Chocolate is a delicious treat that can be used in a variety of ways to make wonderful food. It can be used as a dessert topping, an appetizer or even an entree if the mood strikes you. But what most bakers and chefs wonder sometimes is: How should I melt chocolate? There are a variety of ways that are very simple and easy to follow!
How to Melt Chocolate
Chocolate in a Pan!
Chocolate in a pan is one of many delicious ways to melt chocolate. It also gives way to a great deal of creation and experimental dishes.
To heat up chocolate in a pan, you need to know what type of chocolate. This is important for if you have the wrong kind and the improper methods, you could burn the chocolate resulting in an embarrassing clean up experience.
Now depending on the percent of cocoa inside the chocolate, the cooking methods can vary slightly. Usually what I like to use is a 60% dark chocolate for heating in a pan, however you can use whatever you'd like. Here the basic steps I take:
Make sure the pan is greased or oiled. There are many different ways to do this like pam spray or margarine. My personal favorite and the one that I swear by is old fashioned butter. It provides a nice coat to the pan as well as adding extra flavor to the overall dish.
Keep the heat on a stove low. This is important when melting chocolate. If you put the temperature too high then you could end up with a burnt result.
Space out your chocolate. If you are using chocolate from a bar or from something else, just make sure that when it is in solid form that it is in small pieces and spread on the pan. This way, all of the chocolate will melt at a steady rate and reduce the possibility of burning.
Watch your chocolate constantly. If you do not watch your chocolate regularly, you could risk burning it.
Chocolate in the Oven!
This is more of a technique for bakers than anyone. Melting chocolate in the oven is more time consuming than most methods, however, it can produce a great taste under the right conditions. There are many ways to do this but I'd like to focus in on the major two ways.
The first is melting Chocolate with pastries. Now this method is more commonly known due to the more frequent use. When melting chocolate with pastries, you have to make sure of how much chocolate the directions require. If you have too much, then you could cloud the taste of the entire pastry with just chocolate which in some ways could be looked at as bad. If you put too little, then you could also have an imbalance of flavors, resulting in an overpowering pastry flavor.
The other method is baking the chocolate itself. This method is usually done for the purpose of s'mores or creamy chocolate sauces. When melting chocolate by baking, remember to space out your chocolate in the dish and keep it at a high temperature depending on what you are making. If its a chocolate sauce, you might want to keep the oven at a lower temperature. Mind you it might take longer for the chocolate to melt, but it brings out more of it's flavor as a result. if you bake chocolate at a high temperature, then you have to watch it more frequently because there is a higher risk of burning.
Chocolate in the Microwave
This is the last common known method of melting chocolate and probably the easiest.
Here are the directions that I follow:
Put the chocolate in a bowl or on a plate
Place the bowl in the microwave
And lastly, depending on your microwave, heat on high for 2-5 minutes