How to handle and store chocolate? Chocolate is an amazing substance that can be manipulated in remarkable ways, but it must be treated carefully. It is very sensitive to changes in temperature, and care should be taken in its handling and storing to ensure the best texture and taste in the finished product.
Handling chocolate: There are two main rules to handling chocolate: do not let it come into contact with water while melting (make sure all utensils are dry too!), and do not put it over direct heat. Water droplets that fall into a pan of melting chocolate will cause it to "seize," or turn into a hard, chunky lump. Similarly, overheating chocolate will ruin the taste and texture of the final product.
Storing chocolate: Whether it is white chocolate, baking chocolate, milk chocolate or some kind of chocolate confection, proper storage is key. Since it can easily absorb flavors from food or other products situated nearby, chocolate should be tightly wrapped and stored away from pungent odors. The ideal temperature for storage is somewhere between 65 - 68 degrees F (18 - 20 degrees C), with no more than 50 percent to 55 percent relative humidity. If stored properly, you can expect milk chocolate and white chocolate to be good for up to six months. Other types of chocolate can have an even longer shelf life.
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