Together with our friends at Go Dairy Free, we developed this list of melting options; please use the method that suits you best.
Equipment: Whisk and a double broiler OR two pans or metal bowls, where one can fit inside of the other.
1. Heat water to 125ºF to 150ºF (50-65ºC) either on the stove-top in your bottom pan or in an electric kettle (pour the heated water into your bottom pan or bowl). Kettles like this Cuisinart that can heat water to 150ºF exactly are priceless!
2. Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in the top pan or bowl, and place that pan or bowl right in the pan with water. Yes, it can touch the water – in fact, you want the water to go part way up the sides.
3. Whisk as the chocolate melts. It will take just about 1 minute for the chocolate to melt completely.
PROS: Allows for a slower melt to prevent scorching and degradation; Keeps chocolate at a consistent melted temperature while dipping; Doesn’t require specialty equipment; Can be done on or off the stove-top, so you can use the melted chocolate in a better work space, if desired; Chocolate still melts relatively quickly.
CONS: None that I’ve found!
Dip Tip: If dipping truffles or other goodies in the chocolate, leave the set-up as is while you dip. The water will stay warm enough to keep the chocolate at the perfect, melted temperature.
Method: Place water in the bottom of the double boiler so the top of the water is 1/2 inch below the upper pan. Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in the upper pan, and then place the double boiler over low heat. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted. The water in the bottom of the double boiler should not come to boiling while the chocolate is melting.
PROS: Allows for a slower melt to prevent scorching and degradation.
CONS: Need specialty equipment; hard to make a makeshift double broiler where the top pan doesn’t touch the water; can be challenging to keep the stove-top at just the right temperature, particularly with electric.
Method: This is a standard way of melting chocolate when making truffles or fudge. Place finely chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Heat coconut cream or milk until hot, but not yet boiling, and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated.
Note: If you are dairy-free, please use coconut cream or a non-dairy milk such as hemp milk.
PROS: Lower likelihood of scorching than The Microwave method.
CONS: Chocolate pieces have to be very small, or it may not fully melt; Getting cream/milk to the perfect temperature can be finicky; Only suitable for recipes where the chocolate will be incorporated with a type of milk/cream.
Method: Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH, uncovered, for 60 seconds. Whisk the chocolate vigorously. If not completely melted, microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds. Whisk vigorously. If not yet melted, repeat the heating and whisking in 15 second intervals until just melted. Do not overheat – not even a little.
PROS: Quick; No specialty equipment needed.
CONS: High risk of scorching the chocolate; Can degrade the chocolate; May need to reheat if using the chocolate for dipping.
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