How to Melt Chocolate

I will explain how to melt chocolate on the stove top. Melting chocolate in the microwave is not something that I personally have good experience with.

There have been occasions when we have used a microwave, but it is too easy to overheat the chocolate.

If chocolate is overheated, it will turn thick and gloopy and lose its shine. You can still use it for stirring into a cake mixture, provided it's not too thick to mix in. But you couldn't use it for frostings or making chocolate decorations.

If you transfer it into a dry, cool bowl and gently stir in a small amount of solid chocolate until it has all melted, you can sometimes rescue overheated chocolate.

This is worth a try if you had planned to use the chocolate for a frosting, but if the chocolate has gone very thick, it is most likely too late and the chocolate is good for nothing but eating. Or making into homemade hot chocolate.

How to Melt Chocolate using a Steamer

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that can either sit right inside, or balance on the top, of a steamer pan. If the bowl does fit right inside the steamer, it should be taller than the sides of the steamer.

Bring some water to a gentle simmer in the base pan. Once it is hot, turn the heat off, and then place the steamer on top of the pan.

Do not put the lid on the pan. It is crucial that no water from the steam gets into the bowl.

Stirring the chocolate takes the shine off its finish. It is best to leave it alone and only stir it briefly at the very end just to ensure it is all melted.

If water does get into the bowl with the chocolate, it is likely to seize it. If this happens, it goes clumpy and grainy and can't be used for decorating.

However, with a little attention, you may be able to rescue it for use in cakes. You need to add some solid vegetable fat to the still hot chocolate and stir until it is fully melted in.

You need to use about 1/2 tablespoon for every 85g, and you need to be aware that this does not always work.

How to Melt Chocolate in a Bain Marie

Follow the instructions above, but in this case, you could put the chocolate directly into the bain marie.

However, I would only do this if you are melting a large amount of chocolate as you lose so much on the sides of the pan if you only need a little chocolate for your recipe.

For small amounts, you can put a bowl inside a bain marie. In this case, it can be a small bowl, because there is no danger of any steam getting into the chocolate.

Do not stir the chocolate except briefly at the very end to ensure it is all mixed in.

How to Melt Chocolate with a Pan and a Bowl

If you do not have a steamer or a bain marie, you can use a bowl balanced over a pan.

In this case, you need to put a little water in a pan and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat off.

Balance a heatproof bowl over the top of the pan. It is crucial that the bowl does not touch the water that is in the pan.

Stirring the chocolate takes the shine off its finish. It is best to leave it alone and only stir it briefly at the very end just to ensure it is all melted.

When it is melted, turn the heat off and carefully lift the bowl off using gloves.

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