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Ganache: Tips, Techniques & Troubleshooting


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Are you using an immersion blender? I've been told (and do) always use an immersion blender for dark ganache to ensure it is properly emulsified.

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My notes are out in the car - but I seem to recall him saying that too much fat can result in a grainy ganache. Ganache is an emulsion of fat in water and the fat forms small globules surrounded by the water phase. If you have too many fat globules for the amount of water phase they are likely to coalesce into an oily mass. A chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content is more likely to form a ganache that will split. So if you want to use the same chocolate - you need to increase the water phase in some way.

Also agitating when it is too cool also makes it more likely to split - this is because agitation brings those little globules in greater contact with each other and makes them more likely to coalesce. '

A split ganache is cured by heating or by adding some milk, simple syrup or booze - so I'd think that adding these to your formula initially might just work.

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Thank you for your responses, gap and Kerry!

Are you using an immersion blender?

I tried to use an immersion blender once, but I must have done it wrong because I introduced lots of tiny air bubbles in the ganache. So that was the first and last experiment with the blender. :raz:

My notes are out in the car - but I seem to recall him saying that too much fat can result in a grainy ganache. Ganache is an emulsion of fat in water and the fat forms small globules surrounded by the water phase. If you have too many fat globules for the amount of water phase they are likely to coalesce into an oily mass. A chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content is more likely to form a ganache that will split. So if you want to use the same chocolate - you need to increase the water phase in some way.

Also agitating when it is too cool also makes it more likely to split - this is because agitation brings those little globules in greater contact with each other and makes them more likely to coalesce. '

A split ganache is cured by heating or by adding some milk, simple syrup or booze - so I'd think that adding these to your formula initially might just work.

You're probably right about the high fat content, Kerry. The "grains" melt in the mouth, so they must be actually fat formed into larger globules.

I have a question about repairing the ganache. Because it seemed emulsified, I had piped it into shells. So what now? Can I cut up the bonbons shells 'n all, add the milk and re-emulsify? Would the process then be:

-chop up the bonbons

-melt in double boiler

-add milk (warm or room temp milk? I'm assuming i still have to take care not to let the ganache get warmer than 34C?)

-re-emulsify

-pipe into new shells

Is this the correct procedure?

As for the future, I will try adding some extra booze, or milk to the dark ganaches to begin with, and also use the stick blender. I'll just have to practice, so that I don't lift the blades above the surface and introduce air bubbles.

Edited by DianaM (log)
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  • 4 months later...

In the universe, there are only two truly infinite things: Ganache preparation techniques and obnoxious political advertisements. Those between Canada and Mexico have already suffered too many of the latter, so let's discuss the former instead.

My technique (which is, honestly, in need of refinement):

8oz (by weight) dark chocolate

4oz (by measure) whipping cream

1T corn syrup

Coarsely chop chocolate. Bring cream mixed with corn syrup to the beginning of a boil. Pour over chopped chocolate. Mix well with electric eggbeater turned up pretty high.

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I've never ever made ganache with a power tool before. What's your texture like? Particularly with dark chocolate, I'm always concerned about bruising it and the resulting separation and graininess that causes.

Here's what I do:

18 oz (by measure) nata - the NorAm equivalent to this is, I believe, double cream

5 oz (by weight) 75% cocoa solids dark chocolate, chopped

5 oz (by weight) 99% cocoa solids mother of chocolate, chopped

0.5 oz (by measure) corn syrup

2 oz (by weight) sweet butter

2 oz (by measure) liquor. I'm very fond of Solera Reserva brandies, but both Rum and Kahlua are also quite pleasant, and on one memorable occasion I made B-52 (it didn't even last long enough to fill the chocolates I was working on! :laugh: .)

Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.

This is a slightly softer ganache due to the presence of the liquor; if you omit it, the ganache will set a great deal harder. However, the flavour is heavenly and the texutre is silky and smooth.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Our go to formula for most of the ganache we use (cake filling, outside coat on cake) is 2# chopped chocolate or callets - we use bittersweet choc, usually a 60% - 8 butter in with the chocolate. Then in a pot, 2# heavy cream (40%). If we are using it for tarts where we'd like to to maintain a gloss for a few hours, I'll sub an ounce or two of corn syrup for an ounce of 2 of cream. Bring to a rolling boil (as in climbing the pot) then pour over the chocolate/butter. Let it sit for a minute or so, then stir very gently with a whisk. Then leave it alone!

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The electric eggbeater was used for 13 batches of ganache in a row with zero failures. A hippie stole one, but it was mercifully the completely inedible tea-infused ganache I was too embarrassed to throw away...

Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.

This is pretty much a 100% inversion of what I do - I'm very nervous about adding a water-based ingredient (corn syrup) or liquor to a ganache in fear of breaking it. Do you slowly drizzle it in or dump all at once?

I sometimes make a syrup of the liquor if I'm using a great deal by reducing it with the sweeteners.

I've never, ever heard of mother of chocolate before, but I'll try and find some on your recommendation. I feel marginally less embarrassed of my ignorance on the basis that Google hasn't heard of it either.

However, the big problem of the day seems to be that I'm using store-bought whipping cream, which I suspect is on the shallow side of 30%. How should I seek the good stuff?

Also, infinite Internet kudos to anyone who can tell me how to add citrus oils (a la Boyajian) without breaking the ganache.

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Scald the cream (at my altitude, that's about 200 F on the thermometer; I expect it's a higher temperature at sea level). Remove from the heat and add all of the chocolate, all at once. Stir gently with a sturdy hand whisk until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, then add the corn syrup and butter and continue whisking gently until that's also well blended. Finally, add the liquor and whisk until just incorporated.

This is pretty much a 100% inversion of what I do - I'm very nervous about adding a water-based ingredient (corn syrup) or liquor to a ganache in fear of breaking it. Do you slowly drizzle it in or dump all at once?

I sometimes make a syrup of the liquor if I'm using a great deal by reducing it with the sweeteners.

I've never, ever heard of mother of chocolate before, but I'll try and find some on your recommendation. I feel marginally less embarrassed of my ignorance on the basis that Google hasn't heard of it either.

However, the big problem of the day seems to be that I'm using store-bought whipping cream, which I suspect is on the shallow side of 30%. How should I seek the good stuff?

Also, infinite Internet kudos to anyone who can tell me how to add citrus oils (a la Boyajian) without breaking the ganache.

I've never had a problem with cracking when I add glucose or corn syrup at that point - it gets drizzled in while stirring, just as the booze would. Both are water-based, but since they're added slowly and near the end of the process I've never ever had any issues. I have found, though, that my ganaches crack when I start with sweetened cream. Perhaps it's an altitude thing? Other than the corn syrup, I add no sweetening to my ganaches; they've got a complex bitter and fruity flavour from the Mother that I hate to hide.

Mother of Chocolate is my direct, literal translation of a product I buy at the market (called Madre de Chocolate); it's pailettes of first-refining bitter chocolate with no sweetening and very little cocoa butter in it. It's used down here as a basis for making sweeter grades of chocolate and for making Ambato-style hot chocolate. I'll take a picture of some later today so that you know what you're looking for - it's incredibly bitter and very dry, and it's the main reason I add butter to the ganache preparation. The closest you'll find in North America is probably Mexican drinking chocolate tablets, unless you're very lucky and have an Ecuadorian market in your area (at which point, look for Chocolate Ambateño or Chocolate de Judith - those are the two most common export brands, both of which are produced in the city where I live). If you've still got no luck, pm me and we'll arrange something.

I have absolutely no advice for you on how to find heavier cream. I buy mine directly from a farmer, and half the time it's a barter transaction.

Citrus oils (and indeed any other aromatic oils) should be added at the same stage that you would butter - ie after the chocolate has emulsified. Then the overall temperature of the ganache will be low enough to prevent changing the flavour of the oils, and since they're oils they won't cause any problems vis a vis cracking.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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jrshaul not sure if you are interested in a ganache for cake or for chocolates but one of these two books should be very useful:

"The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum

"Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner" by Peter Greweling

You should be able to get both from the library and there are discussion threads about these on eGullet too.

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For me, it's relatively simple: get the heaviest cream I can find. Scald it, and add twice the volume of bittersweet chocolate to the scalded cream. If adding liqueur, I usually add it right before the chocolate. I then run it through a fine mesh before using it to get any random debris from the scalding out of it. No problems.

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For me, it's relatively simple: get the heaviest cream I can find. Scald it, and add twice the volume of bittersweet chocolate to the scalded cream. If adding liqueur, I usually add it right before the chocolate. I then run it through a fine mesh before using it to get any random debris from the scalding out of it. No problems.

This sounds pretty much like what I do. Liquids into the hot cream, then add chopped chocolate, whichever kind I am using.

Of course, some special ganaches do take butter, corn syrup, and other ingredients and then I would probably just follow the instructions, at least once.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I've never ever made ganache with a power tool before. What's your texture like? Particularly with dark chocolate, I'm always concerned about bruising it and the resulting separation and graininess that causes.

I've been using a stick blender on a relatively low speed when I incorporate the butter and booze. This gives me an excellent emulsion. I'd love to say I came up with the idea, but I saw this technique being used by someone else.

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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The first time I remember posting about that method was here.

Kerry - You're much too organized.

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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The first time I remember posting about that method was here.

Kerry - You're much too organized.

You wouldn't call me organized if you saw my chocolate room today - two days after the Luxury Chocolate Show. Piles of boxes with dirty dishes mixed in with all the other stuff. Maybe I'll get to it tonight!

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I just pour the boiled cream over the chocolate, directly in my blender, blast it until it's smooth. If it needs butter, I cover it with clingwrap until it's cooled to 32C, then pulse the butter in. Never had it split, never grainy. Now I've said that, I'll probably get it happen this weekend :P

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The blender is a novel idea. I've had good luck with the eggbeaters, but the overspray is nothing short of comedic.

Am I the only one having trouble with concentrated citrus oils? I've had cream start to curdle outright after adding not very much. The Boyajian stuff is very strong - enough so that a leak in your pocket will give a truly hideous rash on your leg.

Edited by jrshaul (log)
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Several years ago, I attended a demo by Frederic Bau of Valrhona. He says to treat ganache as an emulsion - if you add the liquid slowly to the melted chocolate, it won't break. He used an immersion blender. Melted the chocolate, warmed the cream (but it can't be too hot) then added the cream in slowly, letting incorporate fully before adding more. At first, the chocolate stiffens but as you keep whisking in cream, it smooths out and becomes shiny and smooth.

You can use different types of liquid - not necessarily cream. I've made water ganaches and tea ganaches.

It's not the lack of fat in the cream that makes the ganache break; it's the way you add the liquid to the chocolate.

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