Mar 6 2008

Excuse me while I powder my nose….

As the sun was setting over the mountains last night and I was beginning to settle in, an unsuspecting package arrived via UPS that I’d forgotten was coming so soon.

box

What could be lurking inside such a small corrugated cube other than a miniature arsenal of powdered Hydrocolloids that will allow me to begin the actual experimentation I’m looking for outside the conventional box of supermarket fare. Previously I’ve played around with Gelatin, Pectin, and Xanthan Gum which are pretty much readily available in most places. Now as I’ve broken out of the box I will be playing with Sodium Alginate, Calcium Chloride, Lecithin, and Caregeenan.

powders

First up will be Lecithin:

Leichtin

This substance has mostly been derived from egg yolks in the past but can also be found in plant tissues. Its most common use is in creating and stabilizing emulsions.

Carrageenan – Kappa

Kappa

A derivative of a Red Seaweed found in abundance off the coast of Ireland, Carrageenan is a powerful gelification device. What makes it unique is that you add it in cold and then bring it to a boil for the gel effect to begin.  Unlike like most gelatins, it can be served hot and still holds it form.

Calcium Chloride and Sodium Alginate

CalciumSodium

These two unusual products and very lab rat sounding indeed produce, in tandem, quite a unique effect known as Spherefication.  Sodium Alginate gels in the presence of Calcium and with such a reaction one can drop any liquid that has been thoroughly mixed with Alginate into a Calcium solution and you have spheres of any liquid that comes to mind.  The most well known version of this technique was developed by Ferran Adria when he made his own olive spheres.

In due time, I will have versions of all of these experiments including follies and successes.  In due time……