I have been making truffles for quite some time, but have never been happy with the hard shells. What I'm looking for is a soft truffle that just melts in your mouth. So I have been experimenting with different types of Ganache that I let harden over 1- 2 days at about 68 degrees F. Then I cut them on the guitar and just roll them in high quality cacao powder.
The truffles look and taste great. I'm just a little concerned about the shelf life. The ganache consists of cream, couverture and a tiny amount of liquor. The shelf life of my former truffles that I enrobed with tempered chocolate was 3 weeks. Is it less when the truffles don't have a hard shell?
I can't remember the exact numbers, but from memory the shelf life of uncoated truffles is considerably less (measured in days rather than weeks)
There's a Seattle chocolate company called "Intrigue Chocolates" that does exactly this. They tell people that their chocolate (interestingly they call their product "chocolate" or "truffles" but never ganache) must be refrigerated and eaten within the month. I bought some about a month or so ago. Their samples were terrific, but once I brought the bar home and refrigerated it the texture was just never the same.
Bottom line - yes you can do this and Intrigue is making a whole business out of it, but you would have to instruct your customers to refrigerate the ganache if they're not going to eat it within a few days. Many (if not most) retailers would not want to sell a product that had such as short shelf life. But I think that if you present the ganache as an artisan product with no preservatives, etc and you're honest with your customers about the limited shelf life you would be fine. Many customers might even see it as indicative of a higher quality, craft-based approach.
Also maybe you could use untempered chocolate to coat. As from what I understand untempered chocolate melts at lower temps and is softer.
Untempered chocolate - interesting idea. You could also add approx. 10 - 20% butter oil to your chocolate and coat with that. It will be much softer. It's more of a challenge to temper though.
There's a San Francisco based chocolatier who does unenrobed as well - http://www.neococoa.com/
I'm sure the key is to make a very firm ganache (higher chocolate to cream ratio) to get a longer shelf life.
But to answer your question, yes, the shelf life is definitely less when the centers are not enrobed.
Thank you all for your input. I checked the websites of neococoa and intrique chocolates. The latter doesn't give info on shelf life, neococoa says that its chocolates should be consumed within 2 weeks. I will try coating with butter oil, also thought about spraying the truffles with a chocolate gun in order to get a very thin shell. Does anybody have experience with that technique for chocolate candies or truffles?
You could add cocoa butter to your chocolate to thin it out. It will be much easier to get a thin coating dipping as you normally would. I think you'd be happy with the result. Based on what you mentioned it sounds like your shell is quite thick. I enrobe with a thin coating and don't get that 'hard shell' that you refer to. It doesn't detract from the soft center. Might be worth a try before resorting to more complicated fixes.
When using a spray gun, the chocolate needs to be thinned considerably with cocoa butter.
I also wanted to note that a thin coating (as opposed to a thick coating) will give you a reduction in shelf life as well - just so you are aware. But certainly much better than a 'naked' truffle.
Thanks, Lana. I tried the method with the added cocoa butter and got a great result. The coat is much thinner and the truffle is better. Thanks so much for your help! I'm experimenting with shelf life as well. Will check how the truffle is in 2 and then 3 weeks from now.
How much cocoa butter should we add? Previously, you said 10 - 20% butter oil. Would be the same for cocoa butter?
You're so welcome Caroline. I'm glad it worked out for you. I thought it might.
Omar, 10 - 20% would be a lot of added cocoa butter. You shouldn't need that much. Start with maybe 3% and work up from there. I find 5% in quite viscous chocolate works well. Another thing you could do is check to see if your chocolate has added lecithin. If not, you could add 0.5% liquid lecithin which works wonders at increasing fluidity. Be careful adding it if it's already added - and be careful adding more than that amount. You might make matters worse (ie. thicker!) More is not better in this case.