Melting white chocolate has made even the most seasoned caker lose their patience when, for no seemingly good reason, it seizes up and becomes a stressful lumpy mess.
If it makes you feel better it’s not just you, white chocolate has a much lower burn point that milk or dark chocolate. If you melt it too quickly or use too much heat white chocolate will seize very quickly.
Don’t let this put you off melting white chocolate or delicious white chocolate ganache though! We have ten extremely handy tips to melting white chocolate and if you follow these you should be well on your way to perfectly melted white chocolate every time, no matter the brand.
Some people will only ever melt chocolate on a double boiler, others will heat cream and pour it over chopped chocolate when making ganache, but for white chocolate especially we love to use the microwave. But you do need to follow a few rules to make sure you don’t burn your chocolate in a matter of seconds, the first rule is to set your microwave to low setting, or 50% power, especially if it’s a new, powerful microwave.
Glass will hold heat and continue to heat your chocolate once it’s finished microwaving, and metal will destroy your microwave completely. Which is why we recommend using a silicone or microwave-safe plastic bowl to melt white chocolate in the microwave.
Short little bursts in the microwave, followed by a good stirring, will distribute those heat molecules around and ensure your chocolate melts evenly without burning.
Don’t melt your white chocolate until it’s all liquidy, after each burst give it a good stirring, usually when it’s half melted out of the microwave a thorough stirring will melt the rest.
Wood is porous and can hold onto flavours as well as moisture, neither of which you want to add to your melted chocolate! Stick to silicone and plastic and you’ll be fine.
The finer the better! Also try to chop your chocolate into even pieces. Both these steps will help your chocolate melt evenly and not burn. Or if your chocolate comes in little callets, like our Callebaut, the hard work is done for you!
Just one drop of water can seize your chocolate. Oddly enough though if you add enough water you can make water ganache. But for simply melting chocolate water is the enemy. This is another reason we like to avoid the double boiler.
If you don’t have a microwave, or you just love the old school ways, make sure you don’t melt your chocolate fully on the double boiler. The metal pan will retain heat and continue to heat up your chocolate after it’s been taken off the water. Leaving a few bits of solid chocolate in there will make sure your chocolate doesn’t overheat.
White chocolate burns at 43C so be careful not to take it past that temperature, we like to play it safe and not take it past 38C, white chocolate will melt at 37C.
There are a few ways out there for tempering chocolate but for white chocolate in particular we love using the seeding method as it brings the temperature of the chocolate down faster, back into that safe non-burning territory.
If you are wanting to make smooth, melted, but also caramelised white chocolate simply keep repeating microwave bursts and stirring until it is a beautiful caramel colour. Short bursts will make sure your chocolate caramelises rather than burns. It won’t be tempered though so just remember that! Check out Cupcake Jemma’s video for the perfect caramelised white chocolate tutorial.