Melting Chocolate

There are three basic methods of melting chocolate. Our favorite way is simply to put it in the oven at a very low temperature. This results in chocolate that is easy to handle and minimizes the possibility of producing lumpy, unevenly melted chocolate.

If you overheat the chocolate, or if it comes into contact with water or steam, it may “seize,” i.e. thicken and turn lumpy. If this happens, the chocolate is fine to use for baking cakes but can’t be used for making chocolates or ganache.–Louise Nason and Chika Watanabe

LC Smartypants Note

We know what you’re thinking. You already know how to melt chocolate. Maybe, Smartypants. But maybe, just maybe, you and I and all of us could stand to benefit from an unexpected approach to something we thought we understood. Because really, that oven technique described above? Brilliant.

Melting Chocolate Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 15 M
  • Servings vary

Ingredients

  • Chocolate

Directions

  • 1. Chop the chocolate.
  • 2. Melt the chocolate one of three ways…

    If melting in the oven: Heap the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and place it in a very low oven [about 150°F (65°C)], stirring once or twice with a rubber spatula, until smooth and melted, 10 to 15 minutes.

    If melting in the microwave: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat it in 15-second bursts at medium power, stirring with a rubber spatula between each heating, until smooth and melted.

    If melting over simmering water: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl, and stir occasionally with a rubber spatula until smooth and melted.
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Comments
Comments
  1. That idea is pretty ingenious. If only my oven went that low! My oven’s brand-new and it only goes down to 170–the one it replaced couldn’t go below 200. Bah. Guess I’ll have to experiment & see what happens with a slightly higher temp.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I think you will have to experiment, Debbie. Do let us know how it goes. And if there is partially melted chocolate that needs to be eaten, well, so be it. The sacrifices we make…

  2. Amy Loeffler says:

    I will have to try this for tempering! Usually I fuss all over the thermometer if I am using couverture chocolate. Hmm….guess I know what I am doing this weekend. Trying that oven method.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Lovely, Amy. Let us know what you find. We’ve relied on this only for less fancy preparations, like drizzling over berries or cookies or cakes, so curious to hear what you think of its glossy, satiny smooth factor…

  3. Andrea says:

    I’ve actually had success salvaging a separated ganache by blending it back together with my immersion blender. Maybe not as good as it would have been otherwise, but it turns out pretty well.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Nice save, Andrea. Love when a cook’s instinct takes over like that…

  4. Pensky says:

    After a few disasters with seized chocolate, my technique is to start melting it over a pan of simmering water as usual and then switch off the heat giving it a stir now and again. It takes a bit longer but will come out perfectly melted and smooth.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love the sounds of that, Pensky. Savvy thinking, savvy strategy. Appreciate you sharing it!

  5. Glenda Zuk says:

    What if melted chocolate goes chalky, can it still be smoothed and used? Help. Thank you.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Glenda, it sound like your chocolate may have seized. This happens when it comes in a contact with a liquid, even a bit of water on your bowl or a spoon can cause this. You might try beating in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for each ounce of chocolate. Make sure that the chocolate and the oil are at the same temperature.

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