I am making a recipe that calls for emulsifying solid chocolate with a heated milk/butter mixture. Most articles online say to pour the hot milk on to the chocolate.

Wouldn't it, however, be easier to just throw the chocolate into the pot of milk on the stove and mix it there? Is there any difference between the 2 methods?

2 Answers 2


There is. Pouring hot milk or cream over chocolate pieces is a much gentler way of melting it. If you boil the chocolate, however, chances are good that you will overheat it.

Chocolate has a low melting temperature, and a low burning temperature. Boiling your chocolate for too long (more than a few seconds) will burn it, changing the taste and texture from sweet and smooth to bitter and grainy.

Simply pouring hot dairy over the chocolate allows it to melt much more slowly, preserving its taste and texture. It is the superior method, which is why most recipes advise doing it that way. If you're concerned about having more washing up to do (I am!) then you can simply add the chocolate to the hot milk off the heat and swirl briefly to disperse, instead of pouring the liquid over the chocolate into a second bowl; it gives the same effect.


You can put the chocolate into the pan with the milk, but it's a bit more tricky than if you pour the milk onto the chocolate. I know if I pour X amount of milk at Y temperature onto some chocolate it will add Z amount of heat to that chocolate.

On the other hand if I put the chocolate into the pan with the milk then the milk and the pan will add heat to the chocolate, so I have to account for the pan's heat capacity and heat the milk (and the pan) to a lower temperature. A thicker pan will add more heat than a thin pan of the same material, so it's challenging to know exactly what the right heat would be if you use that method. If I guess too high I overcook the chocolate, too low and it won't melt.

Pouring the milk onto the chocolate gives a consistent result.

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