OK, so "epic" might be exaggerating but after 2 days during a heatwave without AC in my shop(fixed now)...
I have been using a crockpot to melt chocolate for my smaller machine. It was working great for months but in the past week I have burnt two batches of chocolate(through my own carelessness) and need a better solution. So...how do you best melt your chocolate? I am on a TIGHT miniscule budget. I don't have a stove so the double broiler method is tedious on my tiny hot plate and I don't love the idea of using the microwave. Would a crockpot w/ temperature control(as opposed to my current warm, hot, low) work? Any other affordable options without spending $3-400 on a melter? I am trying to hold off on getting a melter as I'd ultimately like to upgrade to a larger or second machine in the next few months.
Most newer crock pots have too high a temperature for chocolate. The quickest way is to carefully use the microwave. Use a flexible plastic bowl, and either use short burst on high, or longer periods on lower settings. You can melt and temper 5# of chocolate in about 10 minutes. There is a bit of a learning curve as each oven is different. You can use glass or even stainless steel, but I prefer plastic as there isn't much carryover heat.
I've used this counter-top food warmer as a melter for a year or so now:
I just set it to the lowest setting, check it occasionally and have never had a problem. If you wanted something you could just set and forget, you could plug it into a temperature controlled switch to turn it off at a certain temp.
Ben...how many pounds of melted chocolate does that hold?
I use 4" deep hotel pans, which can probably hold about 30 lbs or so. The warmer can take larger pans, too--definitely 6" deep, but possibly also 8".