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BryanZ

Adventures with Transglutaminase

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So I've got a couple packets of Activa-brand Transglutaminase. This stuff is quite the hot commodity for molecularly inspired home cooks, so I want to try do some cool experiments with it.

I would love to hear from ANYONE who has experience with the product. As of right now, I'm just planning on sprinkling it on this and that, hoping for some sort of magical meat glue creation. If anyone knows the best way to apply this stuff (in terms of technique and applications), it would really help me out.

So far I've created a steak-cum-shrimp deal in which I sliced in half (length-wise) a random sirloin I had lying around, and added a layer of thinly sliced shrimp (which also happend to be lying around). After sprinkling some TG here and there, wrapping in plastic, and refrigerating overnight, I had a somewhat stuck together mass of beef and shellfish. I apologize for not taking pictures, but after grilling the amalgamation it was a rather humble looking specimen.

I also ventured to Home Depot today in an attempt to create an "extruder" analagous to what Wylie used on Iron Chef America to make his tilapia noodles. This was a strange experience in which I got a lot of very strange looks from sales associates when explaining my idea and accompanying diagram. As a result, I'm currently the proud owner of a random section of pvc pipe, an ill-fitting pvc pipe cap, and a wooden dowel. I think I can make something to extrude noodles from this, but if anyone has any ideas as to how to create the TG-infused shrimp/tilapia/protein noodles, it would be great to know. I've heard something about 1% TG by weight, but that could all be a lie.

So as you can tell, I need the help. Ideas, stories, anything. Please.


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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I would use a pastry bag(plastic) with an appropriate sized hole and squeeze them out into simmering fumet, stock or water.

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Great link, thank you. I'm surprised I never read through that before. It's great to see big names like Sean Brock and Wylie chime in. I hope I can do this fascinating product justice.

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Have fun Bryan... we look forward to seeing some pictures!!!

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A kind of lame start to the pictures, but here's my extruder. I asked my mother (she's Japanese) about finding a shiboriki, the traditional Japanese tool for extruding fish paste noodles, but she said I probably wouldn't be able to find one. Apparently, they're not even all that common in Japan these days.

I digress.

My extruder is comprised of pvc pipe, a pipe cap with a hole drilled into it, a wooden dowel, and some tape. It's pretty self-explanatory, I think. When I push through I'll wrap the dowel in plastic wrap so it doesn't get all gross. For now, the extruder makes a pretty sweet water gun.

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ETA: Should I enlarge the hole. I thought too small would be better than too big to start.


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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Cool. I saw something on ebay while looking for a gelato machine that might work as well. Search ebay or the net for "Spaghetti ice cream press". Shocking, I also found it at : http://spaghettiicecream.com/ice-cream-makers.htm

Since it comes with a few different disks and can do lasagna it might be fun and you could always make your own disks.

Not trying to dis your home depot noodle-zooka.

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Cool. If my noodle-zooka doesn't work, I might buy this thing. $23 isn't cheap though for whats essentially a ricer.

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Cool.  If my noodle-zooka doesn't work, I might buy this thing.  $23 isn't cheap though for whats essentially a ricer.

Yea, heck you can get the no-box one for $12 + shipping. Who needs a box?

I'd really like to try Transglutaminase, but the cost and short shelf life has kept me away. I also wonder about inhaling that stuff. Yikes. Are you wearing a mask and gloves when working with it?

I've been thinking of how different meats and skins contract under heat. Might be cool to glue something that contracts a lot under a torch to someting that doesn't and get some curls or corkscrews. Can you glue fish skin to beef? :laugh:

I read on the product site that it's also good for texture in yogurt. Have you tried adding it to someting like this? I'm really curous to how it effects yogurt with a high protein content. If you make it with a lot of nonfat dry milk powder or even some of the new protien powders on the market I wonder how solid it gets.


Edited by pounce (log)

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I want a ravolii skin made out of crab! Maybe stuffed with chives and warm egg yolk... some holindase sauce...

Maybe puree crab + 1% TG and spread on wax paper, cover with more wax-paper and cinch the edges, then flatten, roll, secure completly with plastic wrap and poach the whole roll? Maybe an egg+more TG wash will secure the edges of the ravolii after you cool/cut it, or maybe just egg will work?

Edited to add- I wrote the above thinking that you had to cook the TG for it to bond, but on rereading looks like just time is enough, so just refrigerating the roll overnight should work.. I wanted to play with this stuff until I read the 'inhaling' post *shudder*


Edited by Werdna (log)

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Supposedly you're not supposed to inhale it or get it on moist skin. I'm hedging my best and am going in there without any protection. I'm a rebel like that I guess.

The crab ravioli idea is cool. I'm playing with a couple ideas for ravioli-type things with both TG and sodium alginate. I promise I won't let this thread die or let a cool idea go untried.

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Supposedly you're not supposed to inhale it or get it on moist skin.  I'm hedging my best and am going in there without any protection.  I'm a rebel like that I guess.

I once glued my fingers together with superglue. I would hate to glue a lung together. Freaks me out. Spend the .25 on a dust mask at least so we can see some more pics :rolleyes: Rebel. Chicks dig scars. Lung adhesion is not hot.

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Wow. I somehow missed the previous thread on this so I'm glad I spotted this one. A summer off from classes; plenty of time to spend in the kitchen... hmm. I've emailed to get more information about the Activa.

I have to admit I'm a wee bit creeped out about not getting it on wet skin and not inhaling it. I suppose once it's bound to the meat it's safe?

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Yo Bryan....

So far the most creative use of Activa I have seen besides WylieD is Alex Tabot.

Check out the Fish with "Crispy Chicken Skin" at "Ideasinfood"

Gives a new meaning to the term Chicken of the sea.

Also Shelfish Spaetzle.

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I wonder what would happen if you glued together thin slices of meat cut against the grain with meat cut with the grain?

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I didn't realize this, but apparently transglutaminase is widely used in the food industry -- not only for "restructured" meats like sausages or chicken 'patties', but also in pasta, to make it stronger, and some dairy products, to make a creamier texture. Seems like TG might be useful for more than just meat glue. For instance, I'd be interested to see what effect it had on egg white foam and mousses and such made with it. There is also a product called Fibrimex, which is a 20/1 mixture of the clotting proteins fibrinogen and thrombin, that is being used for the same purpose, though I have no idea how it compares to TG.

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Patrick is right in that the restaurant style "meat glue" applications that us eG'rs enjoy is really only one very small part of the TG world. While the scientists at Ajinomoto undoubtedly get a kick out people creating novel applications for their products, the company makes its money on large-scale industrial food processing applications.

I am indeed very familiar with ideasinfood. It's a great blog and I will refresh myself on their work.

I've got some short ribs dry aging right now. I'll trying the cross layering technique. I'm not sure it'll change much, but we'll see.

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Or cut a bunch of slices with the grain, and reassemble them at 90 degree angles, odd and even. Meat plywood ;)

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Much as I can imagine all sorts of fun things to try; I think I'll pass on the transglutaminase. Just the thought of accidental inhalation is disturbing...

--Dave

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So I tried the idea where you take a piece of beef and reconstruct it with layers of beef slices cut with the grain and against the grain. I'm not sure what this will do, but it sounded cool as I can now literally serve "cross-cut short ribs." Oh man, I crack myself up.

All this talk about sticking organs and apendages got me worried. So I dawned on some plastic gloves and a bandanna and got gluing.

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(So this picture actually wasn't taken in my kitchen but at a pirate-themed party. Nevertheless, I did wear this thing in the kitchen. Rebel, pirate, bandit, all of the above? Cool, I know.)

Here are some short ribs slices both with and against the grain. These had been dry aging for a couple days now. I'm working on a trio of short rib preparations for dinner tomorrow evening. Had I stopped here I could've made some nice Korean barebeque. But alas, I pushed forward.

gallery_28496_2870_392162.jpg

Mmmm, TG-slurry. I figured I had about 300 grams of meat so I used about 3 grams of TG and made a slurry. In the end I had some left over. I froze it and have no idea what this will do.

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For each "long" piece I added 2-2.5 "short" pieces. I brushed on the TG liberally between layers. This is the creation.

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Afterwards, I tightly wrapped them in plastic. We'll see what happens tomorrow afternoon. I'm thinking of roasting these guys at like 375ish. Not a slow roast but not super hot either. Again, we'll see what happens...


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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The cross cut short ribs were a measured success. They weren't groundbreaking, but they did yield a very interesting, if subtle, texture somewhere between a solid piece of meat and ground beef.

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The TG bound short ribs are off to the right. When compared to the sous vide short rib to the left, you can see some of the layering in the TG piece, but it's very faint.

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Upon closer inspection, this effect becomes more clear.

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This picture probably gives the best impression of what eating this was like. The muscle fibers are short, like in ground meat, but the over shape and mouth feel is like a steak. It's hard to describe but was still quite novel.

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bryan, were there any flavors associated with the TG that were noticeable? i'm sure it was such a small amount it can't taste like much, just wondering. your dinner looks great, by the way!

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No taste at all. I've noticed a lot of the hydrocolloids I've been using do impart a taste that has to be masked in some way. This is much more "pure."

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To make a slurry, how much water is used per gram of TG?

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