How To Melt Chocolate
Unsweetened chocolate, also known as bitter or baking chocolate, begins as pure chocolate liquid.
This liquid, referred to as liquor by chocolate manufacturers, is then heated and poured into molds where it cools and hardens and is primarily used for baking.
Sweet chocolate is made from the same liquor but has extra sugar and cocoa butter added and can be used for baking and eating.
Semisweet chocolate is also made from chocolate liquor and has some sugar added.
Anytime you need to store you chocolate (to be melted later), you should keep it in a cool dark place where the temperature won't rise above 75F degrees.
But keep in mind this should not affect either the quality or the flavor of the chocolate.
Guidelines and Tips on How To Melt Chocolate
You want to be careful when melting chocolate because it can burn easily.
The traditional method for melting chocolate is with a double boiler, but this can be risky since you are increasing the chance that the chocolate seizes as a result of coming in contact with water.
I opt for either melting the chocolate directly on top of the stove or in the microwave.
Important Tips for Safely Melting Chocolate:
- Chop the chocolate into small uniform pieces so it melts faster and more evenly and is less likely to burn
- Never try to melt large bars or blocks of chocolate that have not been chopped since they are much more likely to burn before they melt
- Avoid any contact with water or moisture. When moisture causes chocolate to get thick, grainy and lumpy it is called seizing. Make sure your bowls, utensils, and pans are completely dry and that no moisture gets into the chocolate when melting
- Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula, once the outer edges start to melt
- Chocolate retains its shape when melted in the microwave, so the only way to know if it is truly melted is to stir it
How to Melt Chocolate in the Microwave
I like melting chocolate in the microwave since it is so quick and easy.
When done properly, chocolate can be melted in the microwave more quickly than directly on the stovetop or in a double boiler, and with less effort and mess.
The time required will depend on the amount and type of chocolate being melted.
- I usually start by placing the small pieces of chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heating for 30 seconds on 100% power.
- Then stir the chocolate well.
- If needed, microwave for additional 10 to 20 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Melting Chocolate on the Top of the Stove
- Place the small pieces of chocolate in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible.
- Stir the chocolate frequently and remove it from the heat just before it is completely melted.
- Continue to stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Just remember low and slow and you should have no problem.
What To Do If My Chocolate Seizes?
Stir 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or shortening into every 6 ounces of chocolate and stir until smooth.
Helpful Chocolate Melting Supplies: