If you have recently purchased some Swiss gourmet chocolate that you want to cook with, then you probably want to make sure that you are working with it properly so you do not ruin it. There are several very easy mistakes that you should avoid that include the following.
Mistake - Using The Microwave
The key to heating up and melting chocolate is to do so slowly and with good control. And both of these things are not possible if you try to use a microwave. So it is wise to use your stovetop instead. A lengthy process that uses a double boiler is best, but you can use a bowl if you do not have one. Start by looking for a glass bowl that can be placed on top of one of your cooking pans with the lip resting on the pan itself. The bottom of this bowl should not rest on the bottom of the pan, but above it.
Fill your pan with water, and put your glass bowl on top. You want the water level to be low enough that it does not make contact with the bowl. Either cut up or break up your chocolate into small pieces, and place them in your bowl. Turn on the stove to heat up your water, and watch the chocolate as it melts.
Mistake - Shocking The Chocolate
You want to make sure that you watch your chocolate and turn off the heat as soon as it melts. This will help to prevent you from overheating it or overcooking it. Otherwise, the chocolate will turn clumpy and dry, and you may also notice a burned flavor.
Once you turn off the heat, you want to work with the chocolate before it hardens, but you should not use anything cold in the chocolate. This means avoiding the use of cold spoons, cold additives, and even a cold baking pan. You want to warm up your utensils and additives with the assistance of hot water, your oven, or your microwave. You only have to heat these things to about room temperature to reduce shocking issues.
If you do end up using something cold, you may notice that the chocolate turns hard and clumpy almost immediately. You can reheat the chocolate so it is usable once again, but the chocolate will use some of its smooth texture if you do this.
If you want to know more about how to work with chocolate while cooking or baking, speak with a chocolate retailer.