August 21st, 2023
Melting chocolate is not as simple and straightforward as you might expect. Chocolate when it is “tempered” correctly is bright, shiny and tasty with a lovely snap.
To get chocolate into this shape you must treat the chocolate gently and respect its crystalline structure. Now chemistry like this is not simple. Think of Newton sitting under the tree and being hit on his head by an apple. Why did it fall – what was the force and can we mathematically understand it. Working with chocolate is best to under its complex chemistry so you understand the results you are trying to get.
Melt chocolates’s chocolatiers are experts on this topic of melting chocolate. We are ‘London’s Most Luxurious Chocolate Company’ and as an Artisan producer in Notting Hill with over 18 years of experience in chocolate – we know a thing or two about chocolate.
In the following section we will answer the following Questions:
How do you melt chocolates without burning it? What’s the best method to melt chocolates, how do the professionals do i? How long does it take to set once it has been melted, how long does melted chocolate take to set? Should you store chocolate in the fridge or a dry cupboard.
But before we delve into the complex chemistry, first we will go with the simple explanation and add complexity depending on your level of interest. Chocolate melts at body temperature – that is one of its most unique and enduring characteristics and the reason for our name: Melt. Because we loved melted or molten chocolate and the fact that it shares the same body temperature as we did – marking it out to be very special food.
So… you have some chocolate in your house and you want to melt it – what the best method?
By far the best method is a bain-marie. We’ve explained that chocolate melts at body temperature. So it only needs gentle heat to become molten and useable.
The best way to apply gentle heat – its via steam directly on a glass bowl. You are not looking for boiling water -just gently steaming water.
Chocolate is very sensitive to heat and can easily burn or seize easily. Now each type of chocolate has different melting points so if its milk – it should melt slightly easier and white will have an even lower point at which is become molten. So the amount of heat and the time to become molten varies.
If you don’t want to use a bain-marie – then of course a microwave is just as good.
When there only remains a few small lumps left in the chocolate – you can remove it and let the ambient temperature of the chocolate do the rest – creating a silky smooth pool of molten chocolate.
This video will give you all the steps and specific temperatures depending on the chocolate you are going to use to get the perfect tempered chocolate.
Professional will use two methods most commonly – a tempering machine or hand tempering. Chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and we spend much of our day fighting great variations in temperature. Over 20C – chocolate can mottle and bloom. Bloomed chocolate has a whitish coating that can appear on the surface of the chocolate, this is the fat blooming, caused by a change in the fat crystals in the chocolate. The triglycerides in cocoa butter have a lower melting point and are more mobile than other constituents. Bloom occurs through the uncontrolled polymorphic transformation of cocoa butter from a less stable Crystal form IV or V to the most stable form Crystal VI.
Sugar bloom often comes from contact with water. Sugar bloom looks quite similar to fat bloom. You can tell the difference by adding a drop of water to the chocolate. If it’s fat bloom – the water beads up, if its sugar bloom the droplet flattens and spreads.
Water is the enemy of chocolate. Without water chocolate has a shelf life that can extend many – many years. Water or humidity destroys this longevity. This is why we recommend never storing chocolate in the fridge – as there is too much moisture there. Professional use dehumidified fridges which remove all the water vapour. Chocolate is best stored in a dry, stable temperature cupboard or larder.
Hand Tempering (Seeding):
This is called tempering – what you are actually doing is forming crystals in the chocolate. Effectively creating order out of chaos. A diamond is one of the hard substances known to mankind – yet it is totally transparent. This is because it atoms are perfectly aligned in a techtrohydron structure.
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