Composition Calculator for Chocolate Ganache and Desserts
Published: September 4th, 2021 | Last Updated: September 5th, 2021
There are so many different recipes for ganache. There are recipes that are as simple as two ingredients: chocolate and cream. On the other end of the spectrum, there are complex professional recipes that contain precise measurements of additional butter, different types of sugars such as invert sugar, glucose, sorbitol and isomalt. Each recipe has pros and cons and some recipes are more suitable for specific applications than others. For a professional chocolatier, they might want to maximise the shelf life of the ganache so that the chocolates can last longer while they are selling them. For a home dessertisan, they want to focus on flavour and texture, while keeping the process simple and using ingredients that are available to them.
Each ingredient in a ganache recipe consists of base elements that determine the characteristics of the ganache.
The Main Elements of Ganache
The main compositional elements of a chocolate ganache are:
- Water - This is usually incorporated in the form of cream
- Sugar - This usually incorporated from the chocolate and can also be added
- Non-fat cocoa solids - This is the cocoa solids from the chocolate minus the cocoa butter from milk or dark chocolate
- Cocoa butter - This is a fat from the chocolate present in all types of couverture chocolate
- Milk Fat - This usually comes from the milk, cream, butter and the milk from milk chocolate and white chocolate
- Milk Solids - This also comes from the milk, cream, butter, milk chocolate and white chocolate
These compositional elements determine the taste, stiffness, mouthfeel, colour, how long the ganache lasts for and the texture of the ganache after a long period. It’s all about finding the right balance of ingredients to suit what you need it for.
Ways to use ganache
Chocolate ganache is used for many desserts and applications and they all have different requirements and ideal characteristics
Different usages of ganache and their ideal characteristics.
- Bonbons - The ganache should be fluid enough so that it levels off after piping so that it can be capped off cleanly and evenly.
- Enrobed/dipped pralines - This ganache should have a more firm texture so that it can hold its shape while being handled and dipped.
- Macarons - This ganache should be smooth and pipeable.
- Plated desserts - This ganache can be more fluid for sauces and more flavour forward.
- Whipped ganache - This ganache needs the right composition so that it can be whipped and maintain its structure.
- Glazes (e.g., torte, drip cake, cupcake) - This ganache needs to be more fluid and shiny so that it is more aesthetic and has an even and smooth surface.
- Cake layers - This ganache needs to be sturdy to give structure to multiple layers of cake.
- Sauce - This is the most fluid version of the ganache. It needs to be pourable and have a strong chocolate flavour.
- Tart fillings - This should be fluid and shiny so that it is level and has a smooth surface after filling
- Decoration piping - This should be malleable enough to easily pipe using various piping tips while holding its shape after being piped.
Effects of every element in a Ganache
You may have heard that water is an enemy of chocolate, however that is mainly true when you’re trying to temper chocolate. Water is a vital element of ganache. Water is usually added to a ganache from the cream or milk.
Water in a ganache determines how fluid and soft the ganache will be before and after it has set. The more water there is in a ganache, the more fluid and runny it will be. The less water, the more stiff a ganache will be. A more fluid and runny ganache may be more useful for glazing whereas a stiff ganache will be useful for dipped truffles and pralines.
The amount of water will also determine whether the ganache can emulsify properly. Too much or too little water will prevent the ganache from emulsifying resulting in a split mixture.
Water also plays a role in the shelf life of a product. Generally, ganache with less water will last longer.
Sugar determines the sweetness of the ganache and also plays a role in the fluidity of the ganache, the texture of the ganache after long periods and the shelf life of the ganache.
Most of the sugar usually comes from the chocolate and is required to balance the bitterness of chocolate (100% chocolate is really bitter!). There are many different types of sugars and syrups which can be added to ganache and have varying levels of sweetness.
Non-Fat Cocoa Solids
The non-fat cocoa solids determine how chocolatey the ganache tastes. Ganache with higher percentages of cocoa solids have a more intense cacao flavour, are more bitter, are darker in colour and are more stiff.
Cocoa butter is a very special element of chocolate and gives the chocolate the wonderful texture it is known for. At room temperature, cocoa butter is a solid and so the more cocoa butter there is, the more stiff the mixture will be at room temperature.
Cocoa butter is a fat and so also plays a role in the emulsification of the chocolate. If there is too much or too little fat, the ganache will less likely emulsify or will split more easily.
Milk fat is present in milk, cream, butter, milk chocolate and white chocolate. It’s melting point is lower than cocoa butter and therefore melts more quickly in the mouth. The more milk fat there is in the ganache, the faster it will melt in your mouth. This is often described as “creaminess” or “unctuousness”. This is why it is common to add a bit of butter into the ganache which will make it softer.
Non-fat milk solids are also present in milk, cream, butter, milk chocolate and white chocolate. They help to emulsify water and fats in the ganache. They also determine the flavour of the ganache.
Ganache Composition Calculator
This calculator below takes ingredients of a ganache and converts it to the base elements that will determine its characteristics. It will output the amounts of each base element and the percentage of it in the ganache.
This is especially useful if you want to compare recipes and see the various characteristics of them. It is also helpful for formulating your own ganache to your exact needs and visualising how adding more of one ingredient affects the overall composition of your ganache. It can be really handy as well when substituting ingredients to know what other ingredients may need to be added to compensate.
How to use:
- Input the recipe into the box. The recipe should be of the same unit of measure. Do not include the unit in the recipe. (e.g for 200g dark chocolate, type: "200 dark chocolate".)
- The composition should appear immediately as the recipe is entered or if the recipe is modified.
This calculator is a prototype and is limited to a specific set of ingredients. Please let us know if there are any modifications we can make to make this more useful to you.
The calculator will currently work with the following ingredients:
- dark chocolate
- milk chocolate
- white chocolate
- heavy cream
Ganache Composition Calculator
- 73.2 cocoa butter (19.8%)
- 38.8 fat-free cocoa solids (10.5%)
- 88.0 sugar (23.8%)
- 69.1 milk fat (18.7%)
- 7.9 fat-free milk solids (2.1%)
- 93.0 water (25.1%)
The above calculator incorporates the following conversions for each ingredient. Each ingredient composition will vary depending on the brand. Let us know if you'd like to make this customisable!
- dark chocolate (based on 56% cocoa mass)
- cocoa butter: 36.6%
- fat-free cocoa solids: 19.4%
- sugar: 44%
- milk chocolate (based on 35% cocoa mass)
- cocoa butter: 30.2%
- fat-free cocoa solids: 4.9%
- milk fat: 6%
- fat-free milk solids: 15.8%
- sugar: 43.1%
- white chocolate (based on 29.5% cocoa mass)
- cocoa butter: 29.5%
- milk fat: 6.3%
- fat-free milk solids: 16.7%
- sugar: 47.5%
- heavy cream
- milk fat: 35%
- fat-free milk solids: 5%
- water: 60%
- milk fat: 3.7%
- fat-free milk solids: 9%
- water: 87.3%
- milk fat: 83%
- fat-free milk solids: 2%
- water: 15%
Recipes with Chocolate Ganache
Here are some recipes which each have their own unique recipe for chocolate ganache.