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Seized Chocolate – Bringing It Back to Life

Running into the problem of seized chocolate is something that happens quite often in the kitchen. Especially if you are rushing to prepare a delicious chocolate dessert for your guests, and do not take enough care to handle your chocolate well. This article explains a bit about the seizing process, and how you can bring your seized chocolate back to life.

Why chocolate seizing happens

Apart from the cocoa butter that is known to be found in chocolate, other dry ingredients such as cocoa solids and sugar are also present. When melted chocolate is exposed to water, these dry ingredients start to clump to each other, resulting in your chocolate becoming seized. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause seizing to occur. Just a tiny drop will be enough to cause your chocolate to start clumping together in grainy masses. Even water in the form of steam shouldn’t go near your chocolate.

Seizing isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes the seizing process can be taken advantage of to reduce the fluidity of the chocolate, such as when you need to do some piping with the chocolate. But for most purposes, the occurrence of seizing is a bad thing. So how can you cure your chocolate of this calamity and bring it back?

Bringing back seized chocolate

First, take your chocolate off the heat. In order to bring back seized chocolate, you will need some fat in the form of vegetable oil or shortening, cocoa butter, or clarified butter. Add slowly in small amounts and keep stirring until your chocolate eventually comes back to normal… Well, almost normal. After this process your chocolate will probably be too soft for dipping, but you can still use it for other baking purposes that require melted chocolate.

Prevention is better than cure

In order to avoid the troubles that come with seized chocolate, it is best to follow some basic measures so that you can prevent it from happening in the first place. Before melting your chocolate, ensure that all your utensils and equipment are as dry as can be. Avoid using wooden spoons or other wooden tools, as their porous nature means that they are likely to retain moisture between their tiny cracks.

When melting chocolate, it is important that you never cover it with a lid, as moisture can condense on the lid and drop into your chocolate. When using a double boiler, be especially careful that the water in the lower container does not come into contact with the upper container that is holding your chocolate. When taking off the container holding the chocolate, always remember to wipe off the moisture underneath it using a cloth. If you do not do this, you run the risk of water getting into your chocolate.

If you plan to use a microwave instead of a double-boiler, then be careful that the container you use for microwaving it in does not retain a lot of heat after few minutes of microwaving. If not, it could be too hot for the chocolate. Set the heating level on your microwave to low, and occasionally stop to stir in between.

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