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Ganache: Tips & Techniques


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#1 schneich

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 06:19 AM

hi,

few days ago i did some truffles with my famous "mayan chili seasoning", the ganache was a 4 to 3 chocolate to single cream ratio. i had it set in the fridge, which worked perfectly. next day i enrobed them, which worked perfectly thanks to mycryo (i usually suck when it comes to tempering) very snappy perfecly shiny truffles with velvety soft center. BUT THEN the next morning i tried one more and BANG the ganache got fxxxxx grainy :angry: :angry: :angry:

WHY did this happen, i never have had a ganache gotten grainy on me AFTER it was perfect the other day...

WHAT did i do wrong....



please help


cheers

t.
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#2 chiantiglace

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 12:24 AM

gonna need to know your step by step on this one. There are a lot of ways that this could have happened so theres no point in giving suggestions until we know exactly what you did.
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#3 schneich

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 04:53 AM

ok, here we go...

heated the cream, added the spices let to steep..

on top of the steeping creampot gently melted the choc in a bowl

drained the spices form cream

whisked in the chocolate gently

nice silky ganache result

poured ganache in flat dish, into the fridge

next day, cut ganache into squarez, wrap, fridge

next day melted chocolate, tempered and enrobed the squarez

same day evening, nice set of chocolate perfect shine, silky smooth ganache inside

NEXT day choc still perfect ganache inside grainy...



cheers


t.
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cologne, germany

#4 chiantiglace

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 08:37 PM

you dont need to melt the chocolate for ganache, just bring the strained cream back to a scalding point, our over chocolate and whisk until smooth after alowing it to rest for a couple minutes.

Th only thing I can think of is you didn't strain the cream properely through cheesecloth(because the tiny spice particles. Or you over heated the chocolate when melting it(which you didn't have to do)
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#5 Trishiad

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 08:46 PM

I make chocolates regularly and am embarrassed to admit that I recently had the same thing happen. I couldn't figure it out. I don't melt the chocolate first and it didn't contain spices so hmmmm.

trish

#6 Shalmanese

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 06:44 AM

I'm piggybacking on this thread in the hopes that someone will know.

In alton's recent truffle episode, he always scalds the cream, pours it on top of the chocolate and let stand 3 minutes before stirring. I've never seen a ganache recipe reccomend this, is there a reason for this?
PS: I am a guy.

#7 lemon curd

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 08:28 AM

I've was reading through some information on ganaches last night and my understanding is that if you add hot cream to the chocolate, it melts the chocolate more slowly and gives you a better chance of getting a proper emulsification. A proper emulsification means a more stable phase of ganache where the continuous phase is a water/sugar solution (the water comes from the cream) and the dispersed phase is the fat (fat from the cream and the cocoa butter). If you melt the chocolate first, your chances of success may not be as good. Other factors increasing the chances of not getting the most stable phase include a high chocolate to cream ratio, high sugar ratio, and when butter is added. I'm still in the learning stages, but hope this helps and if someone else can add more please do!

BTW I was out for dinner last night and my dessert was a chestnut rum tart with a manjari ganache/sauce. When it was served to me the ganache/sauce was split (argh!) and I wanted to figure out what was going on and thought I'd pass on what I learned.

Edited by lemon curd, 06 March 2005 - 08:45 AM.

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#8 Trishiad

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 10:03 AM

my batch did contain a small amount of butter and i suspected it was the culprit as the "grains" did melt on my tongue. I still would love to know the WHY though if anyone out there knows. perhaps my butter just wasn't soft enough when I incorporated it?
trish

#9 touaregsand

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 12:22 PM

I'm piggybacking on this thread in the hopes that someone will know.

In alton's recent truffle episode, he always scalds the cream, pours it on top of the chocolate and let stand 3 minutes before stirring. I've never seen a ganache recipe reccomend this, is there a reason for this?

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The method you describe is the one that I always use. It gives a chance for the chocolate to melt without "working" it too much with stirring. Once you start stirring all of the cream begins to cool more quickly, not so much because of the aeration but because the chocolate that is beginining to melt is incorporated throughot the batch of cream, reducing the overall temperature before all the chocolate has had a chance to melt. But if you let it sit for a few minutes before stirring, the cream on top of the chocolate that has already started melting should be hot enough to finish melting it all.

I could be totally off in my theory as to why this works :biggrin: , but it works for me.

#10 lemon curd

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 08:48 PM

my batch did contain a small amount of butter and i suspected it was the culprit as the "grains" did melt on my tongue.  I still would love to know the WHY though if anyone out there knows. perhaps my butter just wasn't soft enough when I incorporated it? 
trish

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My understanding with butter is that it has the opposite type of emulsion as the ganache (i.e. butter has fat in the continuous phase and water in the dispersed phase). This tends to 'challenge' the ganache when you add it. I believe that the temperature of the butter and when you add the butter also plays a role. If the butter is at room temperature it is less likely to cause the ganache to separate. Also if the butter is added in small amounts just after whisking the chocolate and hot cream together, the success rate also improves. I'd be interested to hear if others use this method for adding butter or have some other approach.

Edited by lemon curd, 06 March 2005 - 09:07 PM.

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#11 chiantiglace

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 11:45 PM

When I use butter I always use a more bitter chocolate and adjust the ratio with added sugar. I then bring the added sugar, butter and cream all to a boil and continue ganache procedure.
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#12 Trishiad

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:01 AM

does the sugar stabilize the butter??

#13 Sarah Phillips

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:16 AM

Regarding the question about boiling the cream when making ganache:

Temperature does matter -- you have bring the cream to a boil -- Then, turn down the heat and let the cream continue with a slow boil (simmer) for a minute or less! (Make sure it doesn't burn -- stir and stir). I've noticed that that's where many ganache recipes fail when bakers fail to BOIL the cream!

Let's think about what boiling cream does...Yes, the heat from it does melt the chocolate, but my thoughts are that boiling reduces the water content in the cream and also breaks up the chains of protein molecules in the cream (milk) further or denatures them which also helps with viscosity and the gelatinization of the ganache. (like a custard setting up......similiar to the process that happens when eggs proteins cook).

Pour the boiled cream over evenly chopped chocolate pieces -- about 1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces! Push the chocolate pieces into the cream so all are covered. Let the ingredients sit until the chocolate just begins to melt -- a few minutes. I stir in a circular path in one direction only.....from the outside in---brings in less air.....stir slowly......In my experience, I've noticed that grainy ganache comes from overmixing/overwhipping/overworking. If the chocolate isn't SOFTENED (meaning it's still hard, hasn't been surmerged in the cream and hasn't even begun to melt) and you try to mix it, you are essentially overmixing/overworking it!

Regarding the butter ... If butter is added to the ganache, it is for flavor, gloss and lubrication (so the mixture will mix more easily). It also helps with the mixture not crystallizing or crusting (forming a sugar crust on top when stored)....

Temperature and timing are important ... I like to add room temperature, softened butter after the ganache has been mixed until smooth -- not before! It's the timing that's also important.

But, sometimes the butter is melted with the cream, and then the two are boiled together.

Also, grainy ganche can come from the chocolate itself or cyrystallization of the sugar crystals in the mixture. Improper storage of the chocolate (stored in damp conditions it will become grainy) --- I wouldn't store the ganache in the fridge (you don't have to if using bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate or a lot of fat in the recipe...it's not perishable because of its sugar/fat content)---- or heating the chocolate directly on the stove somehow or if you added sugar during the boil, something caused the sugar to crystallize.....and it will appear after storing the ganache.

I hope this helps!

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 08 March 2005 - 08:03 AM.

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#14 chiantiglace

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 04:38 PM

always check if your chocolae is in bloom

Also, regarding simmering the cream. That is necessary with pastuerized cream, not ultra-past. If it's U-P cream the least amount of "boil" is best. Since UP is the most common these days be careful and actually try to keep the cream at a simer for some time instead.
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#15 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 05:39 PM

From my own personal experiences I agree with the no boil point. You do not need to bring your cream up to a boil at all, yet alone try to condense it by evaporating out moisture.

I went for years and years and never could understand what someone was talking about when they said their ganche "broke" or was "grainy". That never ever happened to me. I found out what they meant when I changed jobs and used a different brand of chocolate. Then bam, I found out.

A couple issues to address from previous posts, in my experience and opinion:

It doesn't make any difference which dirrection you stir.
If you wait before stirring or not, depending upon your ingedients.
You can add your cream to your chocolate or your chocolate to the cream.
Ingredients can vary greatly and don't have to include cream, butter or sugar......the only ingredient it must include is chocolate.

There are several factors that lead to a poor ganche/or to a great ganche.

In "Fine Chocolates Great Experience", Jean-Pierre Wybauw writes about ganche, "The chocolate not only acts as a flavoring but, more importantly, determines the texture. Because of its high cocoa butter content it is best to use high-fat chocolate (couverture). For a high quality ganche a total fat content of approximately 40% is reccomended. That is why cream is used as a liquid in most ganches, although other liquids, such as infusions, coffee and liqueurs may also be used. In these cases the fat content must be complemented by adding butter or vegetable fat."

He specificly addresses curdling and writes, "Is the seperation of an emulsion from two liquid substances that do not form a solution. The most typical example is oil and water (mayonnaise).
Causes:
Incorrect balance of ingredients
Incorrect mixing temperatures
Chocolate ph too low
Remedies: (depending on recipe)
Homogenise with blender
Add emulsifier (in some cases a little lecithin helps)
Add a thickener
Allow to solidify slightly, then stir vigorously (possibly in beater/mixer)"

I found from personal experience that even though I was using high qualtity couvetures the brand of couveture made a huge difference when using the same exact recipe made with the same exact method...........and the fat content in my heavy cream varied from batch to batch from the same dairy so that was another factor. I can make a ganche with one brand of chocolate using cream, butter, sugar and chocolate and have it turn out perfect. If I use another brand of chocolate with those exact ingredients and proportions, it won't come together at all. That other brand goes weird on me when I use sugar and butter. I credit that fact to the differences in labeling of chocolates.

I hope I'm not adding confusion to this topic but Wybauw also sites that a non pre-crystalized ganche, "may curdle more quickly" and "All ganches must be precrystallised in order to produce fat cystallisation that is as fine and as smooth as possible."

#16 Trishiad

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 07:08 PM

wendy's right. i never bring my cream to a full boil, i stir it in all kinds of directions, and i always add my chocolate in small chunks, and i've only had a problem this once. i've tried melting the chocolate first and the method where you pour hot cream over chocolate into a food processor and never noticed a difference.
i think people are scared of chocolate and because they don't know what REALLY happens they develop all these must-methods. i may have to go back to college to write a thesis on the chemistry of candy making. in my spare time.
trish

#17 Sarah Phillips

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:33 AM

I couldn't help but add that Robert Linxe at La Maison du Chocolat http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/ boils his cream THREE TIMES when making his famous truffle recipe!! http://www.epicuriou...ws/views/104655 Robert Linxe has been called the "wizard of ganache".....

...But, each to their own....

I'm also curious about Ultrapastuerized heavy cream vs regular re: boiling it or the comment about "the least amount of boil is the best" --Does anyone know WHY? I like to know more science about the product -- This is typical of the information I could find on the product: http://64.233.161.10...ped cream&hl=en

I have a few calls into dairy companies, but would like to hear from some professional bakers, if possible....Thanks.

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 08 March 2005 - 12:02 PM.

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#18 chocophile

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 12:10 PM

I couldn't help but add that Robert Linx at La Maison du Chocolat http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/ boils his cream THREE TIMES when making his famous truffle recipe!! http://www.epicuriou...ws/views/104655

I attended a short demonstration given by Mr Linxe in 2003 here in NY. One of the reasons why he boils his cream three times is because he buys raw cream. The first two boils are to pasteurize the cream (and, I suppose to develop some flavors and perform some of the other chemical transformations).

After the 3rd boil, any flavoring ingredients are added and left to infuse.

:Clay

PS. As an aside, I observed in a demo given by Pascal Le Gac of LMDC there in NY in 2004 that he used a wire whisk to mix the ganache - and confirmed that it was their usual practice when I asked. I know that this is the subject of much debate. I have trouble believing that they make all their ganache by hand in small batches. With the boutiques they have in Paris and around the world, production has to be much larger scale than that. Does anyone know for certain? By hand or under vacuum with a Stephan or similar?
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founder, New World Chocolate Society

#19 Sarah Phillips

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 12:31 PM

I attended a short demonstration given by Mr Linxe in 2003 here in NY. One of the reasons why he boils his cream three times is because he buys raw cream. The first two boils are to pasteurize the cream (and, I suppose to develop some flavors and perform some of the other chemical transformations).

After the 3rd boil, any flavoring ingredients are added and left to infuse.

:Clay

Clay,

That's an interesting sidebar -- Thanks! Unfortunately that story did not come through with his recipe that was posted on epicurious.com.

And, his recipe does have you boil the cream before pouring it over the chocolate, as many do. But, I have also seen some recipes where the cream has been simmered, too. And, where the chocolate has been added to the heated cream, rather than the other way around. Plus, I've seen versions that are whisked, stirred in circles or mixed not noting any particular direction or even whirred in a food processor....

Yes, the topic of the "right way" to make ganache is certainly hotly debated...And, now the thing about pastuerized versus ultrapasteurized heavy cream -- I know that many say that ultrapast cream lacks flavor and has a cooked taste....I'll have to run my own tests....I'm curious about others' reactions...if you care to share...

Edited by gfron1, 07 November 2007 - 02:27 PM.

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#20 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 07:41 AM

I really think you have to go thru each option and see for yourself the differences or lack of differences. Don't take everyones word for it, it's very easy to find out for yourself. I didn't realize that 'method' was hotly debated on making ganche.

I think I have made ganche everyway imaginable, absorbing everyones advice over the years. The only step I have seen a real difference in is one Steve Klc mentioned/taught a few years back here at eG. His process involves adding the chocolate to the cream, verses the cream into the chocolate. I certainly can't give you the technical reasoning why this works better, but you can visually see the difference in your bowl/pot. The emulsion is thicker when done this way.

I use my immersion blender in ganche and to temper my chocolate. It works great for me. I know not to bring air down from the surface into my chocolate.

When I'm tasting ganches and choosing what I like best in a ganche to reproduce it myself, I'm picking the texture I like best. I like a soft ganche, one that melts in your mouth easily/quickly. To achieve the perfect ganche and it's texture.... the most important things are the formula and the brand of chocolate your using. Unless you do something really unusual mixing your ganche, the texture of your finished ganche pretty much will be a result of your ingredients. You can't taste or feel the difference of someone who stirred their ganche with a spatula over a whisk if the person making the ganche got a proper emulsion.

#21 Sarah Phillips

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 01:29 PM

I didn't realize that 'method' was hotly debated on making ganche.

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Wendy, I only meant that it seemed to have stirred up (excuse the pun) a lot of emotions on this thread very quickly....

And, I agree with you -- I, too have absorbed advice from others and made my own observations over the years on how to make ganache...And, you are wise to write that everyone has to go through each option and see for yourself.

By the way, I purchased some ultrapasteurized heavy whipping cream and will be running some tests to see what happens when I subject it to heat and let it boil. I want to see what happens and will report back next week. I also purchased some pasteurized wheavy whipping cream and will be doing some comparisons on both types, as well. I'm just curious, that's all.

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 09 March 2005 - 01:35 PM.

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#22 chiantiglace

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 03:23 PM

I finally found this thread, it was a couple of months ago and we got into deep discussion. This should probably give your some answers. Also a reason why I didnt want to recap everything thats already been stated.

Heavy cream
Dean Anthony Anderson
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#23 Sarah Phillips

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 03:58 PM

chiantiglace,

Thanks for letting me know about that very informative discussion.

I'm still going to educate myself on ultra pasteurized versus pasteurized (which I'll call regular) heavy whipping cream. Where I shop, it seems that regular is more prevalent and ultra is harder to find....but, I should know more about ultra, too.

So, we are running tests to see what happens with ultra versus regular because now I'm VERY curious about some of the comments being made....and, if anyone is interested in the results, please let me know.
Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#24 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:32 PM

I just wanted to briefly add this: Not all heavy creams are equal. I find that even with the same manufactor the butter fat content varies from one batch to the next. So you could get a good or bad example of heavy cream or ultra pasturized heavy cream, which could alter your results.

#25 reachej

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 10:35 AM

Try adding the hot cream to the chocolate slowly while stirring as if making a mayonnaise, keeping the mixture thick at all times. This helps form the emulsion in a way that just pouring the cream over chocolate cannot. Using added sugar is good, invert sugar (Trimoline) is better as it will not crystallize the same way. The "grains" are really sugar crystals. The specifics of the cream can play a part but are rather insignificant compared to the actual process and overall recipe... as far as I've noticed.

#26 Mette

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 12:40 PM

I'm going to make a raspberry ganache based on Wybauw's recipe, but I have no invert sugar. Can I substitute someting else for it??

Thanks

/Mette

#27 akwa

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 01:15 PM

if not stored too long honey works as it is an invert sugar though the inversion is not complete and therefore the crystallization over time

#28 scott123

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 01:33 PM

Corn syrup should work. If you don't have that, heat and acid will invert regular sugar. If you look around, you should be able to find a corn syrup recipe that uses granulated sugar and cream of tartar.

Edited by scott123, 29 April 2005 - 01:34 PM.


#29 tan319

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 07:49 PM

I'm going to make a raspberry ganache based on Wybauw's recipe, but I have no invert sugar. Can I substitute someting else for it??

Thanks

/Mette

View Post


If there's any shoppes around that sell wedding cake or cake decorator supplies you should be able to pick up some trimoline or numoline, one of those guys.
Is the Wybauw book available thru normal channels or just the usual suspects, ie: JBPrince, etc.?
Good Luck!
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#30 akwa

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 07:54 PM

great suggestion regarding invert sugar
either torreblanco or corvitto include a recipe to do it yourself invert
dont have the books on me but im sure someone here does
try me pm tomorrow
question for tan isnt corn syrup more similar to glucose