When you buy chocolate from the craft store, these are usually sold in blocks which is ready to be transformed into different shapes. To make that happen, you have to melt it.
Melting is not the same thing as tempering so never confuse the two. However, melting is part of the tempering process which can be done using a microwave or a hot water bath.
The nice thing about using a microwave to melt chocolate is that you get the results you want fast with little or no effort at all and mess. Naturally, before you put the chocolate in the microwave, you should put this in a microwave safe container that remains cool or only slightly warm after several minutes.
The ideal setting on the microwave should be at least 50% low power. This prevents scorching or burning. How long should you put these in on the microwave depends on how much you will be using. A good basis will be 1 minute for every ounce of chocolate so put this first on a weighing scale.
If by accident you overheated the chocolate, don’t panic. Pour this into a cool bowl and add chunks of unmelted chocolate and stir continuously.
If you prefer to use a double boiler, start by filling the sauce pan with hot water from the tap and then put the chocolate over into another bowl. Since the water is just warming up in the bottom, you should only put 1/3 of the chocolate and let it melt first before putting the rest in.
You must stir the bowl frequently so all the chocolate has melted. When this is done, this is the time you pour this into the mold.
Whichever you decide to choose, remember these tips.
• First, chop the chocolates into small pieces because it melts quicker.
• Never let chocolate get into contact with water because it will make the block of chocolate unworkable.
• When melting the chocolate, do this in low heat or temperature so you prevent it from overheating.
• To prevent bubbles, stir the chocolate frequently using a rubber spatula but only when the outer edges begin to melt.
• You have to remember that chocolate retains it shape when melted so again, you have to stir it constantly so there won’t be any problems getting some using a spoon and then pouring this into the mold.
You can also melt chocolate with other liquids aside from water. You can use cream, milk, cream and wine. But most people use water because it is faster and more convenient. But if you were to try other liquids, make sure that you use at least 1 tablespoon of liquid for very 2 ounces of water. This will prevent the chocolate from binding together and becoming lumpy. But if you are using dark chocolate, you may have to add more than 1 tablespoon per ounce.
Melting the chocolate is key in making your final product when you pour this into a mold. It does not matter whether you choose to use a microwave or a double boiler because you will be doing the same thing in the end which is to freeze it and then pack it up to give it as a gift or serve it as part of your dessert.