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Melting chocolate


PSmith
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Now I know the purists out there will say that chocolate should be melted in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but I have always melted chocolate in a microwave on a low setting.

It does need constant checking and stirring, otherwise too much and the sugar will go solid, but it takes seconds rather than many minutes.

What is the general opinion on this?



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You definitely should *not* melt chocolate in a glass bowl, IMHO. Glass has a massive capability to hold heat, so if you overheat the chocolate, it's going to stay hot for longer.

My 2c is also that you shouldn't melt it over water, simply because it's so easy to get water in your chocolate. Heaps of people are going to say they've never had problems, but for me, it's not worth the risk. If you use your microwave, with a microwave safe plastic bowl, you're going to have no problems at all, so long as you're careful, monitor the temperature and just use short bursts, never more than 30 seconds. I always microwave on high, just carefully. I've never overheated it.

Other options I have available are a melt tank and a dehydrator set at 45C, dump the chocolate in it and seal the bowl with gladwrap the night before and it's ready to precrystallise the next morning.

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I prefer the microwave, and I melt between 2-20 kgs per day with the nuker.

With the double boiler method, the opportunity to get water into the chocolate is very high. Also, many people make the mistake of simmering the water--when this happens, steam escapes from under the bowl and condenses above the melted chocolate, and you get brown cement....

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I melt chocolate in a 4 or 8 cup pyrex measuring cup. Depending on how much I'm melting I'll start with about a minute on high then either another minute or less depending on how things are coming along. As long as I stick to the Pyrex brand cups I haven't had any burned chocolate - it doesn't seem to get the hot spots of other glass (or stainless) vessels I've used.

White chocolate in small quantities - I'd probably start with 20 seconds.

When I'm trying to warm up chocolate that is already tempered but is getting cool - I usually nuke on high power in 6 to 8 second bursts.

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Have to say that most of the chocolate which I 'melt' I do over water using a stainless bowl whose flanges far outreach the edge of the pot. So far, so good.

The other melting is putting the chocolate into the heated cream for ganache. Tempering in my Revolation except when away from home and then I use a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave, once I have figured out the particular microwave I am using.

Not exciting, but it's what I do.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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PSmith, I don't understand your comment about "sugar going solid". Can you elaborate?

On occasions (especially when using budget chocolate - not the 70% stuff) the sugar in the chocolate re-crystalises if you use too high a heat in the microwave.

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I've got a friend that always sets some sort of bowl (or cup or whatever she has handy) on the burner of her coffee maker. She's in a small apt with not a lot of room and often uses that burner to slow-warm things.

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I'm in the habit of using a bowl over a saucepan of water. Water has never been an issue. Just keep it out of the chocolate.

Every pastry chef I know uses a microwave. It must work well.

If you're paying attention and have a responsive pan you use direct heat. I realize every cookbook says that doing so will cause a kitten to die. I'm just not often in that big a hurry. There are other things to do while the chocolate melts.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 6 years later...

Ok, reviving an old topic with a question. For those who use a chocolate melter to melt their chocolate over night or several hours, does it not matter that the chocolate isn't being stirred? I know the other methods discussed here are melt the chocolate faster, but they also seem to require semi-regular stirring to avoid burning the chocolate. Also, could you use a crock pot in place of a chocolate melter to achieve the same thing?

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Crock pot is too warm to melt chocolate - even on the lowest temperature you'll get lovely caramelized chocolate overnight.

 

In a melter - stirring doesn't matter - you give it a stir in the morning. If your melt temperature is a little high and your chocolate high fat - you might get some separation that will need to be stirred back in.

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Crock pot is too warm to melt chocolate - even on the lowest temperature you'll get lovely caramelized chocolate overnight.

 

In a melter - stirring doesn't matter - you give it a stir in the morning. If your melt temperature is a little high and your chocolate high fat - you might get some separation that will need to be stirred back in.

Yes, I melt in a dehydrator, and there is some separation, but a stir solves that. I don't generally melt white chocolate this way, however, because it just looks too terrible when melted, even though I know it's probably OK. But I'm not using so much of it in making shells that a microwave doesn't do the trick fairly quickly.

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4 hours ago, cslas said:

Ok, reviving an old topic with a question. For those who use a chocolate melter to melt their chocolate over night or several hours, does it not matter that the chocolate isn't being stirred? I know the other methods discussed here are melt the chocolate faster, but they also seem to require semi-regular stirring to avoid burning the chocolate. Also, could you use a crock pot in place of a chocolate melter to achieve the same thing?

 

If you are melting a kg or less a KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl should do the trick.

 

 

Edit:  and if you ask it nicely it will temper the chocolate for you too.

 

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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So melting in a crock pot wouldn't work, but would it work for holding chocolate with a thermostatic controller?  I have one of these (below) for sous vide cooking. The crock pot plugs into it and it has a thermometer that goes into the crockpot. When the liquid in the crockpot hits a certain temperature it turns the crockpot off and when it drops below the temperature, it turns it on again. I've actually used it to sous vide cocoa butter silk before. 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/24/2019 at 10:15 PM, Kerry Beal said:

That should work - I usually melt overnight at around 45º C.

 

 

It doesn't seem very economic to me, melting overnight, when the time requirement to melt it before handling is so small? Do you experience greater fluidity when melting several hours or overnight? Or do you just find it more convenient when melting large quantities? What is the reasoning for doing so? 🤔

Edited by Madsandersen (log)
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49 minutes ago, Madsandersen said:

 

It doesn't seem very economic to me, melting overnight, when the time requirement to melt it before handling is so small? Do you experience greater fluidity when melting several hours or overnight? Or do you just find it more convenient when melting large quantities? What is the reasoning for doing so? 🤔

 

 

Volume. Sure, melting a few hundred grams in a microwave or over a bain Marie is pretty quick, but when I need 5-20+ kg for a day’s production I leave it overnight in my mol d’ art melters. 

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20 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Volume. Sure, melting a few hundred grams in a microwave or over a bain Marie is pretty quick, but when I need 5-20+ kg for a day’s production I leave it overnight in my mol d’ art melters. 

And the mold'art melters seem to require a long time to melt. 

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Lately I have been using a combination of microwave and melter, due the fact that I need larger quantities of chocolate, but I don't have a large melter. I do leave an 11 lb block over night in the melter, and then I melt more during the day as I go.

Vanessa

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