I have a small chocolate business where I produce hand crafted, ganache filled chocolates with a three week shelf life. I have a customer that is requiring a 6 month shelf life. What is the best ingredient to use, in what amounts should I use it and where can I purchase it.
To answer your question about sorbitol addition in ganaches, Ewald Notter mentions in his book that sorbitol should represent 5 to 7% of the total weight of the ganache. More will affect the taste of thte filling.
Hope this helps
As usual, another informative and helpful discussion...
I'm sure we can all agree that, in an ideal world, we would only use fresh ingredients that gave a maximum shelf life of 2-3 weeks and our chocolates would be stored correctly by the customer and eaten within a few days. But once you start producing in any quantity this must surely be very limiting in terms of wastage, keeping on top of expiration dates and the risk of selling something that is no longer fit for consumption. I've played around with glucose and invert sugar which presumably raise the shelf life to somewhere around 6 weeks (a much more acceptable compromise v taste and texture) and, after all, these are natural sugars so shouldn't put customers off.
I'd like to know from those already in business - is there really anything wrong with using these sugars? Do customers really care, or even ask? As I say, I'd love to just use the freshest ingredients without messing about with recipes but I'd like to make this hobby into a business and I think a shelf life of closer to 6 weeks for the enrobed ganaches would give much more flexibility without really affecting in any noticeable way the taste, texture or perception of the customer.
I like the idea of using ghee as well. Has anyone actually tried this?
Nick you are right. The challenge of earning a living may drive us to understand how to push the limits of what we do while staying true the artisan principles of our craft. I think it is a legitimate question.
On the other hand we know the bulk of the chocolate that will be sold on Valentines Day 2013 is being made now. So we know it is not fresh, and customers are buying it.
For me, if a customer asks for chocolate with a six month shelf life I know he/she doesn't expect it to be fresh. At this point it is a business decision. Is this your customer or not? It can be, it doesn't have to be.
What ever decision we make as entrepreneurs, it must be an informed one. That is why I appreciate this community. What I have learned on this one topic was worth the time it took to ask the question.
You're right, I can't wait to try the Ghee.
I use ghee in two of my pralines, I like it.
I don't use much glucose in my ganaches (I do in my caramels and Ital. nougat).
Invert sugar is quasi "natural" ( you can make it with regular sugar and baking soda as per Wybauw #2) but I don't bother--I use honey. It is a partial invert sugar and will provide shelf life--but it will crystalize after 2-3 mths.
However, longer shelf life, and packaging go hand-in-hand.
Yes, you can make bon-bons with a 6 mth shelf life and sell them to your client within a week of making them. But you can't brush off your hands and say "that's that".
Why does the customer want 6 mth shelf life?
So they can sit on a shelf.
What is the ambient temp of that shelf?
A regular cardboard box won't offer much protection against these evils. Odours are the worst.
Why does all quality chocolate have some form of aluminum in the packaging? Welded seams? Shrink wrapping?
If the client stores the chocolates on a shelf above his esspresso machine, or beside his beverage cooler, he will be calling back in 3 mths to complain they they have melted--even when he knows darn well he shouldn't have--it doesn't hurt to ask, right? If he stores them in a dank, musty basement that smells like mould and wet cardboard, your product will take on this odour if you do not protect it.
You will need to invest just as much money and time in the packaging as you will for the product...
Point taken about the comparison between honey and invert sugar. And yes, the point of a 6 months shelf life is so it can sit on the shelf. Thanks
It makes sense for those interested in this subject to continue the thread. You can certainly continue here. If you decide to start another thread on shelf life it would be a continuation of this dicsussion, so Paul I think that's your call. Which ever you decide, I am interested in your thoughts.
cool.... because I will be shortly starting up in The USA and have a few clients lined up already. one of which runs a busy Mountain retreat rental co. I am to formulate a line of signature chocolates for their arrival baskets and although the turnover is fast they want a long shelf life.
My product will be mostly organic and fair trade , so the idea of preservatives is a difficult thing to get my head around.
I have been researching since this thread began and i found a company that produces organic antimicrobial preservatives .... all natural. I havent heard back from them but I'm very curious what they have to offer. Also i found that a moisture free emulsion of oil and chocolate would provide the 'mouthfeel' of real ganache without the water induced spoilage .... Gum acacia acts as a good emulsifier/stabiliser and is also a natural product. I would think the end result would be not dissimilar to a chocolate creme/paste/spread..... i will be experimenting .
Ahhh....... may I guide you down the supermarket shelves to "Nutella"? A blend of oil, nut paste (including nut oil) cocoa and lotsa sugar. Smooth enough mouthfeel. This is probably where you can start your research.
Although, I have to split hairs with the definition of "emulsifaction". To the best of my knowledge, emulisifcation requires a fat phase and a water phase, and there is no water in oil and very little (under 1/2%) in chocolate.
But you are right, stick with natural ingredients and you can't go wrong.
You are right... on all counts... I was just trying to sound fancy .
my colleagues and I tried to create a stable homemade spread and there was often separation even though no water was present , that's where the emulsifier idea started....
kind of loses something when it's Nutella though! I wish you had said Duo-Penotti :D
How about a classier name, like ferrero rocher?......................