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Choc Mousse, what am I doing wrong , adding eggs to chocolate, it goes beserk !!!! ???

Please help me Chow Hounds. I love mousse. Each time I make it, I melt the choc in a stainless steel bowl over very lightly simmering water, this all melts beautifully. Then the recipes always ask you to take off the heat and add the egg yolks and mix til glossy. When I add the yolks the mix goes all lumpy and thick, starts looking like a thick paste....which I then get the beaters to try and fix it, which makes it even worse so that all the paste is just caught in the actual beaters... Then it's time to fold in the cream to this goop and I can see there's a million little lumps that are going to be present. Then I fold in the egg whites. Consistency of moussiness is great, but I HATE lumps. What is the secret to getting the yolks and choc to combine without reacting like this ? Yes I used couveture choc, I think it was 60%-70% or somthing. I don't get the bottom of bowl wet, I keep all my utensils dry and clean....there must be a solution ?? any thoughts ??
One last question too... I think mousse should be lump free...do other people think it is satisfactory to have little choc bits through it ?

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  1. What recipe are you using? Are your egg yolks at room temp or cold when you add them to the chocolate?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      300 ml cream, 30 gms sugar, 130 gms choc, 4 eggs.
      My eggs were room temperature. All parts of the recipe work fine except adding the yolks & choc stage. I have a few more tips below that might solve my problem.

    2. The lumps are cooked egg yolks. You have to "temper" the eggs by sloooowly adding a little heated chocolate to the eggs and wisking the eggs and then adding a little more and wisking, etc. The idea is to get the temperature of the eggs approaching the temperature of the chocolate, before adding the eggs to the chocolate.

      Or maybe I'm full of lumps, myself.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yayadave

        ok.. I can try that next time. So I'll have my big bowl of melted choc..add a couple of spoons bit by bit in to the egg (yolks), whisking as I go...then put this slightly warmer mix back in my original bowl of melted choc ??

        1. re: pinktori71

          That's the way tempering is done. You would do it in similar situation making creme brulee. Maybe just warming the yolks would be enough.
          I don't know about chocolate "seizing."
          I hope we find out about "ribboning."
          Now I'm curious about your recipe.

      2. As other said, start with room temperature eggs.

        Add a little butter to the chocolate before adding the yolks.

        When you have the chocolate mixture on the one hand, and the beaten egg whites on the other hand (and be sure you didn't over beat the egg whites), incorporate a little of the chocolate to the egg whites first. Then add the egg whites to the chocolate. Incorporating some of the chocolate into the whites before you "officially" mix them together will help even out the egg whites and prevent lumps.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Darren72

          thanks. It was the yolks that were the problem, but I guess the principle is the same.

          1. re: pinktori71

            Sorry, from your earlier post it seemed as though both the yolks and the whites were giving you problems.

            Your original post didn't mention butter but your reply to someone else did. So I'm not sure when/if you are using it. But definitely add butter to the chocolate after melting it, but before adding the yolks. The added moisture should prevent the chocolate from seizing up. You might also be sure that you aren't overheating the chocolate in the double boiler.

            Finally, it is important not to add anything too cold to the melted chocolate (hence everyone's suggestion to use room temperature eggs). Tempering the yolks will also raise their heat and help prevent the chocolate from seizing.

        2. Are you ribboning the eggs/yolks before adding them to your melted chocolate? Everytime I've made mousse, I've melted the chocolate, with a little butter and a little salt, added a little rum and/or vanilla and/or espresso off heat, then folded in my yolks ribboned with sugar. Lastly, I whip my whites seperately with half as much sugar, and fold that in too. No lumps, just creamy goodness.
          If you'd like a recipe, I'd be happy to give you mine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rabaja

            Thanks. I like my recipe as it tastes really nice and the texture is great...I just need this glitch to be overcome !!
            Sorry to sound stupid, but what does ribboning the yolks mean exactly ??

            1. re: pinktori71

              Ribboning is when you beat your yolks with a whisk attachment and gradually add in the sugar. This can be done by hand, but a kitchen aide mixer makes it easy work. Once your sugar is added, increase the speed of the mixer and let it go until wavy, soft "ribbons" are created when you pull the whisk attachment away from the bowl. Then fold this into your chocolate mixture. You will get more volume out of your yolks this way, resulting in a lighter mousse.
              Not sure about the whole seizing thing. Generally chocolate will seize when a small amount of liquid is introduced into the mix, or if the temperature you are working in is quite cold. What is in your chocolate mixture before you add your yolks and whites?

          2. Unless your melted chocolate is very hot, it should not have cooked the egg yolks. If your chocolate turned into a thick paste, the chocolate has 'seized'. Sometimes chocolate does funny things. Usually melting the chocolate with a little butter or liquid flavoring will prevent this. If it does seize, whisk in a little soft butter or warm liquid flavoring will smoothen out the mixture.

            4 Replies
            1. re: PBSF

              I agree with this, the chocolate is seizing. You have to get over 170 degrees to cook eggs, I very much doubt melting chocolate is anywhere near this hot. Seizing is usually cause by abrupt changes in temperature and/or adding too much liquid at a time. I would have the egg yolks slightly warmed to about blood heat, add a little at a time and beat well to incorporate before adding more.

              1. re: cheryl_h

                I agree that the problem is chocolate is seizing, not yolks being cooked. But the protein yolks coagulates at 154 degrees.

                1. re: cheryl_h

                  Yes, it sounds like seizing to me too. But it's *water* and not liquid that would make it seize. Yolks should be high in fat which would *not* cause chocolate to seize. Is it possible that the yolks in your part of the world contain a higher percentage of water and a lower percentage of fat?

                  1. re: rainey

                    Everything you wrote is correct, though if the yolks were very cold, adding them to the chocolate could cool the chocolate enough to make it seize. This, of course, doesn't seem to be the case there, since the eggs were room temp.

              2. First, always add a little bit of neutral oil or butter to your chocolate when melting it. This makes it melt more smoothly, and it will "accept" the eggs much more readily, since fat wants to stay with fat, not with water. If you want the butter flavour, use butter; if you want your recipe essentially unadulterated, use neutral oil (grapeseed or canola).

                Second, beat your egg yolks until they turn light and fluffy, about 2 minutes in a stand mixer.

                Now you have a choice: you can temper the eggs or the chocolate, your choice.

                To temper the eggs, put a tablespoon of chocolate in the eggs and beat it in. Then put another tablespoon of chocolate and it beat it in. Then a third. That should warm the eggs enough that you can stir the (now-chocolatey) eggs back into the remainder of the chocolate without the eggs cooking.

                To temper the chocolate, have your sink mostly full of cold water (ice water is OK too), then put your stainless-steel or glass bowl with the hot chocolate on top of the water and whip the chocolate until it shines, about 1-2 minutes by hand. That will cool it enough (while still being liquid) that you should be able to beat in your eggs and sugar with no problem.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  That's an interesting thought! I just checked the recipe I've been using without problem for 20+ years and it *does* have butter melted with the chocolate. The only water is added in a sugar syrup to make an Italian meringue with the whites. My recipe also specifies tempering the sugared yolks before adding the bulk of the chocolate. But, although I was *horrified* the first time I saw someone fail to temper yolks before using them in a hot cream soup in a cooking demo, since that time I've skipped tempering by just adding whatever hot liquid in a slow stream as I whisk and I've never had curdled eggs. Tempering is an effective way to combine egg yolks and hot liquid but not the only way.

                2. I made chocolate mousse for the first time using Tony Bourdain's recipe in the Les Halles book. It was very easy, and I had no problems whatsoever. His recipe calls for 4 TB of butter to be whisked in after choc has melted. As others have said, this step seems to really help. It's also important that you add your yolks and incorporate one at a time.

                  Here's a link to an old report, including the choc mousse. There's a photo link but no recipe: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  If you are interested in me paraphrasing it, then let me know. Even though you like the flavor of yours, I personally think you could use a new recipe...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    I was just going to say that my recipe calls for butter. I believe you need the butter to keep the eggs from seizing the chocolate.

                    (oops, didn't notice this was a thread from 6 years ago!)

                  2. This is an interesting thread, not just for the immediate problem of making a mousse, but for problems of recipe writing and interpretation. If this is a recipe from a friend, maybe they just didn’t think to mention “warm eggs” or “tempering.” A recipe from a restaurant chef could be the same. They just do it and don’t even think about it. A recipe in a dessert book might not mention certain steps because they stated them clearly in the notes in the front. Sort of “You’ve been told. We don’t have to mention it again.” It may be a recipe for a good dessert just badly written. Lots of that going around because writing clear instructions is hard. Just musing.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: yayadave

                      I haven't seen the recipe in Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook, but I don't feel tempering is necessary in making chocolate mousse. If the chocolate is melted slowly to warm (especially with a touch of butter) and the eggs are room temperature, there should be no danger of cooking the eggs or having the chocolate seizing. I would temper the eggs if there is a large amount of hot liquid such as in making creme anglaise.
                      I am sure you agree that working with chocolate can be very tricky and once awhile has a mind of its own. I've have melted chocolate a hundred times without any problem, then suddenly the next time, it seized on me because I smiled at it the wrong way. I just shrud my shoulders and move on.

                      1. re: PBSF

                        Agree w/ your comments. Bourdain's recipe does not call for any sort of tempering or ribboning of the yolks. Just incorporate slowly. It was really straight forward and easy IMO. That said, chocolate can have a mind of its own. From the OP's comments though, it sounds like he/she has had consistent problems w/ his/her recipe.

                        1. re: PBSF

                          See, that's what I mean. It's in the front of the book. "Don't smile the wrong way at your melted chocolate."

                        2. re: yayadave

                          yes, you're right... it was from a chef and I guess they take for granted that I would know the little tricks that make the difference....and as I mentioned below, think my house was so damn cold on the weekend , that "room temperature" wasn't very warm at all !

                        3. I use Pierre Herme's chocolate mousse recipe and enjoy it - from Chocolate Desserts by P.H. Melt chocolate and keep warm, fold in softly whipped cream, then fold in eggs whipped with sugar (heated, whisking over bain then whipped until cool & fluffy). Try folding in the cream first, see if that works for you. The cream should be quite soft, more mounding and billowy than peaking or firm. Fold some choc. cream into the eggs, then fold it all together.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: babette feasts

                            Responding to an old post but in the revived thread: I would agree with this order of sequencing. Mixing yolks into chocolate as the first step is notoriously unreliable. Seizure is always a possibility, and you have to watch the particular composition of your chocolate. Different chocolates have different proportions of sugar and cocoa butter. Low-sugar, high cocoa butter formulations are especially risky. And in response to the original poster, there is a BIG difference between a 60% and a 70% formulation. Couverture also typically has a high cocoa butter percentage, although there are variations here. As mentioned by another poster if you're going to do it this way then the yolks should be added one at a time, but still, mixing the chocolate into the cream is much more reliable and gives better results.

                            The one thing I would add is that for even better results it's slightly better to beat the chocolate into the cream rather than folding it in: you get better retention of air and even better mixing. Then if each additional ingredient is beaten in save the egg whites, which usually do work better folded in, you get an optimum result.

                            One other note on chocolate type: Don't get a dark-roasted, coffee-like chocolate such as e.g. Pralus; anything with a very dark, roasty flavour in mousse ends up tasting like mud. Likewise anything that uses Dutch-processed chocolate (you can usually identify this by the very, very black bar colour). As a general rule chocolates whose colour is close to black, whether from roasting or Dutching, will be disastrous; light-coloured ones with the colour of terra-cotta or even lighter, having a bright, fruity taste (the ideal source is Madagascar) are the ones suitable for a mousse. A classic choice is Valrhona's Manjari.

                          2. This is such a great site. I am going to do the tempering with egg yolk and choc, bit by bit...thing next time and see how I go. Also in melbourne at the moment it's so cold, maybe room temperature eggs were still pretty cold in our house ! thanks for all of the tips. I think it was seizing that was occuring. BTW we took the mousses to the dinner party anyway and everyone still devoured them, but I wasn't thrilled. ALSO, I used really good quality choc..carabout (something spelt like that)...but I have enjoyed it just as much with the Nestle or Plaidestowe cooking choc... I know it's against the foodie law to say this !!!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: pinktori71

                              So cold...! Wanna trade? It's so hot (46°C) that even with the air-conditioning running full-bore, my blocks of Valrhona chocolate started to melt and had to be put in the refrigerator.

                              The first rule of Chowhound is that there is no food that is too pedestrian to be loved. I love KD just as much as I love fancy Thai food from Lotus of Siam.

                              1. re: pinktori71

                                I took a look at some mousse recipes on RecipeZaar. Some of the comments really got into seizing and the differance between European and American chocolate and the different order of operations for mixing the chocolate, egg yolks, custard, sugar. I always thought it was just chocolat pudding.

                              2. Came here looking for answers to my siezed chocolate (cold egg yolks were my problem) and got a lot out of this discussion for future mousse, but not how to fix the current mess of siezed chocolate! I melt my chocolate in the microwave (repeat 10-30 sec heat and stir til melted, works really well and less messy, less stressful). This probably means it's not as hot as out of the double saucepan, so my siezed chocolate was cold. I re-heated the siezed chocolate then slowly mixed in some hot water (from the kettle) with a beater, which restored the proper consistency.

                                1. So, it's a little late, but I've had this exact problem before, and found the solution to it :) Chocolate seizes when small quantities of water cause the melted chocolate to clump together. However, if even more water is added, they surround and lubricate the chocolate molecules causing the mixture to remain a liquid. So the problem is often that not enough egg yolks are being added to the chocolate. I've found that 3 yolks for 100g chocolate is NOT enough- using 4 yolks gives a consistent result. I also suspect that melting butter into the chocolate before adding the egg will also prevent the chocolate from seizing. Also, I think that adding all of the yolks at once is better than adding them one at a time, because adding them one at a time will cause the chocolate to seize first

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: blahmehblah

                                    If you're having trouble with chocolate seizing, don't melt butter into it; 20% of the weight of a given piece of butter is water, and as it melts, you run the risk of seizure. Use a neutral oil like grapeseed (I don't like canola anymore, for some reason it's started to taste chemically to me) or a complementary oil like walnut, almond or hazelnut. Go back to butter once you've figured out the seizure issue. :)

                                    Make sure you beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl before adding them. Even just a few strokes with a whisk will help, but if you beat the yolks until they lighten you'll find that the resulting mousse is much lighter. Beating the egg yolks helps to denature the proteins and means you can integrate the eggs into the chocolate with fewer strokes.

                                    1. re: blahmehblah

                                      I just took a gander at Bourdain's recipe, and it looks promising. One detail that seems to be missing is when to remove the melted choc mixture from the heat. Before adding eggs, or after? What temp should the choc mixture be when you begin folding in the whites?

                                      1. re: kirs10

                                        I have not made or read the Bourdain recipe but from making tons of chocolate mousse: remove the chocolate when all the chocolate is melted and smooth. Off the heat then whisk in the egg yolks. The chocolate mixture should cool a bit but still slightly warm when folding in the whites. If the chocolate is too hot, the white will collapse and if too cold, it will be too stiff to fold. Once the egg yolks are whisked in, whip the egg whites and by the time they are done, the chocolate will be cool enough to fold.

                                    2. This exact problem happened to me when making chocolate mousse tonight. My chocolate seized HARD when I added my egg yolks.

                                      When confronted with the seized chocolate was of Herve This' water and chocolate only chocolate mousse. http://food52.com/blog/2932_herv_this...

                                      I've never been a huge fan of the texture that the This mousse, but I figured it was better than seized chocolate, so I quickly added about a cup of water to my seized chocolate and whisked it over the heat until all the chocolate was dissolved and then moved the mixture over an ice bath and started whisking.

                                      When I was about 90 percent the way to having the this mousse set up I realized that the water chocolate had taken on the texture of soft peak whipped cream. I had already whipped egg whites and cream for my mousse, so I decided to just fold the egg whites and into the chocolate mixture and see what happened.

                                      Overall I'm pretty happy with the result. All the extra water means the mousse has a less intense flavor than it otherwise would have and I have nearly a third extra mousse, but the texture is lovely and the chocolate still come through.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jbeales

                                        "I have nearly a third extra mousse"

                                        Oh,yes, that sounds terrible!!

                                      2. I have to say that although all the above suggestions are sound, my recipe seems more like yours and it never fails. From what I can gather, reading between the lines, you're not letting the chocolate cool enough before adding the yolks and they must be added one by one. I don't use room temperature eggs either, but I do add 2 Tbsp water for 6 oz chocolate while melting. My recipe even says that it will sieze at first and then become smooth and glossy. Just add the egg yolks one at a time and cool the chocolate. I melt the chocolate and then take the egggs out of the fridge, separate, beat egg whites so they're ready and the start adding yolks. The egg prep seems to give the choc the perfect amount of time to cool.

                                        1. P.S. Don't add the chocolate to the whites - add a bit of the whites to the chocolate so you lighten up that mix which makes it easier to fold in the rest of the whites without them deflating.

                                          1. P.P.S. Mine uses 6 egg yolks. Just keep stirring with spoon until each yolk is incorporated.

                                            1. As suggested below, when the chocolate seized, I added warm water a bit at a time and whisked hard. I had a looser mixture, but it will be mousse. The recipe I used does not call for cream, though.

                                              1. I have just had exactly the same thing happen to me. The chocolate was cooled, i added the egg yolks and it seized! So my mousse now has big lumps of chocolate through it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: ismaym

                                                  Next time keep the chocolate on the warm side, that should help.