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Tempered Chocolate in Ganache

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#1 Jim D.

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

Ewald Notter calls for using tempered chocolate in his butter ganache recipes. Peter Greweling calls for using it not only in butter ganache but also in all slabbed ganache. Today I made Greweling's "Raspberry Bites" (a butter ganache recipe). I dutifully tempered milk and dark chocolate to make the ganache. But when I added the chocolates to the butter (all more or less at the prescribed temperatures), the mixture developed small lumps. I went ahead and added the raspberry brandy, and it got worse. Thankfully I had my immersion blender and beat the mixture over warm water until the lumps melted. There appeared to be no harm done from heat or blender; I had no other idea of what to do. I am wondering if the tempered chocolate is really necessary. I understand from Greweling's book that the difference is one of improved texture, but I could put up with a less-than-perfect texture rather than lumps in the ganache. Any ideas would be appreciated.

#2 Kerry Beal

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

I find that the ganaches I make with tempered (or at least cooler - 30º or so) chocolate set up more quickly and have better texture than those where the chocolate is too warm. With a butter ganache I'd be making sure the butter was a pretty soft room temperature when I introduced it - or doing exactly what you did - warming it up a bit and mixing until the lumps disappear.

#3 Edward J

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

I use tempered for all of my ganaches, but I use a robot-coupe to process them.

They do set up faster, which means you can cap them faster, which means you have less opportunity for contaminents to settle on the ganache before capping.

#4 RWood

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:15 PM

In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

#5 Jim D.

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:35 PM

In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

Perhaps you can suggest what went wrong with my butter ganache. As I said previously, lumps formed when I added the (supposedly) tempered milk and dark, then I added the brandy. I put the bowl over warm water and used the immersion blender to make it (mostly) smooth. It was quite soft in texture when I spread it in the frame (and, by the way, the quantity Greweling calls for was not sufficient to fill the frame, which made it impossible to get it completely level). I hoped the ganache would be firm today, but it was still soft. I was able to cut it, but not neatly, and dipping the pieces was very difficult. The texture of the filling makes it wonderful to eat, but it was much too difficult to work with. I assumed that using tempered chocolate would make it set firmly. I'm thinking the lumps formed because the chocolate was indeed tempered, but why didn't it set up?

#6 RWood

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:21 PM


In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

Perhaps you can suggest what went wrong with my butter ganache. As I said previously, lumps formed when I added the (supposedly) tempered milk and dark, then I added the brandy. I put the bowl over warm water and used the immersion blender to make it (mostly) smooth. It was quite soft in texture when I spread it in the frame (and, by the way, the quantity Greweling calls for was not sufficient to fill the frame, which made it impossible to get it completely level). I hoped the ganache would be firm today, but it was still soft. I was able to cut it, but not neatly, and dipping the pieces was very difficult. The texture of the filling makes it wonderful to eat, but it was much too difficult to work with. I assumed that using tempered chocolate would make it set firmly. I'm thinking the lumps formed because the chocolate was indeed tempered, but why didn't it set up?


In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

Perhaps you can suggest what went wrong with my butter ganache. As I said previously, lumps formed when I added the (supposedly) tempered milk and dark, then I added the brandy. I put the bowl over warm water and used the immersion blender to make it (mostly) smooth. It was quite soft in texture when I spread it in the frame (and, by the way, the quantity Greweling calls for was not sufficient to fill the frame, which made it impossible to get it completely level). I hoped the ganache would be firm today, but it was still soft. I was able to cut it, but not neatly, and dipping the pieces was very difficult. The texture of the filling makes it wonderful to eat, but it was much too difficult to work with. I assumed that using tempered chocolate would make it set firmly. I'm thinking the lumps formed because the chocolate was indeed tempered, but why didn't it set up?


I would guess that putting the bowl over warm water caused the chocolate to go out of temper. I would think it lumped because something was too cold. When I've used Greweling's method for butter ganache, I've mixed the sweetener with the butter and whatever else I'm flavoring with. I place the bowl of butter on my scale, then scoop the tempered chocolate out of the machine. I just dump it on there to get the weight, and mix it in. I've never done it gradually, just doesn't work for me to "stream" it in. Never had any lumps I couldn't get rid of by stirring well. And yes, Greweling's amount is not accurate to fit in the size frame he says, at least for one layer. I very rarely slab ganache though. I use it for filling molds. You can see it start to set up fast if it's done properly.

#7 Jim D.

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:48 PM



In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

Perhaps you can suggest what went wrong with my butter ganache. As I said previously, lumps formed when I added the (supposedly) tempered milk and dark, then I added the brandy. I put the bowl over warm water and used the immersion blender to make it (mostly) smooth. It was quite soft in texture when I spread it in the frame (and, by the way, the quantity Greweling calls for was not sufficient to fill the frame, which made it impossible to get it completely level). I hoped the ganache would be firm today, but it was still soft. I was able to cut it, but not neatly, and dipping the pieces was very difficult. The texture of the filling makes it wonderful to eat, but it was much too difficult to work with. I assumed that using tempered chocolate would make it set firmly. I'm thinking the lumps formed because the chocolate was indeed tempered, but why didn't it set up?


In my experience, if the chocolate isn't tempered in a butter ganache, it won't set up. Greweling goes into all the technical reasons why. I prefer butter ganaches, the mouth feel is much better, to me anyway. And, they set so much quicker, I can seal molds right away. As long as the butter and glucose are at room temperature and mixed very well, I've never had any trouble mixing them together. Liquids will make it lump at first, but as long as it's not too cold, it will mix in.

Perhaps you can suggest what went wrong with my butter ganache. As I said previously, lumps formed when I added the (supposedly) tempered milk and dark, then I added the brandy. I put the bowl over warm water and used the immersion blender to make it (mostly) smooth. It was quite soft in texture when I spread it in the frame (and, by the way, the quantity Greweling calls for was not sufficient to fill the frame, which made it impossible to get it completely level). I hoped the ganache would be firm today, but it was still soft. I was able to cut it, but not neatly, and dipping the pieces was very difficult. The texture of the filling makes it wonderful to eat, but it was much too difficult to work with. I assumed that using tempered chocolate would make it set firmly. I'm thinking the lumps formed because the chocolate was indeed tempered, but why didn't it set up?


I would guess that putting the bowl over warm water caused the chocolate to go out of temper. I would think it lumped because something was too cold. When I've used Greweling's method for butter ganache, I've mixed the sweetener with the butter and whatever else I'm flavoring with. I place the bowl of butter on my scale, then scoop the tempered chocolate out of the machine. I just dump it on there to get the weight, and mix it in. I've never done it gradually, just doesn't work for me to "stream" it in. Never had any lumps I couldn't get rid of by stirring well. And yes, Greweling's amount is not accurate to fit in the size frame he says, at least for one layer. I very rarely slab ganache though. I use it for filling molds. You can see it start to set up fast if it's done properly.

Thanks for describing what you do and for the insights on my problem. I was suspecting that my heating of the mixture was too much. But cream ganache isn't in temper, is it? Surely pouring boiling cream onto chocolate takes it out of temper, yet it still hardens.

#8 Chocolot

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:51 PM

In my experience, if you pull the chocolate out of temper in a cream ganache, you will have a grainy texture when it sets up. It all depends on how hot the cream is, how cold the chocolate is and at what temp you emulsify. I use a Robot Coupe and don't usually have a problem of it getting out of temper.

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#9 DianaM

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Jim, your butter must have been too cold when you added the chocolate, I believe that is why you had lumps in the mixture.

For a project in school, I did an experiment with 1:1 ratio butter ganaches, and mixed as follows:

-tempered (melted) chocolate with melted butter
-tempered (melted) chocolate with room temperature (very soft, but unmelted) butter
-untempered (melted) choc with melted butter
-untempered (melted) choc with room temperature (but unmelted) butter

The only ganache with proper set and mouthfeel was the one made with the melted, tempered chocolate and the very soft room temp butter. The other 3 either bloomed, or had large fat grains in them when set. So that convinced me that Greweling was actually right in instructing that ingredients of specific temperatures and characteristics be used.

For cream ganaches, I try to keep the ganache around 32-34 Celsius as I mix with the hot cream. Every ganache I made where I was not careful about temperature has stayed soft and was difficult to work with, or had grainy texture.

I am really fastidious about temperature and crystallization in ganaches, just because my (limited) experience has taught me to be so.

Just my 2 pence.

#10 Jim D.

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:11 PM

Jim, your butter must have been too cold when you added the chocolate, I believe that is why you had lumps in the mixture.
...
Just my 2 pence.

I think your 2 pence is worth quite a lot. Those experiments cover all the possibilities and are very helpful. Even though my butter was room temperature, it was not all that soft, and I agree that must have been the problem. The issue for me was that, as a person working alone, I really couldn't manage to warm the butter, temper the dark chocolate, and temper the milk chocolate all at the same time. I thought my stick blender would emulsify the mixture no matter what I did, but such was not the case--no matter how long I beat it, those little choc. lumps stayed there--and, more to the point, the ganache never hardened. I saw in another thread that Kerry recommended combining the two chocolates in such a situation (starting with the dark, then adding the milk). At least that would reduce the complexity of the technique required.

#11 HQAntithesis

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:21 AM

Once those choc lumps get there, they're pretty much there to stay. The only way to melt them out would also ruin the texture of your the butter ganache - if it didn't split it completely. Theoretically it might be possible to melt everything out and then re-emulsify everything back together with some fresh butter but it would be so time consuming it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.

I haven't made a butter ganache before, but this should work:
Incorporate untempered chocolate into your butter mixture, but hold a portion back. Temper that remaining portion, then incorporate it into the untempered butter-chocolate mixture.

Doing that, you take advantage of the fact that an untempered butter ganache virtually never sets and also increase the working time you have compared to if you incorporated all the chocolate while it was tempered.

Three things to consider:
- Don't let the untempered mixture get too cold or sit too long - unstable crystals will still form and produce a less than ideal result.
- There needs to be 'enough' stable crystals in the tempered chocolate to stabilise the entire mass - you have the choice of setting more chocolate aside to temper or intentionally over-tempering the chocolate. Depending on the scale of the recipe, I'd hazard that 10-15% of the entire mass would be a good amount of chocolate to set aside to temper. For smaller scaled recipes, that percentage might need to be increased as tempering 75g of chocolate, for example, just isn't practical.
- If you're using a combination of chocolates, set aside the milk/white chocolate to temper. The lower temperatures and increased setting time will help.

#12 Jim D.

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

...
I haven't made a butter ganache before, but this should work:
Incorporate untempered chocolate into your butter mixture, but hold a portion back. Temper that remaining portion, then incorporate it into the untempered butter-chocolate mixture.
...
- If you're using a combination of chocolates, set aside the milk/white chocolate to temper. The lower temperatures and increased setting time will help.

Interesting suggestion that I had not considered, but will try. The amounts in my effort were quite small as I was making half of Greweling's recipe. I really want to master butter ganache as I find its texture and the almost infinite possibilities for flavorings of great use in making chocolates. The only one I had made previously was pear ganache, and since I was using it to fill molded shells, its soft texture didn't matter so much. But when one is trying to cut and then dip ganache, it is a different matter.

#13 DianaM

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:52 PM

I too, make a butter ganache with both milk and dark (and Irish cream liqueur). And also, I am a one-person show. :smile: BUT I have a melter, and I admit that helps.

First thing I always do is make sure the butter is soft. I keep it on the counter overnight, and it will get quite soft at room temperature. I scale out what I need for the recipe, then I start working it further with a spatula. I keep mixing it until it gets to the approximate consistency of sour cream (this is the closest I can think of...).

Then I get on with the chocolates. I melt and temper the dark, and keep it in the melter, in temper, until I use it. Then I melt and temper milk chocolate, and also warm up the required amount of liqueur. At this point, all the ingredients are ready and at the right temperature. I add the chocolates first. I stir while pouring the choc onto the butter - I always do this, to avoid the chocolate cooling where it sits undisturbed on top of the butter. The liqueur is last, and before adding it, I make sure it, too, is still at the right temp.

Many say it's a big no-no to use a whisk when making ganache, but I found that for butter ganaches, a whisk works quickest and best for me. I never whip, but stir carefully, to avoid aerating the ganache.

This is just my method for doing it. I have tried (for other recipes) mixing dark and milk, and tempering after the two chocolates have been mixed, just like Kerry said. It has worked great for me, so that may be an option as well.

#14 merlicky

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

I’m leery of comments that claim that such and such a way is the only way to do something, especially when it comes to chocolate ganache. I’ve done a number of butter ganaches (both my own recipes and other people’s recipes) and found that they can work just fine with or without tempered chocolate…it all depends on the technique.

Butter ganache problems usually come from butter temperature. If the butter is melted it is very difficult to emulsify (usually requiring a food processor) and can leave you with an oily, lumpy ganache. If the butter is too cold then the chocolate will set up almost immediately when it contacts the butter and will leave little clumps of chocolate in the ganache.

What I normally do is melt the chocolate and pseudo-temper it. I heat the chocolate just enough to make sure it is all melted, and then I stir it while cooling it down to around the upper end of the tempered range (it is typically right about there anyway). Since I don’t always have tempered chocolate on hand, this saves a lot of time over actually tempering the chocolate.

I like to use room temperature butter that I cream with the sweetener and any other dry ingredients. I find that incorporating air at this point doesn’t matter too much since it is pretty much taken out in the next few steps. I stream the chocolate in while stirring (for small batches I usually put a glass bowl on a rubber mat so that I can use both hands, and for larger batches a stand mixer works well). Once the butter and chocolate are emulsified, I add any wet ingredients while stirring.

Since the chocolate was only pseudo-tempered it will take awhile for it to set up. To get around this problem I pour the ganache out on a marble slab and work it a few times. Overworking can cause the ganache to break, but it doesn’t take long to get the feel for how much the ganache can take. A good rule of thumb is to stop when the ganache gets to about 72°F. Scrape it into a piping bag and immediately fill molds, or leave it in the bag for a few minutes before piping it out (for things like lemon logs or rainiers). It will set up pretty quickly.





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