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Do you chop the chocolate and pour the hot cream over it to melt, or do you melt the chocolate and incorporate the hot cream?

What techniques do you use to make sure the mixture of cream and chocolate (the emulsion) is stable and won't break?

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Always start with tempered chocolate
Add it to the hot cream cooled to 90 degrees
Then flavor

The Tempered chocolate make a very smooth ganache
Joe:

Just to clarify: Is the tempered chocolate liquid or solid?

The "fusion" / melting point of cocoa butter is around 94.6F (35C) and you say cool the cream to 90F - how important is the temperature of the chocolate relative to the cream?

Also, I've heard that one reason ganache breaks is because there is not enough liquid to form a good emulsion and that if you add more liquid and keep on stirring that it will come together. In other words, don't be too hasty in throwing away a broken ganache. I also use an immersion blender (being careful not to incorporate too much air) rather than a whisk or spoon and since I've started using one I've never had a ganache break on me. What do you think?

Finally, BTW, from what I've heard, if you are going to be adding butter to the ganache you want to wait until the mixture of cream/chocolate is in the 90-95F (32-35C) range. True?
It is liquid.

The chocolate will lose temper above 93 degrees. You have to balance out the type of chocolate (cocoa butter content) with the amount of butter and cream you are using. This can only be done by trial and error because the percent of cocoa butter is usually not listed. This the reason why one persons recipe does not in your kitchen.

You will have great success if you use a immersion blender that matches the batch size. You can really kill your product by using a commercial immersion blender on a small batch.

You can also make a ganache that is not cream based. I have seen it done with caramel, coconut oil etc. This is what many of the supermarket products contain. If done right it can be quite good but
be careful the wrong stuff will cause a transfat nightmare !!!! I know of one company that uses olive oil.
I was talking to a chocolatier friend of mine the other day complaining that I can't make a ganache. It seems to break very easily and he was saying something about the fat balance was out. I know you have said trial and error is the only way but obviously if I make my chocolate I know the fat content and I also know that of any cream that I use. So are there any rules as to which way to move, is the problem more likely to be too much fat or too little? How rough can you be, it seems the longer I stir, the more chance it has of breaking. I must say I haven't used tempered chocolate, I will take that tip.

Perhaps the problem is home made chocolate, perhaps the sugar particles are not coated well enough and this speeds up or increases the likelyhood of breaking by dissolving in the water from the cream and causing the emulsion to break. This is how we break emulsions in the lab, using brine solution to make the aqueous layer more polar.

My friend also mentioned 'whipped butter ganache' which intrigued me, and I can't seem to find any recipes. From what I gather though it would be tempered chocolate and butter that has been whipped (and about room temp) mixed or folded together. But in what proportions? Or am I faced with trial and error again?

Help or discussion on any points would be great.

Oh, a tip I got was if the ganache breaks add a tablespoon full of cold milk and stir it in and it re-emulsifies it. Though you might want to boil the milk and cool it down first if you want the ganache to last. I haven't tried this though so consider the info second hand.
Tom:

There are two basic approaches to making a ganache: adding hot liquid to solid chocolate and using the heat of the liquid to melt the chocolate OR melting the chocolate and adding liquid of approximately the same temperature to it (while keeping the mixture below but as close to 93F as possible). In other words, it pays to be patient and keep a thermometer handy and use it. Or two thermometers; an instant-reading probe and a non-contact infrared.

The amount of liquid you add, the type of liquid you use, and the fat content of the liquid affect the viscosity (thickness) of the final product and its fat content, which contributes to mouth feel.

It's possible to make ganaches with water or butter or oil/fat using exactly the same chocolate. You have to adapt the method to what you're using.

So, if you start with a basic 1:1 recipe (1kg chocolate, I liter liquid), you will get very different results if you use butter, full cream, whole milk, non-fat milk, water, or olive oil. Any of the above will work, so I don't think it's about the fat balance being out of whack. It's really about how you mix the ingredients together - you have to create a stable emulsion between the fat molecules (in the chocolate and added liquid) and the water molecules.

I was having problems when I was making ganache of a pipe-able consistency because of the amount of water in the liquid I was using. I was using a balloon whisk and just not doing a good enough job of mixing because I was afraid of incorporating too much air into the mix (which reduces shelf life).

Since I've been using an immersion blender I have experienced exactly zero problems with the ganache breaking. As Joe says, you have to match the mixer size to the batch size, and it's easier and better if you use tall thin containers rather than wide, squat bowls. Once you've done it a couple of times you'll notice that the pitch of noise of the blender changes when you reach the emulsifying point and the surface becomes glossier. Stop then so you don't over mix the ganache.

With respect to home-made chocolate in ganaches. I suspect you are on the right track. However, I think that it's because the homemade chocolate itself is not a stable emulsion - not because of particle size but because of incomplete conching. One important element of the conching process is to break apart aggregates and coat each particle with fat. Using an emulsifier reduces surface tension between the surface of the cocoa particles, the fat, and any remaining water (typically less than .1%) in the chocolate. If you don't conch well enough to create a stable emulsion in the chocolate it makes intuitive sense that it would be harder to create a stable emulsion using that chocolate in a ganache.

PS. I just had what I think may be a really bad idea. Instead of adding bacon to chocolate, why not make a ganache using bacon fat or properly rendered lard (which is not hydrogenated even partially). You'd get the pork flavor clean and pure with a perfectly smooth texture.
So perhaps I am not mixing fast enough if you are using an immersion blender (my fav. kitchen appliance). Thanks for the list of tips and thoughts, I have some more avenues to explore now - I don't know that bacon fat will be one though - let me know how that goes. Oh, actually you could use chocolate made from the Papua beans and give it a smokeyness too, maybe that wouldn't be so bad, hmmmm.

Thanks
Problem has been solved, wow over a year after I posted the last reply. It turns out I have been doing everything correctly except for one thing. No one told me that you can't boil the cream!!!! Why did no one tell me that??? Maybe it is completely obvious? Anyway, Willie Harcourt-Cooze gets credit for helping me out - his show screened here in Oz last Wednesday. I heated the cream only to 80 degrees celcius (pasteurisation temp.) and did everything else the same and whamo perfect ganache!! Very happy. By the way I haven't been trying for an entire year, I had given it up as a bit of a bad joke - there are only so many cakes you can turn broken ganache into without getting the shits. I now have a whole new world of ganache to explore. Whooo hooo.
Originally, I used the chopped chocolate, boiling cream method of making ganache. It worked just fine. Loved it, except for one little problem, chopping the chocolate from my large 10 pound bar.

I recently got a Revolution 2 tempering machine. (Love it, love it, love it!) Since the machine can work with chunks rather than little chopped pieces, I tried tempering the chocolate in the machine. While the machine is turning the chocolate into a liquid tempered puddle, I heat my cream up, then set it to one side. By the time the chocolate is tempered, the cream is about the same temperature. I pour the cream over the melted, tempered chocolate and stir with a spoon, then add the butter and flavorings, if any. Hasn't failed me yet. (Knock on wood.) Now, my batches are small, around 50 truffles at a time, so don't know if this would work on the level of hundreds.
Hello - Ever tried the Robo-coupe or Cusinart to make a ganache? Those of you who like the immersion blender might check this method out. Put tempered liquid chocolate in the bowl of the machine, add warm cream (about 90%), let the mixture rest for about :30, then run the machine for about :30 - :60 and *POOF* there's your perfect ganache.
I think a Ganache will break if there is too much fat to liquid ratio, if you add a little warmed milk {cream has too much fat} to the mixture, it will give the fat a water molecule to grab onto. There are two kinds of Ganache,piped and slabbed, the piped is where you cover and let sit for 2 mins. the chopped,weighed chocolate in a bowl,then mix in circles from the center outwars. The other is Slabbed where the boiled cream is brought to the same cooled temp as the melted chocolate (90) and blended together without much agitation while it's setting. ( The piped method benefits from agitation while it is forming it's crystals}

I feel that adding hot cream to chopped chocolate works well for small batches. But when doing a big batch of lets say 10 litres of cream vs 10 kgs of chocolate , its way better to use melted chocolate:

A/it prevents you from whisking hence incorporating air to your batch

B/ i get better results when i pour the tempered chocolate in 2 runs.i.e pour half - emulsion - pour other half (as soon as it starts to harden) - emulsion

Tom i tried adding liquid to a ganache and it works! even water will do the trick..just keep in mind that shelf life will naturally decrease since ur adding humidity into it. Damn! i just realised this conversation took place 3 years ago! i really hope everyone is making nice smooth ganaches! in any case Tom i think you can boil the cream but not overboil it, when you do, you are reducing moisture and that's why its breaking, and that's why adding moisture again will get it back on track.

happy ganaching ppl

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