Melting Chocolate

Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

There are two ways to melt chocolate—in a double boiler or in a microwave oven—and both are equally proficient.
In either procedure, chocolate is very susceptible to heat and moisture. Avoid overheating chocolate. Whenever chocolate is exposed to temperatures above 125°F, it may scorch, lose flavor, and “seize” (tighten and become grainy).
Unless called for in a recipe, never let any liquid get into melting chocolate or it will “bind” and thicken. It only takes a drop or two of liquid to bind chocolate, but if the recipe includes about 1 tablespoon of liquid or more for every ounce of chocolate, you’ve passed the binding threshold, and the chocolate will melt smoothly.

Double Boiler Method: Heat the finely chopped chocolate in the top part of an uncovered double boiler (or use a heat-proof bowl) over very hot, not simmering, water. The insert should be above, not in, the water and the burner on very low. Melt chocolate uncovered; collected condensation on the lid could drip down into the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted.

Microwave Method: Place the finely chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50-percent power for 2 to 4 minutes, interrupting the procedure every 30 seconds to stir. The chocolate may not always appear melted and must be stirred occasionally to gauge its progress.

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