Learn more about the art of melting chocolate to make delicious chocolate treats at home
With its smooth texture and glossy finish, melted chocolate is delightfully indulgent. It’s especially delicious when enjoyed as a dip with delicious seasonal fruit, nostalgic biscuits or marshmallows, or even more chocolate like our Batons. But there’s more to melted chocolate than simply heating it and serving it. To achieve perfect results at home, it helps to understand the exact melting points of different types of chocolate, and how to get the best out of your melted chocolate.
Here’s all you need to know about chocolate melting points.
Why are chocolate melting points important?
Melting chocolate is sometimes as easy as gently heating it until it’s turned from solid to liquid. But, if you’re serious about making perfect chocolate treats at home, a more scientific approach is needed to understand the different points at which chocolate types melt, and how to use this information to temper them to perfection.
Tempering is the process of gradually heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures to control the crystallisation of the cocoa butter in the chocolate.
The fats in cocoa butter can form six different types of crystals, all of which melt at different temperatures, so the melting point of the final chocolate depends on the types of crystals that are present in the mixture.
- Type 1 crystals melt at 17.3°C, resulting in a soft, crumbly texture
- Type 2 crystals melt at 23.3°C. This creates a crumbly texture that melts easily
- Type 3 crystals have a melting point of 25.5°C – this will be firm in texture but melts easily
- Type 4 crystals are even firmer but still melt easily – the melting point is 27.3°C
- Type 5 crystals, which have a melting point of 33.8°C, are best for eating. This type of chocolate structure melts near body temperature and has a satisfying, crisp snap
- Type 6 crystals have a melting point of 36.3°C but are considered too hard to enjoy as an edible treat
Tempering chocolate first involves heating it to turn it to liquid and remove all of the crystals. Chocolatiers will then cool the chocolate to re-establish some crystals, before hearing it again to eradicate the undesired ones. Finally, they’ll leave the chocolate to set.
This process ensures the final product has the greatest concentration of the desired crystals, usually type 5, for the best texture and taste. It also gets the melting point of the final chocolate as close as possible to human body temperature, for that perfect melt-in-your-mouth moment.
You can temper chocolate yourself by melting the chocolate over a bain-marie (more on that later), then cooling and reheating the chocolate to the right temperatures using a thermometer. You can also buy chocolate tempering machines, which make the process easy if you’re planning to make big batches or even start a chocolate-making business.
Melting points for different chocolates
The fact that different types of chocolate have varying melting points is due to their cocoa butter and cacao solids percentages, which you can find out more about in our cacao percentages explainer. It’s important to get the chocolate to temperature gradually to avoid burning, separation and seizing. You can learn more in our guide to the best ways to melt chocolate.
Milk chocolate melting point
Chocolate with 20% to 50% cacao solids falls into the milk chocolate category and melts completely at 40-45°C. Unlike many chocolatiers, we like to use a higher cacao percentage (our signature milk chocolate contains 40%) to ensure a gloriously smooth texture and deep, nuanced flavours.
Dark chocolate melting point
Dark chocolate – in particular, dark chocolate with 86% cacao solids or more – doesn’t start to melt until it reaches 46°C. It will take more time over the heat to get your chocolate up to this temperature, which naturally means the risk of burning is higher, so take extra care when melting dark chocolate.
White chocolate melting point
White chocolate contains the most powdered milk and milk fats of the three types. As a result, has the lowest melting point. Containing no cacao solids and around 20% cocoa butter, white chocolate melts at 37-43°C. Again, we like to add a little more cocoa butter (a minimum of 36%) than many chocolate makers to give our white chocolate a decadent, melt-in-the-mouth experience.
How to get the best results for your melted chocolate
The most important thing when melting chocolate is to do so slowly, using a low heat, so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. The safest way to do that is to use a bain-marie.
For this you will need to set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on a low heat, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Put small pieces of chocolate, such as broken-up pieces of our Batons or Slab Selectors, into the bowl and stir constantly until melted. This method gives you the most control over the process, ensuring the chocolate melts evenly to prevent catching and burning.
You can also melt your chocolate in the microwave for quick results, but this is riskier! To be extra careful, put your microwave on low power and melt the chocolate in bursts of no more than 30 seconds, taking it out and stirring after each burst. The trick here is to remove the chocolate when there are still small pieces that haven’t melted. When you take the chocolate out and stir it, the warm mixture will melt those final bits.
If you’re not using your melted chocolate straight away, or have some left over after your baking, add some vegetable oil or coconut oil and thoroughly stir it into the melted chocolate to keep it runny. Otherwise, it will harden and become grainy, and won’t be as nice even if you re-melt it later on. For an extra indulgent treat, you can make a ganache by mixing your remaining melted chocolate with double cream, perfect for dipping or spreading.
What about hot chocolate?
When it comes to drinking chocolate, we think that real grated chocolate offers the most luxurious and indulgent results. That’s why all of our drinking chocolates are made with just that. From our comforting Milky 50% to a rich Dark 85% option, we have a broad range of hot chocolate pouches and sachets filled with real chocolate that melts beautifully when swirled into hot milk.
With drinking chocolate, it’s important to achieve the perfect temperature – you want it to be smooth and warming, without being too hot, which can impair the flavour. Our revolutionary hot chocolate system, The Velvetiser, heats, whisks, and foams our chocolate flakes into an irresistible texture – at the ideal drinking temperature.
All you need to do is add your hot chocolate flakes and milk of choice (dairy or plant-based) to the Velvetiser, and push the button. The machine will work its magic and, in just 2.5 minutes, you’ll have barista-grade hot chocolate – the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Premium cooking chocolate from Hotel Chocolat
However you melt your chocolate and whatever delicious uses you put it to, the perfect melted chocolate starts with our quality cooking chocolate. Find your perfect chocolate for melting amongst our selection of classic milk, white and dark options, as well as delicious caramel, Nutmilk and even our 100% Dark Chocolate Batons.
Our Meltingly Good Collection is dedicated to the enticing indulgence of melted chocolate. Featuring the star of the show, our Dipping Adventure for Two, alongside our deliciously velvety Mellow Baton Library, Classic Hot Chocolat and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolat, it’s the perfect chocolate gift for a loved one or for yourself.