Chocolate is a confectionery product typically obtained from cocoa mass, cocoa or vegetable fat and sugars. It is most often sold in a solid form (e.g. pralines, chocolate-coated fruit and nuts, bars), but chocolate creams and drinking chocolate are also available on the market. In culinary applications, chocolate most often needs to be melted, which can be a bit troublesome for inexperienced people. In this case, the so-called white and dark couverture. So, how to easily and safely dissolve chocolate?
Due to the high content of vegetable fats, chocolate begins to melt at a temperature slightly higher than room temperature. For example, dark chocolate reaches the liquid state at 33.1-32.7 ° C and milk chocolate at 28.9-30.5 ° C. Hence, it is completely pointless, or even threatening to burn the whole mass, to heat it up to higher than recommended temperatures.
There are many methods for dissolving chocolate. The basic and, at the same time, the safest way is the so-called water bath, i.e. gradual heating of a metal or glass vessel with chocolate with steam. Ideally, the entire process should run using the minimum burner settings of a gas or electric cooker. In order to obtain the optimal melting temperature of chocolate, it is worth using a kitchen thermometer. It is worth adding that the water bath does not require special preparation, as you only need a vessel for heating the water and a bowl that matches it with its diameter. The whole process may fail, mainly due to water getting into the liquid chocolate or too frequent mixing, which results in the mass becoming lumpy. Before starting work, it is worth drying the bowl thoroughly and cut the chocolate into smaller pieces.
More experienced people may be tempted to melt the chocolate in the microwave. The key to success is to carry out the entire procedure gradually – it is best to set the maximum microwave power and put a bowl of chocolate into it many times for about 10-15 seconds. Each time the mass is removed from the microwave, it should be thoroughly mixed, as this will guarantee its even dissolution. As in the case of a water bath, it will be helpful to break the chocolate into small pieces.
On store shelves you can find a confectionery product called chocolate couverture. It is a product containing an increased amount of cocoa butter (minimum 32-39%), cocoa liquor (minimum 54%) and sugar (minimum 45%). The increased amount of fat gives it special properties – white or dark couverture melts much more easily, and when it solidifies again, it is shiny, mild in taste and produces a characteristic sound when breaking. All these factors make it perfect for making toppings or decorating cakes. It is worth adding that by melting regular chocolate and not subjecting it to the tempering process, the possibilities of confectionery use of the resulting mass are limited (usually it melts very quickly in the hands and hardly freezes).
In essence, any chocolate can be melted using the right technique. However, when creating chocolate decorations or toppings, it is best to use the aforementioned couvertures.
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