Thursday, April 10, 2014

My First Spherification, Molecular Gastronomy

Molecular Gastronomy is really fun, making liquid into solid, make a tasty liquid into delicate caviars or beads that burst in your mouth, tasty foams, not just heavy cream cream can be whipped anymore and others. First I knew about all this is from the book, Modernist Cuisine volume 4 - Ingredients & Preparations, this is the most interesting volume to me, because it was something new that I didn't know. I'll slowly describe and demonstrate everything when I experience one.

Sweet cucumber gunkanmaki, with a flowered leek as a plate garnish, very fine dining feeling huh?
   The vanilla caviar/beads in the cucumbers seemed less solid because it was slight over coagulated and over-soaked. Still edible and nice, but loses its texture, the burst out feeling in your mouth. But then I found the resolution for it, it was after i ate the cucumber gunkan, too late.. never mind sure i will come out with a few tries. And here's the picture below show that my vanilla caviar/beads still solid outside, liquid inside and beautiful~

Sweetie sweetie
I had it with my cookie, damn sweet XD but nice
The process is Spherification, what i did was the original method of spherification which is direct spherification, one of the three types of spherification. The original technique uses sodium alginate mixed with edible liquid that has no calcium in it, and then drop the liquid droplet by droplet into a setting bath, clean water bath that diluted with calcium solution which can be either calcium chloride or calcium lactate, and then the skin of gel will form surrounding the liquid droplets. But the process will continue until the whole beads (including liquid in the bead) setting into solid, this is how it lose its bursting feeling, either leave it in the bath or taken out. And I discovered the resolution from the book is, heating the beads for 85'C/185'F for 10 minutes or more to stop the setting process and keep the centers liquid. I haven't tried it myself, but will do it soon.

Those scientific name of the chemical does sound inedible , but it is not. Sodium Alginate is refined from brown seaweeds, calcium lactate is a black/white crystalline salt which can be found on young cheese like cheddar, xantham gum is fermented sugar. Thus they are edible.

There are many way of doing spherification, by alginate, carrageenan, gellan, and LM pectin. Alginate method is much common and well known.

the formula for the direct spherification by using alginate:
100% as the weight of liquid
sodium alginate - 1%
*Xantham gum (optional) - 0.2%-0.5%
calcium lactate - 0.5% of 100% of the water bath

*Xantham gum acts as a thickener for the liquid therefore the droplets yields more even orbs for those very thin liquid. Because thin liquid will dissolve into the water bath rather than setting into beads.

There are two more method of spherification, Reverse Spherification and Cryospherification (aka molded spherification), I will describe more about these two methods as soon as I tested it myself.

Stay tuned for more updates and thank you for your visits :D