How to Melt Chocolate shows 2 methods to melt chocolate with confidence - using the microwave or the hob.
Many recipes for chocolate cakes or puddings call for melted chocolate and, in theory, how hard can it be? Unfortunately, it's all too easy to end up with a coagulated mess instead of a bowl of silky-smooth, molten chocolate
What can go wrong when melting chocolate?
- Overheating the chocolate causes it to crystallise and then burn. If either happens the chocolate is unusable and you have to start again
- A drop of water in melted chocolate causes it to seize – the water reacts with sugar in the chocolate and it becomes grainy. Be very careful to keep water away from chocolate!
Before you start
If you’re at all unsure, follow one of these methods, but first, break the chocolate into squares and put in a basin (preferably glass):
How to Melt Chocolate - 2 Methods
1. Microwave method:
- Heat the chocolate in bursts of 30-seconds on HIGH, stirring after each burst so that you can see how the chocolate is doing
- When the chocolate is almost melted, cut down to 10 or 20-second bursts.
2. Saucepan and hot water method:
I’ve gone back to this method as it’s easier to control.
- Choose a saucepan where your basin fits over the top and doesn’t come more than half-way down inside the pan
- Heat water in the pan to simmering point, i.e. just below boiling. Then turn the heat down
- Put the basin of chocolate in the saucepan and heat gently, being careful that:
- The basin doesn’t touch the water
- The water doesn’t boil (if you have a glass basin you can see what the water is doing)
- Stir occasionally to see how the chocolate is melting
- Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted - or slightly earlier - and stir to give a smooth texture.
Secrets of Success
The first secret of success is to have patience. We've all been there: thinking the chocolate isn't melting so turning up the heat or leaving in the microwave for longer and finding that you have to start again because the chocolate is a mess.
More haste, less speed, truly applies here.
The second secret is to keep water well away from the chocolate. Even a few drops have a catastrophic effect.
What equipment do you need for melting chocolate?
- Palette Knife - This is the easiest utensil to use for stirring the chocolate. If you're going to spread the chocolate or combine it with butter, this is the best implement to use too
If you like this...
...take a look at more tips and techniques:
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