Soupy Mess Butter Cream
Posted: 05 October 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I haven’t made much SMBC before, but it turned out ok when I did.  This time, I’m doubtful my soupy mess is going to survive!  It’s about 75 F, emulsified and smooth and light, but soupy.  I don’t give up easily on BC—usually manipulating temp. will correct any issues, but I’m doubtful on this one!  I know Rose says it will be soupy before it comes together.  Ideas?  Do I push it to 78/80F?  I started out with cold mixture so I’ve been through the low end—> 75F.  Add milk choc (it is the caramel version)?

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Posted: 05 October 2011 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I can’t think of anything offhand—I’ve only made SMBC once—but one thing that might work if all else seems to fail is to add more cooled melted chocolate, since chocolate will definitely be a solid at room temp, it might (ultimately) firm it up (but it would have to sit some—you wouldn’t see it right away).  Of course, it won’t be the original flavor, but it would still be great, no doubt!

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Posted: 05 October 2011 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m excited about the idea of milk chocolate and caramel…hope it doesn’t get too sweet…also, since it’s a double batch I need enough milk chocolate to compensate!  I wish I had looked up potential issues re: smbc before I started.  I’m sure the creme anglaise was the right temp.  My sugar syrup was +/- 1 or 2 degrees—pulled from stove at 246—continued to heat and since our boiling point is around 209F here, I thought that would be ok…only thing that I discovered may be the problem was too much milk was left after adding to the sugar syrup for the creme anglaise (I didn’t keep it hot on the stove—it was very warm, though) and I had lots of evaporation, but I don’t know how much was left.  Aside from that, because the meringue wasn’t a larger batch, I dumped the syrup in as Rose recommends (in small batches) and I had a bit of syrup at the bottom of the bowl—I usually drizzle into the mixer.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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75F should be plenty warm, I don’t think you need to go higher.  It has emulsified, right?  This buttercream doesn’t go though the same curdling/emulsification that mousseline does.  It is smooth and emulsified after adding the creme anglais to the butter, and then you lighten it by adding the meringue.

Sounds like you’ve considered the most likely culprits- not enough hot sugar syrup in the meringue, and/or too much milk left in the creme anglais after combining it with the caramelized sugar.  Did you also weigh the yolks?

I remember one person on the forum added the caramelized sugar to the milk, instead of the other way around, and that created a problem because the milk didn’t reduce the way it’s supposed to.

Since the bc already has milk in it, you might consider adding dark chocolate, or a mix of milk and dark, to keep the sweetness balanced.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Julie,

Thanks for the insight.  Not sure what went wrong, but I did weigh the yolks (always do) and have added 1 lb. of milk chocolate (38% cacao) to a double batch.  Also added 100 g 99% chocolate to about 1/2 of the ruined b/c and still not good.  I’m thinking some more butter?  Or let this sinking ship go??

I did add milk to the carmelized sugar and it was emulsified, just soupy.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sherrie, I would hate to see all those lovely ingredients go to waste.

I have an idea, and I have never tried it, but it might work.  Perhaps you could try it with a small amount before doing the whole double batch?

Once, I made mousseline bc and the sugar syrup temp went too high, but I continued and made the buttercream anyway.  It turned out very, very stiff, and was nearly impossible to pipe (it broke the ziploc bag) and unpleasant to eat.  But if it were combined with your soupy bc, perhaps that might do the trick?  I’m sorry to say that I don’t know what the exact temp was, I think it was around 153-4 when I took it off the heat and then it probably went up a bit from there as I left it in the pan and poured it directly into the whites.  I now know to just add water and swirl and try again if the syrup gets too hot, lesson learned. 

Another thought is to firm it up with something like gelatin or agar.  I would use the same procedure as stabilizing whipped cream with gelatin.

You could also try Rose and Woody over on the blog.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I won’t be wasting it.. I added a bit more butter and once chilled was firm enough to pipe.  Still gets spongy and soft at room temp., but better than wasting!  Unfortunately, little trace of caramel is left.  I noticed most people who had issues made a double batch, so I think the evaporation issue is most likely.

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