Learn How to Melt Chocolate

How to Melt Chocolate

On the face of it, the thought of melting chocolate might seem an easy task.

However, trust me; it’s a little more complicated than you might think!

Here at Whitakers, we have many years of experience dealing with liquid chocolate day in and day out.

So we have put together this foolproof guide on the best tips and tricks for melting chocolate in one place so you can enjoy some gooey, melty, delicious chocolate.

Keep reading to learn how to melt your chocolate like an absolute pro!

How to Melt Chocolate (Without Ruining It!)

Melting chocolate is more complex than you think. Long story short, it is basically the sugar content in chocolate that makes it tough to melt.

If you get even one contaminator in the chocolate, it can “seize,” which means the sugar will form a syrup with the other ingredients and form a giant clumpy mess.

This can also happen if the chocolate gets too hot too quickly, so our number one piece of advice is to take things slowly and not hurry through the melting process.

Though all chocolate will melt, some types are better for your melted chocolate recipes than others.

The main difference will be in how different types of chocolate harden after you melt them and whether or not this matters in your recipe.

What can happen is that the cocoa butter can start to separate from the chocolate and create that weird grey colour on the top of your creation, which prevents them from getting a good ‘snap’ as well.

Top tip: If you get chocolate with high cocoa butter content, you can go through a tempering process that helps avoid this.

(Click here if you want to learn how to temper chocolate).

If you are baking your chocolate, you do not need to temper it, and you can also buy pre-tempered chocolate pieces, which will help with this process.

To get high cocoa butter chocolate, look for the word “couverture.”

(What is couverture chocolate? Click the link to find out).

It is also essential to pay attention to your percentages with chocolate: anything in the 55-70% range will be best for melting and coating.

Keep in mind that chocolate comes in many forms.

Most markets will carry chocolate bars, callets and chocolate shards, so make sure you choose the right type for your specific recipe.

We have developed Easymelt, which is perfect for melting down.

This comes as a 55% dark chocolate ‘couverture’ in mini shards specifically designed for melting.

Once you have chosen your preferred chocolate, you are ready to start melting!

But remember to take your time. The process of melting chocolate is not one to be rushed!

Before you start, ensure all surfaces and equipment are completely dry; any water can ruin chocolate melting instantly!

How To Melt Chocolate In a Microwave

Using a microwave is probably the most popular method of melting chocolate.

This method can be tricky if not done correctly. The key is to go very slowly.

Even though it may take 30-45 seconds in the microwave to fully melt your chocolate, you cannot just program for 30 seconds and let it sit.

When you open the microwave oven, you will likely see a big, clumpy mess instead of the smooth, silky chocolate you were hoping for.

The best way to melt chocolate in the microwave is to go 10-15 seconds at a time and stir in between, especially once the chocolate on the edges starts to melt.

Make sure you stir your chocolate with a spatula between each interval to prevent it from burning.

Chocolate typically keeps its shape well into the melting process, so the stirring will give you more accurate information about how melted your chocolate actually is.

How To Melt Chocolate in a Pan

  1. Fill your saucepan with one inch of water and place on a high heat.
  2. Place a metal/heat-proof bowl filled with your chocolate over the saucepan (make sure your bowl doesn’t touch the water).
  3. Heat the water in the saucepan to a boil before immediately turning it down to a gentle simmer.
  4. If the heat is too high, the chocolate may burn and create clumps, so make sure there is a gentle heat warming the chocolate.
  5. Stir continually with a rubber spatula as the chocolate starts to melt.
  6. There will be steam coming up the sides of the bowl, so it’s essential to make sure that none of the water gets into the chocolate—water and chocolate are enemies, and the water will immediately make the chocolate clumpy.
  7. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and take the bowl off the saucepan.
  8. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a cloth to absorb any water.
  9. You are ready to use your melted chocolate!

How to Melt White Chocolate

You may not know this, but white chocolate isn’t really chocolate! Instead, it’s a combination of sugar, milk, cocoa butter, vanilla and fat.

Therefore, it doesn’t melt as easily as milk or dark chocolate.

White chocolate also burns quite quickly, so it’s important to melt it using indirect heat – otherwise, you will be left with a clumpy, unusable mess!

There are two methods you can adopt when trying to melt white chocolate, either using a double boiler or a microwave.

Using a Double Boiler to Melt White Chocolate

  1. Fill your saucepan with one inch of water and place on a high heat.
  2. Place a metal/heat-proof bowl filled with your white chocolate over the saucepan (make sure your bowl doesn’t touch the water).
  3. Heat the water in the saucepan to a boil before immediately turning it down to a gentle simmer.
  4. If the heat is too high, the white chocolate may burn and create clumps, so make sure there is just a gentle heat warming the chocolate.
  5. Stir the chocolate continually with a rubber spatula as the chocolate starts to melt.
  6. There will be steam coming up the sides of the bowl, so it’s important to make sure that none of the water gets into the chocolate—water and chocolate are enemies, and the water will immediately make the chocolate clumpy.
  7. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and take the bowl off the saucepan.
  8. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a cloth to absorb any water.
  9. You are ready to use your melted chocolate!

Using a Microwave to Melt White Chocolate

  1. Place white chocolate chunks or white chocolate bar broken into pieces into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat no more than 20 seconds at a time.
  3. Each time you heat the chocolate, take it out of the microwave and stir.
  4. Continue to heat and stir until the white chocolate is fully melted—remember, it is easy to burn white chocolate.
  5. Once you have a bowl full of lovely melted white chocolate (with no clumps), you’re ready to use it!

What Temperature Does Chocolate Melt?

Different types of chocolate have different melting points.

For example, dark chocolate should be melted between 120 and 130°F (50°C and 55°C), while milk and white chocolate should melt at around 105-115°F (40-45°C).

Is it Better to Melt Chocolate in a Pan or Microwave?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. It’s just down to personal preference. Both have their pros and cons.

While the microwave technique may be quicker, taking time to create a double boiler and melting the chocolate on the stovetop will ensure that the chocolate does not burn, resulting in an even melt with a silky-smooth texture.

Why Would You Melt Chocolate?

Why wouldn’t you melt chocolate?!?

It’s delicious and so versatile. Have you ever heard of a chocolate fountain?

This is the piece de resistance of melted chocolate and an excellent addition to almost any party.

A chocolate fountain is literally melted chocolate dripping continuously from a fountain. It typically comes with fruits and other treats to dip in it (think marshmallows, strawberries, and rice Krispie treats, to name a few).

If you are not sold yet, you may want to melt chocolate if you follow a recipe for certain baked treats like brownies, soufflés, icing, or for making chocolate truffles.

The truth is that while chocolate is perfect in any state, the melting process brings out the unique gooeyness that makes chocolate special!

Plus, if you’re following a recipe for the ultimate chocolate cake, you may need to melt your chocolate to get the best consistency for covering or drawing with it.

Whatever the reason for melting chocolate, we’re convinced it’s the right one!

What is the Best Chocolate for Melting?

There are many different types of chocolate on the market, from bittersweet, semi-sweet, dark, milk and white chocolate.

New to the market is caramel or ruby, although these don’t tend to be as popular as dark, milk and white chocolate varieties.

So choosing the right chocolate can be a bit of a minefield, but if you’re following a recipe, it should state what chocolate to use.

As mentioned above, all chocolate will melt. It’s just that some are better than others.

For us, dark chocolate is our preferred choice (sometimes referred to as plain chocolate in recipe books).

It’s important to pay attention to your percentages with chocolate. Anything in the 55-70% range will be best for melting and coating.

Though getting the right chocolate is important, remember that this only really matters for treats you can see the chocolate in, for instance, for a coating or a dip.

If you are simply putting chocolate chips inside a brownie, then you can probably get away with untempered chocolate, and pretty much any kind of chocolate will do.

For dipping or coating, tempering chocolate or buying pre-tempered chocolate will be essential.

Check out our dark 55% chocolate couverture mini shards, ‘Easymelt’, specifically made for melting, dipping, covering or adding flavour to your recipes.

What is the Best Way to Harden Chocolate After Melting?

Either leave the melted chocolate in a cool room to harden or place the chocolate in a fridge if you want to speed the process up.

As a rule, at room temperature, chocolate will take 20 – 30 minutes to harden and set. But, of course, using a fridge or freezer will take much less time.

Final Notes on Melting Chocolate

We hope we have covered all the points relating to melting chocolate.

Whilst it can be daunting, the main point to remember is to take your time and allow the chocolate to melt gently (and keep stirring!).

If you’re using the microwave method, ensure you’re doing short bursts at a time and stirring the chocolate each time you remove it from the microwave.

Have fun experimenting, and share your triumph and disasters with us!

Please tag us in #whitakerschocolates (always with just one “T”) if you share any photos anywhere on social media.

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