Why is my chocolate not melting?
You’ve melted your chocolate, but it’s become a horrible, grainy mass. What went wrong? If you were melting it on the stovetop over a saucepan of water, some liquid may have contaminated the chocolate. Even a few drops of water can ruin it, so ensure you use dry utensils, and take care when simmering to avoid any spray.
If using a microwave oven, you could have overheated it. When you melt chocolate in the microwave, it tends to hold its original shape until you stir it – so this is an easy mistake to make.
How can you save overheated chocolate?
Try adding more fat. Keeping the chocolate at room temperature, add cream, then place over a low heat and stir until smooth. Still left with a muddy mess? It’s probably best to start again, as any change in the chocolate’s structure tends to spoil the taste. Less confident bakers should keep an extra bar of cooking chocolate on hand to rectify any mishaps. Chocolate stores well in the cupboard, and the final outcome will be worth it. With a little practice and know-how, you’ll be melting like a master chocolatier in no time!
Types of chocolate
The finest quality chocolate, couverture has a glossy finish and more brittle snap. It contains a high percentage (at least 32%) of cocoa butter and uses premium cacao beans. Because it melts smoothly, it’s ideal for specialty sweet-making.
Containing vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter, its flavour is not as strong as premium chocolate, and it is less expensive. This, along with its ease of use, makes it a popular choice, and more forgiving for beginners.
The most commonly eaten chocolate, it usually contains 36-46% cacao, although many common chocolate bars contain less – so check the ingredients list.
Chocolate should contain more than 60% cocoa to be ‘dark’. The higher the cacao content, the more bitter, intense and complex the flavour will be, and the better it will be for you. In fact, dark chocolate is considered a superfood for its antioxidant properties. Dark cooking chocolate has no added extras, so it’s perfect for cooking.
Containing no cocoa solids, this technically isn’t chocolate. It gets its sweet flavour from cocoa butter and is more sensitive to heat than any other variety.
Made from compound chocolate, melts come in milk, dark and white, and their shape and size make them ideal for melting. Chocolate bits or chips These milk, dark or white morsels contain less cocoa butter than other choc forms so will hold their shape when baked.
Unsweetened cocoa, or natural cocoa powder, is made from the solids that remain after about ¾ of the cocoa butter’s been pressed out of the chocolate liquor.
Cacao, the Spanish word for cocoa, refers to the cacao bean, which is the source of delectable ingredients such as chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
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