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Spherification


Montreal
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Question on spherification.

I was successful with baileys as well as with kahlua, however I also tried with maple syrup and the mix was coagulating into gelatin before I drop any of the mix in my bowl and create magic.

Anyone knows if their is a rule of thumb that I should know? For some reason the medium with alchool worked very well and the one that is water based (in this case maple syrup) would not work.

Tks in advance for your help

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I have mixed an equal part of alginate to maple syrup and before even thinking to create a mixture ready for the calcium, they coagulate into a gel.

However when i am doing it with baileys and khalua i have no problem.

I read somewhere about the ph of my liquid to be mixed with the alginate, but i am not sure that i understand and how to midify that ph if need be.

Tks for your reply

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Right: according to Google maple syrup has something on the order of 20mg per 15mL of calcium (depending on the variety, etc.) which is probably enough to gel your alginate. Well... certainly, I'd say, since that's what is happening! MelissaH's suggestion of trying a reverse encapsulation is a good one.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Would you mind sharing details with how you did the baileys and kahlua? I've tried with alcohol a few times (especially tequila) and never even gotten close to anything that works. After I put it into the bath it just kind of disperses.

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I don't know that much about it, but I know you can use a sequestrant and use the regular spherification... check out the primer on cookingissues.com. Sequestrants are commonly used if you have hard water and get pre-gelation before hitting the calcium bath.

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My guess is that your tequilla is too liquidy and my understanding you need a syrup consistency. However, i like the calcium concentration explanation better as it is mesurable. My explanation is pure speculation.

I did the baileys and khalua right from the text book , i have a picture of the results on my ipad but do not know how to incorporate this in the tread.

Equal part of alginate to baileys, say 50 ml of each and then drop it in the calcium... Weather using a seringe to make caviar like drop of a spoon to have nice round drop they were both perfect.

I got cut up in food shopping all afternoon, i will report on maple syrup as soon as i have a chance.

Dan

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I haven't done it, but from all that I've read, you usually want the liquid to be spherified to have some body to it - so a lot of recipes tend to thicken thin liquids with xanthan or the like before spherifying. Some of these additives react negatively with alcohol... have you checked out the Khymos set of recipes? There's tons of information in there...

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  • 1 year later...

Please, how do you all mix your alginate baths?

'Disperse' (MC, pp. 4.129, 4.186) is really vague, and I'm getting clumps that the mixer simply will not break down, so I'm going after them with a spoon, but that seems less than optimal. Is this just normal? I've tried sifting it over the surface of the water, mixing it with a little water first, to make a paste (HAH!), and just mixing it in. I'm using the Texturas Algin.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I have been interested in this for awhile now but havn't tried any experiments with it. This is something of a weird question, but after reading the ingredients on a jar of cheez whiz and seeing sodium alginate, I have been wondering if it would sphere just dropped straight into the calcium bath.

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Please, how do you all mix your alginate baths?

'Disperse' (MC, pp. 4.129, 4.186) is really vague, and I'm getting clumps that the mixer simply will not break down, so I'm going after them with a spoon, but that seems less than optimal. Is this just normal? I've tried sifting it over the surface of the water, mixing it with a little water first, to make a paste (HAH!), and just mixing it in. I'm using the Texturas Algin.

I generally put the liquid into my thermomix put on a speed where the vortex in the centre does not reach the rotor (if it does it can end up clumping round the top of the rotor) and sprinkle in through the top once in turn up to top speed then down again. Have also done similar with a liquidiser or stick mixer.

Then depending on application, leave in the fridge for any bubbles to disperse or if you've a sealer put it in a canister and put under vaccum.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I have been interested in this for awhile now but havn't tried any experiments with it. This is something of a weird question, but after reading the ingredients on a jar of cheez whiz and seeing sodium alginate, I have been wondering if it would sphere just dropped straight into the calcium bath.

I'm guessing that they have already used the alginates gelling facilities to get the consistency they wanted (did they then mix to get a fluid gell?) and droping it into a calcium bath would have no effect. The calcium is not a limiting factor as standard spherification will in the end gell all the way through as the calcium ions difuse through. Dropping it into an alginate bath may allow you to reverse speripy it. Not ever tried cheez whiz but bet there are tastier ways to get encapsulated liquid cheese.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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One strategy is to get the liquid moving in a blender and then slowly sprinkle in the alginate.

Please, how do you all mix your alginate baths?

'Disperse' (MC, pp. 4.129, 4.186) is really vague, and I'm getting clumps that the mixer simply will not break down, so I'm going after them with a spoon, but that seems less than optimal. Is this just normal? I've tried sifting it over the surface of the water, mixing it with a little water first, to make a paste (HAH!), and just mixing it in. I'm using the Texturas Algin.

I generally put the liquid into my thermomix put on a speed where the vortex in the centre does not reach the rotor (if it does it can end up clumping round the top of the rotor) and sprinkle in through the top once in turn up to top speed then down again. Have also done similar with a liquidiser or stick mixer.

Then depending on application, leave in the fridge for any bubbles to disperse or if you've a sealer put it in a canister and put under vaccum.

Thanks! I'm using a hand-held mixer (the only mixing device I have, and am likely to have for the near future, given budgetary restraints, although I have my eye on a Bamix), and have no vacuum sealer (again, budgetary restraints), but actually, this seemed to have worked out sort of okay: After two hours, the bath was homogeneous, the small clumps apparently having absorbed water and fully dissolved.

The actual spherification didn't exactly go with a bang: what I ended up with were mostly slug-shaped blobs.

And, regardless of whether the mixture was gently lowered into the bath, injected below the surface, or droppd from some height (I figured it couldn't hurt to see what wold happen) some of the mix inevitably dispersed at the surface of the bath, making for a floating membrane; unless I poked it about a bit, the 'sphere' remained open at the top.

However, even when prodded closed, if the portions of the mixture were too close to one another, the floating membranes merged, making for what kind of looked like a jellyfish after an encounter with an outboard motor.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Try making your liquid to be spherified thicker/more viscous.

The muscat + xanthan mix did look awfully thin, but since the (not over-detailed instructions) said to let the mixture sit 24 hours to allow the xanthan to fully hydrate, it seems like it could take quite a few days to determine how much to use, at least if the xanthan is being added in small increments, to avoid over-thickening. Is there some way of calculating the ratio of xanthan to liquid, to achieve a given consistency?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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In my experience, xanthan doesn't need to hydrate overnight, so you can tweak as you go.

What source of water are you using for the alginate bath? The bath itself shouldn't be all that viscous, but if you're using tap water that has reasonably high levels of calcium, it may be pre-gelling. I strongly recommend demineralized water when working with alginate (and gellan, for that matter).

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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In my experience, xanthan doesn't need to hydrate overnight, so you can tweak as you go.

What source of water are you using for the alginate bath? The bath itself shouldn't be all that viscous, but if you're using tap water that has reasonably high levels of calcium, it may be pre-gelling. I strongly recommend demineralized water when working with alginate (and gellan, for that matter).

How long have you found that it takes for the xanthan to hydrate?

The water here is rock hard, but since I wasn't sure how much free calcium would be a problem, I used tap water to make up the first alginate bath, which attained the consistency of phlegm in a few minutes. I tried again with filtered water, which seemed okay, unless the consistency is supposed to be essentially that of water, in which case I need to try a different source of water; it was thicker than plain water.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Well, I suppose what I mean is that I thicken "to feel" with xanthan. It may hydrate further over time, but I've never noticed much of a difference in texture after time has elapsed.

The successful alginate baths I've seen have been marginally thicken than water, but not much. Maybe approaching the texture of a 0.25% xanthan solution.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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