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Seized buttercream

oli's picture

Seized buttercream (post #63402)

in

I have this recipe that I am trying for the first time.  It requires 8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, 2t instant espresso powder, 1 lb. unsalted butter, 5 egg whites and 1 C sugar.  The chocolate, espresso were melted and set aside till it reached 80 degrees.  It was around 78 when I folded it into the beaten butter.  At that point the chocolate seized.  I went ahead and just finished the rest of the recipe because I don't have the time to start over, and besides I don't know what I did wrong. I don't know what I did wrong, perhaps someone has an answer.


Thanks

Meryl's picture

(post #63402, reply #1 of 20)

Were the egg whites and butter at room temperature? If they were too cold, that could have caused the chocolate to seize.


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 1/19/2005 12:54 am ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #2 of 20)

Oli,


A little more information about the rest of the recipe method might be helpful to pinpointing your problem.  Am I correct in assuming that this is an Italian meringue buttercream -- you whip the egg whites, boil up a sugar syrup to firm ball stage, and then continue whipping the egg whites whilst pouring in the sugar syrup?  I think Meryl's right, it's probably an issue of temperature.  Your butter has to be at cool room temp, but softened (I usually pound the wrapped sticks of butter with a rolling pin) and your egg whites & sugar syrup need to be cooled almost to room temp before you start adding the butter (1-2 Tbs at a time).  Your recipe seems to call for blending the chocolate with the butter before mixing the butter in -- I think you'd have more success first incorporating the butter, then folding in the melted, cooled chocolate.


Hope that helps!


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Philter's picture

(post #63402, reply #3 of 20)

I thought that the authorities had taken them!


I can't help, I'm no baker.But, good luck,cheers,Phil.


'I've no desire to hang around with a bunch of upper-class delinquents, do twenty minutes' work and then spend the rest of the day loafing about in Paris drinking gallons of champagne and having dozens of  highly experienced French peasant girls galloping up and down my - hang on...' "Black Adder" (Rowan Atkinson)

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #4 of 20)

I am not at home right now to look at the recipe.  But off the top of my head, the butter  had been at room temp for most of the day.  The chocolate was added to the butter once the chocolate came down to 80 degrees.  Forget about the egg whites, because the problem occurred before the folding in of the egg whites.  Once the chocolate reach this temp of 80, you were then instructed to fold it into the butter.  Thats when I had the seized problem.  This was a recipe from Death by Chocolate by Marcel D. 


The other problem this morning when I went to finish decorating the cake was, that as I was pipping on this buttercream, naturally its not smooth, the icing wouldn't end nicely, it just broke off.  Also it wouldn't stick to the cake, so I had to use my other finger to push the icing down to the cake, so I could make another star type design.  I also used a ganache star design that also wouldn't stick to the cake.


Thats what I hate about trying new recipes, you're not 100% sure it will come out. 


Edited 1/19/2005 11:29 am ET by oli

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #5 of 20)

Sounds like you've had a lot of frustration, Oli, and I sympathize.  Nothing more aggravating than icing not staying where you've put it.  I don't have "Death by Chocolate" but I have one of Desaulnier's books and am not overly impressed with his methodology -- the few recipes that I've tried, I've used my own, well-tested methods for mixing, creaming, etc.


I can't think of any reason that melted chocolated would seize when blended with room-temp buttercream, other than a moisture imbalance of some kind.  Did you use a standard butter, or a fancy, low-moisture butter like Plugra?  I'm really grasping at straws -- maybe Biscuit will come along with some ideas. 


In any event, if you try this recipe again, I suggest adding the chocolate last by folding it into the buttercream.  I think you'd be safe that way.


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #6 of 20)

Thanks Ruth Wells.  Its interesting by all the wows, ooohs, aaaahs and "who made this", "this is incredible", "I really like the different textures".  So I was really caught by surprise.  The buttercream has little pieces of chocolate, because of the seizure, so its kinda nutty like.  What I had tried to do was beat the heck out of it, thinking that I could get the chocolate to blend, so it ended up peanutty. 


Just your standard, Smart and Final unsalted butter.  I was thinking, just looking through my other books, there is not chef or author who has suggested 80°, for the optimal blending of chocolate with the butter, so maybe that might be a problem.


What I would like to do is post the recipe and have a look at it and tell me your Tried and True method. My next try at it, will be a little more of what is to be expected, and not so frustrating. 


Anyway it was a very pleasant, albeit, unexpected WOW.


Thanks


Edited 1/19/2005 3:10 pm ET by oli


Edited 1/19/2005 6:52 pm ET by oli

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #7 of 20)

Hey, positive feedback is the best revenge!  I'm glad the final result was good.  Do definitely post the recipe, and I'll post my Tried & True chocolate Italian Meringue buttercream (from "The Cake Bible") when I'm home.  I'm curious now to try Marcel's recipe and find the glich!


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #8 of 20)

Here it is: Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over med. heat. Place 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, 2 oz. unsweet. chocolate, and 2t espresso powder in the top half of the double boiler.  Tightly cover the top with film wrap.  Allow to heat for 8 to 10 min., transfer to a stainless steel bowl, and stir until smooth.  Set aside until needed. Place 1lb of butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle.  Beat the butter on low for 2 min., then on med. for 3 min.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat on high until light and fluffy about 4-5min.  Transfer the butter to a large stainless steel bowl.  Set aside until needed. Heat 1 in. ow water in the bottom half of a double boiler over med. heat.  Place 5 eg whites and 1C of sugar in the top half of double boiler.  Gently whisk the egg whites until they reach a temp of 120°F about 3-5min. Transfer the heated egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip.  Whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer.


Fold the melted choc. into the butter, to thoroughly combine. Fold in the whipped whites until thoroughly combined.


8oz.semisweet choc. I used bittersweet


2oz unsweetened choc.


2t instant espresso powder


1lb unsalted butter, softened


5 egg whites


1C gran. sugar


I lady email from her office and says "That was great! I think that may be my favorite one so far :)".


  So many people want to know what was wrong with the cake.


 

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63402, reply #9 of 20)

Odd. Are you sure it actually seized, or did it just harden before you could incorporate it into the butter properly? If the latter, I'd say the butter, for whatever reason was still too cold. I'm perplexed by the 80 degree thing for the chocolate as well. That's dangerously close to the temperature at which it will harden from just looking at it funny. I wonder if there's a misprint in the book. I'd think 90 would be more like it.

At any rate, I'm glad everybody liked it anyway. Just call it chocolate chocoalte chip buttercream and make it your new signature frosting :-)

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #10 of 20)

Yes, thats how I looked at it, a chocolate chip buttercream, sort of Asian food thing, with the multiple textures.  I felt the temp deal was odd, as I never remember anybody having a set temp, other than saying "let cool", or "pour the chocolate mixture in when the butter is mixed to correct consistancy". 


I haven't made buttercream by this method before, but by other methods have worked just perfectly first time out.  Since I haven't read anybody ever had a problem with any of his recipes, I just felt comfortable going ahead and following the recipe to the letter.


Its always in the back of my mind " is this going to work out as promised", then when it does turn out as promised I am pleasantly surprised and I make a big note to myself that this recipe is a keeper.  Until then I will always be skeptical.


Edited 1/20/2005 11:37 am ET by oli


Edited 1/22/2005 8:40 pm ET by oli

doyenne's picture

(post #63402, reply #15 of 20)

I'm just curious but I notice the instructions for melting the chocolate say to cover with film wrap and let the chocolate heat for 8 minutes. Wouldn't the film wrap cause condensation which, in turn, might make the chocolate seize?

 

Where is Monica Lewinski when you need her?

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #17 of 20)

Wouldn't the chocolate have seized before I brought it over to mix with the butter?  I do remember stirring it before pouring it into the butter, so I would have seen that the chocolate had seized and was not pourable. Is it possible to have a drop of water mixed in the butter, which in turn would have made the chocolate seize? 


Edited 1/21/2005 5:00 pm ET by oli

Marcia's picture

(post #63402, reply #11 of 20)

Each time I see the title of this thread, I see you grabbing a buttercream and running for your life! Not that you'd have to steal anyone's buttercream, as you enjoy making it, but I cannot get the picture out of mind. It's fun.


Off topic, but speaking of fun, your boys should have a chance to use their Christmas gift this weekend, if what I hear about lots of snow is true. Stay safe.

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #12 of 20)

Hee hee!  I was thinking of the "Tarts Tried" thread from a few weeks ago.  "Tarts Tried in case of Seized Buttercream" -- Bulletin at 11!


We actually got enough snow on Wednesday that the Christmas saucer got pulled out and used to great hilarity.  Garrick went so far as to proclaim that he is going to be sure to thank Santa Claus next year for the saucer!  I think the saucer will get an excellent work-out this weekend, if we can believe the weather elves.  Reminds me, I better stock up on hot cocoa.  You stay safe also....


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Marcia's picture

(post #63402, reply #13 of 20)

"Tarts Tried in case of Seized Buttercream" - LOL - that's far better than either alone. 


I wonder if Garrick will remember to thank Santa next year? He must be really darling.

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #14 of 20)

Garrick can be pretty adorable when he puts his mind to it.  It's a good thing, as his mercurial temperment often gets the better of him, so it's nice he has the charm thing to balance it out!


Here's another one, but perhaps it belongs in the fish-pun thread?


CARPE BUTTERCREAM!


<duckin' & runnin'.........>


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Marcia's picture

(post #63402, reply #16 of 20)

Running to the corner where you belong? lt is good, but I see where Garrick gets his wickedness as well as his charm.

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #18 of 20)

Hey Ruth, don't forget about me, I'm feeling left out.:(

RuthWells's picture

(post #63402, reply #19 of 20)

I'm sorry , Oli -- havn't had a chance to post from home all week.  Here's my favorite chocolate Italian meringue buttercream.  It's from "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I don't know when I'll have a chance to try yours, but it's printed out and sitting on top of my pile!


Chocolate Mousseline Buttercream
Yield: 4.5 cups


1 lb butter at cool room temp
1 cup sugar (divided)
1/4 cup water
5 large egg whites (1/4 cup) at room temp or slightly warmed
1/2 + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
vanilla extract -- 1-2 Tbs to taste
5 oz bittersweet or extra bittersweet chocolate

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool.

Pound the butter with a rolling pin until softened.  (I leave the sticks wrapped in their paper for neatness.)  Alternatively, beat the butter with a mixer until smooth and creamy.  Set aside in a cool place (i.e., not on the hot oven or stove top).


Lightly grease the interior of a heatproof glass measuring cup and set it beside the stove.  In small, preferably non-stick, saucepan, heat 3/4 cup sugar and the 1/4 cup water, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.  Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low.  (If using an electric range, remove the pan from the burner.)

In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.  Increase the heat under the pan and boil the syrup until a candy thermometer registers 248* - 250* (the firm ball stage).  Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.

Here's the tricky part -- you need to pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow stream while not hitting the moving beater or the sides of the mixing bowl.  This is not too tough if you're using a hand mixer.  If you're using a stand mixer, if you have a steady hand you can carefully pour a thin stream of syrup between the beater and the side of the bowl with the beater on high.  If you do not have a steady hand, pour a small amount of the syrup over the egg whites with the beater off.  Immediate beat on high speed for 5 seconds.  Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup.  Immediate beat at high speed for another 5 seconds.  Continue until you've added all the syrup, using a rubber scraper to get the last of the sryup out of the measuring cup.  Whichever method of adding the syrup you've used, lower the mixer speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture is completely cool.


Beat in the butter at medium speed, 1 Tbs at a time.  At first the mixture will seem thinner but will thicken beautfully after the last addition of butter.  If at any time the mixture seems curdled, increase the mixer speed slightly and beat until smooth before adding more butter.


Lower the speed and drizzle in the vanilla extract.  Beat in the melted, cooled chocolate.  Store airtight, 2 days at room temp, 10 days refrigerated, 8 months frozen.  Allow to come to room temp before rebeating or it will break down irretrievably.

This buttercream is quite sturdy compared with buttercreams using egg yolks, and holds piped decorations very nicely.


 


Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

oli's picture

(post #63402, reply #20 of 20)

Thanks Ruth, I bet you have a big pile of "to tries".  I really try to restrain myself for the last year or two.  I put mine in a binder and have been determined to get  through it and not to add unless its someone's rave cake that's elaborate and/or has irresistable presentation. 


I knew you guys were going to get the big one.  When most of us were floating around with the rains, which we haven't had since '72,  I was thinking "look out you guys back east, its gonna be the big one".  I haven't shoveled snow since I moved from Canada and the NWTerritories, but I didn't mind it then, I don't know how I would feel now.


Edited 1/22/2005 10:37 pm ET by oli


Edited 1/22/2005 10:43 pm ET by oli