The Two Best Methods for Melting White Chocolate
Are you team white chocolate, or do you prefer classic milk or decadent rich? Whether you like to eat it plain, in the form of a beloved candy bar, bake it into your favorite treats, or melt it over top fresh fruits and confections, there are so many ways to enjoy white chocolate. "Delicious, tempting, and creamy, white chocolate is loved worldwide. You can dip strawberries in it, drizzle white chocolate over biscotti, add it to whipped cream and make a mousse, write with it on a cake, or temper it into solid blocks," says Maya Hayes, executive pastry chef, Ocean House Collection and Weekapaug Inn of Ocean House in Rhode Island. "White chocolate is composed of cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar, vanilla, and soy lecithin or other thickeners. While it contains cacao pod fats, it does not contain any of the cocoa solids that comprise the flavor of dark chocolate. And while white chocolate melts in much the same way as dark chocolate, you do have to be slightly more careful as it can be more temperamental."
Are you thinking about melting some white chocolate to use as part of your next dessert? Do so with caution, our expert explains. "White chocolate burns quite easily, so it's important to melt it using indirect heat—otherwise, you'll be left with a clumpy, unusable mess," says Hayes. Below, the best two methods for melting white chocolate. Another thing to note? To achieve a smooth melted texture, use a bar of white chocolate or white chocolate chunks. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers to keep the chip in that form even when melted in the oven and will not melt as nicely. If you do have a bar, break it into chunks before putting it in the bowl.
Double Boiler Method
Start by creating a double boiler. This can be done by filling a saucepan with one inch of water and putting it on the stovetop. Then, find a bowl made either metal or tempered glass and place it in the saucepan. The bowl needs to be big enough that it fits over the top of the saucepan. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Now, put the white chocolate in the bowl and heat the water in the saucepan to a boil before immediately turning it down to a gentle simmer. If the heat is too high, the white chocolate may "burn" and create clumps. Make sure there is just gentle heat warming the chocolate, and be sure to stir with a rubber spatula as the solids begin to melt. There will be steam coming up the sides of the bowl, so it's important to make sure that none of the water gets into the chocolate—water and chocolate are enemies, and the water will immediately make the chocolate clumpy.
Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and take the bowl off the saucepan. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a cloth to absorb any water.
Place white chocolate chunks or white chocolate bar broken into pieces into a microwave safe bowl. Heat no more than 20 seconds at a time. Each time you heat the chocolate, take it out of the microwave and stir. Continue to heat and stir until the white chocolate is fully melted—remember, it is easy to burn white chocolate.
Regardless of which method you opt for, when you're done you'll have melted white chocolate to "dip your strawberries in, write on your cake with...or to eat straight from the bowl," says Hayes. Let the white chocolate dessert brainstorming begin.