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Adventures with sodium alginate


Jonathan M. Guberman
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"So i just recieved an order from Will Powder of sodium alginate and calcium chloride. I found a recipe online for "Liquid Pea Ravioli", and have to say it worked quite well. I was using a teaspoon measuring device to form the ravioli, and that worked okay. Anyone have any other idea's for dropping the liquid into the CaCl bath? "

Spoons work well, yes. For smaller items, a plastic syringe works nicely. I've played with the idea of freezing things, dipping them in a algin bath, and then dropping those into the CaCl, but never tried it (if you do try it, let me know if it works!)

"Also, I currently have 2 mango's, a cantalope, and some blueberrys in my fridge. I'm pretty sure i've read that you can use all of them with alginate and chloride. Any other suggestions? "

The mangoes may have too high an acid content to work well w/o correction. You might want to test that, or switch to reverse spheres for those.

"At an upcoming party i'm having I was thinking of serving the pea ravioli, however i found that the taste (while very pea-ish) is a little strange when served room temp. Is there any way to heat the ravioli (spheres) without breaking the thin membrane?"

Yes... But be careful! If you are making them during service, use a very warm bath as the rinse bath, and leave them in it for a few moments (30 seconds or so?) before draining them. *Don't* try to boil them! :smile:

Good luck!

jk

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  • 2 months later...

I know a few people mentioned trying cranberry caviar, but has anyone had any success with it at all? Any tips?

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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I know a few people mentioned trying cranberry caviar, but has anyone had any success with it at all?  Any tips?

Did this with standard supermarket cranberry juice, no need to add sodium citrate, but found that the taste was not strong enough to make the caviar worthwhile.

Perhaps a higher quality (i.e. bigger % of cranberry juice) or reducing the cranberry juice to concentrate it would help.

Edited by ermintrude (log)

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

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Hi all,

This is my first post/reply in this forum.

I live in Sweden and has just started experimenting with texturas style products, the next step is spherification.

I buy my stuff from a German e-store called Metropolis.

So, my question, probably already answered, but anyway. I live in Öland (in the south eastern part of Sweden) and the water has high value of calcium here. Which ph should the alginate solution have?

Hmmm thats the first of questions I have on this subject. :)

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  • 1 month later...

Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead. After several attempts I finally got it this past weekend. I used the reverse spherification medthod and froze the spheres before adding them to the sodium alginate solution. I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good. I think I may have added to much of a liquid covering in the ISI which absorbed most of the carbonation. New ideas abound now that I "kind of" have figured out the process :raz:

gallery_48209_5578_387213.jpg

Can you tell what my extra light source is :biggrin:

Edited by chickenfriedgourmet (log)
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Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead. After several attempts I finally got it this past weekend. I used the reverse spherification medthod and froze the spheres before adding them to the sodium alginate solution. I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good. I  think I may have added to much of a liquid covering in the ISI which absorbed most of the carbonation. New ideas abound now that I "kind of" have figured out the process  :raz:

Very Cool! How did you freeze the spheres? I wonder if sprinkling a couple of grains of the Texturas "Fizzy" or a related product on just before serving would give the fizz...

jk

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Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead. After several attempts I finally got it this past weekend. I used the reverse spherification medthod and froze the spheres before adding them to the sodium alginate solution. I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good. I  think I may have added to much of a liquid covering in the ISI which absorbed most of the carbonation. New ideas abound now that I "kind of" have figured out the process  :raz:

Very Cool! How did you freeze the spheres? I wonder if sprinkling a couple of grains of the Texturas "Fizzy" or a related product on just before serving would give the fizz...

jk

Well after driving around town all morning looking for different types of ice trays that would be spherical I had to run up to my office to get something and there in the fridge was my answer. A plastic tray for holding eggs.

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Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead... I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good....

Could you elaborate on the "fizzy" part of the process a little bit more?

BTW, I wonder if you really need to freeze into half spheres or if any shape of ice cube would become spherical once it thaws?

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Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead... I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good....

Could you elaborate on the "fizzy" part of the process a little bit more?

BTW, I wonder if you really need to freeze into half spheres or if any shape of ice cube would become spherical once it thaws?

Once I pulled them out of the alginate solution and rinsed them off, I very carefully put them in an ISI. Per Chef T's previous comments I added a little bit of the vodka cranberry juice mixture san calcium chloride and charged the ISI with 2 CO2 cartridges. I put them in teh fridge for about 3 hours or so.

I thought about just using the regular cubes but I was not sure how they would turn out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I have been following this post for a while now and it's simply amazing. You guys rock for all the knowledge you are sharing with the rest of the world. So I live in Los Angeles and their is nothing that I know of that resembles a MG restaurant. So I have had to go into the lab myself to taste some of these recipes.

I have had great success making apple caviar and pea raviolis . Pretty straight forward when you have a recipe. So now I am venturing into trying to make Raspberry caviar or raviolis. I started with the traditional alginate bath to no avail. The raspberry and alginate just dissolved in the Calcium Chloride bath. Next I tried mixing 250 ml of water with 3g of alginate. Then I mixed 250ml of home made raspberry juice with 1/3 cup of dextrose, 3.5g of calcium glucco. I know that raspberry's are high in calcium from previous posts in this thread but I thought I would try since it's the reverse spheriphication process. I also added 1 g of Sodium Citrate. I seem to get partial results. Always ending with the spheres sticking and breaking. I have played with different cooking times but nothing seems to work. I would love any input or insight into the matter.

I think I need to get some Xanthan Gum..

Any suggestions on the amount needed

Thanks,

ProLogic

.

Edited by ProLogic (log)
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It might be something with the pH of your base. Raspberries are probably much more acidic than peas and apples and I seem to remember that you have to adjust the pH if your base is too acidic.

Hopefully someone much more knowledgeable than I will offer their opinon.

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Do you degas your solutions / When things disolve in a bath I have found it to be caused by too much trapped air in the solution you are piping into the bath.

I have degassed the solutions. I do it by letting them sit over night in fridge. I also removed all impurities from the raspberry juice. I basically have two completely see through liquids. Alginate + Sodium Citrate / Raspberry with Calcium Lactate Gluconate. I am making the spheres by injecting them into the Alginate bath under the surface. When i was dropping them from above. Only the lower part would submerge. I would end up with half spheres. Another note. The longer they sit in the alginate, the spheres start to leak raspberry juice. I knows these things are very exact. I feel like I am so close. Today I am acquiring some xanthan gum and see if this also makes the raspberry juice more viscous as per Chef T's suggestion a few pages back.

Thank You

Edited by ProLogic (log)
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It might be something with the pH of your base. Raspberries are probably much more acidic than peas and apples and I seem to remember that you have to adjust the pH if your base is too acidic.

Hopefully someone much more knowledgeable than I will offer their opinon.

I think PH is a player here. I need to get some test strips. I read some recommendations earlier on this post on good PH indicators.

Thank You

Edited by ProLogic (log)
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Do you degas your solutions / When things disolve in a bath I have found it to be caused by too much trapped air in the solution you are piping into the bath.

I have degassed the solutions. I do it by letting them sit over night in fridge. I also removed all impurities from the raspberry juice. I basically have two completely see through liquids. Alginate + Sodium Citrate / Raspberry with Calcium Lactate Gluconate. I am making the spheres by injecting them into the Alginate bath under the surface. When i was dropping them from above. Only the lower part would submerge. I would end up with half spheres. Another note. The longer they sit in the alginate, the spheres start to leak raspberry juice. I knows these things are very exact. I feel like I am so close. Today I am acquiring some xanthan gum and see if this also makes the raspberry juice more viscous as per Chef T's suggestion a few pages back.

Thank You

Do you have a vacuum or a aspirator? when things float, I have found it to be either too much solids (not likely if you have a clear solution) or too much gas (overnight does not always work). Ph should not have a effect on solution density. If you are doing reverse, then another thing to look at is decreasing your alginate concentration in the bath.

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Do you have a vacuum or a aspirator? when things float, I have found it to be either too much solids (not likely if you have a clear solution) or too much gas (overnight does not always work). Ph should not have a effect on solution density. If you are doing reverse, then another thing to look at is decreasing your alginate concentration in the bath.

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Do you have a vacuum or a aspirator? when things float, I have found it to be either too much solids (not likely if you have a clear solution) or too much gas (overnight does not always work). Ph should not have a effect on solution density. If you are doing reverse, then another thing to look at is decreasing your alginate concentration in the bath.

Unfortunately I don't have any sort of vacuum device. But your suggestion about changing the algin solution is definitely worth the try.

Thank You,

ProLogic

It seems to work much better with a lighter alginate solution. This time I used 1.5 g of SA and 400ml of water. Also I used filtered water this time instead of tap.

Edited by ProLogic (log)
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Well I tried to replicate a version of Minibar's Fizzy Mojito for the holidays using cranberry and vodka instead... I charged with 2 CO2 cartridges but they were not as fizzy as I hoped though still good....

Could you elaborate on the "fizzy" part of the process a little bit more?

BTW, I wonder if you really need to freeze into half spheres or if any shape of ice cube would become spherical once it thaws?

Here is the post on my blog about the process http://chickenfriedgourmet.typepad.com/chi.../test-test.html

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This past weekend, I had a dinner party with three spheres!

The first, which I somehow never got a picture of, was blue cheese served in a pear chip cup, topped with with balsamic vinegar "caviar."

The second was "strawberries and cream"

gallery_51547_5632_4582.jpg

Strawberry consumme, reverse sphere, served in cream lightly sweetened and thickened with a bit of "gellan"

Finally, a dish I've been working on for ages and think I've finally nailed: "Walnut Soup Redux"

Walnut foam, with pear puree "pearls", topped with crushed pear chips. Another take on the Walnut soup recipe from Keller's TFL book.

gallery_51547_5632_45129.jpg

Sorry that the pic isn't great.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help!

Best,

jk

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This past weekend, I had a dinner party with three spheres!

The first, which I somehow never got a picture of, was blue cheese served in a pear chip cup, topped with with balsamic vinegar "caviar."

The second was "strawberries and cream"

gallery_51547_5632_4582.jpg

Strawberry consumme, reverse sphere, served in cream lightly sweetened and thickened with a bit of "gellan"

Finally, a dish I've been working on for ages and think I've finally nailed: "Walnut Soup Redux"

Walnut foam, with pear puree "pearls", topped with crushed pear chips.  Another take on  the Walnut soup recipe from Keller's TFL book.

gallery_51547_5632_45129.jpg

Sorry that the pic isn't great.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help! 

Best,

jk

looks good, is the walnut foam savory or sweet ?

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Thanks!

The walnut foam itself isn't sweet, but the dish is a dessert -- the pear puree is sweetened (pears poached in sugar/water/wine mix, thinned with the poaching liquid). So the walnut foam is slightly bitter, and the pear "pearls" quite sweet. The idea is you get the slightly bitter toasted walnut taste first, and then the sweat pear flavor hits you when you break the pearls...

The dish is meant to be a play on Keller's "walnut soup" dessert. I think it captures the spirit of the dish, while adding a bit of textural fun. :smile:

jk

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