Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Notter vs. Grewling on Slabbed Ganache Foot Technique


Susanne Hindle Kher
 Share

Recommended Posts

I use and love both Edwald Notter's (Art of the Chocolatier) and Peter Greweling's (Chocolates & Confections) books on making chocolate confections. But sometimes I wonder about different advice each of these experts gives. Case in point: the chocolate pre-coating on slabbed ganache before it's cut.

 

Greweling says to slab the ganache, allow it to crystalize and then apply a thin coat of tempered dark chocolate at 86 F on top of that.  Notter says to first apply a thin coat of overtempered chocolate - hot (95 F to 100 F) - to acetate, then lay down the frame and pour/slab the ganache.

 

I've tried both, and like aspects of both. Here are my issues. (Note that I use a knife as I don't have a guitar cutter.)  I'm attaching two photos to illustrate.

 

1) Tempered chocolate at 86 F method seems to result in chocolate that's harder to spread (thickens as it cools) and seems to break quite easily when cutting, compared to the overtempered 95-100 F chocolate method. However I've had varying degrees of success with "overtempered" since I'm never quite sure if I've achieved overtempered or just out-of-temper chocolate. The chocolate is easier to spread at the higher heat, but sometimes it gets streaks all over and is just hideous. But when I get it right, it is noticeably easier to cut. 

 

2) Additionally, as I don't have a guitar and I find acetate to be a bit spendy, I slab my ganache on parchment paper. When I used Notter's method of first applying overtempered chocolate to the parchment (he says to use acetate), the parchment kind of warps and doesn't stay flat. Perhaps the combination of shrinkage and heat? I use parchment paper because cutting on the acetate damages it, and it's just expensive to use a new sheet for every batch. It's a bit easier to just apply the chocolate to the top of the ganache, in my opinion, rather than applying it as the first layer (though that layer of chocolate on the bottom does hold the bars down nicely).

 

In my photos you'll see one is nicely tempered (Greweling's method), but it cracks so easily when cutting. And you'll see one doesn't crack, but it's clearly not properly tempered as I was aiming for "overtempered."

 

What's your experience? Thanks!!

curry-ganache.jpg

gingerbread-ganache.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Notter method, though most people, I think, use Greweling's.  The advantages you point out for Notter's are what swayed me:  I lay the foot down first (heated to maybe 110F or more, enough so that it's definitely not in temper).  It doesn't thicken immediately (as you say), and, more importantly, it doesn't crack nearly as readily when it is cut.  You say that it is streaked, but it doesn't matter what it looks like as it will never be seen.  Putting the foot down first makes a great anchor for the bars.  I draw lines around where the bars are supposed to go with food-safe pen (I have a template I place under the acetate), get the bars out of the way in order to spread the foot, then lay the bars on top (I use stainless steel bars I had cut).  I used to use parchment (which worked perfectly with this method--it doesn't make any difference if it crinkles a bit), now I use acetate, but there isn't a lot of difference I noticed.  I formerly cut the pieces as you do, but recently splurged on a guitar, and the acetate makes the slab a bit easier to slide onto the stainless support that comes with the guitar.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Notter method, though most people, I think, use Greweling's.  The advantages you point out for Notter's are what swayed me:  I lay the foot down first (heated to maybe 110F or more, enough so that it's definitely not in temper).  It doesn't thicken immediately (as you say), and, more importantly, it doesn't crack nearly as readily when it is cut.  You say that it is streaked, but it doesn't matter what it looks like as it will never be seen.  Putting the foot down first makes a great anchor for the bars.  I draw lines around where the bars are supposed to go with food-safe pen (I have a template I place under the acetate), get the bars out of the way in order to spread the foot, then lay the bars on top (I use stainless steel bars I had cut).  I used to use parchment (which worked perfectly with this method--it doesn't make any difference if it crinkles a bit), now I use acetate, but there isn't a lot of difference I noticed.  I formerly cut the pieces as you do, but recently splurged on a guitar, and the acetate makes the slab a bit easier to slide onto the stainless support that comes with the guitar.

 

Thanks Jim. On a side note, does the guitar save you time? I spend A LOT of time measuring and cutting :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Notter method, though most people, I think, use Greweling's.  The advantages you point out for Notter's are what swayed me:  I lay the foot down first (heated to maybe 110F or more, enough so that it's definitely not in temper).  It doesn't thicken immediately (as you say), and, more importantly, it doesn't crack nearly as readily when it is cut.  You say that it is streaked, but it doesn't matter what it looks like as it will never be seen.  Putting the foot down first makes a great anchor for the bars.  I draw lines around where the bars are supposed to go with food-safe pen (I have a template I place under the acetate), get the bars out of the way in order to spread the foot, then lay the bars on top (I use stainless steel bars I had cut).  I used to use parchment (which worked perfectly with this method--it doesn't make any difference if it crinkles a bit), now I use acetate, but there isn't a lot of difference I noticed.  I formerly cut the pieces as you do, but recently splurged on a guitar, and the acetate makes the slab a bit easier to slide onto the stainless support that comes with the guitar.

Oh, I forgot to ask...are basically just heating the chocolate to 110, and not worrying about the "overtemper" thing? And how long do you wait before spreading the ganache (does it even matter once the chocoalte has set)?  Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

i also like both books Grewling (for the different types of recipes) and Notter (for the techniques and recipes, all about chocolate)

 

my way of adding a chocolate foot to ganache (which works very well for me):

 

I use http://www.dedy.de/typo3temp/pics/cd9e61a821.jpg this kind of iron plate with frame in combination with a guitar cutter.

My chocolate is untemperd and has around 30-35°C (86-95 F) when i spread it on the sheet (no acetate). I use plastic dough scraper to spread the chocolate (like this: http://www.bakedeco.com/bimages/K2300%20MED.jpg ). I try to make it very thin. If the chocolate is too thick, i think it will crack later while cutting, so make it very thin is good for precise cutting (thats my thought). Most of the time i spread the ganache on the chocolate food before the chocolate foot fully sets. (so the ganache gets better connected to the chocolate foot ?!)

 

about the guitar cutter: it really safes a lot of time and makes a perfect precise cutting, but it is also very expensive and takes some time to clean.

 
 
ps: sorry for my bad english ;)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too have used both methods. When I put the foot down first, I don't use warm chocolate, but let it cool to about 90F, untempered. I can get a thinner layer that way. I use freezer paper and spread on the plastic side. I use the same temp chocolate if putting it on after. I want to get a very thin layer on, so it doesn't break wires.

  • Like 1

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Hi,

i also like both books Grewling (for the different types of recipes) and Notter (for the techniques and recipes, all about chocolate)

 

my way of adding a chocolate foot to ganache (which works very well for me):

 

I use http://www.dedy.de/typo3temp/pics/cd9e61a821.jpg this kind of iron plate with frame in combination with a guitar cutter.

My chocolate is untemperd and has around 30-35°C (86-95 F) when i spread it on the sheet (no acetate). I use plastic dough scraper to spread the chocolate (like this: http://www.bakedeco.com/bimages/K2300%20MED.jpg ). I try to make it very thin. If the chocolate is too thick, i think it will crack later while cutting, so make it very thin is good for precise cutting (thats my thought). Most of the time i spread the ganache on the chocolate food before the chocolate foot fully sets. (so the ganache gets better connected to the chocolate foot ?!)

 

about the guitar cutter: it really safes a lot of time and makes a perfect precise cutting, but it is also very expensive and takes some time to clean.

 
 
ps: sorry for my bad english ;)

 

 

Thanks for the links, that's very helpful. The chocolate comes off the iron plate just fine? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too have used both methods. When I put the foot down first, I don't use warm chocolate, but let it cool to about 90F, untempered. I can get a thinner layer that way. I use freezer paper and spread on the plastic side. I use the same temp chocolate if putting it on after. I want to get a very thin layer on, so it doesn't break wires.

 

I'd never considered freezer paper, thanks!  So I'm thinking maybe my issue on the breaking chocolate might be a layer that's too thin. Great feedback!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't worry too much about the temp of the chocolate used for the foot.  Recently I spread some dark chocolate, and the way it set up immediately with a nice gloss made me realize it was probably in temper.  Sure enough, it cracked under nearly every piece--which is not always a tragedy since it will be covered when you dip, but it can cause an undesired lumpiness on the bottom.  So now I do make sure the chocolate is well above the tempering temp.  I wait until it dries and then spread the ganache, though I found the idea expressed by danield of spreading sooner intriguing.

 

About the guitar:  It is a bit faster than cutting with a knife, but the main advantage I have found is the perfect "squareness" of the pieces and their sharp edges, which I was never able to attain with a knife.  They turn out much nicer after they are dipped than pieces cut by hand (at least by my hand).  I must say, however, that breaking the wires frightens me (see Chocolot's comment above).  A few days ago I made William Curley's coconut bars, which were rather sticky--and, more to the point, had toasted desiccated coconut that did not like the guitar wires.  I got about halfway through the slab when I realized I was in trouble.  Once I rescued the slab (a very messy story), I went back to my trusty knife--and spent a long time cleaning the wires.  Lesson learned.  If you are a professional, I think a guitar should be on your wish list.  I am not a professional, so it was an extravagance for me.

 

One additional reason I use Notter's spread-the-foot-first method:  Putting a ganache down first means you have to trust that it will separate cleanly from the parchment/acetate beneath it.  Some ganaches are quite sticky when they are first poured, so that has made me apprehensive and also made me glad there is a firm layer of chocolate beneath that ganache.

Edited by Jim D. (log)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't worry too much about the temp of the chocolate used for the foot.  Recently I spread some dark chocolate, and the way it set up immediately with a nice gloss made me realize it was probably in temper.  Sure enough, it cracked under nearly every piece--which is not always a tragedy since it will be covered when you dip, but it can cause an undesired lumpiness on the bottom.  So now I do make sure the chocolate is well above the tempering temp.  I wait until it dries and then spread the ganache, though I found the idea expressed by danield of spreading sooner intriguing.

 

About the guitar:  It is a bit faster than cutting with a knife, but the main advantage I have found is the perfect "squareness" of the pieces and their sharp edges, which I was never able to attain with a knife.  They turn out much nicer after they are dipped than pieces cut by hand (at least by my hand).  I must say, however, that breaking the wires frightens me (see Chocolot's comment above).  A few days ago I made William Curley's coconut bars, which were rather sticky--and, more to the point, had toasted desiccated coconut that did not like the guitar wires.  I got about halfway through the slab when I realized I was in trouble.  Once I rescued the slab (a very messy story), I went back to my trusty knife--and spent a long time cleaning the wires.  Lesson learned.  If you are a professional, I think a guitar should be on your wish list.  I am not a professional, so it was an extravagance for me.

 

One additional reason I use Notter's spread-the-foot-first method:  Putting a ganache down first means you have to trust that it will separate cleanly from the parchment/acetate beneath it.  Some ganaches are quite sticky when they are first poured, so that has made me apprehensive and also made me glad there is a firm layer of chocolate beneath that ganache.

 

Thanks Jim. You've really helped me understand the whole process even better. I have had some ganaches stick a bit to the paper, so I agree the foot down first method does prevent that.  I think I need to work on my idea of a thin layer (I'm pretty sure after reading everyone's comments, that my idea of thin has been too thick). 

 

Your coconut bars sound delicious - and I can only imagine your slab rescue scenario!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I lay the foot down first.  I really didn't like the idea of throwing away so much plastic so I use Silpat mats instead.  Untempered chocolate tends to stick to the mat so I use tempered chocolate (tempered at the high end so I can get a thin layer).  I use these frames from dr.ca  http://www.dr.ca/set-of-5-ganache-frames-for-chocolate-and-confectionery-guitar-cutter.html

To spread the chocolate, I use the 'sleeking ruler' shown in the photo.  Works great to achieve a quick, thin layer.  I use extra chocolate and make the foot longer than required.  I find it easier and then I just lift off the 'gob' of chocolate once it's set before adding the ganache.

I put my frame over the chocolate BEFORE it's set.  That way the frame stays in place.  

Once the chocolate is set but still soft (takes just a few minutes), I use a butter knife upside down (so I don't cut the mat) and cut around the inside of the frame.  If I don't do this, the chocolate cracks.  

The downfall to this method is you must use these feet (foots?!) quite quickly - I'd say within an hour.  If you leave them overnight, they will be cracked.  That's not that big of a deal.  I just use my hair dryer to soften the chocolate and stick it back down before adding my ganache.

Obviously I don't cut on the mat.  I have a guitar - and yes, it saves a ton of time!  

It just takes me a minute to wipe the strings.  I have cutting days where I will cut several ganache at once.  

At the end of the day I wash my guitar in the sink.  It's really quite quick.  

I have the dedy guitar.  It's awesome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the end of the day I wash my guitar in the sink.  It's really quite quick.  

I have the dedy guitar.  It's awesome!

 

I agree with Lana, the Dedy is awesome.  I wipe the strings with a towel between cuts to remove bits, then the pieces go in the dishwasher.  It's going to be a little more awkward in a home sink...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Lana, the Dedy is awesome.  I wipe the strings with a towel between cuts to remove bits, then the pieces go in the dishwasher.  It's going to be a little more awkward in a home sink...

I would be afraid of putting the guitar in the dishwasher.  Aren't you concerned about breaking the wires, or am I too cautious?  The thought of replacing a wire gives me nightmares.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither.  And I don't have a guitar either.

 

 

What I have is a roller--a home made affair consisting of a series of 4" s/s discs spaced 1" apart on a threaded rod with rolling-pin style handles at either end.

 

I pop this in a warm oven for a few minutes.

 

Then I spread tempered couverture with a palette knife on my slab, and quickly invert the slab onto a nylon cutting board with a sheet of parchment ontop.

 

While the couverture is still wet, I run the roller over the slab, (the nylon cutting board has the right amount of "give") leaving me with 1" wide strips, I quickly rinse the roller off, pop it back into the oven to dry and heat up, and roll it across again, giving me 1" squares.

 

Since the s/s discs are warm, it rolls through the ganache like--well--like a hot knife through butter.  Since the slab is "glued down" to the parchment and the couverture hasn't crystalized yet, the strips (and squares) don't have a chance to creep up and wrap around the discs.  Once the couveture has crystalized, it releases well from the parchment.

 

I find this works well with just-crystalized ganache, which is still somewhat flexible.  Slabs that have crystalized completely tend to crack and fracture badly with this method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither.  And I don't have a guitar either.

 

 

What I have is a roller--a home made affair consisting of a series of 4" s/s discs spaced 1" apart on a threaded rod with rolling-pin style handles at either end.

 

I pop this in a warm oven for a few minutes.

 

Then I spread tempered couverture with a palette knife on my slab, and quickly invert the slab onto a nylon cutting board with a sheet of parchment ontop.

 

While the couverture is still wet, I run the roller over the slab, (the nylon cutting board has the right amount of "give") leaving me with 1" wide strips, I quickly rinse the roller off, pop it back into the oven to dry and heat up, and roll it across again, giving me 1" squares.

 

Since the s/s discs are warm, it rolls through the ganache like--well--like a hot knife through butter.  Since the slab is "glued down" to the parchment and the couverture hasn't crystalized yet, the strips (and squares) don't have a chance to creep up and wrap around the discs.  Once the couveture has crystalized, it releases well from the parchment.

 

I find this works well with just-crystalized ganache, which is still somewhat flexible.  Slabs that have crystalized completely tend to crack and fracture badly with this method.

 

very interesting method, but seems quite logical. Do you have "good edges" on the cut squares?

 

 

Thanks for the links, that's very helpful. The chocolate comes off the iron plate just fine? 

 

sorry for my bad description:

 

the chocolate foot doesn't come directly on the iron plate, there is a yellow sheet on the ground. But its not as flat as acetate. (Its like a piece of a cooling tunnel belt/ribbon?!)

I don't think that chocolate directly on the iron plate would work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be afraid of putting the guitar in the dishwasher.  Aren't you concerned about breaking the wires, or am I too cautious?  The thought of replacing a wire gives me nightmares.

You're too cautious. I hate breaking wires as well, but not as much as I hate tedious cleaning projects. I can fit a frame or the base in a commercial dishwasher, propped against one of the lower guide rails (for the dish racks). I suppose the chemicals could have an affect, but I'm willing to risk it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have recently gone from scoring with a roller, then cutting with a long chef's knife to a guitar. Oh my Goodness!!!! It makes a huge difference! I Love my Dedy!

 

I've found that when we cut with a knife it was better to use untempered chocolate. It broke less frequently and was thus easier to dip with dipping forks.

Now that we have a guitar, it is convenient to use tempered chocolate since it is ready in the tempering machine. I used Greweling's method (Coating the sheet of center before flipping and cutting) with both the knife and guitar. However I found that if you start cutting once the chocolate begins to set but isn't hard yet, it didn't break as much. Thus, I would coat a slab, allow it to set a bit, then cut. With the guitar it is much easier to time because you can cut the whole sheet at once.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add to what I wrote previously that using Notter's method when you have two layers of ganache can make the layers uneven in height (because the foot takes up some of the space in the bottom layer).  Therefore I bought bars 3/8" high for the bottom layer (still using 1/4" for the top layer), and the layers come out close to even.  If you use Greweling's method, this is not an issue as the foot is added on top of the two layers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add to what I wrote previously that using Notter's method when you have two layers of ganache can make the layers uneven in height (because the foot takes up some of the space in the bottom layer).  Therefore I bought bars 3/8" high for the bottom layer (still using 1/4" for the top layer), and the layers come out close to even.  If you use Greweling's method, this is not an issue as the foot is added on top of the two layers.

 

This is an interesting note, thanks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To address the parchment paper issue... I also use parchment with some of my slabs. Before I put the paper down, I either spray the surface I'll place the paper on with non-stick food spray or alternatively, I moisten a sponge and wipe the surface down.  This causes the paper to stick completely.  You can use a bowl scraper (straight edge) to wipe away any air bubbles trapped underneath.  This technique works with acetate or other "guitar sheets".

 

I too have a Dedy guitar.  I love it.  I can cut several slabs in a fraction of the time it would take me to get something looking good by hand.  I clean mine in the sink with very hot water. 

 

Just for the record, I use Greweling's technique, though I've tried both.  I use a long bladed offset spatula to spread the tempered chocolate so that I get a thin layer.  Over time, I've gotten fast enough that I can do this very quickly, before the chocolate really begins to set.

  • Like 1

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

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"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To address the parchment paper issue... I also use parchment with some of my slabs. Before I put the paper down, I either spray the surface I'll place the paper on with non-stick food spray or alternatively, I moisten a sponge and wipe the surface down.  This causes the paper to stick completely.  You can use a bowl scraper (straight edge) to wipe away any air bubbles trapped underneath.  This technique works with acetate or other "guitar sheets".

 

I too have a Dedy guitar.  I love it.  I can cut several slabs in a fraction of the time it would take me to get something looking good by hand.  I clean mine in the sink with very hot water. 

 

Just for the record, I use Greweling's technique, though I've tried both.  I use a long bladed offset spatula to spread the tempered chocolate so that I get a thin layer.  Over time, I've gotten fast enough that I can do this very quickly, before the chocolate really begins to set.

 

Well I now know that I want a Dedy guitar!!!  Thanks for the idea for smoothing the parchment paper - very clever. With Greweling's method, I can work fast...it's just that when I work fast I get a lot of spillage over the edge of my slab...when I work to keep chocolate from going over the edge, that's when it starts to set up on me :-)  Practice, practice, practice is my new mantra!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I now know that I want a Dedy guitar!!!  Thanks for the idea for smoothing the parchment paper - very clever. With Greweling's method, I can work fast...it's just that when I work fast I get a lot of spillage over the edge of my slab...when I work to keep chocolate from going over the edge, that's when it starts to set up on me :-)  Practice, practice, practice is my new mantra!

Don't focus on "fast".  Focus on using the pallet knife to spread a consistent, thin layer.  The longer the pallet knife, the wider the swath of chocolate you will lay down.  At the end of each "pull", I clean the bottom of the pallet knife against the edge of the slab.  This pulls off the excess chocolate and lets me spread it along the edge of the slab.  It only takes a minute to get a nice "foot". 

 

Of course, you're right.  Practice makes perfect!

  • Like 1

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

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"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...