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Ganache: Tips, Techniques & Troubleshooting


schneich
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I make extra ganache and freeze it, too, seems to work fine for me. I thoroughly melt it then let it cool to room temp before filling the shells.

Never tried making the shells in advance. They don't get stale or break?

I have forgotten who on this forum said it, but that person said he or she makes shells weeks in advance with no adverse effect. I keep them for perhaps two weeks at the most. I have never detected any difference. I'm glad to hear that freezing ganache works for you. From the beginning of my chocolate making, I could not bring myself to throw out (or eat) a delicious bit of ganache, so I froze the remnants. They have come in handy many times when I had a last-minute invitation to a dinner and was able to bring along some delicious sweets.

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When you make shells are you leaving them in the molds or taking them out somehow? I do dome truffles and would love a way to make shells in advance and have them ready to go. With just 11 molds I don't yet have enough to leave them in molds until needed.

I'm leaving in the molds until I am ready to fill them. I think they would be too fragile to remove, and then you would have to deal with how to fill and cap them. I completely understand your mold supply issue; I experience the same thing.

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ah, the days when I only had 18 molds ;)

I'm scared to think how much money I've spent on molds! Not to mention the array of egg molds I have as well... yet somehow, every easter, I never quite have the right one :/

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Hey there,

I freeze ganache ahead of time a lot, with excellent results 99% of the time. Gradual warming seems to work best (freezer to cooler x 1 day, then cooler to room temp x 1 day). If using for piping, I find that sometimes the ganache is a bit hard and needs to be re-agitated prior to use, so we table it or give it a spin with an immersion blender before piping. I'm convinced that chocolate is a lot more freezer-friendly than the (older) literature suggests.

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Hey there,

I freeze ganache ahead of time a lot, with excellent results 99% of the time. Gradual warming seems to work best (freezer to cooler x 1 day, then cooler to room temp x 1 day). If using for piping, I find that sometimes the ganache is a bit hard and needs to be re-agitated prior to use, so we table it or give it a spin with an immersion blender before piping. I'm convinced that chocolate is a lot more freezer-friendly than the (older) literature suggests.

Thanks for those insights. I was wondering if there were not more thoughts on this issue, which those in business must at least think about quite often. From your use of "we" I am guessing you are in business. I followed the same plan--moving the ganache from the freezer to the fridge then to room temp. In heating it, mostly I didn't take it much above temps in the 80s F. I even had some leftover raspberry pate de fruit and some dulce de leche both of which reheated without any discernible issues. I think I will not freeze butter ganaches in the future as it is difficult to tell what is going to happen to butter once it melts.

What are your thoughts on freezing bulk chocolate? I don't have an adequate storage space in the warm weather. Last year I bought a little wine fridge with a charcoal bag to absorb moisture, but I wasn't happy with that arrangement as there was definitely moisture collecting on the plastic in which the chocolate was wrapped. I didn't have any issues with the chocolate itself, but I am thinking of vacuum-packing it and freezing it next summer.

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What happens if you go freezer to melted in one step bypassing freezer to fridge? I'm planing to start making larger batches so I can freeze some, then pull it right when I need it. I'm not organized enough to pull it a day ahead.

If I pull and then microwave and use an immersion blender, will I run into problems?

Also, what are the issues with freezing butter ganaches? Do the separate when thawed?

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Frankly I don't think taking the ganache from freezer directly to heat will make a difference, but since I do have the time to plan in advance, I'm not willing to experiment and risk a problem. I was just following the analogy of what people advise when moving frozen (finished) chocolates from freezer to eating.

About butter ganaches: I get the feeling (not more than that) that the emulsion is more fragile. As I wrote earlier, I did freeze and reheat Greweling's eggnog ganache. It became more liquid than I remembered, but in the end did firm up fine. But I thought there must be a reason when recipe writers say butter should be very soft (not melted) when it is added to ganache. The sight of a separated ganache is not pretty.

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My understanding of why you go freezer to fridge to room temp with finished chocolates has to do with minimizing condensation on the surface. That's also why they need to be vacuum sealed before being frozen. But I've also read to do room temp to fridge to freezer when freezing them too. I have yet to try vacuum sealing anything. I have a home vacuum sealer I bought at Costco a few years back but no idea if that would work.

For the frozen ganache I think I'll split a batch and experiment. One directly from freezer and one with 24 hours in the fridge and see how they both end up.

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The vacuum-sealing works. On a very humid day in the middle of the summer, when I removed some vacuum-sealed chocolate from my wine fridge, condensation formed immediately, but it was on the outside of the plastic bag in which the chocolate was being kept. I let it come to room temp, carefully wiped off the moisture, and the chocolate was fine.

I'll be interested in the results of your experiment to see if skipping the fridge step makes a difference.

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How are you vacuum sealing? A regular home type unit or something fancy? Using the regular vacuum sealer bags?

Vacuum sealing vs placing plastic wrap on the surface. I wonder if there's any difference. For me the plastic wrap would be faster. I just placed a batch of ice cream in the freezer in a hotel pan with plastic wrap pressed on the surface. Even in Tupperware there's ice crystals at the top so I'm trying this. Thinking the same would be fine for ganache without having to mess with vacuum sealing.

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How are you vacuum sealing? A regular home type unit or something fancy? Using the regular vacuum sealer bags?

Vacuum sealing vs placing plastic wrap on the surface. I wonder if there's any difference. For me the plastic wrap would be faster. I just placed a batch of ice cream in the freezer in a hotel pan with plastic wrap pressed on the surface. Even in Tupperware there's ice crystals at the top so I'm trying this. Thinking the same would be fine for ganache without having to mess with vacuum sealing.

With vacuum sealing, there is no moisture, no air, so product should remain as near to what it originally was as is humanly possible. I first used an inexpensive hand vacuum pump (from Ziploc, I think). Then I got more serious about it and bought a Weston vacuum sealer. Besides chocolate and ganache, I use it for meats and other foods. As I said before, I used it for storing chocolate in a wine refrigerator. It turned out that the fridge had a plastic sort of odor that I could not get rid of, and it was getting absorbed by the chocolate stored only in a Ziploc (or similar) bag. Once I started vacuum sealing the chocolate, however, the odor never got into the chocolate again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm adding this question to a discussion I previously started about ganaches going wrong. Again it is an issue with white chocolate:

Yesterday I made my version of Kerry Beal's strawberry/raspberry cream filling. I have had great success with it before. Kerry calls for putting fondant and butter in a food processor, then adding white chocolate, followed by flavorings (purée mostly). I substitute cocoa butter for some of the white chocolate called for to get a firmer product and to reduce the impact of taste of the the chocolate vs. the taste of the fruit. I temper the chocolate just to be surer of getting a firmer final product. So I had the chocolate at 84 F. and had the fondant and butter mixture at 84 F. When I mixed them, instead of getting a nice emulsion, I got separation (with a yellowish fluid and a whitish mass). I finally made it work by starting with a little heated cream and beating the mess into it little by little. But I am wondering what happened. Possibilities: I melted and tempered the cocoa butter together with the white chocolate. I have done this lots of times with no incident, but the yellowish fluid looked just like cocoa butter, so I am suspicious. Another possibility: The fondant-butter mixture was too thick to pour slowly into the chocolate, so it went in all at once. Is it possible this happened too quickly for the emulsion to form? Third possibility: I had a watery-looking raspberry purée, so boiled it until it was reduced into a quite thick mixture. Is it possible it was too thick so that I had too little liquid in my ganache? I don't think it's #3, but I could be wrong.

Any insights would be appreciated.

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What are the proportions in the ganache.

I personally recommend that you put your chocolate, butter in your processor blend quickly for smaller pieces. Heat up the liquids and eventual fondant to 80degrees Celsius. Place the liquids in the processor and emulsify.

If you use the technique with melted chocolate, pour your liquids in progressively. After your first insertion of cream the ganache will look separated and quite ugly. After the second inclusion, it will get better and at the third you will have something very elastic and neat.

Never let your ganache process under 35 degrees or you will always have issues.

You can then crystallize your ganache afterwards.

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I typed too fast when I was giving the preparation of the raspberry/strawberry filling and didn't get it exactly right. Let me try to clear it up. First, Kerry's original recipe which she kindly provided for me when I was looking for cream-type centers for chocolates:

Raspberry Centers

Source: me
(250 servings)

  • 333 grams raspberry puree
  • 300 grams 118 degree fondant
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid
  • 300 grams white chocolate
  • 30 grams butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kirsch
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry compound
  • 9 drops raspberry flavour (optional)

1.Mix fondant with butter in food processor until smooth. Add melted white chocolate through feed tube, then add puree and flavouring compounds.
2.For molding, make sure that white chocolate is rather thick. Just cool long enough to set, don't let sit in fridge for any length of time or they will crack.

============

Following Greweling's ganache formula, there are 333 grams (the purée) + however many grams the kirsch and compound are, and 300 grams of chocolate. I understand that the sweetener (the fondant) and butter are not counted as liquefiers in the formula. So it is approximately 1 part liquefier to 1 part chocolate. I found that the ganache did not set up firm enough for my purposes, and I wanted to see if I could get a little more berry flavor. I recognized that the rule of proportions in a ganache make it tricky to increase the fruit purée and/or decrease the chocolate. In my experimentation I came up with 130 g. purée and 300 g. chocolate + 75 g. cocoa butter. That is a ratio of 1 part liquefier to somewhere between 2 and 2.5 parts chocolate. I had some trouble getting the food processor method of Kerry's to work for me, so I tried out Greweling's method for slabbed ganache (temper the chocolate, heat the liquefiers and add them to the chocolate). In actuality (contrary to what I wrote earlier) I added the butter at the end (as is usually done in ganaches). I made an error (not sure where I got the idea) that the liquefier and tempered chocolate had to be at the same temperature; instead Greweling says the liquefier should be at 105 F. I'm not sure if that makes such a difference, but I will definitely do it differently next time.

Alleguede, I am not sure what you mean by "Never let your ganache process under 35 degrees or you will always have issues." Can you tell you why this would be the case?

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I try to never have my ganaches go under 35 degrees when I work them because under that temperature cacao butter sets. I will skip the explanation of cristals and all that jazz but globally it is necessary to think of heat transfers. If you are using a chocolate that is at 55 degrees then your liquids can be at 28 ish you will have an end result in theory around 35 degrees. Other way, if your chocolate is at 35 degrees your liquids around 40 ish, same result.

If you work with pasteurized products such as cream or purees or ... Then no need to boil the products.

To get a product to set a little faster if you have time you can also table it (cristalize it)

In your recipe, just by looking at it you have a little much cacao butter. 20 grs of cacao butter should be more then enough (depending on the chocolate you are using). That could explain the reason of your problems.

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  • 2 months later...

You have your answer above by Kerry. But the answer is yes. If you do so you have to make sure that your chocolate mixture stays exclusively above 36C. You can add your cream in a 3 to 4 time pattern. Each cream addition needs to be emulsified. The first one will look as if everything went wrong, second will be better and finally you will have an elastic, smooth, beautiful ganache.

Never ever add boiling 95C an over cream to chocolate.

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