Seized Chocolate

Seized chocolate is sometimes as much a mystery as the health benefits of chocolate itself. 

For hundreds of years, the timing of its appearance frustrates chefs & candy makers all around the world.

Chocolate candy making at home is sometimes even worse! No matter what though, we all experience how heat & moisture can wreak havoc on melting chocolate.

We soon find that this feel-good, melt-in-your-mouth solid, doesn't just melt like butter.

The reasons for the gooey clumped state of melted chocolate is sometimes easily discovered.

Seizing could be caused by more than one thing. It can happen from water–steam from double boiler, moisture from a wooden spoon, and, even condensation building up on the lid we used on the double boiler which is something we should never use,

Heat is just as much a problem and it's where we find the "true grit" of seized chocolate.

Problems easily occur due to over heating from the microwave-ovens un-even heat, or direct heat of a burner.

You'll even find that daring the conventional oven, simply not watching temperature, and other heating applications are problematic as well.

There must be 1001 ways to seize chocolate, but few cures at which to salvage. We can add more liquid to transform the error into syrup, or even turn it into a ganache for chocolate truffle recipes.

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Does it matter what liquid to use? Probably not as seized chocolate is usually due to a water-based liquid. If we can figure out the what caused seizing, then use that source. Just know this batch won't return to solid.

At home, we usually only have as much chocolate on hand as needed to prepare for the given project–chocolate wedding favors, chocolate dipped tuxedo cherries, or whatever.

Patience. There is something about that special "project" we meticulously work to perfect. We will marvel at it bit..., and then we begin to think, "if I can just fix that one little thing..."

Suddenly, disaster!

How To Prevent Melted Chocolate From Seizing

  • Problem: Inadvertently adding water/liquid is the number one source for seized chocolate.
  • Solution:
    1. Wipe dry all utinsils, counters, bowls, and keep a couple dry towels handy to wipe the bottom of the upper pan of the double boiler (after removing it from the lower pan).
    2. Setting the upper pan on a towel while working with chocolate helps absorb the moisture, and hold the heat in.
    3. Never use a lid to cover chocolate, as condensation will build up.
    4. Recover by adding more of the same liquid (if known) that caused the seized chocolate while stirring.
    5. Recover by adding vegetable oil in small amounts while stirring.

  • Problem: Signs of small hard chunks, or a grittiness in chocolate possibly from over heating.
  • Solution:
    1. Use a double boiler melting with moderate heat (medium to high simmer), and a watchful eye over temperatures will certainly help.
    2. Avoid long intervals over 30 seconds in a microwave oven. Even shorter bursts for microwaves without a turntable..., stirring between cycles.
    3. Avoid direct heating (putting pan of chocolate directly onto the hot burners or open flame unless you are very watchful on temperature.
    4. Avoid letting molten chocolate stand over higher heat for long periods without stirring.

  • Problem: Introducing cold liquids to melting chocolate.
  • Solution:
    1. This is much the same as moisture getting in inadvertently. Depending on the recipe, warm/heat the liquid to temperature first, then add chocolate & stir gently.
    2. For ganache, heat the liquid (not boil) then pour over the chocolate chips (pieces) and let stand about 5 minutes, then stir gently.
    3. Adding large amounts of liquid all at once to melted chocolate while stirring can help prevent seizing too.

  • Problem: Sometimes not enough liquids added to the chocolate.
  • Solution:
    1. A ratio of 2:1 (2 ounces of chocolate to one tablespoon liquid) ensures that the cocoa powder in chocolate doesn't bond together producing a lumpy, or gooey cluster.
    2. The darker the chocolate the more cocoa powder, and therefore the ratio may need adjusting to 2:2 (or 2:3, experiment first).

I know it's tempting, but try to stay away from touching after you create. With chocolate, if the creation is relatively close to the intended results, chances are that no one will notice that tiny flaw but you. Leave it alone! Make a separate batch if it is bothering you..., I promise, you'll respect yourself in the morning.

Remember, cocoa butter has a melting point lower than your body temperature. Touching the chocolate (even cooled) will definitely "leave a mark."

By the way, if you've ever wondered where you can find good cocoa butter for thinning your chocolate, look under "Cocoa & Vanilla" right here Raw Organic Cacao

There will always be that one time when the unexpected seized chocolate rears its ugly head.

No matter how hard we try to solve the mystery of chocolate, it always seems to keep something hidden.

All we can do is our best and learn from our mistakes.

So hang in there 1002 ways!

Best Remedy for Seized Chocolate

Remember, if it's caused from liquid such as water, simply make some ganache and enjoy the mistake!

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