Ask the Alchemist #99


In making chocolate cream ganache for truffle centers, I have in the past followed directions to put the freshly made ganache in the refrigerator to firm up for center rolling. I recently have read where that is bad. It is better for crystal formation to let it set up at cool room temp for a few hours, even overnight. That refrigeration inhibits good formation. Which is it? This also is important to me because I have tried using the newish silcone truffle molds (truffymold ) which say to pipe the freshly made ganache into the molds, put it in fridge for 24 hours, then freezer for 12 hours. It does make it easier (and less deformed) to freeze before popping out. Would it be better to let the ganache set out overnight at cool room temp then put in freezer for the 12 hours to be able to pop out? Is the freezer time going to be bad for the ganache? Scared of the cold!

There are good points in each of these various thoughts and I’ll go through each one and explain my thoughts on them and how each is applicable.

I’ve never heard that it was bad to put truffle filling in the refrigerator. I personally do it all the time and have never had an issue. If anything, because I like my filling to melt in your mouth instantly I prefer a very soft center and the only way to work with it is to either refrigerate so it is hard enough to scoop or pour/pipe it in to molds and then refrigerate it. That said, I will also note that I don’t usually fully refrigerate the ganache as it can make it too hard to work with, and just chilling to 50-60 F works really well for me.

As for refrigeration inhibiting good crystal formation, that makes no sense to me. Namely because to my knowledge there is no crystal formation going on anyway because you have added cream and that inhibits all crystal formation. Basically you have seized your chocolate on purpose, but seized it nonetheless and once that happens, no crystal formation is happening.

I don’t see anything wrong with piping into silicone molds and then chilling. I’m one that tends to follow directions…at least initially, so I would do as the manufacturer suggests. It actually seems to me that it is a bit excessive to refrigerate and then freeze, especially for that length of time, but maybe they have their reasons. Or maybe they don’t. I would try it that way, and compare it to refrigerating a couple hours and freezing a couple hours.

I likewise don’t see any trouble with freezing the ganache from the ganache’s standpoint. But I will point out one thing that might give you an issue. You may need to bring your frozen ganache centers up to something other than freezing for some length of time or you may run into problems.

The two issues I see are water condensing on the centers and the radical difference in temperature making enrobing them in chocolate very challenging. You might get water in your coating chocolate and the coating can get very thick respectively. Off the top of my head I would suggest letting the frozen centers rest in the refrigerator 12-24 hours before enrobing. Or if the shorter chilling time works, just doing that. 2 hours in freezer, 1 hour in refrigerator, enrobe. Basically see what works for you. In any case, don’t fear the cold.

Happy new year everyone.  And keep and eye out for the historic (just because of the number) Ask the Alchemist #100!!

And keep those questions....Really....I'm nearly out.  You can e-mail them direct to question at chocolatealchemy dot com.

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