Have you ever had your perfectly fluid chocolate immediately turned into a grainy, lumpy mess? Then your chocolate has just seized!
What causes chocolate to seize? And how do you fix and prevent it? Read on to know more.
What is Seized Chocolate?
Seizing is the transformation of chocolate from a fluid state to a stiff, grainy paste. This happens almost instantaneously when a small amount of water is introduced into the chocolate, or because the chocolate is burnt.
What Causes Chocolate to Seize?
1. The chocolate got in contact with water
Chocolate is a mixture of fat (from cocoa butter) and dry particles (mainly from cocoa solids and sugar). When chocolate is melted, these ingredients disperse evenly as a fluid mass. Even though melted chocolate may look liquid, it doesn’t actually contain moisture.
When a small amount of water is added to melted chocolate, the sugar lumps together with the water (instead of the fat) to form a syrup. The cocoa particles then cling onto the syrup, creating grainy clumps in the chocolate. The same goes for chocolate exposed to high moisture content, whether when melting or during storage.
Read more: Why Do You Need To Temper Chocolate? What Does It Do?
2. The chocolate is overheated
Chocolate is very sensitive to high temperatures. This is because the cocoa butter in chocolate has a low melting point just below our body temperature. As it is easy to melt, it is also easy for it to burn.
The temperature limit itself depends on the type of chocolate: dark chocolate can stand 50-55 degrees Celsius at most, while milk chocolate and white chocolate can only withstand heat up to 45-50 degrees Celsius. This is because milk and white chocolate contain powdered milk, which alters its melting point.
Burnt chocolate will have a burnt aroma and taste, as well as a lumpy and grainy texture.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate
Unfortunately, once chocolate has seized, it cannot go back to the smooth and liquid state it was before. And if the chocolate seized because it overheated, then we’re sorry to say that there is nothing you can do with the chocolate. Even if you can fix the texture, the taste and aroma cannot be reversed.
However, if the chocolate seized due to moisture, you can still do some things. You may not be able to get the texture back, but you can try to improve it using these tips:
- First, you can try to improve its texture by mixing it with a hand blender. This can help to emulsify the particles and remove some of the graininess.
- Additionally, you can run the chocolate through a sieve to catch some of the grains.
The next thing you can do is repurpose the chocolate. Even though you cannot use the chocolate for moulding or coating anymore, you can use it for applications where a thick texture is not a problem, or ones where you need melted chocolate.
Here are several applications you can use a seized chocolate for:
- Use it to https://www.embassychocolate.com/blog/thicken-a-runny-ganache by adding cream or other liquids
- Use it to make chocolate glazing for cakes and pastries
- Use it as a filling for cakes, breads and pastries
- Use it in a recipe where you need to melt the chocolate, such as brownies, cake batters, etc.
Read more: Business Must-Know: How to Send Chocolate Without Melting
How to Prevent Chocolate from Seizing
With seized chocolate, the best thing you can do is prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips you can use, depending on the cause of seizing:
How to prevent seizing due to moisture
The key here is to eliminate any chance of the chocolate coming into contact with water. This is done by:
- Making sure you have a dry workspace and utensils. Dry your workspace and all utensils before use. Keep a kitchen towel or tissue by your side when you are working with chocolate, so that when your workspace or utensil gets wet, you can directly pat it dry.
- When melting chocolate using thehttps://www.embassychocolate.com/blog/melt-chocolate-double-boiler, make sure that the water does not come to a boil. This will prevent water bubbles and steam to come in contact with the chocolate. When removing the bowl from the pan, wipe the bottom of the bowl with a kitchen towel to dry it.
- When tempering chocolate using the ice water bath method, stir the chocolate slowly but constantly, so that the ice water does not come into contact with the chocolate. Likewise, wipe the bottom of the bowl when removing it from the pan.
Read more: What Chocolate Melts the Fastest?
How to prevent burning your chocolate
Here are some things that you can do to prevent burning your chocolate:
- Before melting a chocolate block, make sure to chop it into uniform small pieces. This way, the chocolate will melt evenly. Alternatively, you can use chocolate coins that already comes in an easy-to-melt form.
- If you melt the chocolate using a microwave, then do a 20-30 second interval when microwaving the chocolate. In between intervals, stir the chocolate evenly.
- If you’re melting your chocolate with the bain-marie method, again, do not let your water come to a boil. The heat from the steam is enough to melt the chocolate. Besides preventing the steam from contaminating the chocolate, it also prevents the chocolate from overheating.