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Balancing bonbon recipes


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I have the spread sheet the problem is that how much sugar, sorbitol, dry ingredients do you add to balance it out, . Playing around with it gives me weird quantities. I really need someone who would be able to see it and tell me you need to add this and that and you will be fine. My recipes are very simple.

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You are asking for something that people do for a living. Chocolatiers who explain these details do so in classes or consulting jobs that cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately we do not live in a fairytale, people who gain knowledge after years of hard work are not supposed to give it away for free to anyone.

Best thing you can do is buying "Fine Chocolates: Gold" by Wybauw and study it from cover to cover, then decide if it's the case to invest money in a class with Melissa Coppel or other professionals that have that kind of knowledge.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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  • 3 months later...

I'm trying to plug a few things into the spreadsheet this evening and I realize that the white chocolate (chocovic opal) appears to contain no milk fat. Unless it's made with nonfat skim milk powder - seems odd there would be none. I'm also discovering how difficult it is to find spec sheets on various chocolates.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'm trying to plug a few things into the spreadsheet this evening and I realize that the white chocolate (chocovic opal) appears to contain no milk fat. Unless it's made with nonfat skim milk powder - seems odd there would be none. I'm also discovering how difficult it is to find spec sheets on various chocolates.

 

 

That is a good example of why I have never been able to use the spreadsheet. There are so many variables and the makeup of the various ingredients is often impossible to find or calculate. Rob was going to talk about balancing ganaches at this year's workshop, but I understand he did not have time to do that.

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There is a program called Ganache Solutions - running a trial version of it to see what it’s about.  As far as I can tell it’s a glorified version of the spreadsheet but has all the values on there.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

There is a program called Ganache Solutions - running a trial version of it to see what it’s about.  As far as I can tell it’s a glorified version of the spreadsheet but has all the values on there.

 

 

I for one look forward to seeing your evaluation.

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As far as I know the first program for balancing ganache recipes was/is Pro-Choc. I thought it was included in the book "Ganache – l'art et l'expertise" by Jean-Pierre Richard, just checked and Librairie Gourmande says I was mistaken: the book explains how to use the program, but the CD-ROM does not contain it, it has only advertising pdfs. The real Pro-Choc is still updated constantly and for sale, but for much higher price. Can't comment on the qualities of any of these programs, never tried.

Seems like what happened with the program for balancing ice-cream recipes by Angelo Corvitto: his one was the first and the most expensive, then others followed and took "inspiration".

One important thing to remember is that the method used for realizing a ganache has a sensible impact on its qualities (Aw, smoothness, so on), this was clearly pointed out by Frédéric Bau with his method of voluntarily breaking the emulsion. So programs like this one will just give an overall view for the recipe, not the perfect final numbers.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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Good to know, thanks.

I've always been skeptical on these kind of programs for ganaches, can't see much value in them. Since it's possible to create a new recipe from an existing and working one, and it does not take much effort, then I always preferred that way.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/27/2019 at 9:24 AM, Jim D. said:

I just checked out the program. At 799 euros, it should be very balanced indeed! (I realize it's only 50 euros after the first year.)

So I got this today - 

 

 

 

Happy World Chocolate Day!

 
 

Here we are!

The promo code is now online and you have only 48 hours to get your Ganache Solution license at half-price. 

Use the code: CHOCODAY to purchase Ganache Solution at € 399 instead of € 799*.

The code will be effective until 23:59 on 8 July. So don't miss the chance!

Get Ganache Solution at 50% off
ba750382-782a-4654-bd20-3d40680941fa.png
*Starting from the second year, we require only a 50€/year maintenance fee.
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Jim, I couldn't get in to the parts of the program (read - the instructions) that I needed to from the trial version so wasn't able to properly evaluate it. 

 

I did decide to bite the bullet and give it a try though for half price. I think it will be a valuable program in my role as shelf life tutor for Ecole Chocolat. It was late last night when I first had a look - so I'm not really up to speed on it. It would appear that it gives you a range of suggested sugar, cocoa butter fat, butter fat, dry substances and liquid for a molded vs a cut piece in milk, white and dark. When you are writing a recipe and you want to see how it compares to a standard you can do so. It will show you the effect of your tweeks on the components. It doesn't generate an available water.

 

I will have to play with it more - but it also apparently allows you to use something called 'set temperature' where the software recognizes a cooking process for an ingredient (like caramel) and if you can enter the temperature to which it was cooked it will recalculate the reduction of liquids and reset the value of sugar, fats and other solids.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/7/2019 at 4:10 AM, Kerry Beal said:

I did decide to bite the bullet and give it a try though for half price. I think it will be a valuable program in my role as shelf life tutor for Ecole Chocolat. It was late last night when I first had a look - so I'm not really up to speed on it. It would appear that it gives you a range of suggested sugar, cocoa butter fat, butter fat, dry substances and liquid for a molded vs a cut piece in milk, white and dark. When you are writing a recipe and you want to see how it compares to a standard you can do so. It will show you the effect of your tweeks on the components. It doesn't generate an available water.

 

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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  • 9 months later...

Among my "corona time" activities is taking another stab at understanding the balancing of ganache. I came across some (free) Instagram videos from Chocolate Academy Online. Russ Thayer's presentation on the balancing question is very clear and helpful. The one issue I keep bumping up against, however, is how to find the specs of chocolates (percentages of fat, sugar, etc.). This is not something chocolate manufacturers routinely supply. Valrhona's Opalys is the white chocolate I use most often in making ganache, so I looked at a bag of Opalys and also went to the Valrhona site. Actually for some of their chocolates (such as the newer Biskelia) they list the percentages we are looking for, but that info is not in the Opalys material. Quite often it is possible to find the percent of fat, but it's not often expressed explicitly for cocoa butter, which is what is needed. As is well known, the percentage by which people often refer to chocolate ("it's a 70% dark") isn't very useful, except in a general way.  I also use Felchlin's dark and milk for ganache, and again could not find the detailed information needed. In the case of milk chocolate, we need a breakdown of how much dairy solids and cacao solids are there. Thayer has the advantage that he is using a Cacao Barry product and also happens to be working for a Callebaut company's online academy.

 

So how does one find the specs on a particular chocolate? 

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EU laws force every producer to write the nutritional infos on their package: they must write a table that states for every 100 g of product how many of them are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Plus the label must state the total amount of cocoa (cocoa mass + cocoa butter) in that product. These numbers can help for dark and white chocolate.
All the fat in dark chocolate is given by the cocoa butter, so you just need to look at the nutritional infos to know the % of cocoa butter, then calculate the difference with the total amount of cocoa (cocoa mass + cocoa butter) to know the amount of cocoa mass. If a dark chocolate says 70% cocoa and the nutritional infos give 41% fat, then you have 41% cocoa butter and 29% cocoa mass (% of the total weight).
All the cocoa in white chocolate is given by cocoa butter, so you just need to look for that number.
For milk chocolate you are saved if the producer used only non-fat milk solids for that product, in this case you reason like for dark chocolate. If the producer used whole milk solids (or a combination of whole milk solids and skim milk solids) then you are screwed and are forced to contact them, hoping they will give that info.


I don't know if labels in the USA must follow similar laws. If not, you just need to look for the European label of that product. Or contact the producer saying some of your customers want to know the nutritional infos of the chocolate you are using.

 

Opalys is stated at 33% cocoa, so this means 33% cocoa butter. This supposing the Opalys sold in the USA is the exact same in Europe.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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1 hour ago, teonzo said:

 

Opalys is stated at 33% cocoa, so this means 33% cocoa butter. This supposing the Opalys sold in the USA is the exact same in Europe.

 

 

 

Thanks for that. As for Opalys, the formulas calculating balances in ganaches request amount of sugar and amount of milk solids. How could those be calculated (there could be many other ingredients, such as vanilla)?  And yes, the U.S. does require an ingredient and nutrition list on every product, but the nutrition list doesn't provide all that the balancing formulas want to know.

 

As I have thought more about balancing, it occurred to me there are so many ingredients that can be in ganache that knowing the information about all of them would be nearly impossible. Take banana as an example.  How much of it is water, how much is solid matter, what percentage of sugar does it contain?  With purchased purées, the manufacturer will state how much is sugar, but again, how much is water, how much is solid material?  Or if you make your own fruit purée, how would you ever calculate how much is water and how much is solid material?

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If you want to be totally precise then you'll end up in a hospital, not by covid but by madness.
The composition of milk solids is going to vary each time: fats will be different from season to season, same for sugars. The balance is going to change from chocolate batch to chocolate batch.
As much as purees are standardized, they are going to be different from batch to batch and year to year. Not to tell from producer to producer. You can't expect that bananas will have the same exact dextrose to levulose ratio every time.
Then you need to consider the human factor. If you want to do things correctly then you need to boil your liquids before making a ganache, otherwise it's hell for shelf life. The evaporation during cooking and boiling will always be different, it depends on the amount of liquids (you are not going to do same exact batch size each time), on the surface area (you'll end up using different bowls / pans), on the room humidity, on the time to reach boiling (different stove, or different microwave, or whatelse). Cooking will affect sugar inversion too. Then there is mixing, depending on how you mix the ganache you will have a slightly different result each time.
Even if you were able to get all the perfect data for your ingredients, then you would end up with a different result each time. Which is not a big trouble: a 0.02% difference in the aW is not going to ruin your batch.
You already have the best tool for this, which is your aW meter. After that you only need to know the general rules for altering the balance, so if the recipe you are trying is giving you a non desired aW reading then you know what to do to adjust it (less liquids, more sugar, different chocolate, what else). Even if you had the perfect formula, then you always have the human factor that will add a % of error to your end result.

 

In few words: all those formulas are meant for selling classes, consultings, programs and so on. You already know the theory you need. And you know that the most important factor is in the customer / reseller hands, you have zero control on that.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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I would just add that Aw isn't everything. I am thinking of ganaches that separate because (presumably) they have too much fat vs. water. Their Aw reading might be fine, but they are still unusable without doctoring. I would like to avoid that unpleasant turn of events. I looked again at the video I watched earlier today from Chocolate Academy Online, and indeed Russ Thayer does say the chocolatier needs to know the percentages of the various ingredients in everything in the ganache. Perhaps it is telling that when he goes into detail, he deals only with the basics, such as fat, cocoa butter, water, sugar. Surely it is not possible to know the makeup of every ingredient. The spreadsheet on balancing ganaches that appeared on eGullet some years ago does list specific ingredients for a particular recipe (my favorite is "bold mint liqueur"--whatever that is). I wonder if those who have Ganache Solution or similar programs could say what those apps do about "exotic" ingredients.

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@teonzo, You stated that "All the cocoa in white chocolate is given by cocoa butter, so you just need to look for that number."
 

In the case of Opalys, which is labeled 33%, I found a chocolate seller that provides a spec sheet for this chocolate. The relevant numbers are 33% cocoa butter but 44% fat. Would the discrepancy be that of the 32% milk listed, some of that is fat? This would make sense as the ingredient list on the Opalys bag includes "whole milk powder."

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Personally I think there is no need to create a new recipe each time. You can group the ganaches in few classes: infusions, fruit purees, nuts (many professionals use ganaches not giandujas for some nuts like pistachio and macadamia, just to save costs)... Then there are the different chocolates you are using: dark, milk and white, maybe a combination of dark and milk. The total of these basic recipes is not huge, once you found the basic recipes that satisfy you then your job is almost done. You just need to fine tune your next recipe, starting from a basic one. If you want to use a new spice then there is no need to create the recipe from zero, you just need to pick the recipe you are using for another spice and you are almost done, you just need to adapt the amount of spice and maybe the infusion method (hot, cold, whatever). Fine tuning is not going to ruin the balance of your recipe, its impact is comparable to the human fluctuations. Someone could be able to develop hundreds of new flavours without knowing a single thing about the technical aspects of balancing a recipe.


If a ganache separates and it was not a human error about execution, then it means the recipe was created blindly. To avoid this it just takes to start from a trusted recipe for a similar class. I can think of some exceptions for some weird ingredients like gorgonzola, but I doubt they are included in any study.

 

Whole milk (sold here, I'm reading the label from the package) is composed of about 4.5% carbohydrates, 3.5% proteins, 3.5% fats, the rest water. So whole milk powder should be composed about of 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 30% fats. If the Opalys is composed of 32% whole milk powder, then this 32% is around 12% carbohydrates, 10% proteins, 10% fats, so this explains the difference between the cocoa butter % and the total fat %. This amount of milk fats explains also why Opalys has a good taste and is such a PITA to work with. Usually white and milk chocolates are made with skim milk powder to save on costs and troubles.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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