Melting Chocolate 101

May it be for candies, decorations or any sort of desserts, melting chocolate has its science and knowing it is very useful.

Tempering chocolate consists in melting your chocolate in very low temperatures, (between 110º and 115º F) then bringing its temperature down depending of the type of chocolate you’re using.

It’s way easier than it sounds! so continue reading for a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Melting Chocolate 101

What happens if I don’t temper my chocolate?

An un-tempered chocolate will take longer to harden compared to tempered chocolate, and when it does, it will look dull, with a whitish coat on it.

It’s definitely fine to eat, but it won’t look as appetizing and shiny as tempered chocolate.

Before you start:

Here are some tips for the perfect chocolate melting:

  1. Moisture is the enemy of chocolate, keep it dry at all times!
  2. High heat will burn your chocolate, you should always work with very low temperature
  3. Chop your chocolate in small, equally sized pieces so they melt evenly
  4. Adding 1 Tbsp shortening for every cup of chocolate makes it glossier when set

What you’ll need:

  • Candy thermometer
  • Double broiler
  • Chocolate, chopped in small, equally sized pieces
  • Shortening (optional)

Different types of Chocolate final temperatures for tempering:

  • Dark Chocolate. 88º to 90º F
  • Milk Chocolate. 84º to 86º F
  • White Chocolate. 82º to 84º F

Melting Chocolate with the Seeding Method:

On the Stove:

  1. Determine which type of chocolate you’re using and look at the list above to see the desirable final temperature of your chocolate
  2. You can use a double broiler or a heat proof bowl that fits over a pot. Add a few inches of water into the pot and place your heat proof bowl on top, making sure the bowl is not touching the water
  3. Now it’s time to melt your Chocolate! remember that your chocolate needs to be melted with a temperature between 110º and 115º Farenheit, nothing above.
  4. Turn on heat and wait for the water to boil; turn off the heat and add 2/3 of your chopped chocolate and your shortening if using, stirring gently and testing your chocolate with the candy thermometer to make sure it doesn’t rise above 110º and 115º farenheit. Chocolate should be completely melted
  5. Remove chocolate from heat and add remaining chocolate, to help it bring its temperature down -depending on your chocolate type-, stirring carefully until completely melted. Use a candy thermometer for accuracy
  6. If you seed too much and your temperature drops below the 80ºs, just apply a bit of heat until the temperature reaches again your melting point, depending on your chocolate type
melted Chocolate

What if I don’t own a candy Thermometer?

If you don’t own a candy thermometer and this is a one-time thing, so you don’t want to invest in one, there’s another way, even though it’s less accurate and perfect, but your chocolate will still gleam and snap.

This method used the microwave, so it’s super fast and simple:

  • Over a glass bowl, add 3/4 of your finely chopped chocolate and shortening (optional) and microwave in medium power until your chocolate is nearly (not completely!) melted, around 30 seconds
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir vigorously
  • Add remaining chocolate and microwave in intervals of 5 seconds (still half power), stirring between each interval, until just melted

And that’s it! now you can apply all your knowledge in many different recipes using melted chocolate:

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