Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Tuesday Tips: How to Melt Chocolate
Today's Tuesday Tip: How to Melt Chocolate
If truth be told, I always melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler--well, a saucepan over another saucepan. Not sure why I prefer this. Maybe it's because I can see the chocolate and monitor its progression? However, lots of people swear by the microwave method. As always, do what works best for you!
First, chop the chocolate into chunks. This will help with even melting. Chop finely if you are melting milk or white chocolate since they are more likely to scorch than dark chocolate. You can chop dark chocolate into bigger pieces.
Double Boiler Method:
Put chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or a saucepan over a saucepan). Since chocolate should be melted over low heat, make sure the water in the bottom of your double boiler is just simmering.
Stir the chocolate slowly as it melts to keep it smooth.
Never cover the chocolate (moisture!)
Chocolate's biggest enemy is water! Never allow water to come in contact with melting chocolate. This includes even a drop of water or steam from the bottom of the double boiler. Water can cause chocolate to seize up and become stiff and grainy or lumpy. Also make sure to use dry utensils (rubber spatula is great) to prevent chocolate from seizing.
O.K. Let's say you followed these directions, but your chocolate seizes anyway. Add a bit of vegetable oil (NOT butter or margarine) to smooth out the chocolate. It really works. There's a formula for this, but I just add a bit and stir. Formula: 1 tsp for every 6 ounces chocolate.
Have a lot of chocolate to melt? Start with a smaller amount. Melt and then add the next portion. Stir frequently to distribute heat.
Chop chocolate and put in microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.
Melting With Other Liquids Method:
Chop chocolate into small even pieces.
Chocolate can be melted with a small amount of liquid, (milk, cream, butter, or alcohol) if they are placed in the pan or bowl together at the same time.
Chocolate should never be melted with very small amounts of liquid. The amount of liquid added should be at least 25% of the chocolate.
For chocolate with 55-60% cacao, use 1 Tbsp liquid for every 2 ounces chocolate.
For chocolate with 60-75% cacao, use more liquid, 1-1/2 Tbsp for every 2 ounces chocolate.
Cold liquids should never be added to melted chocolate. They can cause chocolate to seize. Be sure liquids are warm (but not boiling) when you add them to chocolate.