Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

TomRahav

Need help with spherical mussels (reverse spherification) recipe

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I've tried to make the spherical mussels recipe from the Modernist Cuisine books and it didn't work as I expected, so I would appreciate any advice that may help here.

The recipe calls for calcium gluconate which I couldn't get hold of, so I replaced it with calcium lactate gluconate that I had at home. I used the same ration (2.5%)

When I tried to create the spheres in the sodium alginate bath I encountered two main problems;

1. instead of spheres the mixture just stayed as uneven shape on the surface. The bath was 1Kg. water with 5gr. sodium alginate and I let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using it so I think the problem is not here. However, the mussels jus mixture (100gr. mussels jus, 0.5gr. xanthin gum and and 2.5gr. calcium lactate gluconate) had a lot of air bubbles in it. Can that be the issue?

2. In the book the spheres seem to be completely transparent whereas my mussels jus mixture was pretty white and opaque. Is it because I replaced calcium gluconate with calcium lactate gluconate? Or maybe it's because the jus itself should be clarified before it is used?

Thanks in advance for your support,

Tom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TomRahav said:

1. instead of spheres the mixture just stayed as uneven shape on the surface. The bath was 1Kg. water with 5gr. sodium alginate and I let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using it so I think the problem is not here. However, the mussels jus mixture (100gr. mussels jus, 0.5gr. xanthin gum and and 2.5gr. calcium lactate gluconate) had a lot of air bubbles in it. Can that be the issue?

Yes, the bubbles could definitely be the issue there -- the goal is to get the jus and the bath to be as close in density as possible. Air bubbles are going to greatly reduce the density of the jus, causing it to float.

 

3 hours ago, TomRahav said:

2. In the book the spheres seem to be completely transparent whereas my mussels jus mixture was pretty white and opaque. Is it because I replaced calcium gluconate with calcium lactate gluconate? Or maybe it's because the jus itself should be clarified before it is used?

It's certainly possible. It's also possible that the team at MC made ten thousand of the things and picked the three clearest ones for the photo :) . The chemistry is beyond me, however, so my only suggestion would be to get yourself some calcium gluconate and try again. Where do you live? There are plenty of sources in the US. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

Yes, the bubbles could definitely be the issue there -- the goal is to get the jus and the bath to be as close in density as possible. Air bubbles are going to greatly reduce the density of the jus, causing it to float.

 

It's certainly possible. It's also possible that the team at MC made ten thousand of the things and picked the three clearest ones for the photo :) . The chemistry is beyond me, however, so my only suggestion would be to get yourself some calcium gluconate and try again. Where do you live? There are plenty of sources in the US. 

I live in Hong Kong and unfortunately couldn't find it easily here. Even online I had a hard time. I will try again though. I will also try to vacuum sous vide the mixture to remove air from it. Thanks anyway for the reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/6/2017 at 5:01 PM, Doofa said:

@TomRahav Can you let us know how you get on with your quest. D

Hi Doofa,

I don't have final results yet, but partial once are encouraging and I am glad to share them with you!

After failing the first time I amended 2 things in my recipe and tried it again. First, I reduced the percentage of the calcium lactate gluconate from 2.5% to 2% because I found over the web that this is the common ratio (it contains different calcium content in comparison to the pure calcium gluconate). Second, I put the mixture in a semi-sphere silicon mold and froze it before placing it in the alginate bath. This worked wonders! The results where perfect spheres which I could handle easily and produced wonderful mouthfeel. 

Although I solved the texture/shape issue, I still had plenty of bubbles in the mixture and it was opaque white. I thought about trying to ice-filter it but then I thought again about the color and decided I actually like it this way, because it adds to the surprise effect of the dish where you can't see what's in it. As for the bubbles, I intend to use a magnetic stirrer the next time instead of a hand blender to try and introduce as little bubbles as possible during mixing. In either case, the bubbles weren't a problem when I froze the spheres so it's more of a visual preference. 

Cheers,

Tom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tom. 

Well done. I'm now encouraged to have another go myself. I did manage it when the MC books hit the market, which I still cook from and enjoy. I shall continue to watch your post with interest and welcome to the boards of culinary information. Almost all you need is here. D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@TomRahav: Amazon.com carries several brands of calcium gluconate and ships to Hong Kong. I order there semi-frequently ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Duvel said:

@TomRahav: Amazon.com carries several brands of calcium gluconate and ships to Hong Kong. I order there semi-frequently ...

Thanks Duvel, I will check this out.

Will there be a difference in the results, in your opinion, if I use calcium gluconate instead of calcium lactate gluconate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By ProfessionalHobbit
      I had completely forgotten about our dinner there in December. 
       
      Anyone who is a serious eater here on eGullet needs to come here soon. Highly recommended. @MetsFan5 - here is one place you might love over Gary Danko. You too @rancho_gordo.
       
      I'll let the pix speak for themselves...
       

       

       
      Horchata - Koshihikari rice, almonds, black cardamom, cinnamon.
       

       
      Scallop chicharrón, scallop ceviche, crème fraîche.
       

       
      Jicama empanada, shiso, pumpkin, salmon roe.
       

       
      Smoked mushroom taco with pickled wild mushrooms.
       

       
      Dungeness crab tostada, sour orange segments, sour orange-habanero salsa, Castelfranco radicchio, tarragon.
       

       
      Pineapple guava sorbet
       

       
      Fuyu persimmon, habanero honey, tarragon
       

       
      Tasmanian trout ceviche, dashi, Granny Smith apple
       

       
      Aguachile, parsnip, red bell pepper
       

       

       
      Black bean tamales steamed in banana leaves, with salsa on the side
       

       
      Smoked squab broth, pomegranate seeds, cilantro flowers
       

       
      Tres frijoles with sturgeon caviar, shallots and edible gold leaf
       

       
      Black cod, salsa verde, green grapes
       

       
      Wagyu beef, pickled onion
       

       

       
      Smoked squab breast served with spiced cranberry sauce, quince simmered in cranberry juice, pickled Japanese turnips and charred scallion, and sourdough flour tortillas
       
      Yes, it's the same squab from which the broth was made.
       

       

       

       
      And now the desserts:
       

       
      Foie gras churro, with foie gras mousse, cinnamon sugar, served with hot milk chocolate infused with cinnamon, Lustau sherry and coffee.
       
      By the time I remembered to take a pic, I'd eaten half of the churro. Dunk the churro into the chocolate.
       

       
      Dulce de leche spooned atop pear sorbet with chunks of Asian pear, macadamia nut butter
       

       
      Pecan ice cream, candied pecans, shortbread cookie, apples, clarified butter
       
      The cookie was on top of the apples. Break the cookie and spoon everything over.
       

       
      Cherry extract digestif, vermouth, sweet Mexican lime
       
      We'll definitely return. I'm an instant fan.
       
      Prepaid tix were $230 per person, plus there were additional charges due to wine pairings. It's worth every cent you'll spend.
       
      Californios
      3115 22nd Street (South Van Ness)
      Mission District
       
    • By benjamin163
      Hello,
      I love cooking my pulses and beans and have used a pressure cooker, slow cooker and top stove to do so.
      However, the results often vary due to my carelessness.
      I enjoy the results of sous vide and wonder whether cooking beans and pulses sous vide would make them deliciously tender without falling apart and going mushy.
      I have looked up a few recipes but the temperatures vary enormously.
      I'm wondering if there's a more scientific approach. Like, at what temperature do the walls of a pulse break down without breaking apart? 
      And does the amount of water the pulses are steeped in matter?
      I'm gathering that pre-soaking is no longer the necessity it once seemed.
      So I'd love an understanding of the optimum temperature to get fluffy, unctuous beans without the mush.
      Any help or opinions greatly received.
    • By secast1992
      So I've been experiencing cracks on the foot of my bonbons that I've been unable to find the cause of, hoping to reach out to the community to get to the bottom of this costly problem. 
       
      I work for a small chocolate company that makes our own bean to bar couverture. We use a continuous tempering machine with enrobing belt attachment. 
      The process: ganache is made and then piped into round silicone molds, which are then footed with tempered chocolate before being placed in the freezer until frozen enough to pop out of the molds. They are then set up right and left to thaw and dry out overnight on a equipped with fans aimed at the bonbons. The next day we send the bonbons through the enrober, and then they are transferred to a speed rack to set up, either at room temp (generally around 68-70 degrees F) or in a homemade cooling cabinet (an insulated box equipped with an air conditioner + dehumidifier + fans) that generally fluctuates between 50-56 degrees F (I know, large range). 
       
      Problems occur with both milk and dark couverture, with bonbons kept at room temp or in cabinet, thickness of foot doesn't seem to make a difference (we've tried thicker and thinner). Crack doesn't immediately appear; it usually takes a couple of minutes after being completely set before showing. It looks as though the foot is popping out, cause a hairline crack between the shell and the foot. I've attached pictures. You'll notice in the photos, that when the bonbon is cut in half, the foot separates from the shell pretty significantly. 
       
      Thoughts? Suggestions? Similar experiences? 
       





    • By ElsieD
      I got an e-mail this morning about the Modernist team's next project - pizza! 
       
      Modernist Pizza is Underway!
      After taking on the world of bread, we’re thrilled to announce the topic of our next book: pizza. Modernist Pizza will explore the science, history, equipment, technology, and people that have made pizza so beloved.

      Authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, with the Modernist Cuisine team, are currently at work conducting extensive research and testing long-held pizza-making beliefs; this quest for knowledge has already taken them to cities across the United States, Italy, and beyond. The result of their work will be a multivolume cookbook that includes both traditional and innovative recipes for pizzas found around the globe along with techniques that will help you make pizza the way you like it.

      Modernist Pizza is in its early stages, and although we’ve begun to dig in, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Although we can’t guarantee when it will arrive at your door just yet, we can promise that this book will deliver the complete story of pizza as it’s never been told before.

      In the meantime, we would love to hear from you as we continue to research pizza from around the world. Contact pizza@modernistcuisine.com to tell us about your favorite pizzerias and their pizza. Connect with us on social media to get all the latest Modernist Pizza updates.
    • By Trufflenaut
      I'm a small-scale hobbyist candymaker (making things for myself and friends, not for sale), and I'm interested in learning more about sugar panning (mostly soft sugar panning, but also interested in hard panning).  I recently made myself a panning machine, and understand the very basics of the process, but I'm finding it difficult to find thorough information on the process that is useful for home candymaking - most of the information I have found so far has been of the sort "here is how to use this product that you can only buy in 100-lb quantities", or "this $200 industry manual has a section on panning techniques that may or may not be useful, but you can't tell until after you buy it".  Is there a good book/website/other source that thoroughly explains all parts of the panning process with enough detail to figure out how to do things with the materials at hand, and more importantly how to know at each step if things are going right?  I have access to the book "Confectionary Science and Technology", which has been a HUGE help, but there's still quite a bit that it doesn't talk about.
       
      I also have a couple of specific questions, and would appreciate any info:
      1. How do I add color?  Adding gel food color to the syrup only provides slight coloration, and I have food color powder but am not sure if I should add it to the syrup, to the sugar, or just it to replace the sugar.
       
      2. I have some carnauba wax to use for polishing, but I can't find any info on how to use it - do I just pour a small quantity of melted wax to the centers in the pan?  Do I need to mix it with anything?
       
      Huge thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×