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schneich

Ganache: Tips, Techniques & Troubleshooting

610 posts in this topic

Ganache is not an easy thing to make or understand. I do not advise chilling over ice or refrigerating. That alone could make it grainy. Ganache is best when allowed to set at room temp. If you must cool it -be gentle, and for not too long of a time. Chocolate does not function well when cold.

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Ganache is not an easy thing to make or understand. I do not advise chilling over ice or refrigerating. That alone could make it grainy. Ganache is best when allowed to set at room temp. If you must cool it -be gentle, and for not too long of a time. Chocolate does not function well when cold.

Actually, when you get the hang of it it's pretty easy. I use ganache on many of my cakes and customers actually prefer this to buttercream frosting/filling.

The brand of chocolate used can also result in a grainy ganache.

And like KarenS, I let my ganache set slowly at room temperature.

If all your corrective measures fail, run it through a strainer. This is what I do too if I get too many air bubbles in my ganache (when not making whipped ganache).

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Thanks again, everyone. It's funny because I've been doing this for years and I've never had as many problems as I've been having lately! The simplest things have been bombing, and I can only attribute it to stress. I have made ganache a million times-I've made it in the microwave for goodness sakes! In fifteen years I've made ONE ganache that broke. (I remember it because it happened a few months ago and I was so shocked because it had never happened to me before!) But that ganache broke while I was whipping it, not while I was cooling it down. (The stupid phone kept ringing and I had to keep turning off the mixer and coming back to it and I just got distracted. Excuses, excuses! Ha ha!) Honestly, I think because it's my shop now I desperately want everything to be perfect and I'm going a bit overboard on the anal retentiveness! Anyway, it turned out beautiful. I have a lovely picture of the finished cake, but I don't know how to post pictures otherwise I'd post it here!


"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." Robert Redford

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I was reading in "Fine Chocolates Great Experience" by Jean-Pierre Wybauw yesterday and ran across his take on this issue.

"Curdling/ Is the seperation of an emulsion from two liquid substances that do not form a solution. The most typical example is oil and water (mayonnaise).

Causes:

Incorrect balance of ingredients

Incorrect mixing temperatures

Chocolate PH too low

Remedies: (depending on recipe)

Homogenise with blender

Add emulisfier (in some cases a little lecithin helps)

Add a thickener

Allow to solidify slightly, then stir vigorously (possibly in beater/mixer)."

Personally, I use my stick blender to make ganches and temper chocolate....... For years I used Flechlin brand chocolate, cream, butter and sugar in my ganches. Then at a different job, all of the sudden my ganche recipe/formula no longer worked. I had a different chocolate and a different dairy. I finally experienced what others described as a broken ganche.........until then I couldn't even imagine how a ganche could be broken.

I had to change the formula I was using and eliminate the extra butter and sugar. Plus I must use my stick blender to get a good emulsion. I can't tell you exactly what's different between my last chocolate and my new brand (or with my cream), but some factor has changed and I had to adjust.

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Hi everyone, it's been ages since I've visited - I took time off to have a baby, but am now back at work. I've been playing around with ganache methods and have discovered that I get the best flavour and smoothest emulsion if I stir the cold cream and solid chocolate together over gentle heat, until the chocolate is almost, but not quite finished melting. Is there any reason, from a professional standpoint, not to do this? Will it affect shelf-life in any way? The cream I'm using is ultrapasteurized, if that's important.

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I'm hooked on using my emursion blender for ganches and tempering chocolate.

I do see a difference in using cooler temp. when making a ganche. It makes for a thicker/denser emulsion (not likely to break). That's why I use a stick blender, it does the work for me sooner then heat alone.

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Samaki, if you search back ages ago we have had several ganache discussions + cream discussions. There has been so much that has been said/argued you may be better off looking for the old discussions than having some select points brought back up.

I don't beleive anyone "cracked" why any method was better than another. But I think we accomplished the fact that everyone is different and can adjust to different procedures better than others.

A few of the topics discussed over all was:

Boiling the cream and pouring it over the chocolate; wisking together smoothe

Boiling the cream and pouring the chocolate in the pan with the cream; whisking smooth

Boiling the cream and melting the chocolate; mix together

Not boiling the cream, only bringing it to a simmer just before boil and following 1 of the top procedures

Infusing Cream with various things for flavored ganache

Which cream is more appropriate for ganache, U.P. or just Pastuerized; also usage of whole milk, half and half, and butter.

The fact that some people were noticing there ganache breaking when melting the chocolate in addition to bringing the cream to a boil

The difference between hard medium and soft ganache and their applications

How to keep ganache from becomming grainy

Alot of these were discussed in 2 or 3 threads. If you search for ganache or heavy cream hopefully should come up with some. I appologize for not searching for you but the search engine for eGullet, to me, is not very good at all. If I search for ganache I do not get a single thread titled with the word ganache in it.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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thanks for posting that. That gave me an edge to figure out the search engine. I use to just put in a word an search, I didnt know there was a sub page to adjust the search settings.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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thanks for posting that.  That gave me an edge to figure out the search engine.  I use to just put in a word an search, I didnt know there was a sub page to adjust the search settings.

FYI, I used "All Forums" and "Search Title Only" with the keyword. The regular search bar used to drive me crazy until I started using the Search page.


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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thanks for posting that.  That gave me an edge to figure out the search engine.  I use to just put in a word an search, I didnt know there was a sub page to adjust the search settings.

FYI, I used "All Forums" and "Search Title Only" with the keyword. The regular search bar used to drive me crazy until I started using the Search page.

THANKYOU! I had no idea the search could be narrowed so much.

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At work we find melting the chocolate and butter together gently and then whisking in the cold cream and any flavourng works the best . We do not use pasteurised and find it keeps fine for several days.


The quest for perfection will lead you to role models that will last you for life (Nico Ladenis)

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for emulsion i have found that boiling the cream and pouring it over chocolate already in the robot coupe produces the best emulsion with the least incorporation of air

for mass production which i have much less experience, i have found that the more traditional french technique of melting the chocolate and emulsifying with previously boiled cream is the most efficient way to make large batches.

wg

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Thanks for your replies everyone - and thanks for the link to the older thread. You'd think I would have thought of searching before I asked, but of course I didn't.

The thing I like best about not boiling the cream is that it seems to give the ganache a fresher taste. I just need to be sure it will still hold for a couple of weeks when made that way. I guess some testing is in order. I haven't tried the stick blender yet to get a good emulsion, but will.

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My ganache broke for the first time today. It was fine at first, but when I left it for a moment to check on my tart shell, the ganache looked grainy when I came back. I whipped it up with the mixer, and it was better, but not 100% smooth and glossy...there still seemed to be a bit of a sheen to it. So instead of doing caramel pecans on top of the ganache, I decided to do a "nut dust" (just some nut flour) on top, and then I did a layer of chopped candied pecans. I rewarmed some of the leftover, slightly grainy ganache with a bit of whipping cream and it came together again, so I poured that over the pecans, and edged the tart with more candied pecans. I hope it tastes OK.

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I've been working with a chocolate lately that isn't quite sweet enough, so I've been adding some sugar to my cream before bringing it to a boil. Almost immediately after reaching a boil, the cream loses all it's creaminess, turning translucent/almost clear.

What's going on here? Is the elevated boiling point from the sugar causing this? Should I melt my sugar separately and then add it to the heated cream?

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Sear Scott,

Would it be possible to boil the cream and then, off-heat, add the sugar. It should dissolve very quickly I would think, and then you would be able to use the cream for what you want. Or have you tried this already?

Due to my ignorance about making ganache, though, may I ask why the cream needs to be boiled? Is it just to heat it enough so that the chocolate dissolves in it?

Good luck!

Alan

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Typically, one uses glucose, corn syrup, invert sugar or honey to sweeten. Also, these help prevent recrystallization of your ganache, which could be a problem if you use granulated sugar.


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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Sear Scott,

Would it be possible to boil the cream and then, off-heat, add the sugar.  It should dissolve very quickly I would think, and then you would be able to use the cream for what you want.  Or have you tried this already?

Due to my ignorance about making ganache, though, may I ask why the cream needs to be boiled?  Is it just to heat it enough so that the chocolate dissolves in it?

Good luck!

Alan

Alan, as far as I know, cream doesn't have to be boiled for ganache. I think boiling is common practice because it's an easily discernable state/temperature for people to work with. I've come across quite a few recipes where the cream is boiled and then added to the chocolate directly. I've also seen recipes where the cream is allowed to cool briefly before adding it to the chocolate. That's my approach. Ideally, you want the cream to be just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more, as the more heat the chocolate is exposed to the more volatile flavor compounds are lost. At least that's what the experts say.

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Typically, one uses glucose, corn syrup, invert sugar or honey to sweeten.  Also, these help prevent recrystallization of your ganache, which could be a problem if you use granulated sugar.

At which point are these sweeteners added to the cream? I'm guessing after heating, correct?

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Sear Scott,

Would it be possible to boil the cream and then, off-heat, add the sugar.  It should dissolve very quickly I would think, and then you would be able to use the cream for what you want.  Or have you tried this already?

Due to my ignorance about making ganache, though, may I ask why the cream needs to be boiled?  Is it just to heat it enough so that the chocolate dissolves in it?

Good luck!

Alan

Alan, as far as I know, cream doesn't have to be boiled for ganache. I think boiling is common practice because it's an easily discernable state/temperature for people to work with. I've come across quite a few recipes where the cream is boiled and then added to the chocolate directly. I've also seen recipes where the cream is allowed to cool briefly before adding it to the chocolate. That's my approach. Ideally, you want the cream to be just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more, as the more heat the chocolate is exposed to the more volatile flavor compounds are lost. At least that's what the experts say.

I was taught to bring the cream to a boil 3 separate times before making ganache for truffle centers. The reason being was for killing any lurking bacteria in the cream, thereby extending the life of the filling. The three times was because of the impact of the heat on the bacteria and how it is destroyed (don't have the full science on this one.)

For those professional chocolatiers out there -- is this a holdover from the days before (ultra)pasteurized creams?


Cheryl, The Sweet Side

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In recipes that I infuse a spice such as lavender, vanilla or fresh mint, I boil the cream by itself first and then do the infusion. When that's done, I add the glucose and reheat just to the boil stirring well all the while. I do not want to damage the delicate flavor profile of the infusion.

In recipes that are flavored with liqueurs, I usually boil the cream with the glucose, and pour onto the chocolate. Proceed normally to make the emulsion, and then fold in the liqueur.

So I guess the answer to your question is that it really doesn't matter when you add the sweetener as far as the end product is concerned. I prefer to add it at the start, just for convenience.

I haven't heard of boiling the cream three times. I do happen to use organic ultra-pasteurized cream, and my chocolates are shelf-stable for about 3-4 weeks, just what you'd expect for not using preservatives.

So I just went to take a look at the Wybauw book, Fine Chocolates / Great Experience. In some of the recipes, he adds the sweetener at the start even if he's doing an infusion (basil ganache). In some he folds in the sweetener, in this case honey, after the hot cream is already added to the chocolate (Anise and Honey Ganache). By the way, I highly recommend this book. You can find threads about it on eGullet.

Ideally, you want the cream to be just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more, as the more heat the chocolate is exposed to the more volatile flavor compounds are lost.

That's absolutely true. In addition, if your cream is too hot you are in for a long wait while the ganache cools down enough to use. If it's not hot enough, then all of your chocolate doesn't melt. This is definitely a "Goldie Locks" situation.

Don't worry about your cream going translucent when you heat it with sweetener. I think it just means that more of the solids in the cream are going into solution and mixing with the sweetener. The end product isn't adversely affected.

Hope this helps.


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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In recipes that are flavored with liqueurs, I usually boil the cream with the glucose, and pour onto the chocolate. Proceed normally to make the emulsion, and then fold in the liqueur.

To tag along on this thread, can you tell me why you fold the liquer into the emulsion, rather than adding it to the cream before the chocolate? Is it a matter of safeguarding flavor compounds? I've seen this frequently and have always wondered.

Thanks for all so far!

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In recipes that are flavored with liqueurs, I usually boil the cream with the glucose, and pour onto the chocolate. Proceed normally to make the emulsion, and then fold in the liqueur.

To tag along on this thread, can you tell me why you fold the liquer into the emulsion, rather than adding it to the cream before the chocolate? Is it a matter of safeguarding flavor compounds? I've seen this frequently and have always wondered.

Thanks for all so far!

The alcohol adds some complimentary flavors and can be used as a vehicle to carry the aromatics in the chocolate. Because it's volatile, depending on the desired effect, you don't want to boil it off by placing it in the hot cream.


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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to go back to the initial question, the translucent cream is perfectly okay. i don't know why this happens but any time you add sweetener (glucose, sugar, corn syrup, etc) to cream and heat it up, it changes consistency and appearance.

maybe a food scientist can answer why.

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