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How to extend the Shelf Life of slab chocolate Ganache ? part 1

Introduction to the chocolate ganache shelf-life.

With the proper precautions, slab chocolate ganache can have a long shelf life. To get the most out of your ganache topping, it’s important to understand how to store it and when you need to throw it out. In this guide, you’ll learn about the best storage methods for keeping your ganache fresh for as long as possible.

 

Adjust the proportions of ingredients of chocolate slabbed ganache.

 

Getting the right proportions of ingredients is essential for the longevity of the product. They ultimately determine its success.

In my opinion, it is not the best approach to extend an item’s shelf life if chefs or experts focus heavily on the amount of cream, chocolate, butter, and other ingredients.

Looking at the most influential ratios, they are more effective and efficient. You can find them here:

– Rate of Water content , tha is also stronglgly related with the activity water (named AW)

The rate of simple and complex carbohydrates, also known as sugars and sweeteners, should be monitored.

– Rate of fat materials, grease or lipids.

– Rate of Alcohol

Decrease the Water content to make the chocolate ganache last longer

(or Increase the percentage of dry materials)

 

It is important to know the types of ganaches you want to reach, then the number of weeks or months that you’d like to get.

After having determined your goal you can move on 😉

Water content is the most important ratio to deal to extend the shelf life. So to extend it, you’ll have to increase up this rate by dropping the water content. How?

This is quiet simple, you have to reduce all ingredients containing water, as cream, milk, even butter (16% of water in the classic butter).

Or to increase the dry materials, that could be sugar, ratio of chocolate – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate – fat, any fiber materials, or any rich dry materials ingredients.

About a slab ganache, you must be between 14% to 24 % of water content, or to be between 76% to 86% of dry materials (and more…) . That is srtictly the same.

So here is my own rules 🙂

-Short shelf-life around 2 weeks (15 days shelf life) around: 76/77% of dry materials

-Mid shelf-life around 4 weeks to 9 weeks weeks (30 to 60 days shelf life): 79/82% of dry materials

– Long shelf-life from 12 weeks and more : more than 84% of dry materials.

Be careful water ratio is  strongly related with many others parameters: humidity, airtight storage, moisture, type of sugars,…

 

 

 

 

Activity Water (AW)

 

In summary, free water is water that is not absorbed by dry materials. This ratio is determined by the types of ingredients, their amounts, and the water content. The “Grover Formula” is one way to calculate it, or an AW-meter can measure it.

Therefore, the water to fat ratio of ganache should be between 0.75 and 0.89. If you can measure or calculate it for your Chocolate Ganache, then…

For 0.87 to 0.89 around 1 month shelf-life (30 days shelf life)

For 0.84 to 0.86 around 6 to 9 weeks shelf-life

For 0.80 to 0.83 around 10 to 12 weeks shelf-life

For 0.75 to 0.80 around 16 to 26 weeks shelf-life

Again, caution should be taken when dealing with the Activity Water ratio, as it can influence many different things such as humidity, airtightness, moisture content, and sugar levels…

Ah yes,… I should also mention that this duration time (in the two previous chapters) should be in a room temperature environment (approximately +18/20°C) with an average relative humidity of 45/60%.

 

 

 

Choose your Types of sugar

 

Each variety of sugar has its own effect on the water and ganache texture.

For example, regular sugar (also called granulated sugar, caster sugar, white sugar, cane sugar, icing sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar or Muscovado sugar) is a disaccharide (known as sucrose and saccharose, among other names). Adding this type of sugar to your ganache will prolong its shelf life, but it could re-crystalize after a few weeks. I have often seen dark chocolate ganache bonbons with a light, crisp texture from the recrystallization of sugar. The outcome also depends on the other components and the methodology used. I suggest adding or substituting with a different type of sugar such as simple carbohydrates.

The sweeteners Corn syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose, glucose powder, invert sugar, honey and fructose for example are all monosaccharide (simple carbs). These natural components make up a lot of fruits (usually fructose and glucose). By the virtue of being “single-saccharides”, these sugars make the ganache softer, smoother and keep its consistency for a longer period of time; this type of sugar also greatly reduces re-crystallization.

I recommend replacing 40-60% of the sugar with glucose syrup or other monosaccharides, and possibly increasing the sugar ratio of the ganache in order to extend its shelf life.

Another advantage of glucose syrup has a much lower relative sweetness (0.7) compared to regular sugar, with regular sugar having a reference point for relative sweetness of 1.

An additional type of sweetener is the sugar alcohols. They are not actual alcoholic beverages; this is just a scientific name. Manufactured from traditional sugar (disaccharides) and basic carbohydrade (monosaccharide), which have been previously outlined. Don’t incorporate more than 5 % of the complete mass of your ganache, as most have a laxative effect.

That kind of sweetener is incredibly effective for making chocolate ganache last longer. Common types of sugar alcohols include sorbitol, maltitol, glycerol, lactitol, and so on. The other advantage of these sugar-alcohols is their low sweetness compared to other sweeteners, with a range of 0.4 to 0.8.

These kinds of sugar are often used in the chocolate industry.

 

 

Sugar ratio

 

Sugar plays a big part in how long slab chocolate ganache can last. The kind of sugar used can make a big difference in the shelf life, as previously discussed.

I consider as Sugar ratio only the previous sugar noticed in this article: Monosaccharides, Disaccharides, and sugar-alcohols.

Aim to have between 20-38% sugar in slab chocolate ganache–anything above that can make the texture too soft.This amount is mainly used for confit and caramel ganache.

Increasing the amount of sugar will lengthen the shelf life of a product, making a softer texture as well. You must consider the chocolate flavor, its quality, and the desired ganache texture when making a balance.

The majority of trained confectioners concur that 30% is the lowest sugar content needed. I could not differ more strongly. I have had great success making exquisite ganache recipes with smaller quantities of sugar, in some cases as low as 30%. The results were solid. We even experienced more savor persistency on our palates.

 

 

Raise Fat content

 

As the Sugar ratio for your chocolate ganache, more is the fat ratio, longer shelf-life you’ll get.

However, when water is added to sugar, grease does not absorb it. Adding more fat instead of sugar to your software or balancing board is not as effective but will still provide some benefit.

Fat does not dissolve in water like sugar does, and therefore it affects the texture and thickness of a recipe more than sugar.

But, akin to our predecessors, greasing the anointed will widen the lifespan of your ganache. This practice was once used as a method of preserving meals – known colloquially as pickling. France still has a few traditional dishes that adhere to this carrying across, for example the delectable legs duck confit from South West France. It is a popular dish and I’m quite fond of it 🙂

Animal fats, such as butter, cream, and others from various sources, can be in either solid or liquid forms. Additionally, plant-based fats including cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and hazelnut oil are also available in these forms. Cocoa mass consists of around 50% cocoa butter.

Increasing the fat content will elongate the shelf life and alter the texture of the ganache, from softer to harder. You should also consider how it melts in one’s mouth and the desired texture while eating.

 

 

 

Add alcohol in the ganache

 

This is an outdated way to extend chocolate ganache, but it’s still effective. I recommend that you use alcohol with at least 40° proof. If you use a lower proof alcohol, too much water will be added, which could throw off the ganache recipe.

To obtain significant results in this way, you need a ganache recipe with an alcohol content of at least 0.8%. At this strength, you won’t taste the alcohol, but it will be effective for preventing the spread of microorganisms and bacteria.

I only use that method when the alcohol is relevant and of high quality, and it will match the slab chocolate ganache flavor I want.

When incorporating alcohol in a ganache, it’s important to remember it will create a softer texture. Mastering the tempering process is crucial for success.

Ganache mixée Stephan 1

Conclusion for your chocolate shelf life ganache

 

So We saw different path to make your ganache longer last longer, but only by the composition of it.

It is a considerable task to manage this. In our second blog post, we’ll discuss additional ways to expand your ganache. Anything outside the ganache such as air, climate, humidity and packaging can also affect its quality of duration. This part is just as important as the inside. I saw the potentially disastrous consequences with many of my clients if the external conditions weren’t ideal.

Enjoy your chocolate ganache journey 🙂

 

 

And more forward…,

Ganache into biscuit (such as macaroons)

 

An other path, to think about balancing and extending the chocolate ganache shelf-life…

Where do you pipe your ganache if it is not in a solid block? If it is on (or in) a cookie, then how dry is the biscuit? If it is a very dry biscuit (which is likely with some macaroon recipes), the moisture from your ganache will pass through the cookie and moisten it. Consequently, the ganache will become drier. This is an essential factor to take into consideration when calculating the measurements for your ganache (as well as for the cookie :-))

If you want to learn more about how to extend the shelf life of slabbed chocolate ganache, check out our blog for more tips and tricks. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive content and recipes.