If you are a cook or baker who likes to experiment in the kitchen, then you probably work with chocolate on occasion. Chocolate can easily be added to cookies, breads, and puddings. However, chocolate is a little bit more difficult to work with alone if you decide to make gourmet chocolates. Burning can easily occur and ruin your concoctions. If you want to minimize chocolate burning issues, then follow the tips below.
Do Not Add Water
Chocolate can be melted both on the stove and in the microwave, and either of these options can work depending on your preference. It is wise to place the chocolate in a glass bowl so it does not have the opportunity to stick to any cooked-on debris or Teflon coatings that commonly cover metal pans. You also need to stir the chocolate thoroughly while it melts to make sure that it does not heat up too much. All of these things are important to keep your chocolate from burning, and so is keeping water away from your chocolate pieces.
When chocolate melts, water cannot be added or the mixture will clump up and become grainy. This happens because chocolate is considered a dispersion mixture where chocolate cocoa solids are emulsified in a variety of fat particles. This helps to give the chocolate its smooth texture. Milk and sugar are contained in the mix as well. When you add water to the melting chocolate, the sugar is attracted to the fluid and it pulls away from the dispersion. Clumps then form and the chocolate becomes difficult to stir and it will likely burn.
Dry All Utensils
One of the best ways to make sure that water stays out of your melting chocolate is to dry all spatulas, bowls, measuring cups, and pans before you use them. Also, if you decide to use a double boiler or bowl in a pot of water to melt your chocolate, keep the water from boiling. Condensation as well as water vapor can easily mix with your chocolate and cause a problem.
If water does get into your chocolate or if it becomes too thick to stir, then consider adding coconut oil to your pot. One or two teaspoons is enough to thin out your chocolate.
Do Not Rush The Process
If you want to get cooking on your gourmet chocolates, then you may be tempted to turn your stove to high heat. Unfortunately, chocolate will burn very quickly once it starts to melt, and high heats will cause your chocolate to melt in only a few seconds. Chocolate starts to soften when it becomes exposed to temperatures around 86 degrees Fahrenheit and it melts at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are just above body temperature, so use low heat on your stove.
Before you place your chocolate in a low-heat pan, take your time to cut or grate it. This will help to increase surface area so the chocolate will melt more evenly. The even distribution of the heat will keep the chocolate in your pan for less time and reduce burning risks.
Gently stir the chocolate as soon as you place it in your pan. It is wise to use a silicone or rubber spatula to do the stirring so you can scrape the chocolate from the pan that happens to melt first. Inspect the chocolate as you stir and remove your pan from the heat once all solid chocolate has almost melted. The residual heat from the pan will melt the rest, so continue stirring for several minutes once you set the pot on a heat safe surface.
If you want to make gourmet types of chocolates and desserts, then you will probably need to melt a bit of chocolate in the process. Chocolate melting is relatively easy, but you should follow the tips above to make sure you do not end up burning your sweet concoctions.