In baking, tempering refers to slowly adding a hot liquid to a cold liquid to balance out the temperature.

When referring to chocolate, tempering is similar to tempering steel -- it consists of heating the chocolate above 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) until fully melted, then cooling a portion of it below 85 degrees, and then heating it again to 90-95 degrees.

When properly tempered, chocolate holds a nice shine, won't "bloom", and holds its shape nicely at room temperature. Chocolate used as a topping or coating should always be tempered.

Tempering is the act of exposing the body to regularly scheduled sudden onslaughts of cold water. Traditionally this is done through by, essentially, polar bearing or cutting a hole in the ice of a lake and jumping in or running into the cold ocean. If these traditional methods are not available, tempering can be done dumping three, five gallon buckets of ice cold water on yourself, or around 57 liters/litres. Tempering should be preceded by joint/mobility stretching or training. Proper tempering is done once or twice a day, without missing a single session. Tempering should never be followed by a hot/warm shower. It is recommended that a person tempers first thing in the morning and, if a second time, twelve hours later.

Tempering has been studied to have many positive effects. The body responds to tempering by raising the internal temperature, quickly and momentarily, to almost 42.2 degrees Celsius or 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The other positive affects have been found, but not limited to, increased immunity, sharper muscle tone, heightened metabolism, and stimulated central nervous system.

The tempering tradition is supported by Pavel Tsatsouline in his systems of power training. His method focuses on ”winter swimming” as opposed to using the buckets. The Russian System Guidebook by Vladimir Vasilev also promotes tempering citing its use in training Russian Special Forces.

Tem"per*ing, n. Metal.

The process of giving the requisite degree of hardness or softness to a substance, as iron and steel; especially, the process of giving to steel the degree of hardness required for various purposes, consisting usually in first plunging the article, when heated to redness, in cold water or other liquid, to give an excess of hardness, and then reheating it gradually until the hardness is reduced or drawn down to the degree required, as indicated by the color produced on a polished portion, or by the burning of oil.

Tempering color, the shade of color that indicates the degree of temper in tempering steel, as pale straw yellow for lancets, razors, and tools for metal; dark straw yellow for penknives, screw taps, etc.; brown yellow for axes, chisels, and plane irons; yellow tinged with purple for table knives and shears; purple for swords and watch springs; blue for springs and saws; and very pale blue tinged with green, too soft for steel instruments.


© Webster 1913.

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