White Chocolate and Butter Seperation

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by nicholas, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. nicholas

    nicholas

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    Hey,
    I've had sucess following this recipe from finecooking.com, but I decided to swap the 5 Oz semisweet + 2 Oz of bittersweet chocolate for 7 Oz of White Chocolate.

    I melted the chocolate with the butter and it was all good. It only started to seperate when I whisked in the sugar. The blob of white chocolate was in a pool of melted butter.

    There's some science involved, I'm sure, but I'm clear about it.
    What I understand is that White Chocolate cannot be easily interchanged with recipes. I may have overheated the white chocolate or moisture(from the whisk) may have acidentally be incorporated.

    Has my chocolate seized? Causing it to seperate from the butter?


    Fudgy Brownies

    5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

    5 oz. bittersweet chocolate

    1 cup sugar

    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Pinch salt

    2 large eggs, at room temperature

    1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

    3 oz. (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour.
     
  2. scott123

    scott123

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    White chocolate has a higher cocoa butter content.

    If moisture was the culprit, it wasn't from the whisk, it was from the butter. Don't forget that butter contains water.

    A good rule of thumb is 25% or less water in your melted chocolate mixture and you're asking for trouble. The less water, the more likely it will seize. In other words, you might get away with 24% water but you probably won't be successful with 1%.

    From your description, it sounds like you have oil separation and not seizing. If it seized, you'd have a fairly firm mess. I've made brownies before with oil separated chocolate - they turned out fine. Seized chocolate is a different matter.

    When I make brownies, I use different methods, but most of the time, I melt my chocolate (making sure not to exceed 140 degrees) and then let it cool slightly and add the room temp eggs/butter/sugar. The water in the eggs (and the lecithin) is usually sufficient enough to make a smooth chocolate sauce to which I add the flour.

    Was your butter room temp?

    Seeing the entire recipe (not just the ingredients) would also help to figure out what occured.
     
  3. panini

    panini

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    One must never play with Mother nature when it comes to baking!
    When you start to play with proven recipes you will get struck by lightning. :D
    Scott123 give you all the correct info. Find a recipe with white choco in it, actually white choco isn't chocolate at all.
     
  4. nicholas

    nicholas

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    Scott: Now that's something new I've learned, oil seperation...

    Hmm, just to clarify, are you saying that in the case of white chocolates only, 25% or more water is desirable, to prevent it from seizing?

    My butter was at room temperature, and then chopped in to smaller cubes and then I melted them with the white chocolate.

    How would one avoid oil seperation?
    In the case of this recipe, the chocolate(Bitter+semisweet) is to be melted with the butter, so I followed suit.

    panini: You couldn't have put it any better. :p
     
  5. scott123

    scott123

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    Nicholas, "oil separation" is my own terminology. I'm sure that there's a better term for it. I have noticed with high butter ganaches that if I heat them the wrong way, I get a puddle of clear butter on top. It definitely isn't 'seizing.' "Oil separation" is the best term I can come up with. I guess the term 'breaking' could be used, although I tend to associate 'breaking' more with sauce making.

    My 25% or more liquid rule applies to all chocolate, not just white. This is why you have no chocolate confections between eating chocolate (0 water) and ganache (25%-50% water). The chemistry in between just doesn't work.

    I have a long way to go before I fully understand how to guarantee chocolate won't separate or seize when making brownies. I thoroughly despise cocoa brownies so I'm not going to stop learning.

    I can't make any guarantees, but I'd recommend melting the white chocolate, letting it cool to slighly above room temp, mixing your room temp wet ingredients together (eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla) and then gently folding the melted chocolate into that. The combination of the gentle temperature difference and the liquid/lecithin in the eggs should prevent any problems.
     
  6. nicholas

    nicholas

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    Scott: Ahh, I see, but "Oil seperation" sounds like a correct term. Heh.

    You know, I was just looking at some recipe, and the white chocolate set aside to cool, was drizzled in with the mixer running. Could this be in some way, creating an emulsion, so that it dosent seperate? It reminded me of how mayonaise, I believe is made.

    Either way, I'll try out your method, hope I have some sucess this time!
     
  7. scott123

    scott123

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    The drizzling of the white chocolate might work as well. Although if you were drizzling the white chocolate into the mixture that contained flour, you might overwork the gluten with the time involved. Maybe the white chocolate is being drizzled into the wet ingredients. You also want to be careful not to incorporate too much air into the mixture, as air will make less fudgy/more cakey brownies.

    Btw, even if oil separates out of your wet ingredients, it's not the end of the world. Once you add the flour, everything should pull together nicely.
     
  8. nicholas

    nicholas

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    Oh yea, I forgot to mention, it is being drizzled in after the wet ingredients are combined, then the flour is mixed in just until combined.

    I thought it was the "end of the world" when it seperated, and I didn't want to waste the other ingredients, heh. I'll keep that in mind next time.
    Thanks alot!
     
  9. smiley

    smiley

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    A previous post said that white chocolate has more cocoa butter, however I believe that may not be the case. most dark chocolates come in around 35- 40 percent and white and milk chocolate comes in around 25. When ever I use white or milk chocolate in a substitution for dark chocolate I double the amount of white or milk. The reason it "seperated) is that there was not enough cocoa butter to "seize" the liquid like in a ganache situation. In the end the flavour will not be comprimised (except that you may have 10-15 percent less cocoa butter) :bounce:

    God I love chocolate!
     
  10. scott123

    scott123

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    I stand corrected. White chocolate doesn't have more cocoa butter. But it doesn't have less either:

    From the Callebaut Website

    Fat Content of Callebaut White Chocolate
    Excellent W Creamy caramel taste: 35.9%
    Excellent WNV Creamy caramel taste with natural vanilla: 35.9%
    Select W2 Balanced creamy milk taste: 36%
    Select W2NV Balanced creamy milk taste with natural vanilla: 36.0%
    Intense W8 Sweet creamy taste: 35.4%

    The same appears to be true for Valhrona and Lindt as well.

    Valhrona White Chocolate: 35%

    Lindt white chocolate has about the same amount of fat as the dark chocolate as well (although some of the fat comes from fractionated oil).
     
  11. nicholas

    nicholas

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    Mmm, duly noted. Thanks smiley, for the news.
     
  12. dominique

    dominique

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    I have a white chocolate brownie recipe in which I cream the sugar and the butter together, rather than melting the butter, and then when it's fluffy, I add the melted chocolate to it. Maybe that'll help?
    :)
     
  13. nicholas

    nicholas

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    That's interesting, using the creaming method...I ever saw a recipe like that, to achieve a more cakey texture. I'll have to try that one day... thanks for the idea.