How to work with chocolate video

Our recommendations for buying and cooking with white, milk and dark chocolate, how to store it and how to melt it over a bain marie.

Points to remember

  • If a recipe requires dark chocolate, choose one with cocoa solids of 68% or more. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more intensely chocolatey and high in quality the bar will be.
  • Milk chocolate has a much lower percentage of cocoa solids, so if your recipe calls for milk chocolate, choose a bar you like the taste of.
  • White chocolate has no cocoa solids, just cocoa butter. If you're using it for a recipe, go for a cheap bar that tends to melt better.
  • Store all chocolate in a cool, dry environment.
  • To melt chocolate, chop it into small pieces. It can be melted either in the microwave or over a bain marie. If you're microwaving it, be sure to do it in short bursts, mixing often, as the chocolate can burn easily if left unchecked. If using a bain marie, tip your chocolate into a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't hit the water as it may cause the chocolate to seize and go grainy.
  • Other reasons the chocolate may seize is if it's overworked, if water gets into the bowl, or if an ingredient of a different temperature is added to it.