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Tips for Melting Chocolate

If your chocolate has ever “seized,” ie become lumpy and grainy then you may already know that water is the enemy. Keep your baking tools and if using, double boiler pot, clear of water. If using a double boiler, keep water level low and keep water hot – not at a simmer to avoid steam. When chocolate is melted, remove bowl from pot and dry the bottom with a towel to absorb moisture. Begin with chopped chocolate. Use your chef’s knife rather than a food processor which can release oils in chocolate and warm it a bit too much.


How to Melt Chocolate in the Microwave

In a microwave oven – place coarsely chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe container and microwave at MEDIUM (50 percent power) for 1½ to 4 minutes, until the chocolate turns shiny. Remove the container from the microwave and stir the chocolate until completely melted. ~ source: CMA


How to Melt Chocolate on Stovetop

In a double boiler – place coarsely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth, then carefully remove top pan of the double boiler.

Glossary

Fat Bloom: The result of inadequate tempering or temperature abuse of a properly tempered chocolate. Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate with the possibility of a soft or crumbling texture on the interior. While visually undesirable, the product is fine and safe to eat.

Sugar Bloom: Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate, usually dry and hard to the touch, the result of surface moisture dissolving sugar in the chocolate and subsequent re-crystallization of the sugar on the chocolate surface. Typically caused by cold chocolate being exposed to a warm humid environment with resultant condensation forming on the product. A visual and textural defect only; the product is fine to eat.

Cocoa percentage: In simplest terms, this percentage refers to the total content of ingredients derived from the cacao (or cocoa) bean. This includes chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.

Cacao, chocolate or cocoa nibs: Coarse piece that are the center (meat) of the cocoa bean, the basis of all cocoa –based products, including chocolate. Following removal of the outer cocoa bean shell, nibs are roasted and crushed between a series of heavy steel rollers or grinding stones; the frictional heat forms what is known as chocolate liquor (See chocolate liquor). Nibs contain about 53 percent cocoa butter (See cocoa butter).

Tempering: A process of preparing chocolate that involves cooling and heating so that it will solidify with a stable cocoa butter crystal form. This process is used to prepare chocolate for coating and dipping. Proper tempering, followed by good cooling, is required for good surface gloss and to prevent “fat” bloom.