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What is the Best Way to Melt Chocolate?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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Many recipes call for the chef to melt chocolate, and it is also necessary for many different desserts and for some confections. Melted chocolate, when cooled, also makes a great addition to baked recipes and can be used effectively in chocolate decorations. The best way to melt the chocolate is to use direct heat and monitor it carefully.

In order to melt chocolate, the chef must expose it to indirect heat. The heat turns the solid into a liquid form, in much the same way as a stick of butter liquefies under heat. A temperature of 90°F (about 32.2°C) is required, though the temperature can be allowed to rise between 104°F and 113°F (about 40°C and 45°C) in most cases.

Chocolate of a lighter color must be melted carefully, and the chef must take particular care to prevent burning it. For this reason, there are set temperatures he or she should adhere to when attempting to melt it. For instance, milk and white chocolate should not be heated to over 115°F (about 46.1°C). To melt darker chocolates, the temperature should not exceed 120°F (48.9°C). It is best for chefs to check the label before beginning the melting process.

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When attempting to melt chocolate, it is best to heat it until it is only partially melted. It should then be removed from the heat and stirred with a heat-proof rubber spatula until it is totally melted. This ensures the chocolate does not get scorched.

Chefs should also ensure that beads of moisture do not blend with the chocolate, because this can cause a grainy and lumpy consistency. White chocolate is particularly susceptible to lumps when exposed to too much heat due to the milk solids in it. This phenomenon is known as seizing in the culinary world. If seizing occurs while attempting to melt chocolate, it can be reversed by adding a small amount of vegetable oil to the chocolate while it is still over the heat.

A double boiler is the best tool to use when melting chocolate, no matter the amount. A double boiler consists of two pans, one stacked on the other, with water in the lower portion to gently provide heat to the top of the pot.

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StreamFinder
Post 4

Great article! I have just really started to get into cooking and baking (finally, as my mom says), and now that I've started it I understand how addictive it is.

A year ago you would have never seen me cruising articles on the best way to melt chocolate or desperately googling how to choose a chocolate mold, but I guess it's a whole new me now.

I do have one question about melting the chocolate though -- what happens if I overheat it and it scorches, or sticks to the bottom? Is there any way to salvage it, or is it pretty much done for?

I mean, sometimes when you burn popcorn there's still some good pieces left, so I didn't know if the same principle applied to chocolate melting.

Can anybody let me know?

lightning88
Post 3

I have a question. I have recently been trying to make chocolate candy using chocolate molds and baking chocolate, but I always seem to have trouble when it comes to melting the chocolate.

It all looks fine when it's on the stove and while I'm stirring it, and even when I put it in the mold, but when I take the chocolate out of the mold later, it's like all the solid bits congeal in the bottom and then the top never really sets.

Do you have any idea what I could be doing wrong, or what's going on with my chocolate? I would really appreciate any help, because I really don't know what's going on!

FirstViolin
Post 2

I often make my own icing for cakes, and when making a chocolate icing, that means that I have to melt my own chocolate.

The way that I usually end up doing it is simply chopping the chocolate into very small bits, and then putting that on the stove at very low heat. One thing that is slightly confusing about it though is that when melting the chocolate for icing (this is also true for chocolate molding on cakes sometimes), you add a little bit of water.

Now, when you do that you end up with something that looks kind of like hot chocolate, but if you watch it very carefully and stir it well, then you can prevent it from seizing.

Of course, since you immediately pour it on top of confectioner's sugar it's going to be a little lumpy anyway, but you can smooth that out at you stir the icing.

Anyway, that's my two cents on chocolate melting -- just keep an eye on it, stir it well, and you'll be fine.

surfNturf
Post 1

I love melting chocolate to use with a fondue pot. I went to a fondue restaurant and it was a fun experience.

I was great making our own food and dipping our fruit in the chocolate. I loved dipping chocolate with preztels too. The combination of sweet and salty really makes this a great treat.

I also wanted to say that chocolate candy tastes great dipped in strawberries, pineapples, and even cubes of angel food or pound cake. It can be a really fun dessert. You can even use chocolate for chocolate fountains for a party. You just have to make sure that you have chocolate dipping tools.

You can have marshmallows, strawberries, and squared chunks of angel food cake with long tooth picks so that your guest can dip the food in the chocolate fountain while enjoying great conversation.

I also use baking chocolate in order to bake chocolate chip cookies. They are absolutely delicious. I sometimes eat these chocolate chunks when I am craving a little bit of chocolate. I also make some trail mix and throw a few in it. It really tastes great. I wish I could bake chocolate truffles but those I just buy because they are too difficult for me to make and so easy to buy.

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