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Amano's Chocolate Trouble Shooting Guide -- Baking
Chocolate Trouble Shooting Guide
Some of the most incredible chocolate desserts are made not through molding chocolate but including chocolate in cakes and other pastries. Our incredible chocolate tastes is suitable not only for eating outright but for all manner of baking and confectionary.
If you having difficulty in working with chocolate, we hope that our Chocolate Trouble-Shooting Guide will assist you. If you are not using our chocolate, please consider using our intensely flavorful chocolate. It is carefully made by hand using traditional artisan techniques to bring out the full flavor potential of the cocoa beans we work with, creating a chocolate that simply is a match for no other.
Cause: Chocolate has encountered moisture (cream, water, milk, etc.) and has "seized."
Solution: Add moisture (cream, water, milk, butter, etc.) and mix. It will eventually work its way out.
Discussion: One tablespoon of liquid (or butter) should be added to every two ounces of chocolate. If less is added, the chocolate will clump together a process called "seizing."
Cause: Uneven heating, inadequate stirring.
Solution: Use a double boiler (bain marie) or a water-jacketed heating kettle. Copper pots help as well, since the copper conducts heat much more evenly and thus creates fewer hot spots. Sometimes the burned bits can be removed from the chocolate with a fine strainer.
Discussion: Dark chocolate can be safely heated to at least 200 degrees F., provided that it is consistently stirred. Most burned chocolate comes from heating chocolate without enough stirring, as well as from hot spots in the kettle or pot. Milk chocolate if heated above 160 F. will start to change its flavor, since the naturally occurring sugar in milk (lactose) begins to caramelize at this point. Time and temperature will determine the amount of caramelization that occurs. Even though chocolate may be heated quite hot without damage, most chocolate guides recommend not heating it above 120 degrees F. unless professional equipment is used.
Cause: Inadequate stirring in the microwave
Solution: Stir more frequently
Discussion: Chocolate when melted in the microwave tends to hold its shape, giving the impression that it is not melting when in fact it is. For this reason people tend to overheat chocolate in the microwave. It is best to heat chocolate in the microwave in 20-second bursts with good stirring in between.