Melting Chocolate to Optimum Smoothness

How to melt chocolate to obtain optimum smoothness

Here's how to make a smooth transition from solid bars or chips to silky, warm chocolate liquid. Always try to use small pieces as the smaller the pieces, the faster the chocolate will melt. Use uniform-size pieces when possible. To ensure easy cleanup, coat the melting pan or bowl with oil before adding the chocolate.

Keep the heat low and gently. If body heat is enough to melt chocolate on your tongues, it won't take much heat on the stove. To keep chocolate from hardening and drying out during melting, heat it slowly over low heat, preferably indirect heat. The ideal method is to melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. If you don't have a double boiler, snugly fit a heatproof or stainless steel bowl into a saucepan of shallow water that's just barely simmering. This method works well for milk chocolate, white chocolate, or when melting chocolate and butter together. For dark chocolate, you can simply place it in a heatproof bowl and place the bowl in an oven set on the lowest setting until melted, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Beware even a drop of water. The smallest drop of water is enough to make warm, melted chocolate seize into a stiff mess. Make sure that bowls, spoons or pans used are really dry. If melting chocolate in a saucepan, leave off the lid to avoid steam condensing on the lid and dripping onto the chocolate. If you are using a bowl set over a pan and the bowl is smaller in diameter than the pan, wrap a towel around the bowl and tuck it into the pan edge to prevent steam from wafting up from the pan into the chocolate.

Try the microwave method. Chop any type of chocolate into small pieces (or use chips), place in a microwaveable container, and heat on medium power. 40 seconds for 1 ounce chocolate, 1 minute for 2 ounces, 2 minutes for up to 4 ounces, and 3 minutes for up to 8 ounces. Stop halfway through to stir the chocolate, which will not lose its shape and melt completely but will soften enough to be stirred into a smooth liquid. If melting chocolate and butter together, chop the butter into tablespoon size pieces and add during the last half of the cooking time.

Pull out the heating pan. Set a heating pad on high and place in a large bowl, preferably not metal. Put chocolate pieces into a smaller metal bowl and nestle the bowl into the heating pad. The chocolate will start to melt in about 10 minutes. Stir it briefly, then let sit until completely melted, another 5 minutes. To keep warm and melted for several hours (or if using for dipping), turn the heating pad to low.

To rescue seized chocolate. If your chocolate seizes up, blend in 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or solid shortening for every 4 ounces chocolate. Stir constantly, and your chocolate will regain its smooth texture.

More Cooking Guide

Visitors Currently Online: 16