Chocolate glaze epic fail!
Posted: 18 December 2010 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi everyone,

  I made a chocolate glaze for my Buche de Noel and something went horribly awry, but I have no idea why. I’ve made this cake many times before and never had this problem with the glaze. The only thing different was the chocolate I used. Every other time I’ve made it I’ve used dark chocolate I get from the bulk bin at my local grocery store. This time I used a different dark chocolate which I purchased at my local co-op. It was the same type of chocolate I used for the chocolate oblivion truffle torte I made a few months ago (Not the same batch, though. I bought the chocolate for the glaze the same day I made the glaze) and that turned out marvelous which is why I wanted to try using that chocolate for the glaze this time. Big mistake! I don’t know if it was a bad batch of chocolate or what, but things did not work out with this chocolate. I don’t think it was a bad batch, though. It tastes just fine like the last batch I used for the torte.

  The chocolate from the co-op is 65% cocoa and I have no idea what the cocoa content is in the stuff from the bulk bin, but it does taste good and it works very well for the glaze. The glaze I made with the co-op chocolate ended up separating into oil and chocolate. I knew something was wrong almost immediately. After I poured the boiling heavy cream over the chocolate it melted as expected, but it never got smooth and creamy. It was like there wasn’t enough cream in it. But I followed the recipe (312g choc and 290g heavy cream boiled and poured over choc) and it just never came together for me. I thought maybe it was too cool so I put the mixture over a pan of simmering water to warm it up a little think it would help. Wrong. It only made it worse. That was when the separation of the chocolate and the fat in it started to separate. Once it cooled down the fat coagulated and it looked like coagulated fat from meat and the chocolate looked sort of like cottage cheese in its texture. Part of why it’s hard for me to figure out what went wrong is that I have no idea what the cocoa content is in the bulk chocolate. I don’t know if the chocolate from the co-op (65% cocoa) had too much or too little cocoa in it. I’m thinking maybe too much, but I’m not sure. I’m assuming the stuff from the co-op has a higher content since it’s more expensive, slightly more bitter, and has a slightly better overall quality in terms of flavor (in my opinion), but I could be wrong about it actually being a higher quality chocolate.

  Any ideas about what I did wrong?

Thanks,
MP smile

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Posted: 18 December 2010 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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MP, I’m so sorry to hear you had such an awful time with this glaze.  I know it can be very frustrating when things don’t go according to plan, and you can’t figure out what went wrong.  I have never made this glaze but the way that you described it, it almost sounds like water somehow got incorporated into the glaze at some point and it seized. 

Sorry, I wish I could be of more help.

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Posted: 18 December 2010 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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MP, so sorry it didn’t work out.  Which glaze are you making, Cake Bible or RHC?

My guess is that two things went wrong: 
1. Your 65% chocolate has a higher % cacao than the bulk chocolate.  The only bulk chocolate I’ve seen sold in my area grocery stores is Callebaut dark, and it is 51% cacao.  If you’re going to use a higher % chocolate, you need to reduce the quantity so that the cacao mass comes out equal.  You can also add sugar to make up for the lower sugar content of the higher % chocolate.  So, in effect, you had too much chocolate for the amount of cream.  Also, you might want to check that the chocolate is in very small pieces (did you make it in the FP?) before you pour on the boiling cream, larger chunks are harder to melt.

2. You simmered/heated the mixture.  When chocolate is heated too high, the cocoa butter separates and looks like oil on top.  If you continue to heat it, the chocolate will scorch and lump.

Hope that helps.

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Posted: 22 December 2010 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for your answers, Liza and Julie.

Your explanation makes sense, Liza, but I’m not sure where the water would have come from. I made another batch of glaze with the bulk chocolate with heavy cream from the same carton and it turned out fine. Any ideas where the water would have come from?

Julie - 18 December 2010 09:29 PM

MP, so sorry it didn’t work out.  Which glaze are you making, Cake Bible or RHC?

My guess is that two things went wrong: 
1. Your 65% chocolate has a higher % cacao than the bulk chocolate.  The only bulk chocolate I’ve seen sold in my area grocery stores is Callebaut dark, and it is 51% cacao.  If you’re going to use a higher % chocolate, you need to reduce the quantity so that the cacao mass comes out equal.  You can also add sugar to make up for the lower sugar content of the higher % chocolate.  So, in effect, you had too much chocolate for the amount of cream.  Also, you might want to check that the chocolate is in very small pieces (did you make it in the FP?) before you pour on the boiling cream, larger chunks are harder to melt.

The recipe I’m using is one from Francois Payard I found online before I was aware of either of RLB’s publications. I make this cake every year since I know how to make it and I know it will turn out well. I was short on time when I made this one so I didn’t want to take any chances. That being said, one of these days I want to make the one from TCB (it looks amazing!). I guess didn’t think about making the adjustment for the cocoa content since the recipe does not call for a specified chocolate content (it just calls for bittersweet chocolate), but that definitely makes sense. The lack of adjustment might be the the reason things didn’t work out. I didn’t use a food processor to chop the chocolate, but I did use a knife to make it into very small pieces.

 

Julie - 18 December 2010 09:29 PM

2. You simmered/heated the mixture.  When chocolate is heated too high, the cocoa butter separates and looks like oil on top.  If you continue to heat it, the chocolate will scorch and lump.

Hope that helps.

This explanation also makes sense, too. At first when I poured the boiled heavy cream over the chocolate shavings it melted as expected, but as I continued to stir the mixture the oil began to separate from the chocolate just as you have described here. I put the mixture back over a pot of simmering, but not a hard boil, of water and continued to stir thinking that would help. The mixture only seemed to separate even more and the chocolate scorched and lumped just like you described. Does a higher chocolate content mean that it will separate and scorch at a lower temperature than chocolate with a lower content?


Thanks again for your answers. I really appreciate it.

MP smile

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Posted: 22 December 2010 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Monsieur P?tisserie - 22 December 2010 09:08 AM

but as I continued to stir the mixture the oil began to separate from the chocolate

It’s worth noting that, as long as the chocolate hasn’t been scorched, the separated oil can be re-incorporated when the chocolate is a little cooler.  I made a batch of the RHC white chocolate vanilla bean buttercream yesterday, and the cocoa butter separated a little.  It re-incorporated (could be stirred back in) at about 103F. 

Does a higher chocolate content mean that it will separate and scorch at a lower temperature than chocolate with a lower content?

Hmmm, not sure about that one.  Different chocolates do have different melting and tempering temperatures (for instance, Valrona couvertures give specific temps for tempering each chocolate), it could be that your bittersweet chocolate had a high cocoa butter content (this varies greatly, even when chocolates have the same cacao mass).  It does sound like the boiling cream/chocolate mixture ended up a little too warm, causing the cocoa butter to separate, but if that’s the only problem, it can be cooled and stirred back in.

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Posted: 17 January 2011 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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we just tried the chocolate cream glaze and had the same separation problem - never did get to the point where you strain it. It never thinned out. But we used it anyway! it’s setting up on the cake now. I think my friend used the wrong chocolate. recipe says bittersweet but he insisted on using 72% DARK.

does anyone agree this may have been the problem?

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Posted: 17 January 2011 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think we also may have heated the cream too much. Before Tom knew it, half the cream was at a rolling boil which sounds like more than “bring to a boil.”

Would this be another reason for our problem? RHC states just to “scald” the cream.

However, we did use it, it set up on the cake and tastes fine (although it overpowers the cake - not a good match - oh well live and learn)

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Posted: 18 January 2011 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Both the overpowering flavor and the too-thick consistency would be from using too much chocolate.  If you want to use 72% in a recipe that calls for 60% (which is what the Cake Bible classifies “bittersweet”), you have to use less than is called for to get the same amount of chocolate liquor (mass).

Separation of the cocoa butter is a separate issue and comes from heating it too much.  It can be re-incorporated when the melted chocolate cools, around 90 if I remember correctly.

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