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Ganache: Tips, Techniques & Troubleshooting


schneich
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I'm not sure that I've ever had a problem with ganache going grainy, but if the texture isn't what it was, then I reheat and stir as necessary to revive it. This has always done the trick for me. I use the microwave to reheat.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Thank you! That definitely did the trick. It may get grainy again as it cools, I guess, but Tri2Cook is probably right that no one will notice. Thanks for the reassuring words!

Glad to hear it did the trick.

If you're worried about it getting grainy again when cool, you could do something similar to a temperating test. Apply the ganache to a sheet of parchment or wax paper, put in the fridge to cool, and see how it fares.

The butter and corn syrup that CB suggested are also good ideas if you don't mind slightly thinning out your ganache.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  • 1 month later...

Have you ever made the same thing twice and it came out different?

I made a milk chocolate ganache, i used 12 ounces callebaut milk, 1 cup cream, and 3 tbls butter. I made it this way: I put the chopped chocolate in a bowl, poured over it boiled cream, let it sit for a 1-2 mins, mixed it gently til it was almost mixed, added butter, and then mixed and mixed and mixed. (is there such a thing as over mixing a ganache?) because it went from nice and smooth, to slightly broken, to back together but more liquidy. Then I put it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning scooped into balls and put it on my marble slab to harden a little because its really soft. at night i dip them.

the trouble: first time, even though they are really hard to work with because they are soooo soft, they tasted great done. The second time (mind you only a few days later) the ganache didnt quite seem "together". as truffles, inside their chocolate shells. it seemed the same before dipping. and the second time you could really taste the butter.

Maybe I didnt mix enough the second time around? I have no idea what happened, I thought I did everthing exactly the same.

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Your ultra soft texture is because of the ratio you're using. 12 oz chocolate to 8 oz cream will result in a soft but workable ganache for *dark* chocolate - it would be really difficult to work in milk. Try 2:1 or 2.5:1 for a more manageable consistency.

And you really shouldn't need to mix all that long to get the ganache to come together. You just want to stir until it emulsifies, then stop. You'll know it's ready when it looks glossy, kind of like mayonnaise. Then add in your very soft butter. Was the temperature of your butter the same both times? Maybe it was cooler one time and you got lumps, and that's why it tasted more buttery?

Tammy's Tastings

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I think Tammylc may be right. If you add the butter to the choc/cream mixture while it's hot enough to completely melt the butter then you'll get a less pronounced butter flavour and perhaps a slightly firmer setting texture than if you added the room temperature butter when the choc/cream mixture was cooler (31-32C). At that temperature, it's a bit hard to get the butter to incorporate though, and an immersion blender becomes useful.

I think it's something about destructuring of the butter. Perhaps if you boiled the butter with the cream? Or had the butter sitting on top of the chocolate and pour the boiling cream on top of both. The reasoning is that butter/cream mix will always boils at the same temperature so it eliminates the issue of what temperature the mix will be before you add your butter. With the second method, the butter is a part of the cold mass that drops the overall temperature, meaning you wait less time before mixing... I suppose the shelflife might be marginally effected?

Edited by HQAntithesis (log)
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I liked the ultra softness of the ganache, thats why i stuck to the same ratios second time around. it was like bitting in and finding mousse.

but I think you guys are right about the butter. the first time i did add it earlier than the second, i had thought that the first time was wrong and it was better to add the butter at a later stage. plus, i thought, hey its not all that much butter, it probably wont even make a difference. but it ended up messing everything up.

today im going to make a dark chocolate one to one ratio truffle, with no butter. I thought normal ganache was 2 to 1?

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I was reading above and there was this 'grainy-ness' issue before that someone had. And I remembered that my husband commented that the second batch of truffles seemed a bit grainy when you first bite into it, but then it would disappear. so i think maybe i had the same problem the above did. I think it has to do with the fridge. After taking the ganache out of the fridge, I let it sit without touching it to get it to room temperature. How long should you leave it to reach room temperature? Because I didnt wait that long before scooping it and making it balls, I thought, let me just scoop them now, and then they can reach room temperature scooped before I actually dip them. so maybe thats what caused the grainy-ness- scooping before it was warm enough. Plus, I didnt mix it again before i started scooping.

In general, do you guys put a soft ganache in the fridge overnight to harden? Is it ok to just leave it out to harden?

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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

... Removed for brevity....

cheers

t.

You might consider adding a bit of glucose or corn syrup to your ganache. I've been using formulas from Peter Greweling's book with great success. Usually, a very small amount of glucose (60 - 300 grams) per 1000 grams of chocolate depending on how soft or firm you are trying to get for the texture of the final product.

The ganache helps prevent crystallization and has consistently given me incredibly smooth ganaches which remain so for several weeks after enrobing. By then it doesn't matter because they are all eaten.

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"

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I have had this (graininess) happen a few times now (albeit I haven’t been doing this long). I don’t know what’s causing it (and based on most of the responses it looks like no one knows for sure) but I can mention a few things that have been different when it has happened. I don’t put the ganache in a fridge or anything, so that can be ruled out (at least in my cases).

-One of the times the butter was not as soft as it should have been. It melted and seemed to blend in with the ganache, but it ended up lumpy after sitting out.

-Another time the cream got thicker than normal. It also emulsified and looked fine, but after sitting out it became grainy.

The “grains” are hard to figure out…they can be felt in your mouth because you are expecting a smooth ganache, but they melt right away. I cannot look at an individual grain by taking it from the rest of the center because with even the slightest pressure or heat they disappear. So, I don’t really know what they are.

---

Some random thoughts that maybe some of you chemically inclined might be able to help with:

-If the butter is too cool/stiff when mixed in with the ganache could it cool at a different temperature and cause these lumps?

-If there was not enough liquid (say from cooking the cream too long) can you get a “condensation effect” in the ganache? Basically, as it cools could some of the suspended particles be forced out of the emulsion and end up sticking together in these clumps?

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I'm going to hazard a guess about the graininess and suggest it's either the cocoa fats (from the chocolate) or the milk fats (from the butter/cream). If the mixture was perfectly emulsified and set while perfectly emulsified then everything would be in tiny particles which, theoretically, would not be detectable on the tongue. But say, if the ganache took too long to cool, even if it was perfectly emulsified, I think it might become granular also.

An example is like this, If I remember it rightly, igneous rocks have crystals whose size correspond to the rate of setting: if allowed to cool slowly: larger crystals develop because they have the time to and, if set quickly, smaller crystals develop because they're 'shocked' into it.

Why not then put ganache in the fridge to set? I think it's the same as putting chocolate that hasn't fully set into the fridge. The cold shocks the chocolate into setting and you get the development of unwanted cocoa butter crystals and, to begin with they may not be noticeable, but they'll melt and coalesce etc as time goes on.

It's not just about temperature, all that setting. Crystallisation processes aren't linear, they're hyperbolic (or some other fancy term, I don't know). For example, if you made a perfectly emulsified ganache then put it in a warming cabinet at say... 27C (which was the temperature which beta crystals form), it would take a long time to set and would probably become granular over time.

Another issue involved is the type of chocolate used: like chocolates, milk and white chocolate ganaches take a longer time to set. What some people do to accelerate the process is to add tempered cocoa butter into the ganache. This gives the crystallisation process a head start and allows for a much more rapid crystallisation. Notice that rapid crystallisation, as opposed to slow crystallisation, is not a problem unless it is caused by cold temperature.

That's how I figure it. The same problem does not appear in compound chocolate because all hydrogenated vegetable fats have the same setting point and don't have the same properties of cocoa butter though if it was a high butter compound chocolate ganache it might be more inclined to become granular if set too slowly/quickly.

Edited by HQAntithesis (log)
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merlicky, I havent been doing this long at all either, and am having similar issues.

As an experiment, I think you should do this: Mix your ganache, then split it in two. Put one in the fridge, and then either pipe the other half, or spread it thinly in the bottom of a rectangular container.

Question: For how long did you mix the ganache? Did you stop mixing quickly after everything looked together, or did you mix for a while?

The other question I had was: After your ganache set, did you mix it before you used it? or did you just start scooping out of the bowl?

Last Question: Was the ganache covered while it set?

Just wanted to see if there are any similarities between what we did, then we can isolate the problem.

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1) Here’s what I did when the cream was too thick:

Chopped chocolate. Heated cream to very slight boil with orange peel. Let steep for 15-20 minutes (here’s where my problem was, because I got distracted after I covered it and accidentally left it on the heat for a couple minutes – thus thickening it up). Heated back to very slight boil.

Poured cream through fine sieve over chocolate. Let sit a couple minutes. Stirred. Added butter at about 95° F. Stirred.

Poured into shallow dish and let sit out a few hours uncovered. Cut ganache into squares. Rolled squares into balls.

2) Here is what I did when the butter was probably not soft enough:

Chopped chocolate. Heated cream to very slight boil.

Poured cream over chocolate. Let set a couple minutes. Stirred. Added butter at about 95° F. Butter didn’t totally mix in. Used stick blender to get butter to incorporate.

Poured into shallow dish and let sit out a few hours uncovered. Cut ganache into squares. Rolled squares into balls.

---

Chocofoodie, I mixed the second one more because the butter wasn’t melting well. The first was not really mixed very long. Also, there was no further mixing once I let the ganache set; actually they set fairly well within an hour.

HQAntithesis, you are probably right about the “grains” being fat. The ganache that ended up grainy didn’t cool any faster/slower than other ganache that I have made. I wonder if the cooler butter on the second one may have had that “shock” effect on the chocolate. Perhaps it set too quickly around the cooler butter and formed fat crystals? But, why would the surface always be smooth? Maybe because of a more even cooling due to direct contact with the room, while the ganache underneath set quicker around the cooler butter?

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I think the surface would be smooth because it releases the heat the fastest, so it wouldnt have as much time to develop big crystals. And I think the problem is the butter, the second time when I got the grains, i did it exactly the same as you did, and the butter gave me some trouble melting and incorporating so i had to mix a lot. I think it works best when the butter is either boiled with the cream, or put on top of the chocolate and allowed to sit in the boiled cream.

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Some random thoughts that maybe some of you chemically inclined might be able to help with:

-If the butter is too cool/stiff when mixed in with the ganache could it cool at a different temperature and cause these lumps?

Your butter should be room temperature (not melted) before mixing for two reasons:

1) It will incorporate much better. All ingredients should be of the same consistency for best mixing.

2) It won't cause the chocolate to cool and form chunks.

Let your butter sit out next time and you should see a marked improvement.

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Some random thoughts that maybe some of you chemically inclined might be able to help with:

-If the butter is too cool/stiff when mixed in with the ganache could it cool at a different temperature and cause these lumps?

Your butter should be room temperature (not melted) before mixing for two reasons:

1) It will incorporate much better. All ingredients should be of the same consistency for best mixing.

2) It won't cause the chocolate to cool and form chunks.

Let your butter sit out next time and you should see a marked improvement.

i'll add to davidj's comments with: butter is an emulsion, so is ganache. keeping it in emulsion is important. when you melt butter, it separates. best to do it as he said and have it soft but not melted.

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since i started this thread more than two years ago i can give you my two cents...

emulsion is everything

use an immersionblender, (dont work the surface to avoid mixing in air)

never use whisk or just spatula i have seen ganaches that were

fine and stable, after immersion blending that were much more homogeneous

and crystallized much faster

temperature is everything

never work you ganache below a certain temperature

peter grewelings book does a great job in explaining why

butter must be "pomade" to emusify well

fake is everything

if your ganaches seperates on you, re emulsify

with a tablspoon of pasteiruzed egg yolk and your good to go ;-)

Edited by schneich (log)

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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Melting the butter with the cream or pouring cream over both the chocolate and butter seems to lead to more broken ganache though. A few have worked out, but most seem to break (once it broke and would not go back together no matter what).

This is probably due to what alanamoana said, “…butter is an emulsion, so is ganache…” Melting the butter brings it out of emulsion so then you have to emulsify both the butter and the rest of the ganache.

I’ve been reading up a bit on emulsions today and it seems that temperatures are the biggest key. The closer the ingredients are in temperature, the better the emulsion. This would be why you let the chocolate sit in the cream before incorporating…to let them come to the same temperature. This could also be why you can get grainy ganache even without butter. If the cream is stirred into the chocolate before they come to the same temperature, the cocoa butter fats may form lumpy crystals.

I think the 95° F is used to add the room temperature butter because temperatures of 93° to 95° F are in the melting point range of both butter and cocoa butter. Adding the butter at this temperature should not quite melt the butter and keep it in a similar state to the cocoa butter.

---

David, I usually let the butter sit out and I have had much better results. Those two examples were times when the ganache didn’t work out, and the things I figured caused the problems.

Edited by merlicky (log)
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when i make ganache i for example melt the chocolate in the microwave,put the glucose into the boiling cream, put cream & gluco into mostly melted chocolate, stir carefully until a basic emulsion is achieved, at this stage the whole mixture is still quite warm NOW i add the spirity (if any) and then LAST i add the beurre pomade (which literally means "soft butter") now i hit the mixture with my zauberstab until its really glossy, (while its warm enough you cant actually overmix it)

voila!!

p.s. as said in the greweling book your in trouble if ou try to mix a cold ganache, you will always end up with a split ganache...

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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  • 1 month later...

Hi. I looked in the old threads but found nothing on this so sorry if it is a repeat. I would like to know how you guys get your ganache flat and even. I use caramel bars, but when it is a big slab itis hard getting it even and flat. I put a baking sheet over the top when it has set a little and then I put an oven tray on top to flatten. Then remove. There must be a more professional way! Any suggestions??

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You use a long flat pallet knife, dragged at an angle, lengthwise.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Yes of course. However if the amount of slabbed ganache is wider than the palet knife? Do you see what I mean?

practice, practice, practice.

you can always buy/make a piece of plastic or sqeegie (rubber scraper) type of device that is as wide or wider than your caramel rulers and use that to drag across your ganache. regardless of what you use, you still need some practice in spreading it nicely. due to the dragging there is almost always one side that sinks a little below the bars (from being pulled away).

honestly, though, i don't see anything wrong with your method. if you can just put a piece of guitar plastic (acetate sheet) on top of your ganache and weight it down with a pan and it comes out flat, then i wouldn't worry about it!

you could even get custom cut acrylic sheets to lay on top of the ganache and weight those down.

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