Melting Chocolate - Double Boiler Method
By Bob Sherman
There are many techniques for using a double boiler for melting chocolate, however I have found the one explained here to work the best.
PLEASE NOTE!! - Although chocolate making is relatively safe for the entire family to participate, adult supervision is required.
I find that a small commercial double boiler works well, however you can make your own with a pot that fits snugly atop another pot. Note: If making your own, it is important that the bottom of the upper pot does not touch the water in the lower pot. In the following instructions, the lower pot will contain water and the upper pot will contain chocolate.
I prefer to use chocolate wafers designed for molding chocolate. My preferred brand is Merckens which works well with all chocolate molding projects without tempering, and it tastes great.
Cautions - Heat
The most common problem most people encounter when making chocolate is excessive heat. Chocolate is easily damaged when heated too far. This may range from minor problems such as clumping to extreme problems such as burning or evaporating the oils out of it. When making chocolate, you should always pay careful attention to the amount of heat being used. Low heat over a longer period is always preferable to a high heat in a shorter time - the melting process should never be rushed.
Cautions - Water
Chocolate is an oil based product and as such it does not combine well with water. When melted chocolate contacts water, it will seize (solidify rapidly). It takes very little water to cause this so great care must be taken not to contaminate the chocolate with water. All equipment must be totally dry before use. Note that in some cases, even high humidity in the air can cause problems so if you are experiencing difficulties, consider trying again on a less humid day. Avoid any contact with steam as well.
Step By Step Instructions
- Add approximately 1 inch of water to your lower pot. You do not want the water to touch the upper pot when it is in position.
- Place the pot on a medium heat source. Note - If possible, avoid boiling the water as this will create water vapor (steam) which will increase the humidity in the area. Optimal usage is when the water just begins to bubble.
- Place approximately half your desired amount of chocolate in the upper pot.
- Once the water is hot (but not boiling) turn off the heat and place the upper pot atop the lower pot.
- Use a spoon the stir the chocolate until is is mostly melted.
- Add some more chocolate.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the desired amount of chocolate has been melted.
- If the water cools too much during this process, remove the upper pot and reheat the lower pot before continuing.
- Once enough chocolate has been melted, pour your molds or dip normally. Optimum pouring temperature is approximately 90 degrees F.
Slow And Steady
When it comes to chocolate making, slow and steady wins the race. Rushing the process will often cause setbacks or ruined chocolate so take your time and do it right the first time.
Chocolate Making Supplies And Materials
The following chocolate making supplies and other materials were used to make this project. Clicking on the item name will bring you to that item's page with a full description and ordering information.
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Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and common chocolate making practices as of the time of this writing - July 2006 and updated in November 2010. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.
Author: Bob Sherman
Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.
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