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Tuber magnatum

Help with Xanthan Gum

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Posted (edited)

Hello,

 

I had the opportunity of dining in Munich at Chef Jan Hartwig's three star Michelin restaurant Atelier.  The food was delicious and the plating gorgeous.  Several of the dishes made use of a "sauce" poured at table side which I have been trying to recreate.  I have attached photos of two of these dishes. Unfortunately I cant for the life of me remember the flavor profile (too much wine maybe and too long ago?) but I was hoping some help might be forthcoming from all of you! I asked chef how he created the viscosity and he indicated xanthan gum to which I replied I always had difficulty hydrating it.  He shared his secret; hydrate in advance and add to the liquid.  He says he uses 640ml of water mixed with 27gms xanthan.  This can be stored in the fridge until needed. You then take some of this gloop (at least that what I ended up with!) and add to your base liquid.  Questions:

 

1) Has anyone tried this pre-hydration of xanthan and if so, how do you use it? Best way to mix?  How much to use? etc.  As noted, I ended up with a goop that was just as hard to disperse in my liquid as just using powdered xanthan.

 

2) Any ideas as to what the "green" is in either of the two dishes?  He makes use of it frequently in other platingsI have seen he posts on his  instagram and his facebook pages (Jan Hartwig - Restaurant Atelier, München).

 

3) What are or causes the "speckles" in the two different green sauces?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Edited by Tuber magnatum (log)

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Cant really help with the green fluid. 

 

But the xanthan gum hydration I can. I use the same technique unless I'm using a blender of some kind but even then I'll use prehydrated. 

 

But when using it, use a small rubber (or silicon) spatula and a small amount of what ever liquid you want to mix it in in a small bowl to help soften the gel and make it easier to work into the larger batch. Very much like corn flour and you beat/mush it together to great a thinner mix that is far far easier to add to whatever else your wanting and it avoids a lot of bubbles. 

 

Otherwise using a stick blender or I also use a small blender with a wavy disk that is battery powered and that works well for about a cup of liquid and works fast too.

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Posted (edited)

I just zizz the hell out of it or whisk real fast. I haven’t had a problem though I don’t use it too often. 

 

The green looks leafy green as do the speckles. Xanthan is great for keeping particulates in suspension...like in a bottled salad dressing. If he blanched spinach or something and puréed it that could look like this. 


Edited by gfweb (log)

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, EatingBen said:

...I use the same technique unless I'm using a blender of some kind but even then I'll use prehydrated. 

 

But when using it, use a small rubber (or silicon) spatula and a small amount of what ever liquid you want to mix it in in a small bowl to help soften the gel and make it easier to work into the larger batch. Very much like corn flour and you beat/mush it together to great a thinner mix that is far far easier to add to whatever else your wanting and it avoids a lot of bubbles...

 

Thanks for the info.  Can I ask, is the pre-hydrated ratio the same, 640ml of water mixed with 27gms xanthan?  And how small / big amount of "goop" would you use for example with 250ml of liquid?  Also, does heating help?


Edited by Tuber magnatum (log)

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I just zizz the hell out of it or whisk real fast. I haven’t had a problem though I don’t use it too often. 

 

The green looks leafy leafy as do the speckles. Xanthan is great for keeping particulates in suspension...like in a bottled salad dressing. If he blanched spinach or something and puréed it that could look like this. 

 

 

Thanks.  I was thinking the same thing about the particles in suspension.  I was amazed though at the vibrancy of green and was wondering what he used.

 

As for the stick blender or vita mix, I usually don't have enough volume to make those particularly effective, which was why I was so hopeful the pre hydrated xanthan would allow me to more easily incorporate it into a small volume of liquid.  I guess I just need to be more aggressive with a hand whisk?


Edited by Tuber magnatum (log)

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Tuber magnatum said:

 

Thanks.  I was thinking the same thing about the particles in suspension.  I was amazed though at the vibrancy of green and was wondering what he used.

 

As for the stick blender or vita mix, I usually don't have enough volume to make those particularly effective, which was why I was so hopeful the pre hydrated xanthan would allow me to more easily incorporate it into a small volume of liquid.  I guess I just need to be more aggressive with a hand whisk?

 

I never prehydrate, just lightly shake in the powder while whisking furiously...side to side...which has greatest shear force and is faster and easier to do too. There might be a rare clump that I just fish out. 


Edited by gfweb (log)

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27 minutes ago, Tuber magnatum said:

is the pre-hydrated ratio the same, 640ml of water mixed with 27gms xanthan?

 

Ratio changes depending on how much water is used to hydrate the xanthan gum. I do a 1:1 water:xanthan gum so one part water to one parts xanthan in a beaker mixed using a stick blender since i don't care about bubbles. a whisk will also do it. 

 

So if a formula asks for 2g worth of xanthan gum I add 4 grams. 

 

I use weight measurements for using gums and other additives like this rather then volume 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Tuber magnatum said:

1) Has anyone tried this pre-hydration of xanthan and if so, how do you use it? Best way to mix?  How much to use? etc.  As noted, I ended up with a goop that was just as hard to disperse in my liquid as just using powdered xanthan.

2) Any ideas as to what the "green" is in either of the two dishes?  He makes use of it frequently in other platingsI have seen he posts on his  instagram and his facebook pages (Jan Hartwig - Restaurant Atelier, München).

 

I haven't tried that pre-hydration method.

I typically use xanthan and other hydrocolloids in preparations that contain an oil or fat of some sort.

So, the method that works best for me is to suspend the xanthan particles in a bit of oil for easy dispersal and to prevent clumping when it's added to the preparation.

I almost always use a stick blender rather than a standard blender.

But, I'm much more likely to use a hydrocolloid blend (same technique) rather than pure xanthan—I MUCH prefer the texture!

One such blend is "Thick It Up" (Locust bean (and/or tara), guar, acacia, xanthan gums.)

Different ratios for different preparations—a little goes LONG way!

I also make my own hydrocolloid blends.

 

After studying Jan's Restaurant Atelier Facebook and Instagram pages and some articles about Restaurant Atelier.

My guess is that the green sauces are made from various green herbs (or green herb blends) that compliment the particular dish (chive, tarragon, parsley, etc.)

 

HTH

 

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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3 hours ago, Tuber magnatum said:

As for the stick blender...I usually don't have enough volume to make those particularly effective

 

I use a container in which the stick blender fits VERY tightly.

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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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Also, after using the stick blender, you may wind up incorporating a lot of air which will take the vibrancy of the color our - so if you have some kind of vacuum chamber, you can run a short vacuum on it and bring back the vibrancy.

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@DiggingDogFarm Other than the ability to thicken cold liquids, what advantages do you see to hydrocolloids over starch or Wondra (my two main thickeners).?

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56 minutes ago, gfweb said:

@DiggingDogFarm Other than the ability to thicken cold liquids, what advantages do you see to hydrocolloids over starch or Wondra (my two main thickeners).?

 

Largely because starches can effect flavour and clarity.  As well hydrocolloids have other properties one can make use of, e.g.  forming different types of gels etc.

 

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/science/859-articles/story/word-of-the-week-hydrocolloid

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2 hours ago, KennethT said:

Also, after using the stick blender, you may wind up incorporating a lot of air which will take the vibrancy of the color our - so if you have some kind of vacuum chamber, you can run a short vacuum on it and bring back the vibrancy.

 

I am very fortunate to have a vacuum chamber which I have used for this very purpose.  Haven't quite figured out best way to do so though.  Do you like to create vacuum and when liquid about to boil over immediately release vacuum, or do you hold it at that low pressure for a time then release vacuum?  Regardless of the two methods, do you do a fast release of vacuum or slow?  Or does it matter as long as you don't boil liquid over creating mess in chamber?!

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10 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

... But, I'm much more likely to use a hydrocolloid blend (same technique) rather than pure xanthan—I MUCH prefer the texture!

One such blend is "Thick It Up" (Locust bean (and/or tara), guar, acacia, xanthan gums.)

Different ratios for different preparations—a little goes LONG way!

I also make my own hydrocolloid blends....

 

HTH

 

 

 

 

Maybe you can share some of your blends ratios and when / how you use them? I was going to actually create another topic on the subject of blending  and using hydrocolloids, but since you brought it up here:

 

Despite reading on-line resources including the excellent Kyhmos recipe collection ( https://blog.khymos.org/recipe-collection/ ) and Dave Arnold's hydrocolloid primer ( http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html%3Fp=1247.html ) I remain confused because it seems you can use multiple agents alone or in combination to create different or the same textures. I haven't gotten to the section in Modernist Cuisine on Hydrocolloids (trying to read all 5 volumes in order and am only part way through V3!) so maybe some help there, but I would love it if there was a chart that rather than listing the Hydrocolloid and what it does, the chart list the effect one wants to achieve and then the agents needed to create it.

 

For example, Stabilize sorbet - use xxx, Thicken cold sauce - use yyy,  Create liquid filled spheres - use aaa + bbb.  etc.  rather than having to read through all the hydrocolloids as in xxx- used to stabilize sorbet, yyy - used to thicken cold sauce, aaa - can be used with bbb, bbb - can be used with aaa.  Hopefully you get the idea and it isn't dumb or I have missed some resource that already does this!

 

Lastly, I have lots of individual hydrocolloids sitting in my larder, but I keep coming across recipes that will call for a specific brand, e.g. Sosa Vege Gel (carrageenan, carob, etc.) and it would be nice to just blend your own!

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Homogenizer does not introduce much air...just sayin'.

 

 

I have to admit ignorance on this and had to google it!  Is this what you are talking about? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogenizer.  Looks like a very cool device. Do you have a specific one you like that is appropriate for the kitchen?  Mechanical or sonic?

 


Edited by Tuber magnatum (log)

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10 hours ago, gfweb said:

@DiggingDogFarm Other than the ability to thicken cold liquids, what advantages do you see to hydrocolloids over starch or Wondra (my two main thickeners).?

 

In my case, the carbohydrate content.

I usually, but not always, follow a low-carb/high fat diet.

Another advantage is that some of them keep preparations clear, or relatively clear—when that's desired—rather than cloudy or opaque.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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8 hours ago, Tuber magnatum said:

 

Maybe you can share some of your blends ratios and when / how you use them? I was going to actually create another topic on the subject of blending  and using hydrocolloids, but since you brought it up here:

 

Despite reading on-line resources including the excellent Kyhmos recipe collection ( https://blog.khymos.org/recipe-collection/ ) and Dave Arnold's hydrocolloid primer ( http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html%3Fp=1247.html ) I remain confused because it seems you can use multiple agents alone or in combination to create different or the same textures. I haven't gotten to the section in Modernist Cuisine on Hydrocolloids (trying to read all 5 volumes in order and am only part way through V3!) so maybe some help there, but I would love it if there was a chart that rather than listing the Hydrocolloid and what it does, the chart list the effect one wants to achieve and then the agents needed to create it.

 

For example, Stabilize sorbet - use xxx, Thicken cold sauce - use yyy,  Create liquid filled spheres - use aaa + bbb.  etc.  rather than having to read through all the hydrocolloids as in xxx- used to stabilize sorbet, yyy - used to thicken cold sauce, aaa - can be used with bbb, bbb - can be used with aaa.  Hopefully you get the idea and it isn't dumb or I have missed some resource that already does this!

 

Lastly, I have lots of individual hydrocolloids sitting in my larder, but I keep coming across recipes that will call for a specific brand, e.g. Sosa Vege Gel (carrageenan, carob, etc.) and it would be nice to just blend your own!

 

 

I generally follow a low carbohydrate/high fat diet.

So the blends that I use are probably not of much interest to most folks, and they're not the blends that I would use if I wasn't concerned with carbohydrate content.

Hydrocolloid science is extremely complex—MANY books and scientific papers have been written on the subject.

I recommend that you read the Modernist Cuisine information and see if you can find a copy of the following book at a local library—it contains some good information, but it's an expensive book to purchase:

Cooking Innovations: Using Hydrocolloids for Thickening, Gelling, and Emulsification by Amos Nussinovitch and Madoka Hirashima

9781439875889.jpg

 

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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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54 minutes ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

I recommend that you read the Modernist Cuisine information and see if you can find a copy of the following book at a local library—it contains some good information, but it's an expensive book to purchase:

Cooking Innovations: Using Hydrocolloids for Thickening, Gelling, and Emulsification by Amos Nussinovitch and Madoka Hirashima

9781439875889.jpg

 

 

Thanks for suggestion!  Will read MC of course, but I found one new copy of this book at Amazon on sale... couldn't resist!  Should arrive by Feb. 1st.

 

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13 hours ago, Tuber magnatum said:

 

I have to admit ignorance on this and had to google it!  Is this what you are talking about? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogenizer.  Looks like a very cool device. Do you have a specific one you like that is appropriate for the kitchen?  Mechanical or sonic?

 

 

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/144208-home-made-ice-cream-2013–/?do=findComment&comment=2018118

 

Have not played with sonic since I was in college.  Bit out of my price range at the moment.

 

 

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A few thoughts ...

 

-Probably the chef pre-hydrates the xanthan not because it's hard to hydrate the stuff, but because it takes a while for it to fully hydrate. A blender or homogenizer will disperse it in a hurry, but it can still take a couple of hours to fully hydrate. This means that you can easily overshoot with the concentration. Pre-hydrating would take the guess work and the timing out of the picture.

 

-I'm not convinced he told you the full story. Anything thickened to that consistency with pure xanthan gum would be disgusting. It would basically have the consistency and mouth feel of snot. My guess is that that stuff (whatever it is) was naturally thick, based on whatever was pureed, or else it had some other ingredient that acted as a hydrocolloid. The xanthan could then be used to add a bit of viscosity, cling, and stability. 

 

-If you have to get a thin liquid to that viscosity, a couple of suggestions:

  -a 3:1ratio of lambda carrageenan and xanthan. Use at a concentration 0.4% to 0.6%. Doesn't have to be cooked, but should be dispersed with a blender to prevent clumping.

  -a 10:1 ratio of arrowroot starch and xanthan. Use at a concentration of 0.5% to 1%. Needs to be cooked to hydrate. But pretty easy to disperse just by making a slurry and whisking. 

 

-Maybe the green is chlorophyl. Or maybe it's a Shamrock Shake™®©

 

 


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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2 hours ago, paulraphael said:

A few thoughts ...

 

-Probably the chef pre-hydrates the xanthan not because it's hard to hydrate the stuff, but because it takes a while for it to fully hydrate. A blender or homogenizer will disperse it in a hurry, but it can still take a couple of hours to fully hydrate. This means that you can easily overshoot with the concentration. Pre-hydrating would take the guess work and the timing out of the picture.


-I'm not convinced he told you the full story. Anything thickened to that consistency with pure xanthan gum would be disgusting. It would basically have the consistency and mouth feel of snot. My guess is that that stuff (whatever it is) was naturally thick, based on whatever was pureed, or else it had some other ingredient that acted as a hydrocolloid. The xanthan could then be used to add a bit of viscosity, cling, and stability. 

 

 

Thanks for your thoughts.  You are correct; he was simply prehydrating.  I had asked him how he managed to create such a nice texture as in my experience I could never adequately hydrate the Xanthan. That's when he wrote out the ratio to create the Xanthan goop. What he would then do was take a small amount of the "goop" ie prehydrated xanthan gum and add to the liquid to reach the desired consistency.  I think you can get a sense of the consistency he was achieving with the addition of a small amount of the goop from my pictures above.  It wasn't  snotty at all, although I have on too many occasions over thickened sauce with xanthan.  But even prehydrated, I have had difficulty incorporating the xanthan goop into the liquid to achieve a smooth texture.

 

As for the green, I was hoping I wouldn't have to wait for St. Patricks Day to get a Shamrock Shake if you think that is the secret to the green! :)  Surely there is another option? 


Edited by Tuber magnatum (log)

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