I never use a bain-marie – or even the traditional improvised bowl over a pan of hot water – to melt chocolate, as there is a danger that steam will get into the chocolate and ruin it. Much simpler is to use a very low oven (50-100°C) and put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Leave in the oven for 5 minutes, then check with a fork; leave for another minute if it isn’t all melted and test again. In the old days many chocolate makers used a box with a light bulb set under a bowl, and the chocolate was left to melt overnight.
© 2003 Chantal Coady. All rights reserved.