We published a blog called “the different types of icing” as well as a post called “Whats the difference:Compound vs. Couverture chocolate”. We were able to touch a specific kind of icing as well as an application for couverture chocolate- the Ganache. Now we will delve deep in this special kind of icing. Chocolate obviously has a universal appeal that is why a lot of people incorporate chocolate, especially chocolate ganache in particular into their baking.
But not all chocolate ganache are created equal.
So let’s start with the basics on what a ganache is and slowly move into more technical terms. A ganache according to Wikipedia ganache is “normally made by heating cream, then pouring it over chopped chocolate of any kind. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth, with liqueurs or extracts added if desired. Butter is generally added to give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture. Depending on the kind of chocolate used, for what purpose the ganache is intended, and the temperature at which it will be served, the ratio of chocolate to cream is varied to obtain the desired consistency.”
Part 1: The “how-to” in Making Ganache – It’s all about the ratios
Chocolate ganache depending on your use can serve as a filling for your cream puff or lava cake or a luxurious glossy cover to a cake. Making those require you to measure your ingredients and use a bit of math(ratio and proportion) of cream to chocolate to produce the result you want for the application you need. You don’t need to whiff out a calculator for this one for example a ratio of 1:1 simply means that those are equal parts (e.g. 1 ounce of cream to 1 ounce of chocolate) but you do need to use a liquid measuring cup for this.
- For stiffer but still moldable Ganache that’s for a layer cake filling and a thick glaze. It is recommended to use a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream.
- For a solid consistency Ganache that’s perfect for chocolate truffles, a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream is desired.
- Now for cake icings and pourable glaze. A 1:2 ratio of chocolate and cream is needed.These are your basic requirements for the ganache consistency you are looking for. Certain flourishes like butter to add shine to your ganache or adding some other spices or liqueurs to have depth of flavor won’t ruin your result as long as you follow the basic ratio and proportions.
- For ganache under fondant, a 4:1 ratio is advisable or 5:1 during the summer months especially here in the Philippines.
Part 2: The “how-to” in making Ganache-Heat is key
We talked about the process of tempering chocolate, which produces a glaze by making sure that the cocoa butter solidifies evenly producing that shiny and crunchy chocolate. For Ganache though, using heat for the two main ingredients which are cream and chocolate is key. Understanding the reactions involved when applying heat to both will ensure you a great looking Ganache. Chocolate and its different forms (Milk, Dark and White) may have different melting points due to its cacao butter content but make sure all of these are chopped uniformly or you can already purchase chocolate nubs that will be easier to melt.
The cream needs to be at least almost at its boiling point to be able to melt your chocolate and achieve the results you are looking for. Let the heat of the cream spread thru the chocolate before mixing it.
Part 3: The “how-to” of making ganache-Does the kind of chocolate matter?
The answer is yes. Working with different kinds of chocolate, certain considerations need to be accounted for.
Dark chocolate – Easiest to work with and the recommended ratio is 2:1 (chocolate/cream). This is perfect for your chocolate cake, lava cake or any filling. Curvature chocolate is usually what bakers choose due to its high cocoa butter content but compound chocolate also works well but is reserved more for fillings or for creating a ganache layered cake. This depends on your budget but couverture chocolate is the best.
White Chocolate – Due to its high oil content, you need more chocolate to be able to produce the right amount of consistency for your ganache. A 3:1 (chocolate/cream ratio is what most chefs recommend for this type of chocolate.
Milk Chocolate – Due to the thousands of variety of milk chocolate in the market. It’s advisable to choose the more luxurious and reputable chocolatiers that make high quality milk chocolate for your recipes. Milk chocolate already has milk incorporated its best to start with a 1:1 ratio and slowly add either cream or more milk chocolate to produce your desired results.
Part 4: The how to’s of making ganache- Let’s talk about cream.
We also published an article about the types of cream. For ganache making,Heavy cream with a high fat content (36%-40%) is recommended and provides a richer and more stable Ganache. There are instances that creme fraiche and sour cream has been used to produce a different flavor and consistency ganache.
Non-Cream based Ganche
For the daring and want to impress your friends and family. There are non-cream based ganache. Crafsty.com has published an article talking about non-cream based ganache. From beer to pureed fruits as a base, you can try these recipes out to make your creation stand out from the rest.
Storing your Ganache
Due to the cream element of the ganache and technically a ganache is an emulsification of cream and chocolate. It is recommended to put plastic wrap on your ganache so that a film won’t form on top of your ganache or form a sugar crust.
You can store it on room temperature and will last for 2 days but make sure it’s in a dry place, cool place. Refrigeration definitely extends the lifetime of your ganache to 2 months.
Freezing ganache will add an extra month but make sure that when you refrigerate your ganache, you need to let it rest at room temperature to thaw out before using.
We hope that this blog is informative and helps spark an interest in this skill. The Bailiwick Academy has an online class in baking. Click on this link to view the classes.
As always please leave a comment or any suggestions of future topics you would like us to cover. You can also check out our other blog post/s here.
The Bailiwick Team