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Testing the type of gellan


Chris Hennes
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I got an order of gellan from Chef Rubber a few weeks ago, but I haven't used it yet. The problem is, while one of the gellans was labelled "low-acyl gellan," the other one was just "gellan." I don't know if that means it's a blend, or if it's high-acyl. Does anyone have a good test I can do to figure out what I've got here? Something like "gel x grams of water with y grams of gellan, and if the texture is z, you've got high-acyl."

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Spent a little time looking, but found nothing that really applied. Ask the manufacturer? The exact chemical composition of this stuff really should be clearly identified on the label, the same as if it were being supplied to a lab. Are there any other identifiers on the plain 'Gellan' packet, apart from 'gellan' (e.g. LT)?

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

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Low acyl gellan gum products form firm, non-elastic, brittle gels, whereas high acyl gellan gum forms soft, very elastic, non-brittle gels. Varying the ratios of the two forms of gellan produces a wide variety of textures.

Found on this web page: http://www.cpkelco.com/products-gellan-gum.html

Sine you have a low acyl, you could make equivalent gels from. each sample and compare textures.

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Chris, I'm assuming the supplier couldn't offer any information on the product in question? It really bugs me when that happens: it happened to me a couple of years ago with some methylcellulose that I bought through L'Epicerie. I guess this is related to what Nathan has been saying about the difference between various brands and proprietary blends, but it's really disappointing when even the retailers don't have the information. I'm sure this will change as these ingredients become more ubiquitous and consumers become more demanding.

To speak to your original question, though, I honestly can't think of any way you're going to be able to distinguish definitively between pure high-acyl gellan and a blend. I guess the only answer is to experiment and see what happens. Good luck!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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After a morning spent making many, many different gels, I am convinced that what I've got here is either pure high-acyl gellan, or a mixture with a very small amount of low-acyl. I'm basing this on the qualitative descriptions of what I should be getting for various ratios in Modernist Cuisine. I would think that if it had significant low-acyl gellan content, then when I used the ratios to make a firm, brittle gel, I would have wound up with something that came across as much too firm (I focused on that one because it's closest to what I need this afternoon). So, here goes nothing... starting in on the "Spaghetti Carbonara"...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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This is what my supplier said when I asked:

Our “Gellan” is a pure medium-acyl, is does not contain a mixture.

I have never heard of, nor seen anyone else selling, "medium-acyl" gellan. Is such a thing possible, or must it be by definition a blend of high- and low-acyl versions?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I've emailed Chef Rubber a few times with this very question... not a single reply.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think it's going to be the blend more commonly known as "JJ". I asked them if the unspecified product was the high acyl or the JJ blend of high and low. I didn't get a response but, if the response they gave you was "medium acyl", I would bet it's the JJ. They may not be aware that it's a blend since it comes from the manufacturer that way.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I've never seen that pdf. Thanks! The low and high acyls and JJ are the only types I'm familiar with but that doesn't mean they don't sell others.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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if they sell chemicals, aren't they required to know what they are and supply material data safety sheets if needed as well? Seems odd that they either would not answer at all, or answer with something that makes little sense. You'd think they know what they have in stock?

I guess I won't order from them anytime soon, if they don't know or won't/can't tell you what it is you actually bought.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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