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Methylcellulose in pastry: Recipes & Tips

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I want to learn more about methylcellulose!

More about what it is, where to buy it, what its suited for, when to use it, how to use it, recipes using it, and last but not least, experiences using the stuff.

Hopefully we can all learn more about methylcellulose by discussing it in this thread.

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You can get Methylcellulose from Will Goldfarb's place Room4Desert in NYC, or mail order through his company WillPowder


Edited by johnder (log)

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What I can tell you:

Methyl Cellulose is derived from cellulose that has been treated with an alkali

Methyl Cellulose does not dissolve readily in hot water

When there is a high concentration of CarboxyMethylCellulose (CMC) molecules, the gel will become thermoreversible. By reducing pH levels, and increasing the ionic strength (higher concentration of CMC) will both decrease the viscosity of the gel.

It is said because of the viscosity drop during heating, CMC could help yield in baking because it increases gas bubble formation.

Methyl Cellulose is used for all kinds of artificial things out side of food. It is the main ingredient in K-Y jelly, oddly enough. You can find it in toothpaste and shampoos, and really anything else that needs some viscosity to it that is non-toxic.

Hydroxypropyl Cellulose is a cousin to Methyl Cellulose that does not form a gel. It is used as a stabilizer and an emulsifier predominately.

An interesting characteristic of both HPMC and CMC is that they can be used to substitute gluten in gluten free bread. This is one thing I am going to have to experiment with in the future.

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I've seen in some places that it also has some applications in ice cream making, has anyone tried making ice cream with methylcellulose?

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I am sure you can, but I am not sure I would like the texture. Though I have never tried any cellulose ice cream so my opinion is negligible.

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I was thinking maybe in small amounts so that there wouldnt be too noticeable of an effect on texture but would be productive in preventing the growth of crystals... Although I dont know if such a small amount would be useless anyways

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Ice Cream: Combination Chemistry

Ice cream that is stabilized with LBG and carrageenan contains significantly smaller ice crystals than ice cream made under identical conditions without stabilizers. Microcrystalline cellulose also facilitates ice-crystal growth -- one theory credits MCC with providing nucleation sites, resulting in smaller, more uniform crystals in larger numbers. Combining cellulose gums with natural gums can control ice-crystal growth, without imparting excessive viscosity. During storage, stabilizers may slow down ice-crystal growth during heat shock by limiting water migration. This is attributed to their water-holding capacity and formation of a three-dimensional network between stabilizers and other components, especially sugars and proteins.

It's too much to quote, but the article delves into cellulose in ice cream quite a few times.

If you've consumed commercial ice cream, the odds are pretty high you've consumed cellulose ice cream. It's fairly common in the industry.

I obtained a sample of CMC from a friend who's a baking supplier. So far, all I've done with it is mix it with water. The gel it created was very similar to pectin. Having worked quite a bit with soluble gum fibers like xanthan and guar, I was amazed by it's clarity/vibrancy. For what it's worth, it makes an especially pretty gel.

If I need a stabilizer for my ice cream, I reach for xanthan/guar, as they're cheaper and much more easily obtainable.

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Ice Cream:  Combination Chemistry
Ice cream that is stabilized with LBG and carrageenan contains significantly smaller ice crystals than ice cream made under identical conditions without stabilizers. Microcrystalline cellulose also facilitates ice-crystal growth -- one theory credits MCC with providing nucleation sites, resulting in smaller, more uniform crystals in larger numbers. Combining cellulose gums with natural gums can control ice-crystal growth, without imparting excessive viscosity. During storage, stabilizers may slow down ice-crystal growth during heat shock by limiting water migration. This is attributed to their water-holding capacity and formation of a three-dimensional network between stabilizers and other components, especially sugars and proteins.

It's too much to quote, but the article delves into cellulose in ice cream quite a few times.

If you've consumed commercial ice cream, the odds are pretty high you've consumed cellulose ice cream. It's fairly common in the industry.

I obtained a sample of CMC from a friend who's a baking supplier. So far, all I've done with it is mix it with water. The gel it created was very similar to pectin. Having worked quite a bit with soluble gum fibers like xanthan and guar, I was amazed by it's clarity/vibrancy. For what it's worth, it makes an especially pretty gel.

If I need a stabilizer for my ice cream, I reach for xanthan/guar, as they're cheaper and much more easily obtainable.

I have tasted different stabilizers in ice creams, made from the same formulation with 3 freeze/thaw cycles comparing to no cycles. The CMC definitely reduces the ice crystals formed as it is still very smooth texture.

-NhumiSD

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Ice Cream:  Combination Chemistry
Ice cream that is stabilized with LBG and carrageenan contains significantly smaller ice crystals than ice cream made under identical conditions without stabilizers. Microcrystalline cellulose also facilitates ice-crystal growth -- one theory credits MCC with providing nucleation sites, resulting in smaller, more uniform crystals in larger numbers. Combining cellulose gums with natural gums can control ice-crystal growth, without imparting excessive viscosity. During storage, stabilizers may slow down ice-crystal growth during heat shock by limiting water migration. This is attributed to their water-holding capacity and formation of a three-dimensional network between stabilizers and other components, especially sugars and proteins.

It's too much to quote, but the article delves into cellulose in ice cream quite a few times.

If you've consumed commercial ice cream, the odds are pretty high you've consumed cellulose ice cream. It's fairly common in the industry.

I obtained a sample of CMC from a friend who's a baking supplier. So far, all I've done with it is mix it with water. The gel it created was very similar to pectin. Having worked quite a bit with soluble gum fibers like xanthan and guar, I was amazed by it's clarity/vibrancy. For what it's worth, it makes an especially pretty gel.

If I need a stabilizer for my ice cream, I reach for xanthan/guar, as they're cheaper and much more easily obtainable.

I have tasted different stabilizers in ice creams, made from the same formulation with 3 freeze/thaw cycles comparing to no cycles. The CMC definitely reduces the ice crystals formed as it is still very smooth texture.

-NhumiSD

I don't sell my ice cream commercially, so it's not subject to freeze/thaw cycles, but if I did, that's valuable information to know. Thanks.

I guess my real reticency to using CMC in ice cream is that I'll probably like the results and then end up having to track down/pay big bucks for more. I also feel like I might stumble on a more ideal application for it. As everything I make is low carb/sugar free, I'm always looking for ways to put novel ingredients to use in my quest to mirror a dessert's high carb counterpart.

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Scott, thanks for the link to that website, its really a great resource for those looking to learn more about stabilizers and emulsifyers.

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I actually find the stuff on willpowder to be quite expensive

please enquire about our bulk pricing

wg

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What percentage do you use CMC at in the ice cream base? Do you still use other stabilizers in conjunction with it?

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So is it only used in ice creams? If you made a "pretty gel" with it, could you use it as a gel? Flavor it and use it as a garnish? What other uses has anyone come up with? Photos, perhaps?

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That fact that methylcellulose sets when heated and can liquify when chilled makes it pretty cool for doing weird gels, mousses and the like. Wylie Dufresne used it a little while back, along with some xantham and gum acacia, to make a reverse ice cream - warm and solid when on the plate, it then melts as it cools in the mouth.

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What I can tell you:

Methyl Cellulose is used for all kinds of artificial things out side of food.  It is the main ingredient in K-Y jelly, oddly enough.  You can find it in toothpaste and shampoos, and really anything else that needs some viscosity to it that is non-toxic.

it is also the leading ingredients in many liquid tear preparations

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methocel makes great eggless, hot meringues...just add the methocel and whip while you are heating

Sean can you give any more examples on how you use this, you would just add a flavouring like carrot juice and methocell and whip while you heat? Can you give more details

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methocel makes great eggless, hot meringues...just add the methocel and whip while you are heating

Sean can you give any more examples on how you use this, you would just add a flavouring like carrot juice and methocell and whip while you heat? Can you give more details

use a methocel with a higher gelling temperature at .8 percent or so depending on the liquid.....follow the dispersion/hydration instructions and hold until ready to serve...

when you are ready to serve heat the liquid on the stove and whip with a hand blender with a whisk attachment while you are heating the liquid....as it heats it will stabalize the bubbles and form a very dense foam similar to a meringue

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Is it possible to make something like an italian meringue and then dry it out in the oven to make nice little crunchy bits to garnish? So far I've just experimented with it in the production of ice creams and as an aid in creating foams.

BTW, I'm surprised people are finding CMC to be more expensive than other gums...my research shows that it was created as a cheaper, consistent and more available substitute for natural gums.

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how could you hold the warm (methycell) mousse? like for service(4hrs) will it need to continulally re areated or will it basically hold air at room temp? (i wanna do an amuse tomato water mousse, parm chip, baby basil) i dont care if its hot or room temp... i guess id rather prefer room temp. i got a isi thermo, but i find the foam it creates is rather dense and usually requires cream to make a nice texture. my only attempts @ methyl mousse has been w/ cold product, ima try the hot. if no one answers me, i guess ill figger it out on my own. (ha!) ive also got a organic chem student friens who i can bug... and a girlfreind in foodscience/production.... but these blogs seem sometimes a little more oriented to cooks..... whatevs...

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Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) aka Tylose is commonly used in cake decorating to make gumpaste. <i guess you can't call it gumpaste if it is not made with gum, but the name stands.> It replaces gum karaya or gum tragacanth which make the paste gray. (Also, most gum tragacanth is from Iran and political upheaval means the supply is erratic.) Country Kitchen and most cake-decorating supply places will have it.


Edited by reenicake (log)

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if you cant find it you can hit up dow chemicals for free foodgrade samples, just give them a good line on why you need a sample.... l'epicierie has some for the cheapest ive seen. (its E461) dow chem has like 6 or so all with different properties...... so whos got some good recipies for this stuff??? ive been adding a little to my sabayon @ work for added staying power... for big parties when you got like 60 peeps the gum helps the warm sauce keep its areation....

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I know Sam Mason & egullet's very own Xdrixn use Methylcellulose & Xantham to whip beers, but does anyone know if you have to hydrate the MC first and does acidity affect the stability of the foam?

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I've seen methocel being used to make "clouds" - basically it looked like whipped egg whites.

As for CMC, does it share some properties of methocel?

I've bought some to use in ice creams and I played a little with it. It seems that the gel breaks when it heats and it doesn't incorporate air like methocel solutions :sad:

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