Melted Chocolate Won’t Harden: 3 Reasons

melted chocolate won't harden
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melted chocolate won’t harden

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Did you know that approximately every ten years, the average adult eats their own body weight in chocolate?

It seems to be something that almost all of us love whether it’s in candy bars, desserts, or cakes. Chocolate is delicious to the point of being addictive!

Melted chocolate finds its way into our most decadent desserts. Who doesn’t love a chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, or a chocolate cake frosted and filled with ganache?

Melting chocolate is simple but there are a few watchpoints to abide by if you don’t want it turning into a crumbly, burned mass. To get smooth, runny melted chocolate, the easiest way is to use your microwave.

Break the chocolate into squares, put it in a glass bowl, and microwave it on 70% power for 1 minute. Remove it and stir. Nuke it for another 30 seconds.

Remove and stir. Keep doing this until the chocolate is smooth and runny.

Melted Chocolate
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Another good way to melt your chocolate is to put pieces on the top of a double boiler. Stir it over gently simmering water until it melts. Your whole kitchen will smell like a chocolate factory!

The main things to look out for when melting chocolate are as follows:

  • Water and chocolate are enemies. Your bowl, spatula, spoons, etc must be bone dry. No water must get into the chocolate at any time or it will become grainy.
  • Chocolate overheats and burns very quickly particularly white chocolate. It must never be melted over direct heat. Stir it often to distribute the heat evenly.

Melted Chocolate Won’t Harden

Melting chocolate
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Sometimes we need the chocolate that we’ve melted to set hard again such as when we make a coating for truffles or chocolate raisins.

Chocolate is very heat sensitive and to get it to reset after melting, we often need to temper it.

Melting and tempering are both ways of melting chocolate but tempering involves more stirring and being sensitive to the product’s temperature. When we melt chocolate, the molecules come apart.

Tempering bonds them back together causing the chocolate to harden to a crisp, shiny finish that will not easily melt in your hand.

How to Fix the Problem

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The easiest is to use the microwave. Take about a quarter of your unset chocolate and put it to one side. Take the rest and put it into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 70% for half a minute.

Stir it at least 15 times. This equalizes the temperature of the chocolate all the way through. Return it to the microwave for 20 seconds. Remove it and stir again at least 15 times.

As the chocolate melts more, the less time it gets microwaved for. When the chocolate is mostly all melted with just a few solid bits in, add all the chocolate that you set aside.

Stir for at least 2 minutes. Test if it’s ready by dipping a metal spoon in. It should set in just a couple of minutes and have a shine. If it doesn’t, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir some more.

If you have a candy thermometer, check the temperature.

thermometer and chocolate
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  • Dark chocolate between 86 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Milk chocolate between 84 and 86 degrees
  • White chocolate 82 to 84 degrees

Reasons Your Melted Chocolate Won’t Harden

1. Shortage of seed chocolate

seed chocolate
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One of the reasons for the chocolate not setting is the lack of seed chocolate in the tempering process. The tempering process includes the formation of crystals after cooling the chocolate.

A shortage of seed chocolate leads to a lack of seed crystals. This would eventually not allow the cocoa butter to take on a crystallized form. So, you have to balance the concentration of seed chocolate in the dish.

2. The tempering process was not well followed

tempering process
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The tempering process must be done correctly. The rise and fall of the temperature while stirring helps you set the chocolate.

If the chocolate is well-tempered, the chocolate will stay set even when held against the warmth of your hand.

3. Correct temperature

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Knowing the type of chocolate is vital in the tempering process. Each type has a narrow temperature range for setting the chocolate. So, use a thermometer to check it and follow our temperature ranges above.

The setting of chocolate at room temperature

If the chocolate has been tempered perfectly, you should even be able to set the chocolate at room temperature.

Place it in a cold room temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and within 5 to 7 minutes, it will set perfectly, and then it’s time to enjoy. 

Although making chocolate desserts is a fun activity, tempering requires expertise and focus. So, if you love to play around with ingredients in your kitchen, go through the fixes we have told you.

The problem of melted chocolate that won’t harden should not be an issue for you anymore. Happy cooking!

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