Melting Chocolate

Here is a little tip for melting chocolate: though using a double boiler is the traditional norm, I find this set-up of using a wider skillet to be easier and more efficient. Let’s break it down shall we? I’ll start by saying (in case you didn’t already know why) a double boiler is used so that the chocolate doesn’t burn, seeing as how water has a maximum temperature (aka boiling point). In the conventional double boiler set-up, you have your bowl of chocolate set over a saucepan of simmering water, where the steam heats the bowl from underneath, which then melts the chocolate. What I find to be tricky is that you can’t fully monitor the boiling water (since you can’t see it) and often will have to keep adjusting the flame. Also, heat builds up between the bowl and pan, resulting in the occasional bursts of steam from where the bowl and pan meet. The steam won’t hurt you, per se, but what you do run the risk of is the heat building a temperature hot enough to scorch the chocolate, and you also run the risk of the steam landing water into the chocolate. Water getting into your chocolate is a big no-no; the cocoa butter will separate!
So, let’s take a look at my set-up. Instead of using a saucepan, I am employing a wide skillet instead. As the boiling water evaporates, it creates an ambient temperature around the whole bowl, which melts the chocolate quicker and more evenly. The risk of steam build up and water spray is also eliminated. And for the skeptics: the bottom of the bowl will not burn – the small layer of water between the bowl and skillet is insulation enough to prevent scorching.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Rocky Road Marshmallow Bars « I'm Not A Cook

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