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I wanted to tell you my secrets to melting chocolate. Now it’s not a difficult thing to do but its amazing how many people stuff it up. But I have to say I’m one of those people. I’ve done it so many times and the general core reason is that I am impatient. I want it done quickly and you know what? It just can’t be done fast. Its one of those things that takes time, you have to be patient and you have to allow the time for it to happen.

Now chocolate is an incredibly delicate ingredient. Delicate in that it is solid at room temperature but as soon as you put it in your mouth, it becomes liquid literally. So the difference between those two temperatures sometimes is not a lot. You have to be very very careful. It’s going to melt at a very very low temperature and as soon as you turn the temperature up, it’s actually going to cake, what we call cake. So it goes really grainy. It’s also the sort of thing you cannot mix with water generally. Although interestingly enough, on Master Chef once I saw one of the instructors there actually adding water to it. So that really surprised me. But I’m not going to attempt to do it and I’m certainly not going to advice you to do it because I think that you will find you’ve completely ruined your chocolate. And if they’re using a really good quality, couverture then you don’t want that to happen because it’s not cheap.

So on the site we talk about three specific ways to actually melt chocolate. Now one is the microwave method which some people have enormous success with. I have tried it on several occasions and it does work but, it varies. The key with doing it when you’re doing it with the melting in the microwave, is that you have to do it in short bursts, very short intervals. Because every microwave is different. They don’t have the same wattage. And you risk if you leave it for too long in there on too high temperature of it caking again. So the key is yes you do it on high, but you do it for five and ten seconds intervals at a time. So it can take a while.

Now if you’re somebody who is impatient, that’s not the best method to go with. The other one is to actually put into a bowl over the top of simmering water. Now the important thing with this is the water is enough to keep going while it actually does the melting but not enough so that it’s bubbling up and actually touching the bottom of the bowl because the heat of the water is too hot for the chocolate that’s in the bowl. You only want the steam to actually touch the bowl and that actually does the melting. So if there’s water and it’s too much in there, so you’ve got to watch it.

The reason I’m saying this is because you’ve got to watch it.

But if you only put a little bit of water in the bottom of your saucepan, then you have to make sure that that doesn’t boil dry in the process of the melting. And the key with it is to stir not continual nonstop but every now and then so that you make sure that it does in fact not go to that cakey stage which will completely ruin your chocolate. It’s non recoverable. Once it starts to cake, you’ve got to start again. So you don’t wan that to happen. So that’s the second method.

But my preferred method which I find works perfectly for me, providing I don’t get impatient, is to put the chocolate inside a zip lock bag. Now generally I do two zip lock bags because they aren’t very thick and if it accidentally raptures for some reason or other, and sometimes the manufacture process isn’t that great and it does rapture or the brand is not a good one, or whatever it is, as soon as that happens, water gets into the chocolate and that causes it to cake.

So I put two zip lock bags together, usually one that’s smaller than the other, put my chocolate in that, zip both of them up, put it into a stainless steel or a metal bowl of some sort because that’s going to hold the heat more and then boil the kettle and pour boiling water into the bowl around that zip lock bag.

Now that method generally takes about 10-15 minutes to melt. So you need to give yourself time to do that. But it does work incredibly well and you usually get an absolutely perfect result. In my experience, I generally have to boil my kettle twice, I will do it for the first lot, as soon as it starts to cool down, keep that water out and redo it. So after about seven or eight minutes, get rid of that lot of water and add the next lot in. Works perfectly.

Then all you’ve got to do is take that zip lock bag, snip the bottom of it off and throw that away and then squeeze all of your chocolate into whatever it is that you’re going to use it for, whatever your recipe is. Absolutely perfect and it works for me every time.
Now the other hint that I’m going to tell you here, is when you’re doing melting of chocolate, make sure the chocolate that you’re melting is in small pieces. Now either you take a block and you chop it up into small pieces or you buy the little chocolate pellets, you know the little buttons that you can get. The smaller the pieces of chocolate are the quicker they’re going to melt and more evenly they’re going to melt. You won’t get bits and pieces in there. The great thing about the bag is that you can pull it out and dry it off a little bit with a tea towel and run your fingers all around it and you can feel whether or not there’s any chocolate still left to melt. So it works very very well.

So there’s a few hints and tips with chocolate. Maybe until you get adept with it, you might like to try some cheaper versions. But when you’re working with some really good couverture chocolate the bag version as far as I’m concerned is definitely the best way to go.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope that was helpful and I look forward to seeing you again next time with a blog.

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