Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chocolate Bytes: How to 'Fix' Seized Chocolate

How many times have you been melting chocolate waiting for that wonderful smooth satiny mixture when all of a sudden it turns into a grainy clump? Overheated chocolate or chocolate that has come in contact with water often 'seizes'. This has happened to me more than once, and I've seen it happen to the best chefs. So today I thought I'd mention a few hints to prevent or to fix the problem.

As in most processes, it's best to avoid the problem by taking proper steps from the beginning.

Before melting chocolate, make sure ALL your utensils and equipment are totally dry.
Avoid using wooden spoons or bowls or other wooden tools that are porous and can retain moisture.
Eliminate any chance of the chocolate coming into contact with water. 
If you're using a double boiler to melt chocolate, keep the water simmering not boiling or turn off heat before the chocolate is placed on top. Boiling water can splash above rim of saucepan and cause water to fall in the chocolate. Boiling water also gives off a lot of steam that can cause chocolate to seize.
When taking off container holding the chocolate, always remember to wipe off the moisture underneath it using a cloth. If you don't do this, there's a risk of water getting into your chocolate.
Never cover warm chocolate with a lid--condensation could form.

Usng a microwave instead of a doubleboiler
Choose a container that does not retain a lot of heat after a few minutes of microwaving.
Set the heating level on your microwave to low, and occasionally stop to stir in between.

How to Fix Seized Chocolate!

Seized chocolate, as I mentioned, is a clumpy, grainy mess. 
To fix it:
Take your chocolate off the heat.
To bring back seized chocolate, you'll need some fat -- vegetable oil or shortening, cocoa butter, or clarified butter. I use olive oil.
Add fat in small amounts (about 1 tbsp to 6 ounces chocolate) and keep stirring gently until chocolate returns to normal.. or almost normal. You won't want to use it for dipping, but you can use it for other baking such as brownies, cakes or cookies.

Overheated Chocolate

Overheated chocolate: Chocolate cooked on too high a heat is not the same as seized chocolate.  It's thick and muddy and harder to 'save'.
Once again an ounce of prevention--or chocolate--is worth a pound of cure.
Because chocolate is sensitive to high temperatures, don't heat it above 110-120 degrees (depending on the type of chocolate). I have to admit, I don't always remember to use a thermometer, but it's good to have one, especially if you plan to work with chocolate.  It is very easy to overheat chocolate using  a double boiler if you boil the water on the lower part or if you microwave on full power.
Overheated chocolate is thick and muddy

How to Fix Overheated Chocolate!

Cool the chocolate: remove the bowl from heat source, transfer chocolate to dry, cool bowl, and stir in a handful of solid chocolate chunks. Stir constantly and allow solid chocolate to bring down the temperature of the melted chocolate.
If this doesn't work, try straining it through a sieve.
Not working? Add a spoon of vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening and stir thoroughly. 
If nothing works, save it for baking and make a fresh batch of chocolate.

Good luck! Love to hear your chocolate tips for seized or overheated chocolate!


Gloria Baker said...

nice and useful!

Linda said...

Great tips...thank you.

yummychunklet said...

Thanks for these tips! I've been burned so many times on heating chocolate.

easter egg said...

thank you so much for these tips. now i know what to do when my chocolate goes hard!

Hot Cross Bunny said...

You just saved my 10 year old daughter's Easter nests - thanks very much!

Anonymous said...

I like to use a heating pad. It takes about 20-30 minutes, but chocolate is too pricy to waste with a double boiler. I just place it in a small glass jar, heat the pad to medium to medium high, and stir every so often. Never fails.

Margogo11 said...

This is excellent advice! Saved my aunt's peppermint bark and saved Christmas!
Thank you so much

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the tips. Was trying to make peppermint fudge and put the essence in too soon which spoilt the white chocolate

Unknown said...

Perfect tips. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Please. What do you mean by normal?

Janet Rudolph said...

Hi, Unknown, normal would be smooth and medium thin-ish... easy to work with, as opposed to too thick and heavy..hope that helps.

Trupti said...

Thank you Janet. Saved the day for me. My white candy melts seized after adding gel colour. Never happened to me before. Added vegetable oil. And back in business. Great tip !!

Janet Rudolph said...

Hi, Trupti, I would recommend using white chocolate rather than the melts--in the future. Taste is better, and it's pure cocoa butter rather than added hydrogenized oil.. just a thought.. It probably wouldn't seize..

Unknown said...

Thanks so much you saved my valentines chocolate covered strawberries!! I'm giving them to my hubby early as he has to go away on Tuesday :)

Anonymous said...

I added a touch more cream and let it cool...seized on me when I added vanilla.
Even after it cooled it wouldn't blend back with the natural oils so I took an electric mixer to it as a last ditch effort and voila, smooth as silk, but my 5yr old twins didn't like the taste of the dark chocolate �� They devoured the fruit though, so more chocolate for my wife, older son and I ��

Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

can someone help me with moisture on chocolate

Anonymous said...

thank you so much! i was trying to melt chocolate to dip my biscotti in but it seized when i added a little oj. i was able to save it for dipping by stirring in melted coconut oil.