Keep the Temperature Low and Moisture Out
Melting chocolate is easy to do whether it is on the stove in a double boiler, in the microwave, or in the oven. There are basically two important rules when it comes to melting chocolate. First, do not heat chocolate too high because it can scorch and lose flavour. Second, moisture and humidity can ruin a batch of chocolate by causing it to become lumpy and grainy. After you have followed these two rules and the chocolate starts to melt, you need to stir it. So what type of spoon should be used for melting chocolate?
Wooden Spoons Retain Moisture and Odors
If you're melting chocolate do not reach for a wooden spoon to stir it into a liquid. Wooden spoons retain moisture which can ruin chocolate. Any moisture that is added to chocolate will cause seizing to occur. Seizing is when chocolate becomes lumpy and grainy, and no longer workable. If your recipe calls for liquid to be added to chocolate, it is best to add it with the chocolate prior to melting so it does not seize.
Wooden spoons also absorb previous cooking odours, so you don't want to stir your melting chocolate and have it smell like a mixture of chocolate and spaghetti.
Cold, Dry Metal Spoons Work Well
There is a bit of discrepancy among bakers when it comes to using a metal spoon for melting chocolate. Nestle recommends using a metal spoon over wooden and plastic because the wooden and plastic spoon absorb moisture and odours. Some bakers, however, do not recommend using a metal spoon when melting chocolate. Perhaps the reason some bakers do not like to use metal spoons is because metal spoons transfer more heat than wooden or plastic. When melting chocolate, it is important for the chocolate to heat slowly. Make sure the spoon is cold and dry before stirring. Another reason some bakers may not approve of metal spoons could be due to a metal spoon's tendency to scratch the bottoms of saucepans.
Plastic Spoons also Absorb Odors
While Nestle does not recommend plastic, some bakers prefer the use of plastic spatulas when melting chocolate. Plastic spatulas and spoons can melt at high temperatures and like the wooden spoon can absorb odours. If you decide to use a plastic spoon or spatula, be sure it does not carry an odour and the chocolate is being melted at a low temperature. Plastic spoons will not scratch your saucepans and will keep your dishware looking new as opposed to metal spoons.