Ganache, Water Activity, and Alcohol
Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
You are certainly more up-to-date than I am:)
I have had my Dedy for years. I had a learning curve and broke several strings when it was new. Since then, I am careful to wipe wires between each cut, make sure that if there is a ittle bit of thicker chocolate, I push the wire with my fingers until it cuts through. I only cut ganaches, not caramels. I also try to make sure the wires play the same note. I know I am probably wierd that way, but I figure that means they have the same tension. If whom ever breaks it has to replace it, they might be more careful, as it isn't a fun job to replace them.
I will try to answer from my experience. I use equal amounts of sugar and butter. I don't melt the butter first. I start out with 1/4 cup water per pound of butter. I put in the water and 2/3 of the salted grade AA butter, and the sugar. I stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, then turn up heat and add remaining butter. I rinse the spatula (I prefer silicone to wood paddle) and conitnue stirring. Be sure all sugar is dissolved. Once temp is over 260, you are past the danger zone of separation. Cook as quickly as possible without burning. I take it to about 310 (5000 ft). I don't add more salt, or cook the nuts in the syrup. I do add a little lecithin. I pour the syrup over dry roasted almonds. After cooling and coating with chocolate and a sprinkle of salt and more nuts, I break up and put into air-tight packages. We normally have a very dry climate, but I have made it when it was raining and snowing with no problems. My batches are 12# of sugar and butter at a time. You are correct in assuming corn syrup will make the toffee more sticky. I think if you add more butter and cook a bit higher, you will be fine. Try a small batch and see. You might check the amount of water you are using. If it is more than 1/4 c. per pound, you might be inverting the sugar which would give the same effect of adding corn syrup, making it sticky. Good luck.
I think I had some chocolate stuck inside one of the bearings and it made a terrible noise and wouldn't turn. I cleaned it out and haven't had that problem since. Yes, I agree about Hilliard. Great people and products. I always say that the Perfect is far from perfect It just takes a long learning curve and customer service is never in! Good luck.
I had my detailer stop at times. I used vegetable oil and lubricated the bearings. Also, the black belt broke and I didn't have a replacement. I used a rubber band. Worked great until I got a replacement. Probably didn't need the belt:).
I am no expert, but i can tell you what my experience has been. I have used Mycryo for 8+ years, and the EZ for 5 months. Mycryo is very hard to get to mix in without lumps. The temperatures are more critical. With the EZ, the silk mixes in at a wider range of temps, and is so much easier to mix in. When I teach tempering classes, I do side-by-side comparisons and different methods of tempering: seeding with tempered chocoolate, Mycryo, and EZ. There is no contest!! The EZ wins every time. The Mycryo is certainly a cheaper method, but not as effective. I think some of the problem is that as the Mycryo ages, it turns into beta 6 and it doesn't melt as easily as it should. It is a little spendy, but anything that makes my life easier is worth it:)
It is difficult not knowing your formulas and methods. If you are mixing at too low a temp, it can break, or if your ratios are off. In general, if I have a ganache that breaks, or looks like it might, I just stream some water into it as I am mixing. This will smooth it out. I'm sure it has to do with water in fat, or fat in water emulsions.
Beautiful! Thank you.
I have 4 Thermoworks thermometers and have been very happy with them. I wondered if they were calibrated the same, so I drove them down to their headquarters. (It is nice that they are about 45 minutes away:). They check them all and they were right on. I know I could do it myself, but I had another issue I needed looked at.
While others were BBQing yesterday, I was making my version of Dulcey. I sealed 1000g of white chocolate in a Food Saver bag and pressure cooked for 90 minutes on high. Stirred thick mass and it thinned as it cooled. Added the EZtemper silk when temp was 89f. Moulded bars just so I have a tempered breakup bar. The eztemper silk made this a quick process.
I just returned from a week in D. C. at a chocolate workshop. We had the opportunity of learning from Mark Heim. What vast knowledge he has. One of the new toys we played with is the EZtemper. It is a seed generator for cocoa butter. It maintains CB at a constant 33.7C. It was amazing to see this in action. I have never seen chocolate tempered any faster. You just cool your chocolate to working temp, and stir in .5-1% CB seed and stir a few times. Wait a minute and your chocolate is ready to go. We also made ganache and added it at the end. Ganaches set up in a few hours, even white chocolate ones. We also made gianduja and meltaways. This is new technology to me and I think it will change the way many of us play with chocolate.
My Robot Coupe only has a 5 minute duty cycle. How are you able to make a oaste in that much time?
I got the Pawkit on Craigs list. Kerry Beal found it for me. Decagon also sells refurbished units. You want a State university for cheap testing. The .02 isn't much of an issue. I want my ganaches well below the .85. I like them in the low 70's. I get 2-3 months, no mold, but flavor fades.
While the taste is extremely important, don't forget viscosity, and what flavors you are planning to use with it. I think most chocolatiers use several different chocolates for different purposes. Also, some chocolates are easier to source than others, depending on where you live.
I purchased a Decagon PawKit used for $500. It has been invaluable as I develop my formulas. If you have a State University nearby, they can test your ganaches for you.