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Ganache: Tips, Techniques & Troubleshooting


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Old thread, new question. I've never had a grainy ganache before, and now, it seems that is all I can make.

I'm in a new location. The first batch we made was fine -- smooth and silky. We are using a simple ganache -- just cream and chocolate. 3 parts chocolate, 2 parts cream. We were able to store it in the fridge, and then rewarm what we needed.

Now, we make ick. It's getting a little better. Batch two was a clump of cocoa solids with an oil slick. No way could we get it to emulsify. In the garbage it went.

Batch 3, better, but still very grainy. Smooth when first made, pop in the fridge for storage, reheat, then it breaks.

We reheat slowly. Tried the microwave bits at a time, and better, but not good. We've tried stick blending it. We've tried adding a little to some cream, emulsifying, then adding more, but it breaks again.

We tried making a 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream ganache, and it was a little better, but still grainy.

I might add, our kitchen is hot. Like 95F hot. I don't know about the humidity level, but since our air conditioning s*cks, I'm betting we're not at 45%...

ANYONE -- give us some things to try or ideas or ask questions. I'm getting tired of making this ick and throwing profits in the dumpster...

THANKS!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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One thought, given your high temperature and new location.

When making ganache by pouring boiled cream over chocolate chards, start emulsifying once the temperature of the mixture has dropped to about 50 degrees Celsius / 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Stirring before may cause a ganache to separate. Stirring too late may lead to grainyness.

The time taken for a chocolate mixture to drop to the correct temperature before one starts to emulsifying depends on: the ratio of chocolate to cream; the total volume of chocolate and cream; and the ambient temperature (Note: new location and high temperatures).

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One thought, given your high temperature and new location.

When making ganache by pouring boiled cream over chocolate chards, start emulsifying once the temperature of the mixture has dropped to about 50 degrees Celsius / 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Stirring before may cause a ganache to separate. Stirring too late may lead to grainyness.

The time taken for a chocolate mixture to drop to the correct temperature before one starts to emulsifying depends on: the ratio of chocolate to cream; the total volume of chocolate and cream; and the ambient temperature (Note: new location and high temperatures).

Thanks -- I'll dig out my trusty thermometer and give that a try.

Any tips on the reheating process that seems to make things worse (anyone)... I can't be making a new batch each time we need the stuff, yet at this rate we either have cr@ppy looking desserts or we make another new batch....

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Have you changed you chocolate to a different brand or cocoa butter level or your cream from regular cream to a manufacturing cream. I have had problems with both of these issues in the past.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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I usually make ganache with Guittard 4m chips, because they're there, and they're not bad. 5 lbs chips to 4 lbs 36% heavy cream. No problems, ever. Lately I've been trying to use up a box of Callebaut 55% discs just to get it off inventory. Again, no problems. When I went for the box today, it was a little light, and since I have two boxes of Amer Bitter 60% couverture, I used that, and it came out a little grainy, lumpy, not smooth. I whisked about a half pint of cold cream into and it came together. Too much fat, not enough liquid, I guess. Next time yours looks likes swill, try a little more cream, or even water.

To reheat, I pulse it in a microwave at 30-50% power depending on how much I'm trying to heat, for 4 to 6 minutes as needed.

Edited by McDuff (log)
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Best way to beat the grainy stuff is good emulsification, for one thing.

Try using an immersion blender ( like a Braun or a CuisineArt) after pouring your wet on top of the chocolate.

Let it sit for a few minutes (five) then buzz it, it will look like a great emulsion.

If no immersion blender ( which I can't recommend highly enough) add your hot mix slowly, in bits, using your spatula from the middle out to the edge, slowly, adding a bit more of the hot as you go until you get it all emulsified.

When I've had an assistant "break" my ganache (grainy, when it cools you see the white cocoa butter veined thruout) it was usually because they poured the boiling hot liquid on all at once, didn't emulsify it right or added the chocolate to the hot dairy, which will really screw everything up.

Oh, and burr mixing or stick blending a crap batch should fix it just fine.

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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Have you changed you chocolate to a different brand or cocoa butter level or your cream from regular cream to a manufacturing cream.  I have had problems with both of these issues in the past.

Changes to both. Mostly I use Mi Amere (sp?) from Cacao Barry. 58% cocoa, couverture. Here, we use Callebaut Intense. Not sure off the top of my head of the overall% or cocoa butter %. If it matters, I've used all kinds of chocolate and never had a problem. But, the biggest change was from a 36% cream to a 40% cream. Any suggestions?

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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I usually make ganache with Guittard 4m chips, because they're there, and they're not bad. 5 lbs chips to 4 lbs 36% heavy cream. No problems, ever. Lately I've been trying to use up a box of Callebaut 55% discs just to get it off inventory. Again, no problems. When I went for the box today, it was a little light, and since I have two boxes of Amer Bitter 60% couverture, I used that, and it came out a little grainy, lumpy, not smooth. I whisked about a half pint of cold cream into and it came together. Too much fat, not enough liquid, I guess. Next time yours looks likes swill, try a little more cream, or even water.

To reheat, I pulse it in a microwave at 30-50% power depending on how much I'm trying to heat, for 4 to 6 minutes as needed.

Thanks -- tried the more cream, but it had been warmed. I'll try cold. I've also tried the water, and that helped until the ganache cooled and broke again on rewarming. Learned the water trick for the same reasons you state from one of my instructors in school.

Microwave is about what I've been doing as well. Double boiler with gentle heat seems too strong in my hot kitchen.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Best way to beat the grainy stuff is good emulsification, for one thing.

Try using an immersion blender ( like a Braun or a CuisineArt) after pouring your wet on top of the chocolate.

Let it sit for a few minutes (five) then buzz it, it will look like a great emulsion.

If no immersion blender ( which I can't recommend highly enough) add your hot mix slowly, in bits, using your spatula from the middle out to the edge, slowly, adding a bit more of the hot as you go until you get it all emulsified.

When I've had an assistant "break" my ganache (grainy, when it cools you see the white cocoa butter veined thruout) it was usually because they poured the boiling hot liquid on all at once, didn't emulsify it right or added the chocolate to the hot dairy, which will really screw everything up.

Oh, and burr mixing or stick blending a crap batch should fix it just fine.

Thanks! I'm saying I'll try all these because I seem to have lots of opportunity lately. The veins you mention are very prevalent. We do pour all directly on top of the chocolate. Another instructor said little at a time. The pastry chef I work with melts the chocolate, boils the cream and pours all the chocolate into the cream. That was actually the first and third batches. First was fine, third almost as bad as second.

How will that "screw everything up" -- not doubting, just looking for scientific explanations so I can perhaps find the part(s) that are doing me in.

I must have a crap stick blender, cuz that did nothing to the crap batch. Once I turned the blender off, you could actually see it start to break again. I haven't tried it yet to do the initial emulsion -- only to do the fixes.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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Best way to beat the grainy stuff is good emulsification, for one thing.

Try using an immersion blender ( like a Braun or a CuisineArt) after pouring your wet on top of the chocolate.

Let it sit for a few minutes (five) then buzz it, it will look like a great emulsion.

If no immersion blender ( which I can't recommend highly enough) add your hot mix slowly, in bits, using your spatula from the middle out to the edge, slowly, adding a bit more of the hot as you go until you get it all emulsified.

When I've had an assistant "break" my ganache (grainy, when it cools you see the white cocoa butter veined thruout) it was usually because they poured the boiling hot liquid on all at once, didn't emulsify it right or added the chocolate to the hot dairy, which will really screw everything up.

Oh, and burr mixing or stick blending a crap batch should fix it just fine.

Thanks! I'm saying I'll try all these because I seem to have lots of opportunity lately. The veins you mention are very prevalent. We do pour all directly on top of the chocolate. Another instructor said little at a time. The pastry chef I work with melts the chocolate, boils the cream and pours all the chocolate into the cream. That was actually the first and third batches. First was fine, third almost as bad as second.

How will that "screw everything up" -- not doubting, just looking for scientific explanations so I can perhaps find the part(s) that are doing me in.

I must have a crap stick blender, cuz that did nothing to the crap batch. Once I turned the blender off, you could actually see it start to break again. I haven't tried it yet to do the initial emulsion -- only to do the fixes.

I haven't tried the melting chocolate/pouring it into the cream thing.

Adding the room temp/dry choc to the just of the boil dairy schocks the hell out of it, I guess :laugh:

It does it no good, that's for sure.

Unless I was stick blending I would do the little by little method, as mentioned above.

That's the Frederic Bau method, who is the main man at valrhona.

No ones saying your ganache will never be crappy again but he has a lot of good tips on the subject.

I'm surprised the stick blending didn't straighten your mix right out.

I've fixed batches that were microwaved a bit too much, where it separates a bit ( but no burn) and it came back together pretty damned nice.

I HAVE seen a few not very powerful immersion blenders.

Some of the peiople I've worked with have ran out and gotten something other then the Braun (obviously we're talking the more affordable end of stick blenders here) and the results haven't been as good.

I think it's just the speed/power/etc.

You could always try a Vita Prep blender or something too?

Good Luck!

PS: I've used many different percentages of cream and never encountered problems.

% specific recipes?

Yes!

PSS: Humidity and heat screw up everything we work with, no??? :wacko:

2317/5000

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when i moved from texas to the midwest, i experienced some problems with ganaches turning grainy, some as sone as they were mixed and then some after sitting overnight, I have learned the it was the change in dairy venders. When i make ganach at work I have to cut the cream with some milk about 25% example If i need 10 oz cream i cut it back to 7 or 7.5 and add 2 to 3 oz of milk. this is combined with 55% Cocao Noel couverture. If i make ganach at home i us straaight 36 % cream but i use organic cream. Its a bit more expensive but a lot less head aches.

dan

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I have made a simple batch of ganache with 1/2 lb of butter to 2 lbs milk chocolate when I meant to use 3/4 to a full pound.

Is it possible to thin it by reheating and mixing in more butter if it turns out to be too thick to form into balls? Or do I risk seperation and a real mess?

Does it make a difference if the ganache is a simple cream and chocolate mix?

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I have made a simple batch of ganache with 1/2 lb of butter to 2 lbs milk chocolate when I meant to use 3/4 to a full pound. 

Is it possible to thin it by reheating and mixing in more butter if it turns out to be too thick to form into balls?  Or do I risk seperation and a real mess?

Does it make a difference if the ganache is a simple cream and chocolate mix?

Ganache is an emulsion so the trick to have it right is to make the water particles suspend among the fat particles. Cream hols less fat than butter but at the end a correct emulsion is what you are looking for. There shouldn't be a problem if you reheat your ganche (microwave at 50% power is best here) add the extra butter and blend it againg with a handheld mixer. It should turn out ok. I have done it before with great results.

Nil

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Melt the ganache, melt the butter, combine, set, perfect.

I had to do just the opposite recently. I messed up a batch of ganache and had to remelt and increase the chocolate to get the consistency I wanted.

It is more difficult to get the "broken" ganache back into an emulsion but gently heating it in the microwave and then a lot of mixing (careful to not over aerate) can bring it back into shape.

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I would heat the ganache for 1 to 2 minutes at 10 percent power in the microwave. Just enough to soften, not enough to melt. Have the butter at room temperature, then mix the two together until no streaks of butter show.

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I would heat the ganache for 1 to 2 minutes at 10 percent power in the microwave.  Just enough to soften, not enough to melt.  Have the butter at room temperature, then mix the two together until no streaks of butter show.

Thanks for all the tips. I will file these away as by luck the batch of ganache will scoop and form balls even though it is a bit crumbly.

Oh, the butter and chocolate ganache recipie did leave the hazelnut praline nice and crunchy. My wife swiped some and pronounced it perfect.

Now I just have to check the humidity level and see if I can start dipping yet.

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  • 1 month later...

This is an open question but I'd like to direct it specifically to Kerry Beal and John DePaula and any other chocolate specialists out there!

I have a friend who is working on a chocolate line for some people. They loved the bonbons overall, but someone made a comment that the ganaches were a touch too sweet. We were discussing ways to adjust the sweetness level without adversely affecting the texture of the ganache.

Some of the thoughts were:

1) blending the chocolate used by adding some unsweetened cocoa mass. i think she's currently using something like a 72% from e. guittard and i'm not sure of the sugar level in their chocolate. i think it does tend to be sweeter than valrhona, cluizel and others (not as acidic as well)

2) adjusting the sugar level by using more glucose which doesn't offer the same sweetness level as sugar

If anybody has other suggestions, it would be appreciated. I've been reading all the books I have on the subject, but most don't address sweetness levels in ganaches directly, they just tend to give you information on ingredients and how to use them.

edited to add: unfortunately, I don't have the recipe that she's currently using. If I can get it (and if it would help with analysis), I'll certainly forward it!

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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Alana, is she actually using sugar in the recipe? As you know, a standard 72% ganache wouldn't be very sweet so it must be something she's adding.

Using glucose instead of sugar will cetainly reduce sweetness and will also change the texture, probably for the better, giving the ganache a more unctuous texture. If you start adding and changing chocolate you'll change the flavor profile altogether.

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Alana, is she actually using sugar in the recipe?  As you know, a standard 72% ganache wouldn't be very sweet so it must be something she's adding.

Using glucose instead of sugar will cetainly reduce sweetness and will also change the texture, probably for the better, giving the ganache a more unctuous texture.  If you start adding and changing chocolate you'll change the flavor profile altogether.

Thanks Trish! That is what we were talking about when she called me. I don't know what her recipe is and I'll have to call her to find out. I think the customer mentioned that they couldn't taste the infusion as well in some of the bonbons, so I suggested using a chocolate with a different profile in order to complement the infusion. Where she's working right now, they only use one chocolate for everything (I mean one bittersweet as they also use white and milk). But I don't think the owner thinks too much about the fact that different blends and percentages can make a difference in the final product/flavor profile. So my friend has to work with what she has! :wacko:

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Alana , I am not an expert but I do use the 72% eguittard , and I dont add sugar or glucose to my ganache most of the time ,and I can tell you that is not sweet at all .The 72% is very smooth and have some fruity tone to it but definatly not sweet.

Vanessa

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I think that what’s already been said is good advice. The only other thing I can think of is, possibly, to add some cocoa butter. It should have a positive effect on mouth-feel and the desired reduction in sweetness. I’ve never tried it before but it may work.

By the way, for what it’s worth, taste is quite subjective. One person’s “too sweet” is another’s “too bitter.” Don’t forget, "too many chefs spoil the soup."

Edited by John DePaula (log)

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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Vanessa and John, thanks.

John, I think you're right. My friend is awesome and a perfectionist...so often, I think she'll obsess over something that might not make a difference to the majority of consumers! I'll pass on the suggestions.

Thanks everyone!

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As for the cocoa butter , I do sometimes add it to my ganaches,expecially ones with white chocolate that tend to be much sweeter and it does gives a great mouthfeel and more structure ,I do use with some fillings and flavors coconut butter ( or oil ),expecially with exoctic flavors, I remeber an italian famous ( actually he lives in Switzerland ) chocolatier mentioned the use of fat in ganaches and the different effect etc. The first was the coconut butter then cocoa butter last the butter ,the coconut butter leaves a fresh backtaste without overpowering the taste like the cocoa butter.

Vanessa

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