One of the most important skills that any baker can learn is how to melt chocolate without ruining it. Chocolate can be rather delicate to work with and there are two things you want to avoid – seizing and burning. The good news is that there are three main ways of melting chocolate so all you need to do is give them each a try to find out which method suits your abilities best.

Choose the right chocolate

Before you begin, it is important that you select the right type of chocolate. Different types of chocolate will behave differently when melting. For example, white chocolate can dry out and become rather crumbly so, you should do your best to melt it slowly and help the process along by chopping it into small pieces. The faster it melts, the less chance it will have of drying out.

Keep away from water

Water is the one thing you absolutely have to avoid when you melt chocolate. Even one drop will cause your chocolate to seize. If you are planning on colouring your white chocolate, you will need to use a non-water based food colouring. In other words, you should look for the powdered variety or oil-based colours.

Correcting mistakes

If, for whatever reason, a drop of water manages to sneak into your pot of melting chocolate, you can try to correct this by adding a drop of oil to the mixture before mixing thoroughly. This can also be done if you have overheated the chocolate and it has started to dry out. This method is not 100% guaranteed but it’s worth trying before throwing your chocolate away.

Choose the right melting method

When the time comes to melt chocolate, you should be aware of the three methods. Read through all of the instructions before choosing which one or ones to try. Only after you experiment with these methods will you really know which one you like best.

Stove melting

  • To melt chocolate on the stove, you will need two pots. One that fits inside the other.
  • Place water in the larger pot. Just enough that it will come into contact with the smaller pot which will be placed inside it. This is the double boiler method.
  • Place your water-filled pot and top pot on your stove and heat over a medium flame/setting.
  • You can add a couple of chunks of chocolate to see when the top pot starts to warm up.
  • Once it does, add more chocolate and allow it to melt at its own pace.
  • If the water in the bottom pot starts to bubble and boil, turn the heat right down. You don’t want water to end up splashing into your melting chocolate.
  • Do not cover the pot. You want any steam to evaporate.
  • Stir now and then with a spoon or fork and check for lumps.
  • Once there are no lumps, your chocolate is completely melted and ready for use.

Microwave melting

  • Break up your chocolate into smaller chunks and place in a microwave safe dish.
  • You can also add a tablespoon of vegetable oil with each cup of chocolate if you like.
  • Make sure that you only melt small quantities at a time.
  • Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds before you remove and stir.
  • If it has not completely melted, place back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this process until the chocolate has melted.
  • If there are very small pieces left behind, you can simply stir to melt these little chunks instead of microwaving again.

Oven melting

  • Finally, you can melt chocolate in your oven by simply breaking up the chocolate into chunks and placing it in an oven safe dish.
  • Heat the oven to a low temperature and place the dish with chocolate inside.
  • Watch the chocolate carefully as it melts so that it does not get too hot.
  • If the oven gets too warm, you can simply open the door to let some heat escape.
  • Mix the chocolate regularly to help the melting process along.

Whether you prefer using your stove, microwave or oven to melt chocolate, it’s important that you never leave the dish unattended. Frequent stirring helps speed up the melting process and it also prevents the chocolate from overheating or unevenly heating.