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14 answers 6127 views
Shana
added over 3 years ago

Did you add a cold liquid? I've never been able to recover it.

100_1685
added over 3 years ago

No. stirred warm cream / choc mixture and suddenly seized! Tried adding bit of butter (which works with just chocolate) but not with this --

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added over 3 years ago

chocolate often seizes when it comes into contact with a bit of water. you could also try a bit of veg oil, but frankly, I've never had much luck saving seized chocolate.

Dsc00426
added over 3 years ago

there's a counterintuitive trick where you add a teaspoon of water at a time and stir it with the seized chocolate until it smooths out. the chocolate won't be as thick, so it might or might not work as a frosting, but you can turn it into a chocolate sauce instead and avoid wasting good chocolate.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

No, sorry, once it has seized it is on its way out the door. How hot did you get your cream?

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added over 3 years ago

Does seizing mean the chocolate has hardened?

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Dorie Greenspan

Dorie is a food writer and award-winning author of ten cookbooks, her most recent being Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.

added over 3 years ago

mnr_t -- so sorry for you, seized chocolate is such a sad thing, but there are so many good answers here.

As innoabrd said, chocolate usually seizes when it comes in contact with water -- even the steam from the double-boiler that you're using to melt the chocolate can cause finicky chocolate to seize.

And I would have asked you what Chef Shana Rachel asked: did you add cold cream?

Sometimes, if you don't add enough hot liquid at once, the chocolate can seize. And some chocolates are more difficult to ganache-ize than others. Chocolates with very high percentages of cacoa can often be a challange, although the problem is usually that the chocolate and cream separate (kind of the opposite of seizing).

As vvanessa mentions, there's the water trick, sometimes used to 'bring back' mayonnaise that doesn't come together. (And really, mayonnaise and ganache are not all that different -- they're both emulsions of fat-rich ingredients.) You add a little bit of hot water to the ganache, stir, pray, then add a little more. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's worth a try.

And yes, happcao, seizing means that the chocolate hardens, but in an unpleasant way.

100_1685
added over 3 years ago

Thanks for all helpful and knowledgeable answers! The cream was warm, but not boiling (tho i have accidentally done THAT before with no ill effects.) Guessing that the wrench might be high-cacao bittersweet chocolate bar that I included because I was short on unsweetened chocolate. (This feels like True Confessions :D)
Anyway, even the hot watert trick did not rescue, but I totally appreciate all the suggestions! And I now know to mix chocolate with caution!!

Dsc03010
added over 3 years ago

I don't know when or where I learned this, but I've been following this procedure for ganache and truffles for 40 years and have never had a problem: heat the cream to almost boiling, add the chopped or grated chocolate to it, walk away for a couple minutes while the chocolate absorbs the heat from the cream, then stir it together. Don't add vanilla, butter or anything else until the cream and the chocolate are smooth.

The times my chocolate has seized occurred when I was using unsweetened chocolate to make brownies or frosting, when I had melted it in a double boiler (Who ever would have guessed that rising steam would fall back into the pot? Not me.), or when I poured it into melted butter (Every once in a while, I realize too late that butter contains water.) On those occasions, I was able to save it by adding boiling water a spoonful at a time and stirring like mad in between each addition.

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added over 3 years ago

Thank you thank you thank you for this post. I remembered reading this post recently and sought it out. This just happened to me! My ganache seized for the second time using El Rey 73% (did not know the higher percentage could contribute until I read Dorie's post- always made ganache with 60%-never had a problem) so I followed Dorie's advice and added hot water tsp by tsp and stirred like the dickens and it smoothed out! Oily mess gone! Ganache saved. THANK YOU !!!

Stringio
added 8 months ago

Had the same problem with 72% chocolate which I never use for ganache (well, almost never, so it seems). Added some boiling water and stirred for a while. Beautiful, shining ganache! :)

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added 8 months ago

All suggestions are good, I would add do this over a double boiler( have a small pot of water simmering and put the ganache in a metal or glass bow ontop) to slowly heat the entire mixture while mixing.

Kt_4_web
added 19 days ago

I made a beautifully smooth and creamy ganache (using ScharffenBerger semisweet) Then I stuck it in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes to thicken slightly. Soon after I took it out and was getting ready to top my cake, the whole bowl seized - I didn't splash any liquid in or anything, just stirred it around and set it on the table, so have no idea why that happened. Anyway, I saved it by making another smaller batch of ganache. I stirred in the fresh, warm ganache into the seized batch little by little and it worked out fine. Whew!

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Shuna Lydon

Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.

added 19 days ago

There's a lot of great information here so I don't want to muddy the waters, but I do want to clarify some chocolate and cream information.

Unsweetened chocolate is 100% cocoa liquor. Cocoa liquor *IS* chocolate.
Percentages, as they relate to chocolate, are about the cocoa liquor to sugar ratio. So a 70% bar is 30% sugar.
"Semisweet" chocolate does not exist. It is a marketing term. When a package of chocolate says "semisweet" 1. it's usually chocolate "chips" & 2. it's the manufacturer's way of saying, "We are not required by any law to tell you what % of sugar, additives, cocoa liquor or anything else is in this confection, and so we won't, we will just use this made-up name that doesn't mean anything." (In some countries the definition of chocolate is defined by the percentage of sugar. Past a certain amount of sugar chocolate can not be called chocolate and has to be called candy.)

I tried this experiment once - I bought every brand of "semisweet" chocolate chips and did a taste test comparison (I'm obsessed with chocolate chip cookies elusive "memorytaste." Not a single package tasted like the other. Nestle's ubiquitous yellow bag of semisweet chocolate chip is the flavor of a "true" chocolate chip cookie because it's what most of us grew up on, but it's not the best "chip..." (A "chocolate chip" is chocolate that won't burn after it melts because a number of additives are there to stop it from doing so. Chocolate, as you may remember from the M&M commercials of the 70's, should "melt in your mouth, not in your hands," because chocolate melts at body temperature. There is no law that says the chocolate chip manufacturer has to disclose to you how much or what kind or how many additives are put in their chips, so they don't, and won't, if asked.)

This is all true for a 70% or a 62% or an 80% chocolate. No two are alike. Each company does something different with different beans grown in different forests in different conditions.

And then there's cream. "Heavy cream," "whipping cream," "manufacturing cream," "organic cream," "ultra-pasteurized cream, " - all these creams have different water contents. Some of them are "shelf stable" and so whip and boil and emulsify and taste vastly different. Cream you buy in August has a totally different % of butterfat than cream you buy in January.

So after all this confusion is added to the mix, I will say that the food processor is your best friend when chocolate snafus happen. I rarely, if ever, give up on chocolate. Even the worst chocolate disaster can be turned into something else. Unless I've burnt it beyond reason, it never sees the inside of my garbage can.

Learning how to save a baking/cooking issue is the way we commune with our ingredients, and become better bakers and cooks! Kudos to you for coming here to problem solve. I hope I didn't make matters worse...