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9:59 PM
A: How to separate salt from chocolate?

MeghaYou might be able to draw off some of the salt with water, since neither cocoa solids nor cocoa butter are really that water soluble. You'll have to be careful not to mix them, as that will create an emulsion which will have the saltwater mixed in instead of separating out - it would be pretty e...

Downvoting both water based answers, because melted chocolate seizes when brought in contact with water. It can be made into a decent paste if mixed well with sufficient water, but if there is just some contact, that's very bad. The starch clumps and the sol breaks. And if you make it into a nice paste, you can't remove the water afterwards.
@rumtscho - Seized chocolate is saved by adding more water to it, though. It does become softer and looser, in the process, like a sauce - which might not matter as much when it's going to be mixed into batter for a cake after this procedure.
@rumtscho "melted chocolate seizes when brought in contact with water"- sorry, my English failed me - what "seize" means in this context?
@tsuma534 it turns into small unpleasant grains swimming in oil.
@tsuma534 This post has some explanation and a photo:… (found via google image search for "seized chocolate").
@Megha So you're suggesting letting it seize, pouring off water (and hopefully not too much oil), and then at the end adding water or other batter ingredients to smooth it back out?
9:59 PM
@rumtscho English, google-fu, kitchen science - all improved. Thank you!
@Megha Hmm. Given the possibility of re-smoothing it, it is not as bad as I thought initially. Still, the idea has many problems. I am unsure you will get much of the salt out. If you do, it will be messy, you'll lose some chocolate, will put in lots of effort, and some salt will still remain. Then you have to hope that you can really save the chocolate, which works most, but not all of the time with emulsions. In the end, despite that there is some chance of it working, I stand by my downvote because I can't imagine a situation where it is worth doing this instead of starting from scratch.
@Jefromi - yes, the seizing won't matter much because it gets distributed in the wet batter ingredients. Seizing is usually more of a problem in recipes without the extra water, like candies.
I hope you don't take my vote personally, because I find it cool that you came up with an unusual idea. The point of my downvote is to warn future readers that, under typical kitchen circumstances, they are better off not trying out the idea. From a "theoretical musing" point of view, I am glad you brought it up. If there was a way to downvote without you losing 2 points of reputation, I would have used it.
@rumtscho - Replacing salt elsewhere in a recipe is a much easier option, that's why I also suggested that - but some people think it's worth trying to salvage ingredients - especially if its a fair amount, or a good quality of chocolate. It isn't personal, it's just about different viewpoints :)
You could just mention some risk/caveats at the beginning of the answer; it's probably a clearer way to keep hapless future readers from trying it and might also make rumtscho not feel obligated to downvote :)
9:59 PM
@rumtscho You could not just comment and move on. Here is an example of an answer from you that I politely commented and did not down vote and I don't think future users were harmed.…
@Megha I have never seen a cake recipe suggesting to add a pinch of sugar to the chocolate. I would expect the additional salt to be anywhere between 30 and 100% of the chocolate's weight (that's a common range for sugar addition in recipes I've made), and the chocolate to be upwards of 50 g for a standard 26 cm cake. If we go with the lowest numbers of my estimate, we are dealing with 15 g salt - there is no way to substitute that much salt, and the removal method will have to be at least 90% efficient to make an edible cake.
@Paparazzi the primary purpose of downvoting is to give future users an indication of whether the answer will be useful for them, as evaluated by the community members. I could leave out the vote, but this would mean giving up a chance to use the system as intended. You are welcome to downvote my answers too, if you feel they are wrong or misleading.
@Paparazzi Far as I can tell, rumtscho and Megha are discussing, trying to iron out details and improve this answer. If you want to contribute to that, go for it. But please don't tell users not to try to help.
@rumtscho - Yeah, it probably won't balance in a single recipe unless salt needed is very high or chocolate used was very less - but the bowlful of salted chocolate won't be wasted if it can be used up over the next several recipes asking for both, with plenty of fresh chocolate for the rest of the recipe. Some people will discard it, some will try to find a way to use it.
If you would post a second answer simply centering about dilution (without fiddling around with water), I would upvote that one. And yes, posting two answers to the same question is OK, as long as they are two different solutions (and these two would be).
@rumtscho We can disagree (I hope). But you acknowledged your answer was not correct. If you were worried about future users thinking an an answer was useful then why not just delete you answer.
10:00 PM
@Paparazzi If you want to discuss one of rumtscho's past answers, please do it on meta, or if it's a simple issue, on that answer.
You can also create a chat room if you prefer.
@Paparazzi because I found that one incorrect argument out of any is not sufficient reason to delete a whole answer. It is rare that some answer (mine or another person's) is built around a single wrong assumption. I see the "extract the salt with water" answers to be of this kind, and not even because the water won't extract (I don't know if it will) but because the cure is worse than the disease.
It would indeed be better to go back to my answer on fryers and edit out the wrong part. I just did not invest the effort needed for it yet.
(I'd really prefer that this chat room focus on Megha's answer, since it's migrated from there, but there's a little more leeway here I suppose.)
@rumtscho Is seizing really such a problem in wet batter baked goods? I thought it was mostly a problem if the chocolate was supposed to stay dry, not if it was mixed with other things. It didn't occur to me it would be a problem in cake batter - but then, I might just not have noticed the difference.
But that incorrect argument would mean burn a fryer (and possibly building) that was low on oil.
@Paparazzi I had not thought far enough, that's my mistake. I corrected it now.
@Megha It depends on how noticeable the grains become in the batter, and how high your expectations are. I have baked cakes which I mixed badly and they had lumps of flour inside, and still ate them. But I wouldn't recommend methods which are likely to result in a subpar texture.
By the way, I'm not even sure that this is for a batter - a mixture of sugar, chocolate and butter could well be a frosting. For a batter, it is more common to cream the butter with the sugar, and to pour in the chocolate after the eggs. But this is a speculation, it could be a batter.
In the end, it is of course a judgement call. The results will not be as good as new chocolate, but they can be good enough for some bakers. I am basing my vote on my opinion of how useful the average baker would find the solution.
It is not perfect, but it is the best I have to go on. Voting is subjective.
10:20 PM
That makes sense. It didn't occur to me to warn for possible seizing because I assumed it was for a batter, and the chocolate would be re-heated and smoothed in the process of incorporating it into the rest of the wet ingredients - and any lingering grains smoothed in the heat from baking.
I wouldn't expect the grains to be smoothed during baking, just like lumped flour doesn't get smoothed during baking. They are the same thing - bits of starch covered in a capsule of slightly wetted and too-thick-to-dissolve starch.
Not great clumps of seized chocolate, I wouldn't think - but between moisture and heat, same process as smoothing the chocolate manually, I thought it might get some lingering tiny clumps from already smoothed chocolate. But then, I am usually quite forgiving towards small problems.
I am almost interested enough to try it, seizing chocolate on purpose and then baking with it. Sadly, I don't have the time to bake a chocolate cake in the next days.
Maybe somebody else knows the answer - I could make a new question.
Is seizing it outside the batter different than seizing it in the batter? Certainly the milk/buttermilk/eggs in the batter would cause the chocolate to seize? I feel like a lot of the chocolate cake recipes I use mention that it may look a bit grainy?
why would the batter cause the chocolate to seize?
10:33 PM
I thought chocolate + water = seizing.
I am also wondering, now, how liquid the chocolate needs to be to seize. I mentioned using thin layers and letting the chocolate cool to semisolid because I assumed the chocolate would be less likely to interact with the water, just pull salt form the surface. On the other hand, chopped chocolate shouldn't seize if rinsed or let sit in water - though the salt wouldn't be able to get out past the outermost edges.
I make my chocolate batters nongrainy, but I am probably not a typical baker when it comes to mixing batters.
@Catija chocolate + small amounts of water = seizing.
So chocolate + lots of water = what?
Hot chocolate?
chocolate sauce!
That makes me wonder what makes the batters I've used look grainy now.
10:34 PM
yes, anything from nonmilky ganache to nonmilky hot chocolate
if you overheated your chocolate and dumped it into cold ingredients, it would seize too
Ah... maybe that could be it. I'm usually too impatient to let the chocolate cool before adding it... but I don't tend to overheat.
it will also seize if you use the wrong color of bowl
Cake still tastes great, regardless... texture and all are good... so I don't know if it matters that much.
@Jefromi ah, the good old magic thinking ways of baking
"my mayonnaise only works in the blue bowl", when the blue boil happens to be the only ceramic bowl with 5 mm thickness in the kitchen and all other bowls get hopelessly hot in the double boiler.
And yet, sticking with what works can give success until you figure out why it works
10:39 PM
Now I want to know if it's the chocolate that's seizing in these cakes to give them the grainy texture or if it's something else in the batter.
@Megha it gives success, but not reusable success
Well, reusable until your bowl changes (Wait, mayo in double boiler?)
I have seen bakers relying on old rituals fail when they move house. Or when they try baking in somebody else's kitchen. Or frustrating others who try to learn from them, because they cannot articulate the real success criteria.
So yes, it is one path to success, but when I have the opportunity, I do invest the time in learning the whys behind baking success.
Q: What will happen if you bake seized chocolate into a batter?

rumtschoMelted chocolate is known to seize badly if it comes into contact with small amounts of water. Ideally, when wetted more and mixed, it should get better again, although I think I remember cases where this didn't work. I wonder what would happen if the chocolate is supposed to be used in a cake ...

I hope people with real experience will be able to give us more info
yes, that would be nice
I guess someone should ask the OP of the chocolate-salt question what they're making with the chocolate.
10:44 PM
as for the mayo, it so happens that I know the success criteria :) the minimal temperature is 50 Celsius, the maximal is around 83, the optimal is 72 (actually they vary a little depending on factors like acid, mustard, and speed of heating, the egg proteins really have a hysteresis)
so making it in a double boiler is the best way to get consistently good results
Yeah, I need to add some warnings if it's not being used in batter after all. And a few more specifics for the second melting to avoid the seizing, which I was assuming without explaining.
@rumtscho - Oh, neat.
You can improve the answer. I would still consider it impractical due to the effort/outcome quality ratio. Even if the seizing contributes less to reduced quality than I thought, there is the matter of having to work around it, to work with layers of chocolate at a specified temperature, and the whole "you probably will still have quite a lot of salt left in" suspicion.
Please don't be discouraged by me still keeping that point of view. I enjoyed the opportunity to think about the solution and discuss it with you, and it is really a downvote which I feel you don't "deserve" in the more personal sense.
If some care is taken during the second heating, it shouldn't seize at all... the second melting has to be done into extra water, though, to make a sauce from the get-go. It shouldn't be seizing when adding the water, because chocolate is already cooled to semi-solid
Possibly. It is still more baroque and error-prone than what bakers normally put up with, or can execute well. Semi-solid chocolate is a very thin line to walk, you have maybe a 5 Celsius wide range to work with.
No, I get your point - it is an extra risk. I am just more likely to take that risk, because of my attitudes to wasting, and greater tolerance for differences - and willing to offer the suggestion for those like me, willing to gamble.
I don't mind if other people think it isn't worth it, I know I'm taking a risk :)
10:55 PM
I used to have similar attitudes to wasting, until my time got more expensive (or at least scarce) than good chocolate :)
If it is cooler, then less salt gets pulled, since it then relies on surface area interaction - but I was thinking it would be safer than the other answer, which involved mixing the chocolate with water and separating out by cooling.
why would more salt get pulled if it is warmer?
@rumtscho solubility increases with temperature?
Not for salt
the molecules are shifting around more, more chances for the salt to get drawn out if there's more motion - just like more will get pulled out if the chocolate already has some moisture in it (like fudge texture)
11:01 PM
Hm, not very much anyways:
does make sense that it would come to equilibrium faster, though.
The thing I was actually worrying about was whether you'd end up washing away good stuff along with the salt.
I am really very tempted to start experimenting with salted chocolate. We are speculating a lot, and I wonder which effects will work in the direction we are proposing, and which of them will be culinary significant at all.
The thermodynamics of the whole are quite complex. So predictions are very difficult.
Its about the chocolate letting the salt through, in my opinion. The salt on the surface will probably get nabbed, even if the chocolate is solid - and maybe a layer or two deeper can be managed depending on how the chocolate behaves.
@rumtscho I think you should get a salinity meter
Save your tongue from having to taste all of that salted chocolate... and I suppose it'd be less subjective.
Probably wise - though some intermediate ranges might be nice, salted caramel style
11:05 PM
the meter is for the water, to see how much salt you got out
Sure... just depends on what percentage you go with.
Oooh, I guess you could use it for something savory like Mole...
yes, but the question was not how to repurpose / not waste the chocolate, but how to separate.
I would be the wrong person to do the tests, since 1) I don't like salt+sweet such as salted caramel, and 2) I shouldn't be eating the salt anyway, even if it is savory
Oh, that comment didn't have anything to do with the question... I just remembered that mole was a savory use of chocolate.
I am the wrong person too because I won't want to mess up my chocolate
I think the only chocolate I have at home is bittersweet.
11:15 PM
one of the reasons I added the dilution by way of other recipes to the end of my answer, instead of as its own answer, was that the original question was how to separate the salt out - suggesting an alternative didn't seem like a direct answer.
yes, it's a point I overlooked in one of my earlier comments
generally fair game to answer "can I do X?" with "no because... but you at least can do Y"
11:49 PM
Sure, that's fair but my answer wasn't "no, but" it was more like "this will be hard, but that will be easier"

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