How to Melt Chocolate
The process of melting chocolate seems simple enough to anyone who has ever held a chocolate bar in their warm hands for several minutes, or left a Dairy Milk in a hot car for an hour. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Here are some tips to help you melt chocolate effectively in the kitchen.
- When melting chocolate, it should be melted slowly in a heavy saucepan over very low heat or in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Moisture or overheating chocolate will cause it to become thick (seize). You should remove the chocolate from heat before all the chocolate is melted, then stir to melt the remaining chocolate.
- Chocolate can be melted in a microwave, but be very careful to avoid over heating it. Use very short amounts of time at a low power setting on the microwave, and stir the chocolate between bouts of heating. Using the microwave has advantages – for one, it’s a dry method, so there’s less risk of adding moisture that can cause the chocolate to seize. However, scorching the chocolate is a real risk if you don’t pay close enough attention to it. Also, make sure you use a microwave-safe bowl that doesn’t become too hot when heated.
- Timing will depend on the wattage of the microwave; stop microwaving when most of the chocolate is melted, but not all of it. Continue stirring until the last bits are melted.
Chopping the chocolate into small uniform pieces about ½ inch by ¾ inch helps to melt it evenly and quickly.
- Stir often and keep a close eye on the chocolate. Adjust heat to avoid scorching, and use very low heat.
- With all methods of melting chocolate, make sure all equipment, including the double boiler, bowls and spatula, are completely dry to avoid seizing.
When melting chocolate with liquids like milk, cream or liqueurs, avoid small amounts of liquid; it’s generally best to use more than a tablespoon of liquid for every 2 ounces of chocolate.
- If you’re melting chocolate chips, use those made from pure chocolate. All chocolate chips are formulated to keep their shape in baking and may not melt smoothly. Imitation chocolate-flavoured chips may be very difficult to melt.