Help me fix this broken ganache!
December 21, 2019 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Tried to make ganache today for a truffle filling, based on a Food Wishes Youtube video. It was a disaster, and I'm trying to diagnosis/figure out what went wrong!

We started with 326 grams of Godiva bittersweet chocolate chips (69% cacao), and 196 grams of heavy whipping cream (and some spices - ginger, cayenne, cinnamon). Per the video instructions, we heated the cream until just about to simmer, poured it over the chocolate chips, let sit for 2 minutes, then tried to whisk it all together. It seemed at first like it was looking like the video, but then it broke - the chocolate was lumpy/grainy and oil (water?) came oozing out and puddled up around the edges of the bowl.

So we Googled and it turns out ganache is a lot more difficult than it looks based on the video and seems to be hated by many bakers. We tried one technique to fix it where you heat up a tablespoon of liquid sugar (the webpage said corn syrup but that other liquids should work so we used honey since that's what we had), whisk in a tablespoon of the broken ganache until it's smooth and shiny, then keep adding ganache and it should theoretically stay smooth and shiny the whole time. It worked really well at first but as we put in more ganache it kept starting to break, so we added more honey because we'd heated up extra. Each time we added honey it seemed to get it back on track to where it was supposed to be. Ultimately we probably added almost 1/4 cup of honey to it.

So now it's not oozing liquid, but it's not super smooth and shiny the way it's supposed to be. We've given up for now and thrown it in the fridge in the hopes that it will become a scoopable consistency and we can go ahead with the recipe, even with a less desirable texture.

I realize now that making a ganache is kind of like making mayonnaise (which I have also never successfully made by hand) - you're making an emulsion, and the wrong balance of ingredients/components can cause it to break. So my question is, what do you think went wrong here and how can we change it if we want to try another batch? The fact that adding honey seemed to bring it back together is suggestive of something, but I don't understand enough about the chemistry of what I'm doing to draw any solid conclusions. Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven’t made much ganache, but I was watching a Bon Appetit vídeo the other day and Claire mentioned that it is very difficult to make a ganache with a really high percentage dark chocolate. I can’t remember the exact percentage she mentioned but the one you used is definitely in the range.
posted by brilliantine at 4:09 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Liz Marek is a good source on this stuff and this video should help you
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:52 PM on December 21, 2019

Can you post the link to the recipe you were trying to make?

One recipe comment I just read had a person with a broken ganache (just chocolate). They noted that 1) if you get water in your ganache, it will break, 2) it will also break if your cream isn't hot enough, and 3) you can repair the ganache by splitting it between two containers, refrigerating one, heating the other, and then mixing the two together with an electric mixer. Worth a shot.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:47 PM on December 21, 2019

I've made ganache a million times and it's always, always, equal chocolate and cream. Even with 100% cacao I've never had it break with that ratio. You need way more liquid or it's just going to be a mess.

Did some math. So your recipe is
11.5 oz of chocolate to 4.5 oz of cream, which is just going to wet the chocolate and make it irritated. Start over, or chill what you have and then heat up the additional amount of cream to equal the weight of your chocolate and then add the broken ganache. It should be ok. Whisk it while it melts. Use a double boiler, that will help keep the temp even.
posted by ananci at 9:51 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

What ananci says: ganache always has chocolate to cream 1:1 ratio. So take their advise, heat in double-boiler another 130 ml/g and whisk whisk whisk.
posted by lemon_icing at 10:11 PM on December 21, 2019

I’ve learned in pastry school that broken ganache can sometimes be fixed by adding more hot heavy cream. I suspect that you didn’t have enough cream and it make not have been hot enough.
posted by firei at 4:13 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Rose Levy Beranbaum says the separation, where cocoa butter rises to the surface, can happen if the ganache becomes overheated (or if it is stirred during cooling time - cooling time is between 75F and 85F, or 24C - 29C.) She has some detailed info./instructions with proportions on ganache, depending on the chocolate you use. It's about 3 pages in her cookbook Rose's Heavenly Cakes, and I can pass those pages on as a pdf via either email or a file sharing site if anyone would like (just let me know).

For 8 ounces/227 grams of 70% cacao chocolate, she would use about 12 ounces/340 grams cream. She says she likes to up the amount of cream if using a 60 percent or higher cacao chocolate.

She likes to use a food processor when making ganache, but says if you use the method where you melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, and heat the cream, and then gently stir the two together, the ideal temperature for each component is 115F/46C (warm to the touch). She recommends having a good instant read thermometer while doing stuff like this.

Some recipes for ganache include butter, and she recommends high fat cultured butter, and says to use up to a third the weight of the chocolate in butter and up to 1/2 teaspoon liqueur per ounce of chocolate. So, for 6 ounces/170 grams chocolate, she would add 1 to 2 ounces (28 to 56 grams) butter and 1 tablespoon liqueur.
posted by gudrun at 8:08 AM on December 22, 2019

Next time, mix everything together then use an immersion blender (not a mixer) and never worry about this ever again.

Take your cold, broken ganache out of the fridge. Heat it a bit. Blend it until smooth.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 6:31 PM on December 22, 2019

Food chemist Shirley Corriher has a number of ganache recipes in her book Bakewise (highly recommend, get it from the library if you can) with varying chocolate to cream ratios.

One of her tricks is to always add the grated/chopped chocolate to the heated cream, because a little liquid in a lot of chocolate causes the chocolate to seize, but chocolate in sufficient liquid will not seize. There's a liquid to chocolate threshold; her trick means the ratio starts and stays above the threshold, rather than starting below and rising above. If chocolate seizes, adding more liquid can fix the problem, but it's not guaranteed.
posted by JawnBigboote at 4:07 PM on December 23, 2019

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