Chocolate Tempering Pot

Picture of Chocolate Tempering Pot
OK so my mother use to work making hand dipped chocolate and wanted to do it for Christmas for the family.  However, she has expressed frustration with what is available for tempering chocolate.  A small tempering machine that only does a pound and a half of chocolate cost between 400 and 500 dollars and she simply could not justify spending that much when she may only make chocolates once a year.   On top of that when she makes some, she wants to make a lot.  A pound and a half of chocolate at a time isn't enough.

She's expressed frustration with crock-pots and pans because of how difficult it is to maintain a constant temperature.  So I came up with this to give to her as a Christmas gift.  She got her present early so I could get mine and I am rather pleased at how it turned out.

I know it doesn't look like much, but it holds the chocolate at a pretty constant temperature.  Only drops like one degree every 5 to 10 minutes.  If it drops to far just flip it on for a few seconds and the chocolate's temperature is right back where it was.

I used a push button switch for this that sits on the floor so that it can be turned on and off with your foot.  Cause lets face it when your hands are covered with chocolate you don't want to be flipping a switch.

In the picture the chocolate has set over night and hardened up.  I will try to get another picture of it actually in use.
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bairn77 made it!5 months ago

Thank you. We made a run to Home Depot and put this together pretty quick. This works great for dipping chocolate. No more double boiler!

stanbott1 year ago
You can also use a PID to automatically control the temperature. its easy to install and doesnt require anything more than plugging the power cord into it and selecting the temperature. im not sure If I would put the temp probe inside the bucket or inside the bowl but I am leaning towards the bucket. You can also add a light socket splitter to add more bulbs. I think i will use a painters light for the inside since I already got one.
stanbott1 year ago
Has anyone tried using an ice cream mixer for an agitator? it seems to me it would have to have a lot of torque. I know that one chocolate uses an immersion blender for moving the chocolate around. the upshot is that its cheap and small. I'm working on making a larger scale chocolate melter/temperer as well.
gholt1 year ago
Thank you for posting this. I'm nearly done with my build, and I've made some modifications.
1. To help secure the bowl in place, I've glued a strip of inner tube around the lid hole.
2. To make heating a bit easier, I've added a dual stage temperature control unit. I'm not using the cooling functionality at the moment, but it's there if I get ambitious.

I'll be testing this setup out today, but I'd like to make a few more improvements such as.
1. Adding a stirring mechanism, I'm thinking of a spinning disk for this.
2. Add some sort of cooling device. I'm thinking baffles and a fan, but I haven't figured out how to do this without loosing heat when I want to keep it in. Would need to be linked to the cooling circuit, but that's not hard.
3. Adding an Arduino microcontroller to automate the melting cycle so that it would be more of a tempering machine and not just a chocolate melter.
4. Creating a nice enclosure for everything so that it can be at a reasonable work height.
5. Try a horizontally mounted lightbulb to reduce the amount of vertical space that the bucket approach requires.

Once again, thank you for the great post. I'm really looking forward to testing this thing out.
bogie1822 years ago
I love this and have been looking for this type of instructions on a tempering machine. Have you thought about using a hair dryer for heat insead of a light bulb? I'm trying to incorperate some dimmer switch, Arduino curcuit controller or even one of the temperature controls from the sous vide instructables? So far no luck.

Thanks again
Zenock (author)  bogie1822 years ago
I've been working on incorporating a pic chip controller for the bulb. But haven't had the time.

I used the lightbulb because that was what was used by the $$$ commercial unit where my mom worked. The whole idea is to trap and heat the air below the bowl and hold it at a constant temperature. I'm not sure how well a blow drier would work for that. The heating element might be useful, but could get too hot.
First off, a HUGE thanks to Zenock. This is perfect!

FIrst off and like others here, I couldn't find a local source for Heat Shield insulation. It's primarily used in auto racing, and none of my local home improvement stores or even the auto parts stores carry it (it's special order only at the auto parts stores.). I found it on Amazon, but...

I didn't feel like waiting for snail mail, so I substituted Reflectix insulation. It's is carried at Home Depot and Lowes in the aisle with rolls of fiberglass home insulation. They also carry it online.

Also, my husband made a minor tweak that helped - he drilled some very small additional holes in the bottom of the bucket and used small wire ties to hold the electric cord flat against the bucket.. On his first pass, he accidentally yanked the wires out of the light socket's contacts, so the ties only made sense. The bonus is that the cord remains guided through the notch in the lip of the bottom of the bucket.

rlarson13 years ago
Just wondering where did you get the Heat Shield insulation? i just got back from home depot, Lows and 2 auto places
Zenock (author)  rlarson13 years ago
It was Home Depot. Bought some more just the other day for another project.
Oh wow how did I not see this before?

I need to make one now.
Zenock (author)  supersoftdrink3 years ago
If you do, I would love to see some pictures and get feedback on how well it works for you.
richms3 years ago
Dimmer should let you regulate it a bit instead of turning it off and on like that
Zenock (author)  richms3 years ago
I thought about using a dimmer. But in the end I decided against it because I didn't believe the dimmer would linearly regulate the heat. Eventually I want to use a micro-controller to turn the light on and off based on the temperature of the chocolate.
papaiii3 years ago
This is very nice, is that a 2 1/2 gal. bucket?

Not bad at all!
Zenock (author)  papaiii3 years ago
Yes it is a 2 1/2 gal.

Thanks for the comment.
Great solution!