So I have 1 day to figure this out! I am trying a different method of making truffles. I need my truffles to have a long shelf life so I can package them and sell them in stores without refrigeration. So instead of heavy cream, I am using Canola Oil. The only reason I switched to oil is because when I look at truffles sold on the shelf (like Lindt's Lindor Truffles), they dont have cream in them, they have some sort of vegetable oil. The problem is I just made 2 test batches and it was perfect when it was cold/cool, but when it hit room temp, it got super grainy! It was so smooth, just like the center of those Lindt Truffles, like a super smooth creamy chocolate "ganache like" center. (I realize its not a TRUE ganache, but I dont know what else to call it lol). But after it hits room temp, it feels like I dumped a cup up sugar in there. Is this a temperature problem? Is it something to do with the emulsification? Do I need to temper it or something?
The way I made them was:
Melted the Guittard Chocolate (12 ounces) in microwave.
Added 1/3 cup canola oil for one batch, 1/2 cup for the second (as a test)
Put in freezer for maybe 5 minutes.
Moved to fridge.
Took it all out when it was firm.
Then when I would take a little spoon full, it was super smooth and pretty good! But after 20 minutes of sitting out, it was the worst "ganache" ive ever had.
Im pretty new to this (chocolate), but really love working with this stuff. I want to get good at it so bad, but cant afford to go to school right now. Does anyone know what Im doing wrong here?
Possible solutions that I can think of:
I have some Soy Lecitin... Should I put some of that in the mix?
Should I let it set at a different temp? Maybe for a day instead of 20 min?
Too much/too little oil?
Maybe some butter?
Temper it? (I have a Rev2 machine, and a Mol de art melter (6kg, havent used it yet)
Ask the pros? (:
Any help would be greatly appreciated, and I wont forget it either!
You definitely need to temper this. However with the amounts that you are using, you won't get a ganache like consistency. You'll end up with a 'soft' chocolate. Keep playing though! You can always melt out your experiments and adjust your proportions.
Shelf life of confections is determined by many things, but water activity plays a big part. Water is the medium in which spores grow, turning dairy sour and inviting mold. However, the science is not that simple ...
What kind of shelf life at room temperature are you looking for?
Ganache is a usually a water/fat emulsion. The chocolate provides the fat while the liquid (most commonly dairy, including cream and butter) provides the water. By replacing the dairy with another fat you introduce a number of challenges.
The first things that occur to me in your description:
A) There is no need to freeze; cover the ganache (with plastic wrap) let cool to room temp, and then put in the fridge to set.
B) Though you say you are mixing it well, my guess is that you're not mixing it well enough. Don't use a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk, use a stick blender.
C) Choose another fat ... a cold-pressed coconut oil comes to mind. It's much better for you and the fat is solid at room temp; the melting point is closer to that of cocoa butter. The quantity of added fat you use will determine the texture. More fat, more fudge-like texture.
Finally, what are you using to cover the ganache? If you're just rolling balls in cocoa powder shelf life will be shorter. If you're covering the ganache centers with chocolate, the covering chocolate will have to be tempered, the ganache, because of the addition of the fat, will never temper.
Thank you Lana, Clay and Sebastian for your responses. I am going for a 4-6 month shelf life, or longer if possible, unless that is unrealistic. And you were right about the mixing, I did use a wooden spoon in a bowl. I will try blending it with the canola oil better, and then let it sit at room temp till it cools. I was being impatient by using the freezer lol. Also, I will be enrobing them in dark chocolate (Cacao Barry Extra Bitter Guayadill, Tempered), so they will be enclosed. Also, I will try the coconut oil that you recommend. The only reason that I chose canola was because thats what I saw it on so many ingredients lists for similar products.
So another question; since there is no water in my recipe (just melted chocolate and oil), is there really any emulsification going on? What exactly am I making here, just a creamier chocolate center? Im not sure what to call it.
Canola oil isn't going to be great for long shelf life as it's so highly unsaturated. Coconut oil - depending on what type you get - will vary quite a bit - you're really not going to want something that's highly fractionated or hydrogenated - you don't want it to have a high melting point (or read another way - you don't want it to approximate cocoa butter) as the whole reason you're using it is as a replacement for cream - you want it to be soft. Now, normally, softer oils have lower shelf life (they'll oxidize more rapidly due to lower saturation). I'd look for a high oleic oil - high oleic canola oils do exist commercially. If you go as Clay suggests, i'd consider a natural coconut oil (has approximately a 76F melting point) - it should not appear solid at room temperature - if it does, it's either been highly fractionated or hydrogenated, and isn't likely to give you the texture you're after. Anhydrous milk fat may be another option to consider, but will likely have more exposure to both price volatility as well as oxidation - it will, however, make a very good center.
You are not emulsifying anything via your approach. You're only looking to homogenize it via vigorous mixing.
Thanks for the technical clarifications on coconut oil ... especially on the melt point.
When I go into my local health food store I do see coconut oils that are solid at "store temp" which is maybe ten degrees lower than 76F, hence my saying that it's solid at "room temp."
Anhydrous milk fat (sometimes called butter oil) is a good option as you suggest - a little harder to find, but if the chocolate shells covering the ganache are done with properly tempered chocolate and are thick enough, they should form a sufficient oxygen barrier, no?
Those solid coconut oils you're seeing have a melting point of approximately 96F - the natural coconut oils have such a range of fatty acids that, even though they're 'designated' a melting point of 76, it's really a huge range - meaning that in the 60-70's ish - they'll start to solidify, take on a pasty consistency, and look very strange. Jessica does make a good point about eutectics below - which is absolutely true - sort of a strange phenomenon where the sum of the two parts is less than the whole. You're best to experiment with different fats - however going with a fractionated/hydrogenated coconut oil for use as a centering fat will not, in my experience, deliver a great meltaway type texture. That said, acceptable texture is not up to me to decide for your product 8-)
Other options to consider include palm kernal and palm oils. Soybean if you want to start playing with the laurics; although now you've got to be more careful of what you use as your flavorants to ensure you're not wading into the realm of enzymatic degradation.
Although this goes against conventional wisdom, a chocolate shell really isn't a great oxygen barrier - it certainly does help, but it's not as good as one might think.
There is no "standard of identity" for ganache, so there's no legal reason why you can't call it a ganache instead of a "ganache-like substance" even if there is no dairy in the mix. Many ganaches have ingredients like invert sugars (e.g., sorbitol) and those don't disqualify them from using the term ganache.
Technically, emulsions consist of two different substances (water, oil) mixed together. Chocolate is a suspension of cocoa powder particles in crystallized cocoa butter, so I suppose that what you're making is still a suspension (because there is nothing to emulsify lecithin, which is an emulsifier, won't help).
Canola oil is used because it's cheap. Because cocoa butter is solid at room temp I like the idea of using coconut oil because it has a similar melt point and it's also a tropical plant. Another name for canola oil is rapeseed and I just don't like the sound of that in my chocolate.
As for the 4-6 month claim, you're best off getting these tested so you can feel confident making the claim. There is a potential liability issue if someone gets sick eating one before the "best by" date.
technical point of clarity - while canola and rapeseed are closely related, they are different and legal definitions that distinguish them, chief of which is the fatty acid distribution. Also, his issue of shelf life will be primarily one of flavor - not food safety - as there's no water present and will be solely due to oxidation - no one's likely to get sick; it's just taste bad.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!
it's 100% about control of water activity. if you start with fresh cream and boil off the water in the cream, for example, you've got very little shelf life concerns from a micro standpoint. if you add sufficient soluables such that any remaining water has had it's Aw lowered, you're in similiarly good shape.
Can you use fresh cream and make a shelf stable product? Absoultely. Just understand what drives the mode of failure and how to control it.
My strong suspicion is that what you're experiencing has absolutely nothing to do with the canola oil (although w/o knowing exactly what it is you're using, it's hard to say for certain). Additional soy lecithin will not help in the least. Canola's freezing point is somewhere between -20 and -40F, so it's not likely 'fat balls' you're getting, unless your oil has been tainted (much of store oil is, actually). The microwaving may be denaturing some proteins, which could be part of your problem - be very gentle with your melting. Be very thorough with your mixing, and do your cooling very slowly.