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Jonathan Kaplan

Using "Gluco" -- calcium gluconate lactate

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I've been messing around w/ "ordinary" spherification ala the "adventures in sodium alginate" thread (http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=86839) (thanks for the suggestions and help, btw!), and am considering ordering some of Ferran's "Gluco" product.

Has anyone played around w/ Gluco or similar chemicals? My big question is: Why hasn't "inverse" spherification completely replaced "ordinary" spherification? The inverse method works for foods w/ and w/o calcium (properly adjusted, etc.), is supposed to be more stable with acids, and the product stop "cooking" when removed from the algin bath (unlike ordinary spherification where the skin gets thicker even after the item's been rinsed). So what are the downsides of the inverse process? Why isn't it the standard process now?

I'm hoping to get some feedback before I commit to the cost / time / energy of trying it myself. :smile:

Jonathan

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I think the answer may be just that it is so new that it simply hasn't caught on yet. For the reasons you stated as well as Ferran Adria's excitement with the product, I expect that we will be seeing this used much more in the very near future. I would be very surprised if it is not featured in this year's elBulli offerings.

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If we're just using CaCl and Alginate then I've found it's quite clear that CaCl has a much more assertive flavor than the alginate. Therefore, it's easier to add the alginate to your s'fer of choice.

As for "newer" chemicals, I know less. Buy some. Tell me how it is. To be perfectly honest, I'm not all that enamored with spherication as a cooking method beyond novelty. Still, you should continue to experiment.

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Bryan, I agree whole-heartedly that other than novelty value, it doesn't do much for me. I'm having some luck using it for desserts, but not as much as I'd like.

But in any event, I think I'll go ahead and order some Gluco and see what does... I'm hoping that John is right and it is just the newness that keeps it being used as the standard... Still, it is weird that all the recipes for Gluco on the Textures website are what I would consider "weird" (spherical mussels? well, OK, I guess...). So I'll fool around with it and report back. 'Course, I'll be ordering it from Europe, so it'll be a while before it gets here, and other people might get to it to before me... :smile:

Best,

jk

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I've been thinking about experimenting with inverse spherification also. What I want to spherize has a milk component, so it seems that inverse is the way to go. Anyway, a call put into the U.S. importer of Adria's "Gluco" revealed that they won't have it until the end of March, as it's a relatively new product. It's also pretty pricey ($35/wholesale!).

From what I gather, it acts as a thickener so larger forms can be gelled, and the calcium compound doesn't have a bad taste.

Does anyone know of a substitute for Gluco?

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you can order it via www.bosfood.de

produkte-) molekular -) Calciumlactat

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I've been thinking about experimenting with inverse spherification also.  What I want to spherize has a milk component, so it seems that inverse is the way to go.  Anyway, a call put into the U.S. importer of Adria's "Gluco" revealed that they won't have it until the end of March, as it's a relatively new product.  It's also pretty pricey ($35/wholesale!).

From what I gather, it acts as a thickener so larger forms can be gelled, and the calcium compound doesn't have a bad taste.

Does anyone know of a substitute for Gluco?

Yeah, the Adria products are a bit on the spendy side. "All for chefs" (www.allforchefs.com) has Gluco in stock for 25 euros, but they just changed their shipping policies so it is now very expensive to have it shipped (before, shipping was only 6 euros / kilo, but took about a month and wasn't trackable. Now they are using UPS, which is more reliable and much faster, but also much more expensive -- more like 20 euros/kilo!). The good news is that I'll have some in hand to play with soon... (And also some "Fizzy" -- because, well, why not?)

I think that Gluco doesn't act as a thickener; many of the recipes for big spheres make heavy use of "Xantana" to thicken... But of course I'm not sure...

I tried to find some other sources for "Gluco" (the "Texturas" website notes that it is a mix of calcium gluconate and calcium lactate) -- but I didn't have a whole lot of luck finding it in food / pharmaceutical grade in reasonably small amounts. And of course, I don't know what the percentage mix is supposed to be anyway, so it would be a bit of a experiment in any event.

Best,

jk

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I've been thinking about experimenting with inverse spherification also.  What I want to spherize has a milk component, so it seems that inverse is the way to go.  Anyway, a call put into the U.S. importer of Adria's "Gluco" revealed that they won't have it until the end of March, as it's a relatively new product.  It's also pretty pricey ($35/wholesale!).

From what I gather, it acts as a thickener so larger forms can be gelled, and the calcium compound doesn't have a bad taste.

Does anyone know of a substitute for Gluco?

calcium lactate is no thickener whatsoever, its a replacement for the very ugly tasting calcium chloride, it simply delivers the calcium ions. you can have some fun with the iota carrageen too, it needs the calcium....

cheers

t.


Edited by schneich (log)

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Yeah, the Adria products are a bit on the spendy side.  "All for chefs" (www.allforchefs.com) has Gluco in stock for 25 euros, but they just changed their shipping policies so it is now very expensive to have it shipped (before, shipping was only 6 euros / kilo, but took about a month and wasn't trackable.  Now they are using UPS, which is more reliable and much faster, but also much more expensive -- more like 20 euros/kilo!).

It's a shame the shipping at All For Chefs has gone through the roof - I'd found them to be really helpful in the past, although a little hard to contact.

Guess it's a bit late, but you can also buy Gluco (and the rest of the Texturas range) at Buffet & Ambigu. They've got it for 19.50 euros, with shipping at a more reasonable 10.50 (to the UK, at least - though the international prices don't appear to be much higher).

Only placed the order a couple of days ago, so can't comment on the quality of service yet. Or just how much easier, alcohol-friendly and flavour neutral Gluco makes the whole reverse sfer process...

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I've been thinking about experimenting with inverse spherification also.  What I want to spherize has a milk component, so it seems that inverse is the way to go.  Anyway, a call put into the U.S. importer of Adria's "Gluco" revealed that they won't have it until the end of March, as it's a relatively new product.  It's also pretty pricey ($35/wholesale!).

From what I gather, it acts as a thickener so larger forms can be gelled, and the calcium compound doesn't have a bad taste.

Does anyone know of a substitute for Gluco?

Yeah, the Adria products are a bit on the spendy side. "All for chefs" (www.allforchefs.com) has Gluco in stock for 25 euros, but they just changed their shipping policies so it is now very expensive to have it shipped (before, shipping was only 6 euros / kilo, but took about a month and wasn't trackable. Now they are using UPS, which is more reliable and much faster, but also much more expensive -- more like 20 euros/kilo!). The good news is that I'll have some in hand to play with soon... (And also some "Fizzy" -- because, well, why not?)

I think that Gluco doesn't act as a thickener; many of the recipes for big spheres make heavy use of "Xantana" to thicken... But of course I'm not sure...

I tried to find some other sources for "Gluco" (the "Texturas" website notes that it is a mix of calcium gluconate and calcium lactate) -- but I didn't have a whole lot of luck finding it in food / pharmaceutical grade in reasonably small amounts. And of course, I don't know what the percentage mix is supposed to be anyway, so it would be a bit of a experiment in any event.

Best,

jk

So have you gotten around to playing with gluco yet ... I'm curious to see how everything turned out.

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Gluco: First tests

I don't have my camera here, so I'm not including pictures, but yes, I have played around a bit.

First notes: The long 'cooking' times given in the Adria website for the gluco products are too long for most things. They result in a much too thick and firm shell.

Shorter times result in a shell closer in texture to the 'ordinary' alginate/ calcic shell.

The product does retain more of a pure liquid texture within the shell -- and maintains that texture for a long time after rinsing (for as long as I've kept them -- about 10 hours). The texture of the shell doesn't seem to change after rinsing, either.

The bad news is that the gluco shells will stick to each other in the alginate solution. Once they are rinsed, they no longer stick, but until then, it is a problem. So 'caviar' are hard to do -- you need to scoop them up quickly and get them rinsed fast, or deal with them individually (which is, in practice, too much trouble!).

So, I've so far played with pear puree, vanilla simple syrup, chocolate syrup (85% chocolate melted into about equal parts water w/ a bit of sugar added), cream flavored with walnuts, and a butternut squash puree based soup. All worked well, and in general, I preferred smaller to larger sizes.

I *think* I prefer the Gluco / alginate method to the alginate / calcic method; the texture seems somewhat better, and the fact that you can hold them for longer is good. Acid seems to be less of a problem, too, though I haven't pushed that as far as I'd like.

I'll keep you posted ;)

jk

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Thanks for the quick feedback ... Keep us posted with ingredient ratios if you wish as you try out new things.

I hope to continue some experimenting when I return home this summer from school.

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Definitely. Would love to get some more info on your experiments if you have the chance.

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Gluco: First tests

The bad news is that the gluco shells will stick to each other in the alginate solution.  Once they are rinsed, they no longer stick, but until then, it is a problem.  So 'caviar' are hard to do -- you need to scoop them up quickly and get them rinsed fast, or deal with them individually (which is, in practice, too much trouble!).

jk

Interesting. I've only had a brief chance to play with the gluco so far - trying a few extremes like balsamic and alcohol caviars and spheres - but didn't have any sticking problems. Wonder if it varies depending on base ingredient or amount of xanthan used. Maybe I was just lucky.

This method does seem better than the alginate/calcic one so far. It's handy to be able to quickly thin out or thicken up the mixture as necessary, rather than relying on the more awkward algin to get the right consistency for workable spheres. Plus there's no worry about calcic aftertaste.

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Re: balsamic, etc. Cool! I'll look forward to trying that.

My guess is that it is the base ingredient that matters -- the "pear" spheres I did (which have a pH of around 3.5 or so) didn't stick much, but the vanilla simple-syrup spheres stuck like mad. I didn't use any xanthan to thicken, so I don't know what effect it would have.

As for proportions, I've found it to be a less finicky set up than the 'standard' spheres. I use 25g/liter of the gluco, and 5g/l for the algin bath. When I played with high calcium mixes (cream and milk) I backed off a bit on the gluco, but not in any systematic way.

Best,

jk

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Based on Digijam's suggestion, I made some balsamic vinegar 'caviar' sized spheres for a dinner party -- served them with a blue-cheese in a pear-chip "cup" (about 5 small spheres on the blue cheese, in the pear-chip cup). About 2/3 balsamic (*not* "tradizionale”, but just the "Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve" -- cheap, but I think pretty good), 1/3 simple syrup, gluco to 25g/l, standard algin bath of 5g/l.

Worked great -- perfect taste, and the 'explosion' of balsamic after the crisp pear and smooth Gorgonzola was perfect. Many of mine still stuck together (d'oh!) but it wasn't a big deal as enough didn't that it wasn't a huge problem.

I also served a 'deconstruction' of the walnut and pear soup from the French Laundry cookbook, making "ravioli" out of sweetened pear puree, and serving them in a chinese soup spoon with warm lightly whipped walnut cream. I rather enjoyed it, but it was not as universally loved as the cheese & balsamic, alas. Some of our guests really loved it, some really didn't like it at all. Some rather rude things were said about it. :wink:

Ah, well.

Thanks for all the great suggestions and ideas! I was having my doubts about this technique, but I've now found at least one thing that works great with it and not so well at all without it.

jk

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Based on Digijam's suggestion, I made some balsamic vinegar 'caviar' sized spheres for a dinner party -- served them with a blue-cheese in a pear-chip "cup" (about 5 small spheres on the blue cheese, in the pear-chip cup).  About 2/3 balsamic (*not* "tradizionale”, but just the "Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve" -- cheap, but I think pretty good), 1/3 simple syrup, gluco to 25g/l, standard algin bath of 5g/l.

Worked great -- perfect taste, and the 'explosion' of balsamic after the crisp pear and smooth Gorgonzola was perfect.  Many of mine still stuck together (d'oh!) but it wasn't a big deal as enough didn't that it wasn't a huge problem.

I wonder if the problem might be the amount of sugar syrup. If you can't bag any xanthan it might be worth trying another thickener.

I also served a 'deconstruction' of the walnut and pear soup from the French Laundry cookbook, making "ravioli" out of sweetened pear puree, and serving them in a chinese soup spoon with warm lightly whipped walnut cream.  I rather enjoyed it, but it was not as universally loved as the cheese & balsamic, alas.  Some of our guests really loved it, some really didn't like it at all.  Some rather rude things were said about it.  :wink:

Ah, well.

I'm sure Ferran used to have the same problem (and sometimes still does) :wink:. I have found guests tend to be more willing to try the softer textures - foams, spheres etc - when they're supporting something more solid, even crunchy. Gives then a safe point of reference.

Thanks for all the great suggestions and ideas!  I was having my doubts about this technique, but I've now found at least one thing that works great with it and not so well at all without it.

jk

Haven't had a chance to test the strength of Gluco spheres yet, but if they stable and heat tolerant I reckon their best role will be when hidden within other textures. Spheres enrobed in chcolate, and caviars rolled into ganaches or even cakes. Kind of a special surprise supporting role, rather than the main event - like pop rocks in reverse.

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Hi everyone, I'm relaitvely new to this MG lark so please forgive any seemingly idiotic comments.

Recently received the Spherification kit from Texturas and I've been having a few issues with the reverse sph. method. The algin bath appears to be very thick indeed, even when using less algin than the instruction/recipe book suggested. I tried making some espresso spheres (strong espresso mixed with gluco and a little xantana) and the liquid just spread over the surface.

I then tried injecting the liquid under the surface of the algin bath which worked a little better but when the time came to lift them out, the algin bath stuck to the spheres and prevented them from coming free from the gloop.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

a

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Hi everyone, I'm relaitvely new to this MG lark so please forgive any seemingly idiotic comments.

Recently received the Spherification kit from Texturas and I've been having a few issues with the reverse sph. method. The algin bath appears to be very thick indeed, even when using less algin than the instruction/recipe book suggested. I tried making some espresso spheres (strong espresso mixed with gluco and a little xantana) and the liquid just spread over the surface.

I then tried injecting the liquid under the surface of the algin bath which worked a little better but when the time came to lift them out, the algin bath stuck to the spheres and prevented them from coming free from the gloop.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

a

A problem with too much calcium in your water supply, maybe? Try using bottled water and see if it gives a thinner algin bath.

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the water at my house has alot of calcium in it and i have had the same problem. But using bottled water did help.

On another note - the book that comes with the mini spherification set kit (my version at least) says the bath should rest for two hours.

I read here and on the texturas website that it should rest for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator, to get rid of all the air.

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the water at my house has alot of calcium in it and i have had the same problem. But using bottled water did help.

On another note - the book that comes with the mini spherification set kit (my version at least) says the bath should rest for two hours.

I read here and on the texturas website that it should rest for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator, to get rid of all the air.

If you have some air in the mix it isn't in my experience a disaster, but it does sometimes make the spheres less pretty. You can also use a vacuum to de-air the mix a bit faster...

jk

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Thanks guys. We do live in an extremely hard water area and I didn't even think about how the chemical content of the water would affect the algin bath but it makes perfect sense. I'll try it with bottled or softened water to see what happens.

And leaving the bath overnight really helps too.

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Alex Talbot's blog has been showcasing some of their recent brainstorming with gluconate, ca2+ sequestrants and pectin. It is used in Thomas Keller's book Under Pressure but they have been tinkering with the concept a bit.

It's very interesting - I am thinking of sourcing some of this material to try myself. The alginate work has it's time/taste limitations and I have been reluctant to dive in.

http://www.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/2...apsulation.html

Evan

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