Why Your Chocolate Ganache's Texture Is Off

Ganache — it's that thing you get excited about when you see it on a dessert menu but probably couldn't describe it if asked. Whether chilled as a chocolate truffle or hot in a molten chocolate lava cake, texture is key, but it's easy to get wrong if you're attempting to make ganache at home. The recipe for ganache is simple enough to understand since it's just chocolate, heavy cream, and sometimes butter. However, the madness lies in the method. The ideal texture of this chocolate concoction is smooth, glossy, and uniform. If you end up with ganache that is lumpy, grainy, and runny, you know you've done something wrong.

Your ganache's texture is off because something went wrong during the emulsion process. Water and lipids don't combine well. Properly emulsified ganache happens when the dry particles of chocolate are evenly distributed and mixed with the fat and water present in the other ingredients. Ganache that isn't well emulsified is called broken ganache. That happens because of a couple of common errors. One mistake is overheating the cream, which causes the fat in the chocolate to split, resulting in a grainy ganache. Another is slowly pouring hot cream into a bowl of chocolate rather than the opposite. Adding hot cream little by little increases the risk of seizing the chocolate.

How to fix broken ganache

The best way to fix a broken ganache is to ensure you get the ratios right. Nevertheless, inexperienced cooks might find a way to mess up the emulsion process. If the fat starts to break, there are ways to rescue it. Some claim that whisking in more liquid, like milk or cream, is the easiest way to save a ganache because it introduces more water into the emulsion. This typically has the side effect of making the ganache too loose, although it will look smooth and uniform. Others suggest putting the broken ganache in a blender to force the emulsion through speed. Unfortunately, that silky texture is usually fleeting, as the ganache will slowly start to break again over time.

Thanks to expert advice from sources such as Pastry Chef Online, amateur bakers can save a broken ganache without losing the desired texture. If your ganache suffers from severe clumpiness or graininess, fold in simple corn syrup. While not the healthiest solution, it will loosen up the broken ganache to give it a passably smooth appearance while maintaining the proper texture. Other fixes include alternative sweeteners like maple and agave syrups.