Knowing how to melt chocolate is one of the most important skills you need whether you’re a novice cook or an experienced chef. I’ll show you how to melt any type of chocolate, from fancy bar chocolate to bagged chips.
Lots of recipes from the Great Island kitchen involve melting chocolate of some type or another, and it can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before. But transforming solid chocolate into a smooth silky liquid is easy once you get the hang of it. Here are my best tips and tricks to get you going ~
melting chocolate: the basics
- Chocolate is made from roasted and ground cacao beans. The cacao bean is made up of solids (cocoa) and cocoa butter. It can be sold in pure form, or with added milk, sugar, and other ingredients.
- There are three main types of chocolate: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate.
- Chocolate comes in three main forms: in a bar or chunk, in chips, or in wafers.
- Chocolate has a melting point of 90F, which is why, if you leave a candy bar in your car on a hot day, well…you know! So if chocolate melts so easily in your hot car, why is it such a challenge to melt in the kitchen?
why is chocolate tricky to melt?
Over heating chocolate will have the opposite effect that you’re going for ~ it can seize up into a stiff mass. This also happens if you get any stray bit of liquid into your chocolate as it’s melting, so you have to assiduously avoid both of these situations.
how to prep your chocolate for melting
If you’re using bar chocolate, it’s essential that you chop it into small, even pieces. This is going to help the chocolate melt evenly and quickly, with less risk of over heating. If you’re using chocolate chips or wafers, you’re already good to go.
2 basic methods for melting chocolate
1. Using a double boiler on the stove top
- Fill the bottom pot with water so that it does not actually touch the top portion of the pot, where you’ll be putting your chocolate. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the chocolate to the double boiler and let slowly melt for a few minutes, without stirring. Then stir until the chocolate is smooth and silky.
- Make sure no water, or condensation comes in contact with the chocolate or it can seize up.
2. In the microwave
- Put your chocolate pieces in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, on high.
- Remove and stir. If not completely melted, put it back in the microwave in 15 second bursts and stir again. I like to let the heat of the bowl do some of the work, so let it sit for a minute or two before stirring.
- There is a risk of over heating your chocolate when you use the microwave, so go low and slow.