Chocolate is delicious and even more so when melted. But who can resist a melting chocolate sauce?
Find out everything you need to know about how to melt chocolate , including the best chocolate to use, how to melt chocolate using the double boiler method, and how to avoid burnt chocolate.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. There are three types of chocolate: white, milk and dark. All three are commonly used in baking. Often, chocolate recipes call for melting the chocolate .
Melting chocolate is a culinary technique that can easily be mastered. The traditional way to melt chocolate is using a bain-marie, which means melting the chocolate over a "hot water bath".
You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave .
What is the best chocolate to melt?
Choosing the right chocolate depends on what you intend to do with it. When melting chocolate for confections such as chocolate truffles or Easter eggs, for example, you should use higher quality couverture chocolate . The best quality chocolate has a high content of cocoa mass and cocoa butter and a minimum of other ingredients. Not only is good quality chocolate the tastiest, it's also easier to work with.
When melting chocolate for confectionery, it is important to temper the chocolate so that it becomes firm. If you're not sure how to do this, read our article on how to temper chocolate and includes a step-by-step guide to getting perfectly tempered chocolate every time. Chocolate with added cocoa butter, called couverture, is generally easier to temper.
It's also best to use good quality chocolate for cake or dessert frostings, as cheap chocolate can sometimes separate and create a weird smearing or splitting effect.
When it comes to melting chocolate for use in baking, like in the birthday chocolate cake recipe, it's less important to choose expensive, high-quality chocolate, but rather to opt for the best taste. Choose a bar with a high cocoa mass content. Look at the packaging to find out the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate bar . The higher the percentage, the more the chocolate bar will have a pronounced chocolate taste .
We also recommend that you choose only organic and Fairtrade certified chocolate like the Valrhona brand.
How to melt chocolate in a double boiler
When melting chocolate, it is important to melt it over low heat to avoid burning it. The easiest way to do this on the stovetop is to use a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of water so that the steam creates a gentle, even heat to melt the chocolate slowly . To melt the chocolate on the hob or stove, you will need a double boiler or saucepan and a heatproof bowl large enough to place in the pan without touching the base .
How to Melt Chocolate: Step 1
Fill the pan with a few centimeters of water. Place the heatproof bowl on top. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Break or chop the chocolate into pieces and put the pieces in the bowl. You can also use chocolate chips or beans .
How to Melt Chocolate: Step 2
Heat the water so that it is steaming, but not boiling. Place the bowl on it and the chocolate will start to melt. Stir the chocolate from time to time so that it melts evenly. As soon as the chocolate has melted , remove it from the heat and wipe the bottom of a bowl (be careful, it will be hot). You can now use the melted chocolate .
How to melt chocolate in the microwave
Melting chocolate in the microwave is the quickest option and a favorite method for impatient kids. Not only is it easier to melt chocolate in the microwave than in a bowl over a pan of water, but it is much more difficult to burn the chocolate to the point where it congeals and becomes expensively unusable.
As with stovetop melting, you will need to break the chocolate into pieces or use chocolate chips or beans.
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Choose a bowl that does not heat up too much in the microwave. A microwave-safe plastic container is a good option.
On a low or medium setting, microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals. Mix with the silicone spatula between intervals in the microwave to allow the chocolate to melt evenly.
Continue until all the chocolate is melted . The cooking time varies depending on the quantity of chocolate and the power of the microwave used. But it will usually take a minute or two in total.
How to melt chocolate chips
You can melt chocolate chips just like you would bar chocolate , just follow the steps above.
Chocolate chips or beans are often used in professional kitchens because they can be melted quickly and do not require breaking into small pieces like a candy bar would. However, sometimes the chocolate chips you find at the supermarket in the chocolate aisle are not of the best quality, so check the ingredients on the package before buying.
How to Melt Chocolate for a Cacao Fondue
To obtain a creamy chocolate sauce for dipping, add cream, milk to the chocolate before melting it. Add the liquid to the chocolate and heat in a bain-marie.
For each 100g of chocolate, add 75ml of liquid cream. Once the chocolate has melted , you can add whole milk to the chocolate sauce to make the consistency thinner. In the pastry chocolate sauce recipe you can also add fresh butter to make the sauce extra rich and creamy. You can use this chocolate sauce as a chocolate fondue for dipping fruit, or even as a chocolate sauce on ice cream.
How to prepare chocolate for a chocolate fountain
For parties and special occasions, a chocolate fountain is an original idea. Read the instructions that come with the chocolate fountain to prepare the chocolate, but for most models, you'll need to melt the chocolate before pouring it into the chocolate fountain base. Dark chocolate with a high fat content is preferable because it will flow more easily.
How to melt chocolate for strawberries
The chocolate-dipped strawberries should have a satisfying crunch of the chocolate coating before you sink your teeth into the soft, sweet fruity center. To achieve this, after dipping the strawberries in the chocolate, put them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the chocolate to begin to crystallize, which will make it firmer. For a better texture, we recommend that you temper the chocolate , but it is not a requirement.
Choose shiny, plump strawberries for the chocolate coating and dipping . Strawberries are at their tastiest in the summer. Drying the strawberries thoroughly after washing them will help the chocolate stick.
You can use the above methods to melt chocolate for strawberries . But remember to melt more chocolate than necessary. You can always fix it and reuse it. But having a bowl with plenty of chocolate will make dipping easier. Follow our pistachio chocolate covered strawberries recipe for perfect chocolate covered strawberries every time.
Tips for melting chocolate
What happens if the chocolate starts to harden?
Don't worry if the chocolate starts to harden, you can simply melt it again using one of the methods above.
Can we reuse melted chocolate?
You can easily reuse the melted chocolate if you haven't added anything to it. Just transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper and let it harden at room temperature. You can then store the chocolate until you need it or snack on it.
If you have added perishable ingredients to melted chocolate, for example to make a chocolate sauce or ganache , it will not harden and will eventually crumble. However, it can be stored in the fridge for a week. Then simply reheat the chocolate to remelt it and reuse it later.
Can chocolate be overcooked?
When chocolate is too hot, it tends to burn and congeal into a thick, dry mixture or crack into a oozing mass. Burnt chocolate can still be used in baking but cannot be melted back into firm chocolate in a flash. To save overcooked chocolate , try mixing it with 1 tablespoon of cream or whisking, off the heat, a knob of butter or a drop of vegetable oil.