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  1. Hello Everyone, I'm a baking enthusiast from California via the Midwest and New England, that recently got into chocolate work. What I bake changes from one week to the next as I have a rule about not making something from the same discipline or flavor profile in consecutive weeks. My greatest claim to fame is making it to the final round of auditions for The Great American Baking Show (U.S. version of The Great British Bake Off) a few years ago. Most recently, I attended a four day workshop at Melissa Coppel's school on glossy bonbons and ganache formulation, which was my first dive into complex chocolate work. Outside of the kitchen, I'm an avid weight lifter. Where does the name Freds come from? Freds was what I named my baby blanket many years ago! ~ Freds
  2. I recently attended the Glossy Bonbons and Ganache Formulations workshop at Melissa Coppel's school, and the last two days were taught by Bourdeaux. After spending a morning discussing the theory of ganache (emulsions, the role of each ingredient in ganache, etc.), we were split into teams. Bourdeaux would specify a particular type of ganache for each team to make, and we would formulate it in Ganache Solution. In total, we made four types of ganache, including ones for molded bonbons, enrobing, and vegan. Once he approved our recipe, we would prepare a batch of ganache, taste it, test the AW, and use it in its desired function. In some cases the recipes were borderline on paper / could potentially have some issues (too soft, too hard, not enough flavor, etc.), but he would have us proceed with the recipe as is so we could see what would happen. Afterwards, we would reformulate and remake the ganache to obtain a better result. On the last day of class, everyone gathered around a table and we sampled and evaluated the ganaches, trying to look at each objectively. Could we taste the specified flavor? Was the texture appropriate for its purpose? It was incredible seeing some of the creativity from my classmates, with the winner for originality certainly going to a Tikka Masala ganache! It certainly lived up to the designated flavor, with an almost too intense curry punch upon an initial tasting, but actually mellowed out to a very nice flavor at the end of a bite. I found it quite interesting how something that looked to be good on paper, did not necessarily go completely to plan in practice. In fact, this was one of the points Bourdeaux hammered home to us- that while useful, any set of guidelines is just a starting point and the only way to know for sure whether or not something will work is to actually test it. I only heard this discussion between Bourdeaux and another student in passing, but I believe this is one of the reasons AW is not included in Ganache Solution. While I'm just starting to dip my feet into the chocolatier world, I ended up purchasing the program, because as one of my classmates astutely pointed out, it can also be used to easily scale up/down any recipe, or track changes as you make small tweaks to a recipe.
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