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Ganache: How do you make it?


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#1 jrshaul

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

In the universe, there are only two truly infinite things: Ganache preparation techniques and obnoxious political advertisements. Those between Canada and Mexico have already suffered too many of the latter, so let's discuss the former instead.

My technique (which is, honestly, in need of refinement):

8oz (by weight) dark chocolate
4oz (by measure) whipping cream
1T corn syrup

Coarsely chop chocolate. Bring cream mixed with corn syrup to the beginning of a boil. Pour over chopped chocolate. Mix well with electric eggbeater turned up pretty high.

#2 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

I've never ever made ganache with a power tool before. What's your texture like? Particularly with dark chocolate, I'm always concerned about bruising it and the resulting separation and graininess that causes.

Here's what I do:

18 oz (by measure) nata - the NorAm equivalent to this is, I believe, double cream
5 oz (by weight) 75% cocoa solids dark chocolate, chopped
5 oz (by weight) 99% cocoa solids mother of chocolate, chopped
0.5 oz (by measure) corn syrup
2 oz (by weight) sweet butter
2 oz (by measure) liquor. I'm very fond of Solera Reserva brandies, but both Rum and Kahlua are also quite pleasant, and on one memorable occasion I made B-52 (it didn't even last long enough to fill the chocolates I was working on! :laugh: .)

Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.

This is a slightly softer ganache due to the presence of the liquor; if you omit it, the ganache will set a great deal harder. However, the flavour is heavenly and the texutre is silky and smooth.
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#3 HungryC

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:02 PM

2:1 chocolate to cream ratio....chop or break up chocolate, put in a microwave safe Pyrex measuring cup. Zap it at 50% power in one minute bursts, stirring between increments, repeating until cream is warmed enough to melt the chocolate. No need to beat. Gentle stirring is sufficient.

#4 JeanneCake

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:42 PM

Our go to formula for most of the ganache we use (cake filling, outside coat on cake) is 2# chopped chocolate or callets - we use bittersweet choc, usually a 60% - 8 butter in with the chocolate. Then in a pot, 2# heavy cream (40%). If we are using it for tarts where we'd like to to maintain a gloss for a few hours, I'll sub an ounce or two of corn syrup for an ounce of 2 of cream. Bring to a rolling boil (as in climbing the pot) then pour over the chocolate/butter. Let it sit for a minute or so, then stir very gently with a whisk. Then leave it alone!

#5 Kerry Beal

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

Chocolate at about 30º C, cream (and glucose and any booze) at about 40º C. Stir until forms emulsion.

#6 jrshaul

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:54 PM

The electric eggbeater was used for 13 batches of ganache in a row with zero failures. A hippie stole one, but it was mercifully the completely inedible tea-infused ganache I was too embarrassed to throw away...

Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.


This is pretty much a 100% inversion of what I do - I'm very nervous about adding a water-based ingredient (corn syrup) or liquor to a ganache in fear of breaking it. Do you slowly drizzle it in or dump all at once?

I sometimes make a syrup of the liquor if I'm using a great deal by reducing it with the sweeteners.

I've never, ever heard of mother of chocolate before, but I'll try and find some on your recommendation. I feel marginally less embarrassed of my ignorance on the basis that Google hasn't heard of it either.

However, the big problem of the day seems to be that I'm using store-bought whipping cream, which I suspect is on the shallow side of 30%. How should I seek the good stuff?

Also, infinite Internet kudos to anyone who can tell me how to add citrus oils (a la Boyajian) without breaking the ganache.

#7 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:24 AM


Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.


This is pretty much a 100% inversion of what I do - I'm very nervous about adding a water-based ingredient (corn syrup) or liquor to a ganache in fear of breaking it. Do you slowly drizzle it in or dump all at once?

I sometimes make a syrup of the liquor if I'm using a great deal by reducing it with the sweeteners.

I've never, ever heard of mother of chocolate before, but I'll try and find some on your recommendation. I feel marginally less embarrassed of my ignorance on the basis that Google hasn't heard of it either.

However, the big problem of the day seems to be that I'm using store-bought whipping cream, which I suspect is on the shallow side of 30%. How should I seek the good stuff?

Also, infinite Internet kudos to anyone who can tell me how to add citrus oils (a la Boyajian) without breaking the ganache.


I've never had a problem with cracking when I add glucose or corn syrup at that point - it gets drizzled in while stirring, just as the booze would. Both are water-based, but since they're added slowly and near the end of the process I've never ever had any issues. I have found, though, that my ganaches crack when I start with sweetened cream. Perhaps it's an altitude thing? Other than the corn syrup, I add no sweetening to my ganaches; they've got a complex bitter and fruity flavour from the Mother that I hate to hide.

Mother of Chocolate is my direct, literal translation of a product I buy at the market (called Madre de Chocolate); it's pailettes of first-refining bitter chocolate with no sweetening and very little cocoa butter in it. It's used down here as a basis for making sweeter grades of chocolate and for making Ambato-style hot chocolate. I'll take a picture of some later today so that you know what you're looking for - it's incredibly bitter and very dry, and it's the main reason I add butter to the ganache preparation. The closest you'll find in North America is probably Mexican drinking chocolate tablets, unless you're very lucky and have an Ecuadorian market in your area (at which point, look for Chocolate Ambateño or Chocolate de Judith - those are the two most common export brands, both of which are produced in the city where I live). If you've still got no luck, pm me and we'll arrange something.

I have absolutely no advice for you on how to find heavier cream. I buy mine directly from a farmer, and half the time it's a barter transaction.

Citrus oils (and indeed any other aromatic oils) should be added at the same stage that you would butter - ie after the chocolate has emulsified. Then the overall temperature of the ganache will be low enough to prevent changing the flavour of the oils, and since they're oils they won't cause any problems vis a vis cracking.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#8 Mjx

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:32 AM


. . . . how to add citrus oils (a la Boyajian) without breaking the ganache.


I always add flavourings (oils, water-based infusions, alcohol, etc.) to the cream, and carry on as usual; I've never run into any problems.
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#9 curls

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:37 AM

jrshaul not sure if you are interested in a ganache for cake or for chocolates but one of these two books should be very useful:
"The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum
"Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner" by Peter Greweling

You should be able to get both from the library and there are discussion threads about these on eGullet too.

#10 kaszeta

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

For me, it's relatively simple: get the heaviest cream I can find. Scald it, and add twice the volume of bittersweet chocolate to the scalded cream. If adding liqueur, I usually add it right before the chocolate. I then run it through a fine mesh before using it to get any random debris from the scalding out of it. No problems.

#11 Darienne

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

For me, it's relatively simple: get the heaviest cream I can find. Scald it, and add twice the volume of bittersweet chocolate to the scalded cream. If adding liqueur, I usually add it right before the chocolate. I then run it through a fine mesh before using it to get any random debris from the scalding out of it. No problems.

This sounds pretty much like what I do. Liquids into the hot cream, then add chopped chocolate, whichever kind I am using.

Of course, some special ganaches do take butter, corn syrup, and other ingredients and then I would probably just follow the instructions, at least once.
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#12 lebowits

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:27 PM

I've never ever made ganache with a power tool before. What's your texture like? Particularly with dark chocolate, I'm always concerned about bruising it and the resulting separation and graininess that causes.


I've been using a stick blender on a relatively low speed when I incorporate the butter and booze. This gives me an excellent emulsion. I'd love to say I came up with the idea, but I saw this technique being used by someone else.
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#13 patti_h

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

Steve I use an immersion blender too, and I forget where I read about it but I really like the way the ganache turns out when using it. I wish I could remember where I learned about that tip....

#14 Kerry Beal

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

The first time I remember posting about that method was here.

#15 lebowits

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:04 AM

The first time I remember posting about that method was here.


Kerry - You're much too organized.
Steve Lebowitz
Doer of All Things
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Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

#16 Kerry Beal

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:46 AM


The first time I remember posting about that method was here.


Kerry - You're much too organized.

You wouldn't call me organized if you saw my chocolate room today - two days after the Luxury Chocolate Show. Piles of boxes with dirty dishes mixed in with all the other stuff. Maybe I'll get to it tonight!

#17 keychris

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

I just pour the boiled cream over the chocolate, directly in my blender, blast it until it's smooth. If it needs butter, I cover it with clingwrap until it's cooled to 32C, then pulse the butter in. Never had it split, never grainy. Now I've said that, I'll probably get it happen this weekend :p

#18 jrshaul

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

The blender is a novel idea. I've had good luck with the eggbeaters, but the overspray is nothing short of comedic.

Am I the only one having trouble with concentrated citrus oils? I've had cream start to curdle outright after adding not very much. The Boyajian stuff is very strong - enough so that a leak in your pocket will give a truly hideous rash on your leg.

Edited by jrshaul, 08 November 2012 - 09:21 AM.


#19 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

Maybe try using less, or else add it to melted butter, solidify that, and use the flavoured butter in place of adding the oils neat.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#20 Kerry Beal

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

Citrus oils can burn for sure - I add them to the chocolate or to the emulsion after it is made rather than to the cream.

#21 aprilmei

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:08 PM

Several years ago, I attended a demo by Frederic Bau of Valrhona. He says to treat ganache as an emulsion - if you add the liquid slowly to the melted chocolate, it won't break. He used an immersion blender. Melted the chocolate, warmed the cream (but it can't be too hot) then added the cream in slowly, letting incorporate fully before adding more. At first, the chocolate stiffens but as you keep whisking in cream, it smooths out and becomes shiny and smooth.
You can use different types of liquid - not necessarily cream. I've made water ganaches and tea ganaches.
It's not the lack of fat in the cream that makes the ganache break; it's the way you add the liquid to the chocolate.

#22 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:32 PM

jrshaul not sure if you are interested in a ganache for cake or for chocolates but one of these two books should be very useful:
"The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum
"Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner" by Peter Greweling

You should be able to get both from the library and there are discussion threads about these on eGullet too.


The Cake Bible technique is what I use. Not that I've made ganache in a while.

#23 jrshaul

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:26 AM

Several years ago, I attended a demo by Frederic Bau of Valrhona. He says to treat ganache as an emulsion - if you add the liquid slowly to the melted chocolate, it won't break. He used an immersion blender. Melted the chocolate, warmed the cream (but it can't be too hot) then added the cream in slowly, letting incorporate fully before adding more. At first, the chocolate stiffens but as you keep whisking in cream, it smooths out and becomes shiny and smooth.
You can use different types of liquid - not necessarily cream. I've made water ganaches and tea ganaches.
It's not the lack of fat in the cream that makes the ganache break; it's the way you add the liquid to the chocolate.


Has anyone used a great big syringe to control the flow,or perhaps a turkey injector? I've heard of the mythical "water ganache", and this seems like a possibility.

Alternately, in butter-containing ganache, a beurre monte might be an option?

#24 aprilmei

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:39 AM

You don't need to add the liquid drop by drop as you do with oil when starting a mayonnaise. He poured in a small ladle-ful of cream then tilted the bowl so it pooled at the edges of the bowl. Then he worked the liquid in slowly to the chocolate, tilting the bowl so some of the liquid dribbled into chocolate slowly. It's hard to describe.
Water ganache sounds like it wouldn't work but it does.

#25 merlicky

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

You can dump the cream right over the chocolate without a problem. The technique them becomes stirring in small circles to create the initial emulsion, and widening those circles as the ganache begins to form. Despite what chefs from Valrhona say (and they are notorious for claiming their way is the only way), there is no one magic way to form a ganache. Many different techniques will produce the same (or at least very similar) results as long as they are done consistently. I’d recommend trying various methods and figuring out what is easiest for you.

I have developed slightly different techniques depending on the truffles I am making. A chocolate cheesecake ganache, a champagne ganache, a caramel based ganache, a plain chocolate ganache, all have slightly different methods that seem to produce the best result in the easiest way. I can get them all to work using one technique, but it isn’t as efficient. For instance, I use an emersion blender with cheesecake, I add flavorings at a different time with champagne, and I don’t pre-melt any of the chocolate with caramel based ganaches.

If you have trouble with ganache breaking or being grainy, then I have found it is usually caused by one of two things. The first is that you didn’t emulsify it properly. If you are just stirring then use a glass bowl and check if the ganache is smooth and slightly clingy as it runs down the side of the bowl. If you see small chunks or an inconsistent look then keep stirring or hit it with an emulsion blender. I’d recommend not using a whisk or beaters since they incorporate air. This reduces shelf life and if used in truffles can cause the ganache to shrink inside the shell after awhile leaving air pockets.

The second issue is that one of the ingredients may have been too cold. If you add the butter after the emulsion is formed, make sure that it is soft and at room temperature. The graininess is often caused by colder butter (or other ingredients) that comes into contact with the cocoa butter. The cocoa butter sets faster around the cooler ingredients and forms little clumps. This is why the ganache will look good initially, but get grainy as is sets. It is also why the little “grains” will melt.

#26 aprilmei

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:03 PM

You can dump the cream right over the chocolate without a problem. The technique them becomes stirring in small circles to create the initial emulsion, and widening those circles as the ganache begins to form. Despite what chefs from Valrhona say (and they are notorious for claiming their way is the only way), there is no one magic way to form a ganache. Many different techniques will produce the same (or at least very similar) results as long as they are done consistently. I’d recommend trying various methods and figuring out what is easiest for you.




You describe this well - better than I could have.

#27 Edward J

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

I make about 25 varieties of filled bon-bons, so for me "ganache" is a pretty loose description.

Basically, I use two methods

The first is with the food processor, about 90% of my ganaches are done there. Ganaches with just cream and couverture, with fruit puree and cream, with tea flavoured cream, etc.

The second method I use is "blocking", I make the ganache in a bowl, then dump it out on a marble slab. With my scraper (a 9" s/s drywall knife, actually) I push the ganache from one end to the other until it starts to crysatlize. For some reason, this method gives me a much better flavour with high fat content (butter) ganaches.

#28 lironp

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

I blend all of my ganaches with a hand blender, or make them in a food processor from the start, the difference in texture is incredible, and totally worth the effort in my opinion. If you do that, then I think Valrhona's method doesn't have any added value- it is supposed to create a better emulsion, but I think that if you use the blender at the end, it really doesn't matter how you created your ganache (as long as you just add alcohol and essential oils after it has cooled down a bit, so they won't evaporate), the result will be the same.
When blending with a hand blender, you can really see the ganache emulsify and change texture to something like mayonnaise, and this results in a much smoother and creamier texture. In my experience, if I don't do that, then within a few days, the ganache starts getting more dry and grainy. You can always judge of a chocolatier has done this by seeing your teeth marks in the ganache after you have bitten into a chocolate.

#29 jrshaul

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:30 PM

The second method I use is "blocking", I make the ganache in a bowl, then dump it out on a marble slab. With my scraper (a 9" s/s drywall knife, actually) I push the ganache from one end to the other until it starts to crysatlize. For some reason, this method gives me a much better flavour with high fat content (butter) ganaches.


I have not seen this discussed previously. I'll have to try it.

#30 Andrew Li

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

Hey!

Can I melt the chocolate first and then add it to the cream, or do I have to add the chocolate to the cream when the chocolate is still in a solid state?

 

thanks!