To prepare and decorate desserts, it is often necessary to melt chocolate. How to do it properly and quickly at home for cake, fondue or hot drinks?
Chocolate is a favorite sweet of people from all over the world. It is eaten as a separate full-fledged dessert, as well as added to other dishes as one of the ingredients. Back in the early XIX century, the product was sold as an invigorating medicinal remedy (cocoa beans are characterized by high caffeine content). The Mayan Indians were the first to use the fruit of the tropical tree centuries ago. They collected beans, roasted, ground and prepared a fragrant bitter drink. Since then, it has transformed and become a very popular treat.
Chocolate (especially bitter chocolate) is considered one of the best brain stimulants. Because of the presence of magnesium, it improves memory and helps fight stress.
Types of chocolate
There are many varieties of chocolate with different additives on the shelves. Depending on the content of cocoa beans and powdered sugar in the composition of the product is divided into three main categories:
- Dark. The bitter product has the most cocoa butter and the lowest sugar content, which gives it a rich, tart flavor. A couple of pieces of such chocolate can afford even hypertensive people, despite the caffeine it contains.
- Milk. In the manufacture of this chocolate, sugar is preferred to neutralize the initial bitterness if possible.
- White. It is made not from grated beans, but from cocoa butter, because of which the color is so light.
What is the best choice
For the preparation of desserts, confectioners can use all types of chocolate, since any of them gives rich and bright shades of cocoa to the flavor of the dish.
Bitter chocolate in cooking is more often used for making frosting, baking and when creating candies. It is also added to ice cream and mousses. And it is from it that children’s favorite hot chocolate is made.
The milk type of the product is sweeter and more caloric than the dark type because of the higher content of milk fat. It is often eaten as an independent dessert, but it is also added to other dishes, if it is necessary to achieve not bitter and tart, but sweet and more delicate flavor.
White chocolate is mostly used to make decorations for cakes or pastries, as it contains a lot of powdered sugar, and cocoa itself is practically absent.
How to melt chocolate at home?
For many dishes, chocolate as an ingredient is needed in liquid form. There are several ways that will allow you to quickly melt it at home. But the process is not as simple as you might think – you should know some nuances to achieve the desired result.
The microwave will most quickly cope with the task of turning chocolate into a liquid hot mass. To do this, you need to break the bar into small pieces, put it in a bowl and at high power gradually heat the product until it is completely melted. In this case, each time keep the bar in the microwave oven should be no more than 20 seconds, then thoroughly stir the mass and only then repeat the procedure until it is fully cooked, otherwise the chocolate will have time to burn.
The dishes must be suitable for use in the microwave. A ceramic or glass container is best.
Usually a hair dryer is used when the chocolate has already been melted or tempered, but has had time to cool down (tempering is the process of giving the product new properties through heating and cooling). Otherwise, this method of melting would take too long.
To achieve the desired effect, you should first grate the chocolate on a fine grater and place it in a deep bowl. The hair dryer should be turned on at minimum power and direct the hot air into the dish, while gently stirring the sweet mass.
Oven or stove
The method of melting chocolate in the oven is similar to the method of cooking in the microwave: in the same way, the sweet substance should be taken out several times, stirred and sent back. The oven should be heated to 60 degrees, the chocolate should be finely grated and put in a heat-resistant dish. Check the mixture itself every two minutes.
Melting directly on the stove can lead to sticking and even overheating of the chocolate mass, but it is also an effective way to thermally prepare the dessert. The following points are important to keep in mind here:
1. The melting process should be carried out very slowly and over minimal heat.
2. The mixture should be watched more carefully than in other methods and stirred from time to time.
3. It is recommended to add milk or cream to the product for better results. Then the chocolate will melt much faster and easier.
In the multicooker you can melt chocolate in a water bath.
First of all, the sweet is thoroughly chopped and placed in a container that can stand stably in the bowl of the multicooker. In the device itself in advance it is worth pouring 500 ml of water and turn on the “steamer” mode. After the liquid boils, the bowl with chocolate should be moved to the top and continue to heat for 5-8 minutes until ready, stirring continuously. At the same time, the lid of the appliance should be left open, so that condensation cannot get into the product.
Specifics of melting chocolate
For different dishes, the process of melting the ingredient is slightly different. Basically, this sweetness is used in the preparation of glaze on a cake or fruit, for fondue and hot chocolate.
Most often for the glaze on the cake take dark chocolate – it is better processed due to the high content of cocoa beans.
Melt chocolate for the cake, as a rule, on a water bath – this method is less likely to lead to overheating and the product will quickly get the desired consistency. To do this, follow the steps below:
1. Pour the cream or fat milk into a saucepan, put it on the stove and heat it up without bringing it to a boil. Add the chocolate and stir until it is completely dissolved.
2. In the liquid mass should be introduced butter and in the same way stir until homogeneous.
3. Cool the resulting glaze to about 30-35 degrees.
To prepare fondue, you can choose any kind of chocolate, both bitter and white, porous. Most often, the ingredient is melted with the help of a special device, a fondue pot, consisting of a convenient cauldron and a burner. However, you can use an ordinary stove or microwave.
For hot chocolate
To prepare a hot drink, the product is melted together with other ingredients, not separately, as in other recipes. To do this, you should mix cocoa, a small amount of sugar and chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a saucepan. After that, you need to add milk or cream to the container and cook the whole mass on low heat until the first bubbles appear, stirring gently from time to time.
For fruits in chocolate
To cover the fruit with glaze, you also need to melt the chocolate. It is not recommended to take a bar with some additives (nuts, raisins, marmalade, etc.), it is best to give preference to the classics. Chocolate in this case is melted in any way, depending on home conditions. The main thing is not the melting process, but the stage of solidification of the glaze: cooks immerse the fruit in a bowl with hot chocolate, and after necessarily give the dessert to cool down, laying out the resulting dish on a plate and putting it in the refrigerator.
How to melt white and porous chocolate
Chocolate is best melted at 33 percent or more cocoa bean content. Given that this ingredient is practically absent in the composition of white chocolate, the mass can turn out too viscous and thick, with a lot of lumps.
To avoid this, white and porous types of the product are melted following certain rules:
1. The tiles should be pre-crushed to the smallest possible pieces.
2. The melting mass should be constantly stirred.
3. In a container with chocolate should not get water, so before melting it is recommended to make sure that the dishes are completely dry. The bowl or pot itself should be enameled, glass or ceramic with thick walls.
To ensure that the product does not burn and turns out the desired consistency, cooks with experience recommend beginners:
1. If this is the first such experience, it is better not to take porous or white chocolate, as they are the most capricious and require extreme attention to their heat treatment.
2. It is better to melt the chocolate on low heat.
3. If the glaze is too runny, you can add a little powdered sugar to it.
4. When making cakes or pastries, it is better not to apply melted chocolate to the cream, as it slides off and makes the dessert look sloppy.