If you’re a baker, a parent or grandparent, the likelihood is you’ll need to melt some chocolate for a recipe at some point. In this post, we’ll show you four easy methods for melting chocolate, along with some top tips for success.
Why Is Melting Chocolate So Tricky?
When you see a professional chocolatier creating stunning chocolate creations, you might wonder why your melted chocolate doesn’t look the same. The reason is that they’re tempering their chocolate, which is a different process altogether.
Chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is made up of different crystalline structures. It’s when the cocoa butter is in its correct crystalline form that you get that glossy shine and sharp snap, with a smooth mouthfeel, when eating your chocolate. This is what professional chocolatiers are doing in all their chocolate work, through a process of melting and cooling the chocolate at the correct temperatures and with movement through stirring.
But for most of us, when we’re recreating a recipe at home, we’re just looking to melt chocolate rather than temper it. Here are four different methods you can use when you need to have a bowl of melted chocolate.
This is a classic method for melting chocolate. All you need is a bowl placed above, but not directly touching a pan of hot, steaming water. The chocolate is melted over the steaming water, with occasional stirring. Don’t be tempted to over-stir, as this can cause the chocolate to go grainy. As you get to the point where most of the chocolate is melted, take it off the steaming water and stir in the remaining pieces until smooth and glossy before using. You can buy a double boiler, but you don’t need to. A glass or stainless steel bowl that fits snugly over the top of a saucepan will work just as well. Our delicious chocolate buttons can help speed up the process of melting chocolate as they are already in small, uniform pieces that melt more quickly than larger chunks of chocolate.
If you’re short on time, melting chocolate in the microwave is the quickest and easiest method. In a heatproof bowl, simply put your broken-up chocolate and heat on the lower of heat settings (if you know how to set your microwave!) in short 20-30 second bursts. Give it a quick stir and then heat again. When it’s nearly all melted, remove it from the microwave and stir in the last remaining chocolate chunks, as the residual heat will melt the remaining pieces. But be careful, as the chocolate can burn very easily in the microwave.
Now, I needed to try this method to write this, as I’ve never done it before, and it did work really well – it’s like a chocolate water bath. Pop the chocolate pieces in a bowl, then sit the bowl in some water at the bottom of the slow cooker (be careful to make sure the water does not get into the bowl with the chocolate) and switch on high, leaving the slow cooker lid off to avoid condensation dripping into the melting chocolate. This method takes longer, but it’s less likely to overheat or burn the chocolate.
This method is one for when you’ve got children helping as they enjoy the whole idea of using a hair dryer for this. Simply hold the hairdryer over the chocolate, but not too closely, and turn it on, being careful not to cause the chocolate to splash out of the bowl. Again, once it is nearly but not quite all melted, turn off the hairdryer and stir in the last few chunks of the chocolate. Get creative with your flavours, melted chocolate doesn’t have to be a classic milk, white or dark chocolate. We have a range of flavoured chocolate bars that can be melted and used to make fun and unique treats.
- Before you do any of the above, make sure all your utensils are clean and dry, as if any water gets into your chocolate, it will cause it to “seize”, which is when it turns gritty and hard.
- Take your time, and melt low and slow, and if possible, try to start with evenly sized pieces so it melts more evenly.
- Stir – the chocolate won’t melt at the same speed, so stirring through, in between heating, means you are encouraging it to do so.
And there you have it, four easy methods for melting chocolate that you can try at home. By following these simple steps and top tips, you’ll be able to melt chocolate like a pro, whether you choose the classic double boiler method, the quick and easy microwave method, the slow cooker method, or even the fun hair dryer method. So next time you need to melt some chocolate for a recipe, don’t be intimidated, just choose the method that works best for you and enjoy the sweet rewards.
We hope this blog has been helpful. Indulge your love for chocolate even further by exploring our website and discovering our delicious chocolate collections.