double boiler set up, it's’ time to add the chocolate.
●Melt almost ⅔ of your chocolate in the double boiler, reserving extra chocolate on the side for later. The reserved chocolate is called seed chocolate.
●Once the melted chocolate reaches 125 degrees, remove it from the heat and start slowly adding the seed chocolate. Make sure you are continuously stirring the mixture until it reaches around 84 degrees.
●Place the mixture back on the double boiler for a few seconds until it reaches 89 degrees.
You have thus correctly tempered chocolate! To make sure it is done correctly, swipe a strip of melted chocolate on some parchment paper. If it dries to a shiny, snappy finish, you have successfully tempered chocolate. You can stand with some of the pro chocolatiers (maybe).
But even before attempting to beautifully temper chocolate, it’s important to use high quality, delicious chocolate that will further elevate the final product. High-quality chocolate should be made with the best ingredients with no exceptions. When it comes to chocolate, there is no use in skimping out and using lesser quality ingredients.
For tempering or any other chocolate-related uses, Stover & Company suggests using Van Leer Chocolate for your next tempering endeavors.
The Hype Surrounding Van Leer
Van Leer chocolate is now under the same company as Barry Callebaut chocolate; also a well-known chocolate company. Before diving into what Van Leer has to offer, it’s best to understand what type of chocolate this company produces because it’s not the run of the mill chocolate everyone is used to.
This brand of chocolate is under the Barry Callebaut chocolate family. Callebaut chocolate is a Belgian style couverture chocolate. Yes, that is a mouthful and it might seem confusing with the different levels of chocolate that is under this company.
Couverture chocolate is unique compared to other chocolates on the market. Couverture chocolate consists of chocolate that has a high percentage of cocoa butter compared to other types of chocolates. Couverture chocolate is most commonly used by culinary professionals and gourmet chocolatiers.
Due to its high amount of cocoa butter in the chocolate, this type of chocolate is perfect for tempering. The extra cocoa butter helps chocolate harden to a smooth and shiny consistency, so by combining the rich qualities of couverture chocolate with a tempering method, the final product will result in the smoothest possible chocolate you could ever achieve. It’s a recipe for success.
Another great thing about this couverture chocolate is that it’s created with a Belgian chocolate method of chocolate making. Belgian chocolate happens to have a higher cocoa content. This means that the chocolate will have a richer flavor with a much-needed depth and dimension. Needless to say, it seems like Belgian couverture chocolate is the best to use for all of your chocolate needs.
Van Leer, on the other hand, applies all the same characteristics of Belgian couverture chocolate and continues to elevate the chocolate game even further. Also, this chocolate brand is an American line of chocolate. Good quality chocolate is no longer just for chocolatiers east of the U.S.
History and Rebrand of Van Leer Chocolate
This company was established in 1949 and is now under the Barry Callebaut group. Recently, this brand of chocolate had a little revamping. With a positive change to their overall identity as a chocolate company, a rebrand, and a vouch to maintain a standing in sustainability, Van Leer has fully elevated themselves.
This brand doesn’t just make couverture chocolate for tempering. Many industry leaders in the bakery, confectionery, ice cream, and beverage world can utilize this brand of chocolate for their products.
Van Leer has made itself a standout amongst other competitor chocolate brands. Their diverse products and high-quality ingredients have made them worthy of their culinary standing. Some rebranding efforts included a new logo and new tools and services that show their dominance in the chocolate industry. They are now reliable partners under the Barry Callebaut Group and have proven time and time again of their capabilities as chocolate makers.
Right now, there has been a shift with many industries in terms of sustainability. Van Leer took that opportunity and ran with it. Their rebrand and newfound business practices fully adapt to new marketing strategies and industry circumstances.
Not to mention their wide range of delicious chocolate products. It seems that now Van Leer has busted out onto the chocolate scene and has no signs of going away. Here at Stover & Company, we supply our customers with a great selection of Van Leer Chocolate. We trust this company and its ability to make the best quality chocolate to use for your confectionery business.
No matter if you’re planning to temper your chocolate to make delicious chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered treats, or drizzle your bakery creations with, or your bakery has an arsenal of chocolate baked goods, you can find what you need with Van Leer.
Let’s break down each of the Van Leer products we offer and describe what they’re used for.
Van Leer Products
Compounds & Coatings
Just like melted chocolate, compounds and coatings can be used for glazing or coating cakes, cupcakes, fruit, and even ice cream. As an ode to sustainability, Van Leer sources the chocolate sustainably, so you can trust you are buying chocolate ethically. This type of product can be used in many different applications, so it’s highly versatile.
Couvertures & Chocolates
As mentioned throughout this article, Van Leer specializes in couverture chocolate, but also produces regular chocolate, as well. For example, Van Leer’s Gold Bel Lactee Milk Chocolate is made with premium Belgian chocolate liquor and natural Madagascar bourbon vanilla. This type of chocolate offers depths of flavors that cannot be found in other basic chocolates.
Their diverse products feature chocolate with a range of percentages of cocoa content. If you’re a dark chocolate lover, you will be able to find chocolate with the percent percentage of cacao for that rich and decadent flavor.
This type of chocolate can be used for things like mousse, sauces, ice creams, pastries, ganaches, and even chocolate muffins. The things you can do with this brand of chocolate is amazing.
Chips & Chunks
Chocolate chips and chunks are universally helpful when it comes to baking, as well. Not only can you add those chocolate chips and chunks to things like pancakes, cookies, muffins, and cakes, but you can also use these for melting.
If you like to decorate your baked goods, sprinkle some Van Leer chips on top of a cake to add just a little extra chocolate pizazz.
Not to mention that Van Leer provides all of these products in either white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate for a diverse range of uses and flavor combinations.
All in all, this brand of chocolate has got to be one of the best you can find. The sheer diversity of products, transparency of this brand, and overall quality are unmatched. The company’s rebrand shows that they are serious about what they do. They know what is important to focus on, and that produces high-quality, sustainable, and outstanding chocolate products for bakers, culinary professionals, and bakers by hobby.
By choosing Van Leer, you are choosing quality through and through. If you are now interested in seeing what Van Leer really has to offer your confectionery business and culinary kitchens, it’s best to purchase from a trusted bakery ingredient supplier like Stover & Company.
At Stover & Company, we hold similar values to Van Leer. We want to supply our customers with the best of the best and we have continued to do so for many years. Check out our website at stovercompany.com and browse through our diverse range of products.
No matter if you need chocolate, baking or decorating tools, or simply some all-purpose flour, we have got you covered.