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I have been experiencing separation of ganache and have sought in vain for answers.  When I make ganache by pouring hot cream over chocolate, then stirring, all goes well.  But when I temper the chocolate to 84-86 F. (for white) and add cream plus flavorings at 105 F., the emulsion seems to be forming, then breaks with a mass and a separate pool of yellowish liquid.  An immersion blender doesn't help, nor does the food processor.  The only technique that has worked is to heat several tablespoons of cream and slowly mix the broken ganache into it with a whisk.  This has worked every time (so far), although the result does not have the silky texture it should have.

I use several books for making ganaches, but the technique is basically from Peter Greweling (Chocolates & Confections).  He states that a slabbed ganache should always be mixed with tempered chocolate.  It is his recommended temperatures that I am using.  The issue has occurred when I use Valrhona's Opalys white, although sometimes that chocolate (tempered) performs perfectly and mixes without a hitch.  The Valrhona bag gives 84 F. as the desired working temperature.

What could it be?  Temperature is a consideration, but I am using a Thermoworks infrared thermometer and also a Thermapen to check it.  I am tempering with Mycryo, which I use for small batches.  The recipe I was using most recently was Greweling's "toucans" (passion fruit ganache), with the change of tempering the chocolate before mixing it with the cream and passion fruit purée (because I was going to slab the ganache).

Any help would be most appreciated.

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I recently attended a class that taught to melt the chocolate to around 86 and let cream cool to the same temp, and mix them at the same temp. It has worked for me. My white chocolate ganaches used to always break- an immersion blender usually brought them back together though (takes me several min.). Results have drastically improved since I started adding the cream at the same temp. I add any flavors, purees, sugar or glucose to the cream after it has been brought to a boil. Then let cool, while I heat the chocolate.
Best wishes!

Thanks for the reply, which I found very interesting.  Previously I had been doing what you recommend, that is, bringing the chocolate and the cream (plus flavorings) to the same temp., then mixing them.  This sometimes worked, but sometimes did not.  Some time ago I posted this issue on another forum, and a knowledgeable contributor wrote, "I try to never have my ganaches go under 35 degrees [95 F.]  when I work them because under that temperature cacao butter sets....If you are using a chocolate that is at 55 degrees [131 F.] then your liquids can be at 28 [82 F.] 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 [104 F.], same result."  As you can see, this is a different approach, and since it is what Peter Greweling recommends, I have been following it.

But because I have been having trouble (only with white chocolate) with this method, I will again try what you suggest and see what happens.  Thanks again.

Some tips that have worked for me:

1. Never boil the cream....never, just get it to about 85 degrees celcius, ganache will be much more stable
2. To fix a broken ganache add a splash of cold skim milk and blend with immersion blender

As for your issue i think your cream is just too hot for the tempered chocolate. I have never found it neccessary to use tempered chocolate since using tip 1 above. I just use finely chopped untempered chocolate and cream at 85 degC, let it sit a few minutes then blend.

Hope this is useful

Thanks, Tom, for those ideas.  I had heard the trick of adding some cold milk previously but not tried it, but I will do so--when needed (as I stated earlier, I have heated some cream and beat the ganache into it).

Why do you think the heated cream (at 41C/105F) is too hot for the tempered chocolate (at 29C/84F), whereas cream at 85C/185F is not?

I am interested to hear that you do not follow the advice of tempering the chocolate when slabbing it, as I have much better luck using the method of pouring hot cream over room temp. chocolate (which, of course, if it is coming from the bag, is already in temper).

Thanks again for the help.

Tom- can you tell my why you don't boil the cream? How shelf stable is the ganache if you don't boil the cream? How long does it last? Do you add preservatives?
I always boil the cream, to remove as much water as possible. Higher water content=higher chance of mold and/or bacteria growth. That's how I was taught, and I never really questioned it. Any advise/knowledge shared is appreciated :)
Originally I was taught from Greweling's books as well. Even in class, almost every time we used white for ganache we had to beat the hell out of it with the stick blender.
I can tell you, the faster you can blend the cream and chocolate the better the emulsion will be.
Good luck!

In answer to the first question about adding warm cream to warm chocolate your desired combined temp is too much and it breaks, maybe try lowering the temp of the cream. The way I do it with 85 degree C cream onto solid room temp chocolate.

As for the reason not to boil cream, well I read this somewhere and then in my head my reasoning was that the hotter you heat cream the more the proteins denature (unravel) and then when they cool again they agregate with other proteins. And if your emulsion (ganache) is stabilised by the proteins then changing their form is likely to change their ability to stabilise the emulsion. Also practically this works very well, before when I used boiled cream, quite often I would have the ganache break, implementing the method of not boiling cream and only taking it to 85 degrees C I don't have a problem anymore.


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