I make my own recipes for many of my ganaches and I hand cut all of them for now.I have had some issues with some of the ganaches cracking or crumbling as I cut them.
I use a sharp knife that is gently heated (which helps). I bring the cream just to a simmer before pouring over the chocolate and I emuslify thoroughly before slabbing and resting overnight. The flavors that give me the most problem are raspberry (made wiath raspberry puree and some heavy cream, dark chocolate, and butter), hazelnut gananche (made with hazelnut praline paste and milk and dark chocolate, heavy cream) and a peanut butter ganache (made with peanut butter, heavy cream, and milk chocolate). I use invert sugar or honey in most of my recipes.
I have tinkered with different proportions and various ingredients and cannot figure out what causes this. Is there too much fat? Not enough liquid? Can anyone help me? I would like to know the chemical explanation as well as the practical one.
i am having a similar problem with my ganache. i make small batches of different flavors and also handcut them. i've tried both stirring and whisking to solve the problem with no consistent results. i decided that maybe you were right about maybe just not having enough liquid so last night when i was making ganache i tried adding an extra tsp of heavy cream to each batch (i start with 4 oz of dark chocolate) to see if that made a difference. i'll report back after work tonight. i would love to know if you find an answer to this question! thanks!
It would be helpful if one of the chocolate scientists could give some chemistry input here. Some have told me to be sure the cream is not too hot when I melt the chocolate with it, and someone told me not to agitate it too much when emulsifying. Other than that, no one seems to have an answer. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to when it happens, it could be with dark, milk, or white c hocolate ganache, with or without fruit puree. I am looking forward to hearing how your ganache from last night turned out.
there's so many variables to consider! i did have better success adding some extra cream to the ganache. two of the ganaches were still crumbly, both had liquor and citrus so i'm not sure if either of those is to blame. i'm starting to think that it's because there's not enough fat when i use liquor but that wouldn't make any sense if you have that problem when you use peanut butter. and i can't for the life of me decide about how much agitation. i had to bust out the immersion blender to fix the goat cheese ganache and it turned out great. we need a scientist! i've never had this happen with white chocolate and i've never used milk. does the ganache taste like it's separated?
That is a good question. One chocolatier told me not to agitate the ganache too much and another says to use an immersion blender. That doesn't make sense to me. I do follow all the temperature guidelines--adding the cream to the chocolate at 105 and keeping the temperature between 95 and 105. But I do get some separation and if you don't get the emulsification done properly, the ganache will be grainy. Once it sets, you cannot fix it. I am not sure if the 2 problems--crumbly ganache and difficulty in emulsifying-- are related. It would make sense t hat adding more butter would help, especially if you are replacing some of the cream with liquor--you n eed that extra fat to keep the emulsion. I use the proportions in Wybau's book Fine Chocolates. The fat content of a ganache should be about 38% and 1/3 of that should be from butter (the butter I use is 80% fat). There just seems to be a missing link.
so i was in a bookstore today reading a very expensive book on chocolate. it said that when adding liquor or butter so a ganache you have to wait until the ganache cools to 94 degrees otherwise the alcohol will evaporate/semi melted butter will wreak havoc with the fat/water levels in the ganache. i have always heard never to touch an emulsified ganache until after it sets.... but this is definitely worth a try, it never occured to me that that it would be hot enough to evaporate the alcohol. what do you think?
I do add the alcohol and butter at the end and work them into the emulsion slowly. I am familiar with all the temperature guidelines for adding the hot cream and keeping the chocolate at a working temperature to prevent separation. I have read Grewelings book chocolates and confections about 5 times and I have taken the Professional Chocolatier course at Ecole Chocolat. But nobody seems to have the answer to this question. It is frustrating. I guess I will try increasing the fat content--I just worry about breaking the emulsion.