Most home candy makers like me are self-taught through reading blogs or watching YouTube videos or learn from watching their grandmas and mommas whisk in their own kitchens.
I come from a family of sweets lovers and I grew up with a grandma who made homemade treats for us. I would say that almost everything I learned, I learned from my grandma.
I learned to work in the kitchen at a young age. In my house, the kitchen is always busy on holidays because my grandma and mom love to give treats to family and friends. We would happily make peanut brittle, chewy caramel, caramel popcorn, and many other treats.
All of those recipes can be found on this blog so feel free to scroll and enjoy more treats using my homemade recipes. A lot of my recipes require working with sugar, caramel, and chocolates.
Working with chocolates over the years made me appreciate knowing how to temper it. When I was just starting, I ruined several batches because either I had my heat on too high or there was moisture in my mixture.
It looks so easy when we watch those cooking shows. At first, you’d think that all you need to do is melt the chocolates just like that. But when you start doing it yourself you’ll run into problems here and there and you’ll wonder what went wrong when you think you did everything just as you see it on the instructional video.
Melting chocolates correctly is one skill any baker and candy maker should know regardless if you’re a professional or doing it as a hobby. Professionals are taught in school, but it’s also important for home bakers and candy makers to have the same skill.
If you’re a home baker or candy maker like me, you’ll find this very helpful. If you’re doing it for the first time or if you can’t seem to figure out how to successfully do it, here’s how to melt chocolate with a double boiler. Read on.
Why Do You Melt Chocolates?
You might think, why is there a need to melt chocolate when it’s already delicious?
You can also use them as key ingredients for cakes and cupcakes, truffles, brownies, candies, icing, and hard coating for many goodies such as ice cream and cookies. Melted chocolate is also popular in chocolate fountains at parties and events.
What Is a Double Boiler?
A double boiler is a kitchen tool used to apply gentle indirect heat on the stovetop. This kitchen tool comes with two saucepans stacked on top of each other. The bottom pan is where you boil water where the heat is coming from. The top pan is where you place the ingredients that need indirect heat, chocolate in this case.
It’s best used when you are working with food that is extremely sensitive to heat. It produces slow heat and indirectly applies it to the food without ruining its consistency or texture.
It’s the best method of melting chocolate to give it a smooth and glossy finish when melted. LINK TO AMAZON
Is There an Alternative to Double Boilers?
Not all households have double boilers, but that shouldn’t stop you from melting chocolates correctly. In fact, a DIY double boiler is something you can easily make using items readily available in your kitchen.
You just need a saucepan and a glass or metal bowl that fits snugly on top of the pan. The edge of the bowl should touch the upper edges of the saucepan to create a seal. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the bottom of the pan so that there is room for the water to boil without touching the bowl.
The steam that the hot water gives off is the one that will give heat to the bottom of the bowl, thus the indirect heat in this whole process.
Why Should You Use a Double Boiler to Melt Chocolate?
The melting point of chocolate is very low. Subjecting it to excessive heat will make it curdle and become thick and stiff. It will lose its silky shine and become dull.
Meanwhile, there are other ways to melt chocolate such as through direct heat from the stove or microwave oven. However, these methods provide direct heat as mentioned. They melt the chocolates but don’t give the best results.
The double boiler method, on the other hand, provides indirect heat and melts the chocolate more steadily. It reduces the risk of causing the flats in the chocolate to bloom and prevents overheating the whole thing. In this way, you get a beautifully smooth and glossy melted chocolate that’s perfect for your treats.
What Can Go Wrong in Melting Chocolates
Melting chocolates is an easy process, but there are many things that can go wrong in the process. Here are some of the things you need to look out for:
- Overheated chocolate – you’ll know your chocolate is overheated when it becomes thick and dull. Chocolate is notorious for retaining its shape even when it has already melted. Some people make the mistake of heating the chocolate some more in an attempt to melt it faster without stirring it, thus overheating the whole thing.
- Lumpy chocolate with white spots – this means the chocolate has been melted over unsteady heat or when the chocolate is low quality.
- Seized chocolate – when even a tiny bit of water gets into the melted chocolate, it will become gritty and rough.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate
It’s ironic how melted chocolate seizes with even the tiniest bit of water but, adding the right amount of water to seized chocolate can fix the problem. If you want, you can also use other liquids to resolve the consistency issue including vegetable oil, clarified butter or cocoa butter. Here are some ways you can save seized chocolate.
- The first method you can use is adding one teaspoon of boiling water at a time and stir vigorously until the chocolate becomes smooth. The salvaged chocolate is perfect for sauce or drizzle, but not ideal for baking.
- If you’re fixing the chocolate for baking purposes, add in a teaspoon of solid vegetable shortening for every 6 ounces of chocolate used. Stir gently and evenly until the seized chocolate has loosened and the shortening is incorporated into the mixture. The chocolate saved from this method can be used for cakes, brownies, cookies and other baked goods.