There are few things more disappointing in this world than picking up a chocolate bar only to find it well on its way to puddle-hood. While you may think the idea of chocolate lasting long enough to melt is crazy, there are times when you won’t be able to finish it all. So, what can you do?
6 best ways to help prevent chocolate from melting:
- Store chocolate in a cool, dark place.
- Refrigerate the chocolate.
- Store it in the freezer or on ice.
- Use “melt proof” chocolate.
- Seal it in an airtight container.
This article is divided into two sections. First, you’ll learn how to prevent chocolate from melting once it’s made, then I’ll answer a few common questions about hardening chocolate that you are making yourself.
1. Store Chocolate in a Cool, Dark Place
The best place to store chocolate is somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of direct light.
Pantries and cupboards work best because they’re dark, dry, and cool. The storage space should be kept at a consistent temperature of roughly 65-70°F (18.33-21.11°C) and shouldn’t exceed more than 55% humidity.
It might be tempting to store chocolate in your refrigerator or freezer, but this is only feasible for short-term storage. If you need a long-term solution, utilizing your pantry or cupboard storage is the better choice.
According to Cadbury Chocolate, the ideal storage temperature for chocolate should be approximately 69.8°F (21°C) and should be considered a “pantry item.”
Don’t Store It Near Any Hot Lights
This goes without saying but storing chocolate too close to a hot light bulb or direct sunlight will expedite the melting process. Because you need to keep chocolate at a room temperature of 70°F (21.11°C), any light source that emits higher temperatures than that will melt chocolate.
Similarly to when it gets too cold or moist, if the chocolate gets too warm, it’ll cause fat blooms to form.
Depending on the type of chocolate you’re using, the melting point of the bar will vary. Several studies conclude that most chocolate types will melt between 75-95°F (23.89-35°C).
2. Refrigerate the Chocolate
There’s much debate about whether or not chocolate belongs in the refrigerator. Cadbury has come out with a statement on Twitter saying that chocolate shouldn’t be refrigerated.
With that said, utilizing refrigeration as a short-term solution is perfectly fine.
The number one thing you need to consider in this case is that the longer chocolate sits in the refrigerator, the less it will taste good. Chocolate also easily absorbs tastes and odors from other foods, so it needs to be stored away from pungent foods and condiments.
Another thing to watch out for when storing chocolate in a refrigerator is sugar bloom.
Sugar bloom typically occurs when there’s too much surface moisture in an area, and it shows up in powdery white textures on the exterior of your chocolate. This also impacts the flavor.
Once the excess moisture evaporates from the chocolate, sugar crystals form and remains on the surface. Fat bloom, which is similar to sugar bloom, can also happen with fridge storage. Unlike sugar bloom, though, fat bloom occurs when the fat or cocoa butter separate themselves from the chocolate, thus depositing on the candy exterior.
3. Store It in Your Freezer or on Ice
Unlike refrigerator storage, using a freezer to store your chocolate and prevent melting is common among chocolate experts.
While it’s true that excessive cold exposure affects the integrity and taste of chocolate, you can adequately store chocolate in the freezer for up to three months. However, you’ll need to keep it in a bag or container with an airtight seal.
To thaw out freezer chocolate, you should take it out and move it to the refrigerator 24 hours before you plan to use it. Keeping the chocolate wrapped until it unthaws reduces the likelihood of condensation forming on the chocolate.
4. Use “Melt Proof” Chocolate
Heat-resistant chocolate, also known as military chocolate, was carried around regularly by soldiers as a treat.
Unlike regular tempered chocolate, heat-resistant or “melt-proof” chocolate has a higher melting temperature. During World War II, soldiers carried this type of chocolate around as a morale boost and a means to curb hunger in the field.
Cool Fact: This specific type of chocolate heavily inspired modern candies like M&Ms and Whoppers. However, they aren’t quite the same, as these popular treats still melt when they get too warm. The development of heat-resistant chocolate is an ideal invention for anyone who lives in tropical or other hot climates.
5. Seal It in an Airtight Container
If you’re desperate and don’t have access to a freezer or a dry storage area, storing chocolate in an airtight container will help preserve taste and freshness. However, with this tip in mind, you’ll also need to use some cooling agent if it’ll be near direct sunlight.
In this case, you could use an ice pack.
Pro Tip: Before storing it with the ice pack, you should wrap it in a layer of paper towels or a washcloth. This way, you keep the chocolate cool without risking sugar blooms from excess moisture. Also, sealing in an airtight container will keep the preferred temperature for longer.
How To Keep Chocolate From Melting in the Mail
To keep chocolate from melting in the mail, it’s important to do your research in order to know the temperature of the place you’re shipping to and choosing the suitable container and shipping method to use. Shipping chocolate to a place with a warm climate can be quite stressful.
Here are the steps you can take to prevent chocolate from melting in the mail:
- Keep in mind the temperature of the chocolate and the shipping location. Chocolate will begin softening at 85°F (29.44°C) and melting at 93°F (33.89°C). Depending on your findings, you should adjust the shipping method and time accordingly.
- Keep holidays in mind. Certain holidays can affect shipping times and must be considered when deciding how to ship the package. If you know it’ll take a longer time to send, you’ll need to use extra packaging to prevent melting.
- Decide on the best shipping method. Air or ground shipping will dictate what packing materials you need to use. But, gel packs and ice packs are suitable for either shipping service.
- Use the correct shipping containers. If you’re shipping a small chocolate package, you’ll typically be able to use an insulated mailer. However, if your chocolate treat comprises chocolate-covered food items, it may be better to use an insulated shipping box. In either case, make sure you allow enough room for a cooling pack without leaving too much extra space in the package. Everything should fit snugly together.
- Ship the product out. Before shipping the product, make sure the package will be delivered to the actual home or business address rather than a P.O. Box. This type of mail can sit for days after delivery, and chocolate is more likely to melt in that case.
- Communicate with the package recipient. Let the person you’re sending the package know when it ships and when they should expect it to arrive. Clear communication will give them time to prepare themselves to get the package right when it comes.
What Keeps Chocolate Bars From Melting?
Proper storage of chocolate is the best way to keep chocolate bars from melting, closely followed by eating it all in one sitting. The ideal temperature for chocolate to maintain its solid form is between 65°F (21.11℃).
The most common storage place is in a cool, dry area to keep chocolate from melting. Storage could be a pantry or designated cupboard space in your kitchen. For long-term storage, you may choose to freeze chocolate in the freezer for up to six months.
Before doing this, it’s essential to wrap chocolate in a protective layer to avoid sugar blooming.
At What Temperature Does Chocolate Start Melting?
Chocolate will start melting when the temperature falls between 86-90°F (30-32.22°C) according to the Library of Congress. It may also start melting when held long enough next to a human body.
The average human body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). This temperature difference is why wielding chocolate in your hands for extended times causes it to melt all over you, even if the room you’re in is room temperature.
Why Is My Chocolate Not Getting Hard?
Your chocolate might not be getting hard because of cocoa butter, which consists of several different fats, so it can sometimes be difficult during the hardening process. The temperature is the most critical factor in getting chocolate to harden.
When the temperature isn’t right, the primary fats of the mixture will soften rather than get hard.
Another reason your chocolate isn’t hardening may stem from forgetting to use seed chocolates during the tempering process. Seed chocolates are chocolates that are already tempered that you add to the melted mixture. These will encourage crystals to grow, which is essential for hardening.
How To Make Chocolate Set Hard
Making chocolate set hard is a specific process that you’ll need to follow for the chocolate to set appropriately. The process consists of tempering the chocolate, adding the right ingredients, and working on the right temperature until it can be left to cool and harden.
Here are the detailed steps on how to make chocolate set hard:
- Temper your chocolate. To temper chocolate, your first step is to melt it. Once melted, you can either work directly in the pot or place it in a designated bowl. You need to continuously stir the melted mixture during the tempering process to prevent it from getting too hot.
- Add already tempered chocolate to your mixture. Chocolate that is already tempered fosters crystal growth in your melted mixture, which helps with the solidifying process. The warm melted chocolate will work to melt the room temperature chocolate. If done correctly, your mixture will retain a shiny look. This step will require patience, and you shouldn’t move on until everything melts together.
- Pour your mixture onto parchment paper. Spread the mixture evenly on the paper, so you achieve an even set. Parchment paper is best for this process because the silicone layer of the paper keeps your chocolate from sticking.
- Add any extras before the chocolate sets. If you want to add any other ingredients, like dried fruit, for example, do so after spreading so the chocolate will solidify around the extra pieces.
- Let your chocolate harden. Setting chocolate at room temperature should take around 10 minutes if done correctly.
For a visual step-by-step hardening process, check out this YouTube video:
How Do You Fix Chocolate That Won’t Harden?
To fix chocolate that won’t harden, you can place the chocolate in the refrigerator to harden or complete the whole process again. Or you can use it in a recipe that doesn’t require tempered chocolate, such as brownies, cakes, or puddings.
Here are the ways to fix the chocolate that won’t harden:
- Take a breath and be patient. If your chocolate doesn’t harden, you may have missed an essential step in the tempering process. Tempering chocolate takes time and requires a lot of patience to do correctly. When you mess up, it’s important not to get frustrated and take a breath before trying again.
- Utilize cool storage. If you find your chocolate isn’t hardening, you can try expediting the process by placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. The cool temperatures of these storage spots will give you another shot at hardening/freezing the chocolate mixture you’re having issues with.
- Test your mixture. It’s common practice to test your tempered chocolate mixture as you make it. To do this, all you need to do is spread a thin layer of chocolate onto some parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for two minutes. If it comes out stiff and glossy, then you’ve done it correctly.
- Start over again. Sometimes, even a freezer can’t help the problem, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with starting the process over again. Many professional chocolatiers have to remake tempered chocolate often.
I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss What To Add to Chocolate To Make It Harden? (Complete Guide).
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