Wondering how to melt chocolate? Here we show you three different methods for melting chocolate with ease that'll ensure your chocolate never seizes and is silky smooth every time.
Notes to consider...
• You can use any chocolate of your choice - dark, milk or white
• Roughly chop the chocolate if it isn't already in small pieces
• While all chocolate is sensitive to heat, milk and white chocolate will burn more easily than dark chocolate
• To avoid seizing, always watch the heat you're using and prevent water or steam from coming in contact with the chocolate
Method 1 - The double boiler
Method one is perhaps the most popular way to melt chocolate, using a double boiler. "But I don't have a double boiler!", you say? Not to worry... despite the special name, a double boiler can be made with just a saucepan and heatproof bowl. Here's how:
Fill a saucepan about a third full with water. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl over the top of the saucepan, so that it fits snugly over the top and acts as a lid, neither touching the water nor letting any steam escape.
Place the chocolate in the bowl. Stir till melted and smooth, then remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes before using.
Seize not, want not
If chocolate comes in contact with water or steam whilst melting, it will seize. This means it'll become thick and grainy instead of smooth and glossy. To prevent seizing, avoid letting the simmering water get too hot or come to a full boil; do not let the bowl touch the water in the pan; and be sure that the bowl fits snugly on top of the pan so that steam cannot escape.
Method 2 - The microwave
Utilising the microwave makes melting chocolate especially easy. There's no water or steam involved here, so you needn't worry about the chocolate seizing. You do have to take care to microwave in short increments and also use your prior knowledge - if you know your microwave is a powerhouse, for example, be sure to melt the chocolate at a lower power and for a shorter length of time.
To melt chocolate in the microwave, place your chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl, then transfer to the microwave. On medium power, microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave, give the chocolate a good stir, then microwave again for another 30 seconds. Repeat till the chocolate is smooth and melted.
Method 3 - The oven
Using the oven to melt chocolate is not as common as the two methods described above, but it does work a treat, especially if you are already planning to use your oven for baking. Also, for those of us with an oven but without a microwave, the oven method is a foolproof way to melt chocolate with a reduced risk of seizing.
To melt chocolate in the oven, place the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl or dish. Turn the oven to 45 degrees C and place the chocolate inside. Leave the chocolate in the oven for 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the amount you're melting, or until the chocolate is almost entirely melted. Remove from the oven and gve it a good stir to melt and smooth out any last solid chunks.
If your oven temperature doesn't go as low as 45 degrees, simply set your oven to its lowest setting and leave the door slightly ajar whilst the chocolate melts.
If you are making any chocolate confectionery, such as truffles or chocolate set in moulds, you'll want to temper your chocolate after melting it. Read our guide on how to temper chocolate to learn how!