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 a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
ATram

Methocel

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, in last few months i have seen a few recipes with this ingredient i have no idea of: methocel. As they were recipes i wasn't going to recreate i didnt care much of what was it but for some reason im now very curious about it.

I did a little bit of research on the net and found a lot of info but most of it was chemistry or farmaceutically oriented, and not much info about culinary uses of it, including egullet.

Anyone could describe and give some information of these cellulose ethers in a foodish way?

Thanks a lot!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is short for methylcellulose.

It is used as a thickening agent in the new gastronomy. I'm sure Bryan Z can give you more details.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good thread to start with but it only starts to get into some of more interesting applications. I confess that I've never worked with the stuff, but hopefully that's about to change.

I highly suggest (as usual) www.ideasinfood.com for some more novel applications. Among them include "sheets" of sauce, and hot ice cream that was mentioned in the above thread. I'm actually in the process of trying to procure some right now but the people at Dow Chemical food science are not being particularly responsive.

The strangest thing that I've found is the wide variety of formulations offered by the likes of Dow. In contrast, I'm not sure about the properties of the stuff that's available from willpowder. Once I get some free time I'll look into it more. Methocel is going to be my next toy so hopefully someting good will come out of all this in the next few weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the link johnder, i guess it didnt cross my mind to search for the full name of it.

Bryan, ideasinfood was the trigger of my curiosity about methocel and the first thing i did was looking in at Dow Chemical web site for my local distributor. The call to them only confused me more, as they told me they had 20 different types of methylcellulose, which are named with letters and numbers, and the girl behind the phone knew even less than me about this product.

I guess i'll try to get the methocel used by A. Talbot and give it a try.


Edited by ATram (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, this is what a friend, who studies chemistry, could get me from his job:

P9200011-thumb.jpg

(click for a larger photo)

They are labled as:

- Metolose SM-15 (methylcellulose usp)

- Pharmacoat 615 (hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose)

- Metolose 90SH-15000 (hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose)

He also gave me some documentation that specifies everything about the compounds.

The not so good news is that it has a list of applicable types (as i said before there are more than 20 different types of methylcellulose than can be prepared depending on the number of hydroxyl groups) for different fields and the ones I have are applicable for things like Fire-resistant coating, Paint, Self-leveling materials, Sand ant Tile cement mortar, Thermal paper, Printing paste, Agricultural chemicals, etc.....

But im going to experiment with them anyway, as they are innocuous and i got them for free.

I'll post any results i get.

Edit: I did a quick scan of the docs for the ones that want to give it a read, it has some good information. Download the pdf from <a href="http://s90525316.onlinehome.us/temporal/Metolose doc.pdf">here</a>


Edited by ATram (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Methylcell is completely indigestible, much like fiber. In fact it used to be added to fiber supplements, but was taken out by the FDA because if eaten in a pure, non-hydrated state, then there was a slight risk of stomach blockage, but as are as I know, no cases were ever reported in conjunction to this.

The trick to using it is hydration. If you try to mix it cold you'll get little globs of gel with powder in the center. If you mix it into boiling water, the gel will set and make it a pain in the ass to mix.....so what do you do?

Take the powder and put into some vessel, and pour a quantity of boiling water over the powder, stirring vigorously to disperse the particles. As soon as the powder is dispersed, and not a second later, shock the slurry in an ice-water bath, then hold at about 4degrees centigrade until you want to heat it.

I've played with it as an ice cream additive and as a replacer for eggs and gluten, with decent results, making a decent hot meringue. I would say you should get a sub gram scale, because it can be a little touchy, although not quite as sensitive as the proportions used in something like sphereification (I haven't acquired one yet and haven't had a total disaster, yet)

I get mine from chefrubber.com, about 3.00$ for 100 grams, although I am not sure which form of CMC it is, it works well enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, this is what a friend, who studies chemistry, could get me from his job:

Is there an issue of whether it is "Food Grade" or not ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked him about if they were food grade or not and he said he thinks that yes...

thanks for the tips s_sevilla, the first thing i tried to do was trying to dissolve it in water in many different ways, with some of the results you describe. I'll try your way of hydratation and see what happens.

So far i tried with a disolution of 1-3% wt and didnt get a gel. I'll try with more concentrated solutions later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I asked him about if they were food grade or not and he said he thinks that yes...

Not to be Alarmist ATram but do confirm that.

Unless you pal is a food chemist/researcher, it probably isnt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the good people at terra spice sell 3 different types of dow methocels

they carry the sga150,the E15 and the F50

the website is www.terraspicecompany.com

I would be happy to answer any questions about methocel.

cheers

sean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of those available at Terra Spice, which are best for novel applications?

I believe that SGA150 is used in hot ice cream, but what about the A15C that ideasinfood frequently refers to?

I promise I'll start contributing some real information to this thread once I get some free time to start calling people, but for now I'm pretty much ignorant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vadouvan, as your concern about the food grade of the products i have been digging a little bit and found out that the USP that says in one of the methocel (Metolose SM-15, as stated some posts above) stands for US Pharmacopeia and means that it is "Food Grade". The other two doesnt state that so i guess they are more something like agricultural/industrial grade, so i wont do eating experiments with them.

I think that the SM-15 i have is the same or very similar to the A15C by Methocel used in ideasinfood as the number in the names indicate the viscocity grade of the compound which is one of the main caracteristics.

If anyone have any experiment they would like to suggest for me to try and document dont hesitate in saying it, i would be excited to test-

By the way, if anyone is intrested Biddle Sawyer is the sales representatives of the methyl cellulose im using, looks like you can order online or visit them in their new york store.


Edited by ATram (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try something "simple" like the mozzarella sheets at ideasinfood. It's all laid out there (more or less) and I don't think the process has ever been documented step-by-step here on eG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is weird, Frankenfood. Why torture natural products in this way? I'm totally put off by this laboratory manipulation of food stuffs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

here is a quick breakdown for dow's methocels

the are catagorized by types....

There are five types of dow methocels

Type SGA

Type A

Type E

Type F

Type K

Each type has a different gelling temperature.

Each type has a different grade with various viscosities.

The SGA METHOCEL gels between 38-44 degrees C

The A METHOCEL gels between 50-55 degrees C

The E METHOCEL gels between 58-63 degrees C

The F METHOCEL gels between 62-68 degrees C

The K METHOCEL gels between 70-90 degrees C

The amount of heat that will be applied to the final product will determine the type of methocel that you want to use.....

For instance if you are doing a "noodle" that is going to be added to hot water, you will need to use the SGA150, it gels really fast....If you are "whipping" something that needs to be heated for a longer period of time on the stove you would want to use an E or an F.....

hope this helps and spawns more questions and experimentations

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just realized I'm using Carboxylmethylcellulose, and not hydroxymethylcellulose.

Any experience with the difference between these two forms of Methylcel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just realized I'm using Carboxylmethylcellulose, and not hydroxymethylcellulose.

Any experience with the difference between these two forms of Methylcel?

My son who's an honours chemistry graduate tells me:

They will have the identical basic structure, but one will have a hydroxyl

group attached (-OH) and the other will have a carboxymethyl (-CH2-COOH)

group in that place instead.

Both are a derivative of cellulose - a long chain carbohydrate polymer,

and both will have different groups attached to the base (repeating) polymer

unit.

Basically

hydroxymethylcellulose = cellulose + methyl group + hydroxyl group

carboxymethylcellulose = cellulose + carboxymethyl group

These differences basically will slightly alter how the polymer behaves

(viscosity etc), but he imagines they would be quite similar.

He's suggested checking out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose

http://sci-toys.com/ingredients/methylcellulose.html

Hope that sheds a little light :rolleyes: It's a while since I studied chemistry :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the info on the structure, but I was hoping someone would have some experiece with the physical properties of the two. As far as I know, there is only one for of CMC available, while the hydroxymethylcellulose has many different commercial forms based on the number of hydroxyl ions used to substiture for the methyl groups on the cellulose chain.

are the gelling and set temperatures comparable between the two? and is the stability of the gel the same?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the mods want to link this thread and the "Methylcellulose" thread. I just thought I'd post here since it's newer. Both threads have some good information.

Anyway, I received some Dow Methocel today in a few different formulations. The advantage of the the Dow products is that each formulation has a distinct gelling temperature and thickening power.

gallery_28496_3717_31376.jpg

gallery_28496_3717_511831.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This stuff is really interesting. My first formal experiment wasn't exactly an overwhelming success, but I've heard of people who have failed miserably at putting this stuff together.

My first experiment was the hot "ice cream" posted at Ideas in Food.

One of the big things they say is to avoid aeration. I think this was my problem, since little air bubbles during the blending process got trapped in the gel and kept the ice cream from being as dense.

I also feel like it doesn't quite melt as much as it softens. You know how ice cream has a solid core and the outside melts into puddles as it warms. This is more like a gel at the center and the outside softens and becomes creamier. The two are subtle differences in explanation but are quite different when one is actually eating and working with the hot ice cream.

Although the recipe says the scoops are supposed to become quite firm I didn't observe this. This could be because I incorporated too much air.

In one of their notebooks they make the following comment: "Think about adding carrageenan and gelatin to the hot ice cream recipe."

This makes sense as it might make for easier scooping and formation of the weak gel pre-poaching. By using SGA150, I think they're trying to get maximum gelation upon heating without adding to much viscosity to the "post-poaching cooled" base. By adding gelatin you could create a stronger "pre-poaching cool" gel base. Upon heating the gelatin would be denatured, giving you a lower viscosity "post-poaching cooled" base, more analagous in mouth feel to ice cream.

Of course, the above is pure speculation and likely incorrect. I'm waiting for you s_sevilla to give me some scientific explanation that I can google to try to understand.

A picture of the dessert. As you can tell I'm having trouble with the shape because I lack a hemispherical ice cream scoop. I tried to quenelle as best I could but the pre-poaching gel is too weak to hold much shape without support. For those familiar with spherication, this is like to trying to make a nice s'pher with a table spoon.

gallery_28496_3717_558289.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the mods want to link this thread and the "Methylcellulose" thread.  I just thought I'd post here since it's newer.  Both threads have some good information.

Anyway, I received some Dow Methocel today in a few different formulations.  The advantage of the the Dow products is that each formulation has a distinct gelling temperature and thickening power.

gallery_28496_3717_31376.jpg

gallery_28496_3717_511831.jpg

Where did you buy the Dow Methocel? Robyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Samples from Dow. Just be convincing. If you're in anyway associated with the "industry" just be persistent. Took me a couple emails and calls, but I got the stuff without any undue stress.

It also helps if you vaguely know what you're talking about. PM me if you want more info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By lindaj1
      Is there any recipe from the modernist universe or any other galaxy to make ketogenic (low carb) puff pastry and strudel type doughs?  Unusual ingredients OK.  There must be a way...
    • By haresfur
      I got to thinking after the disgusting job of separating globs of fat from sous vide short ribs and debating never doing them that way again. If the fat renders out in a braise, but not in the sous vide, what temperature would you need to turn the fat liquid to get rid of it? Is it below well-done or do you really have to cook the shit out of it? Is it just temperature or a time&temperature thing?
       
      Along those lines, what happens with marbled, tender cuts? where is the sweet spot between solid fat and something more palatable?
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      By John Sconzo

      The Daily Gullet is proud to present this, the first in a multi-part, front-row report on the recent "Spain and the World Table" conference. Watch for subsequent installments in this topic.

      In his introduction of Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller -- perhaps the most celebrated American chef ever -- described four elements that go into making a great chef. The chef must be aware. Once aware of one’s culinary and other surroundings that chef can then be inspired, which leads to the ability to interpret those surroundings. But a great chef does not stop there. Instead, the great chef continues to evolve. Ferran Adria, perhaps more than any other chef who has ever lived, is the embodiment of those four elements.

      The moment that Ferran Adria strode towards Thomas Keller on the stage at the CIA/Greystone’s World of Flavors’ “Spain and the World Table” Conference was electric -- as if a giant Van de Graf generator had been turned on. The feeling didn’t subside when Adria took the stage from Keller; it only became more pronounced as the packed crowd rose to its feet, raining applause, admiration and love on the Spanish master. Adria accepted the response with aplomb, and gave it right back to the audience -- and to his fellow Spanish cocineros, who were standing off to the side. He brought each one up to join him on the stage for a rousing thank-you to the conference organizers, sponsors and participants. Once this emotional release subsided, Adria got down to what everyone had been waiting for -- his discussion and demonstration.

      Ferran Adria, with eyes sparkling like the finest cava, began speaking Spanish in a voice as gravelly as the beaches of the Costa Brava, while Conference Chairman Jose Andres translated. The crowd, hushed and straining for every word, moved forward in their seats as Adria explained El Bulli and himself, with a lesson in recent culinary history thrown in. Ferran explained that El Bulli is not a business. While offshoots of El Bulli are operated on a for-profit basis, the restaurant runs without profit as a primary motivation. For example, he said, the greatest difficulty they have is distributing reservations. Given the extraordinary demand and the severely limited supply, he explained that they could simply raise the price of a meal to the point where the supply and demand met. Indeed, the price of a meal at El Bulli is in itself quite reasonable given the stature of the restaurant and well within means of most motivated diners should they be able to get there, and this is how Adria prefers it. He stated that he was not interested in cooking solely for those with the most money. He prefers to work for people with a true interest in exploring the limits of cooking with him. To this end he showed a short film depicting “A Day in the Life . . .” of El Bulli set to the Beatles’ song of the same name. The film showed a couple’s response to the experience.

      Ferran’s voyage into creativity began with a visit to Jacques Maxima at Le Chanticleer Restaurant in Nice, France. He learned from Maxima that to be creative is not to copy. This idea changed his entire approach to cooking -- from making classic cuisine to making his own. Aware of elaborate books of French cuisine, Adria resolved to catalogue his work, the results of which are the richly detailed El Bulli books, published by period. These books, as wonderful as they are, are huge and extremely expensive. During his presentation, Adria announced -- and demonstrated -- that the individual dishes photographed and described in a chronology within each book are all now available online at elbulli.com.

      He finished the philosophical discussion by talking about the general style of haute cuisine that he and others are engaged in. While others have coined the term “molecular gastronomy” to highlight the scientific component of the creativity involved, Adria rejected it, saying that all cooking is molecular: most of his techniques are in fact rather simple and don’t employ radical new technology. Most of the technology that they do use has been around for some time; they have simply adapted it to their own purposes. Nevertheless, he applauds contributions to gastronomy from Harold McGee and other food scientists, and welcomes their collaboration in the kitchen. He has yet to find a term that describes the movement: as of now, he feels that there really is no good name for this style of cooking.

      More than any other single thing, Ferran Adria is known for the use of “foams” in cooking. While he is proud of his achievements with foams, he stressed that while appropriate in some circumstances, the real utility of foams is limited. He bemoans their ubiquity -- and wishes to not be blamed for others’ poor deployment of the concept. In the course of describing this and other techniques, Adria made a point of stating that using them should not be inferred as copying. Techniques and concepts are to be used and shared. He invited everyone to learn and harness whatever they found interesting, and to employ it in to their own pursuits.

      Another set of techniques discussed and demonstrated by the master and his assistant, Rafa Morales from Hacienda Benazuza, included three types of spherification. These included the use of calcium chloride (CaCl) and sodium alginate as well as the converse, and exploration of a new agent, gluconodeltalactone. The original combinations of alginate into CaCl for “caviar” production, and CaCl into alginate for larger “spheres” have chemistry-related limits as to what can be sphericized. In private correspondence, Harold McGee explained to me that Adria described encapsulating a mussel in its own juice. While this would make the dish technically an aspic, unlike conventional aspics it remains a liquid. Adria said that though gluconodeltalactone is very new, and they are just beginning to get a handle on it, he is very excited by it. He also demonstrated a machine for spherification on a larger scale than they had originally been able to do, as well as liquid nitrogen and freeze-drying (lyophilization) techniques. At the conclusion of his demonstration -- and thus the Conference -- the audience once again awarded him a standing ovation.

      While Adria’s appearance was the culmination of the conference, the energy it produced was not just because of his stature in the world of gastronomy -- it was also due to the excitement generated by the conference that preceded it. If there had previously been any doubt, Thomas Keller’s welcome of Adria was a clarion: Spanish cuisine has landed on North American shores and is finding a niche in the North American psyche. Spanish cuisine -- in its multifaceted, delicious entirety -- lives here, too.

      + + + + +

      John M. Sconzo, M.D., aka docsconz, is an anesthesiologist practicing in upstate New York. He grew up in Brooklyn in an Italian-American home, in which food was an important component of family life. It still is. His passions include good food, wine and travel. John's gastronomic interests in upstate northeastern New York involve finding top-notch local producers of ingredients and those who use them well. A dedicated amateur, John has no plans to ditch his current career for one in the food industry. Host, New York.
    • By docsconz
      About Jose Andres
       
      Throughout his career, Jose’s vision and imaginative creations have drawn the praise of the public, the press and his peers. José has received awards and recognition from Food Arts, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, and Wine Advocate. In addition, José has been featured in leading food magazines such as Gourmet as well as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Morning America, Fox Sunday Morning News with Chris Wallace, the Food Network, and USA Today.
       
      Widely acknowledged as the premiere Spanish chef cooking in America, José is a developer and Conference Chairman for the upcoming Worlds of Flavor Conference on Spain and the World Table at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, November 2 – 5, 2006.
       
      In 1993, Jose moved to Washington, DC, to head the kitchen at Jaleo. From there, Jose took on executive chef responsibilities at neighboring Café Atlantico and later Zaytinya. In July of 2003, Jose embarked on his most adventurous project to date with the opening of the minibar by jose andres at Cafe Atlantico. A six-seat restaurant within a restaurant, minibar by jose andres continues to attract international attention with its innovative tasting menu. In the fall of 2004, Jose opened a third Jaleo and Oyamel, an authentic Mexican small plates restaurant and launched the THINKfoodTANK, an institution devoted to the research and development of ideas about food, all with a view toward their practical applications in the kitchen.
       
      Every week, millions of Spaniards invite Jose into their home where he is the host and producer of “Vamos a cocinar”, a food program on Television Española (TVE), Spanish national television. The program airs in the United States and Latin America on TVE Internacional.
       
      Jose released his first cookbook this year, first published in English, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America (published in the United States by Clarkson Potter) and shortly after in Spanish, Los fogones de José Andrés (published by Planeta). The book is an homage to Spanish cooking and to tapas, one of Spain's gifts to the world of good cooking.
       
      Jose Andres is passionate, intelligent, dedicated, witty and a fan of FC Barcelona.
       
      Jose has been a member of the eGullet Society since 2004.
       
      More on Jose Andres in the eG Forums:
      Cooking with "Tapas" by Jose Andres
      Vamos a Cocinar - cooking show with Jose Andres
      Jaleo
      José Andrés' Minibar
      Zaytinya
      Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Crystal City
      Cafe Atlantico
       
      Jose Andres recipes from Tapas in RecipeGullet:
      Potatoes Rioja-Style with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)
      Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew
      Squid with Caramelized Onions
    • By gibbs
      With Modernist Cuisine I waited a couple of years and ended up with a copy from the 6th printing run the advantage of this was that all errors picked up in the erratta had been corrected in the print copy.  I am looking to get modernist bread soon and wondered if someone had purchased it recently to check or if someone knew of hand if they have printed any additional corrected runs 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×