Fierce Spherification

Week 4 - Lab 1- Gelation and Spherification
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Apple Caviar, Cider Gel, Tofu Noodles

Objectives
• To demonstrate gelation using plant based gelling agents (agar)
• To demonstrate spherification and reverse spherification techniques utilizing sodium alginate and a calcium salt
• To demonstrate the production of hot gels using methylcellulose

A. Cider Gel (adapted from Alinea by Grant Achatz)

Equipment


Small Disposable Cups (Dixie Cups)
Non-stick Cooking Spray
Plastic Wrap
Digital Balance
Knife
Cutting Board
Small Saucepan
Blender
Fine Mesh Strainer
Medium Mixing Bowl
1 oz Ladle
Refrigerator

Ingredients

250g Granny Smith apples
250g Apple Cider
5g Kosher Salt
7g Agar Agar

Procedure
1. Lightly spray interior surfaces of Dixie cups with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Line each cup with plastic wrap, trying to eliminate any wrinkles. Set aside.
3. Peel and core apples. Cut into pieces approximately 2”.
4. Place apples, cider, salt, and agar in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until apples are soft.
5. When apples are soft, pour contents of saucepan into blender. Blend until smooth. BEWARE WHEN BLENDING HOT OBJECTS. THEY HAVE TENDENCY TO SPLATTER AND CAUSE BURNS. INITIALLY PULSE THE BLENDER TO RELEASE STEAM BEFORE LEAVING IT ON CONTINUOUS BLEND.
6. When puree is smooth, strain through fine mesh strainer into medium mixing bowl.
7. Fill 1 oz ladle half full and pour into prepared Dixie cups.
8. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
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B. Apple Caviar (adapted from Modernist Cuisine by Myhrvold, et al.)
Equipment


Digital Balance
Blender
Whisk
Fine Mesh Strainer
Slotted Spoon or Fine Mesh Sauce Skimmer
Squeeze Bottle
Small Mixing Bowls (4) or Plastic Quart Containers


Ingredients

250g Apple Juice
2g Sodium Alginate
500g Water
2.5g Calcium Chloride
AN Additional Water, for rinsing spheres

Procedure

1. Combine sodium alginate with 50g of apple juice in blender. Blend to incorporate.
2. Pour alginate juice mixture into mixing bowl. Add remaining apple juice. Stir to combine thoroughly.
3. Pour apple juice alginate mixture into squeeze bottle.
4. Blend calcium chloride with 500g water until completely dissolved. Pour into separate mixing bowl.
5. Fill two additional mixing bowls 2/3 full with cold water.
6. Drip alginate/apple juice mixture into calcium chloride bath, drop by drop.
7. After 1 minute, use slotted spoon or skimmer to remove spheres and place in first rinse bath.
8. Remove from first rinse bath and place in second rinse bath.
9. Remove from second rinse bath; gently shake to remove any excess water.
10. Store in lidded container until ready to use.
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C. Tofu Noodles (adapted from Modernist Cuisine by Myhrvold, et al.)

Equipment


Digital Balance
Small Saucepot
Immersion Blender
Refrigerator
Squeeze Bottle
Large Saucepot
Slotted Spoon or Sauce Skimmer
Plate or Soup Bowl


Ingredients

150g Water
7.5g Methylcellulose
340g Firm Tofu, diced
AN Salt
AN Sesame Oil
AN Additional Water for cooking noodles

Procedure
1. Fill large saucepot 2/3 full with water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat until water is steaming but not bubbling and reserve.
2. In small saucepot, combine 150g water and methylcellulose. Stir to disperse.
3. Place pot on stove and bring to boil over medium heat.
4. Add diced tofu. Blend with immersion blender until smooth.
5. Season puree with salt and sesame oil.
6. Remove from heat and cool to 500C.
7. Place in suitable container and refrigerate to hydrate, at least 6 hours.
8. After proper hydration, transfer to squeeze bottle.
9. To make noodles, squeeze hydrated tofu puree into hot water. Allow to set briefly and remove with skimmer.
10. Place noodles in separate bowl, set aside or refrigerate.
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References

Achatz, Grant. 2008. Alinea. Ten Speed Press: Berkley, CA

Myhrvold, Nathan, Young, Chris, Maxime Bilet. 2011. Modernist Cuisine. The Cooking Lab: Bellevue, WA.
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Science of Cider Gel

This recipe was adopted from Alinea by Grant Achatz (1974-). Restaurant Alinea (2005-) was awarded the Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet Magazine in 2006 and subsequently was awarded three stars by Michelin Guide-Chicago. Grant Achatz is identified as the molecular gastronomist who is able to make creative pairing of smells and flavors. In an interview by NPR (March 03, 2011) he commented that “a lot of smells that aren't necessarily edible smell good, and they remind you of certain aspects of food. So making those associations with what smells good or smells a certain way and pairing that with actual edible ingredients is one avenue that we take creatively." At Alinea, cider gel is served with pheasant, shallot on smoking oak branch skewers. An interview shows how it is made and presented. It is one course of a 20-course meal.

Both ingredients, granny smith and agar, could be considered to be examples of rejected cornerstones. The first paragraph in the “Granny Smith Apple-the story of its origin” reads that “Of locally-grown apples, none is more esteemed than Granny Smith—attractive both in appearance and flavor, unexcelled as a keeper” (Sunday Times, Perth, WA, Australia, Sunday 2 November 1924). The article describes the second-hand account of the apple’s humble origin. The apple is named after Maria Ann “Granny” Smith (1799-1870) who cultivated the cultivar. It is a hybrid between rotted Tasmanian apples that Ms. Smith discarded in the creek and apples she was growing in her orchard.

Minoya Tarozaemon discarded a gel dish (tokoroten) in Kyoto, Japan in the late 1650s or early 1660s. It froze during the night, and thawed during the day. The cyclic freezing and thawing desiccated the gel. Minoya made the gel dish (tokoroten) using the freeze-dried material and noticed that the dish was more agreeable and carry less seaweed flavor. Minoya marketed the dried goods as kanten (meaning “frozen tokoroten”). This episode frequently retold is likely to be a folktale and not factual (Nomura, 1951, 寒天の歴史地理学研究, p16). Agar is used to make a popular Japanese dessert called anmitsu.

A consideration for choosing agar was that agar is suitable for vegetarians since it is derived from red-purple marine algae unlike gelatin. It is typically hydrated in boiling liquids and is stable across a wide range of acidity levels. The pH of apple juice is 3.35-4. It begins to gel once it cools to around 100ºF / 40ºC. Agar gel forms reversible gel. It melt at 185ºF / 85ºC.

Typically agar is used at 0.2% of the total weight to thicken, 0.5% for a firm jelly. Interestingly the recipe results in not very firm gels at 14%.
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  • 2017⁄06⁄08(木)
  • 07:18

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