After many years of thinking about it off and on, I finally decided to delve in to the world of Molecular Gastronomy. For those who don’t know, molecular gastronomy is the break down and rebuilding of foods on a molecular level. It’s sort of where chemistry and culinary arts overlap, and with my background in food, this seemed like the next logical step. To start out I bought the right chemicals and equipment; a crude beginners kit with some added tools. The kit included measuring spoons, pipettes, plastic tubing, a slotted spoon, and a few simple chemicals such as Agar-Agar, Sodium Alginate, Calcium Lactate, Soy Lecithin, and Xanthan Gum.
To aid me in my learning process I also picked up a few important pieces of equipment such as a juice extractor, a precise digital scale, digital thermometer with detachable probe, and an immersion blender. Here, I will document my first, and future experiments.
First, I picked a fruit. I had a bag of granny smith apples that were wasting away, so I decided to sacrifice them in my quest to learn. That being said, I made a Progression of Apple that included Apple Spaghetti, Apple Caviar, and a sweet apple foam.
I extracted 8 ounces of juice from the apples and mixed it with 1.8 grams of sodium alginate using my immersion blender. Since apple juice tends to oxidize and turn brown, and the usual method of citric acid will react poorly with the alginate, I immediately heated the mixture to 96 degrees Celsius, and let cool. While cooling, I mixed 4 cups of water with 2 grams of Calcium Lactate and let sit for ten minutes. Once the apple and Alginate mixture was cool, I squeezed it in to an eye dropper and slowly let each drop individually fall in to the calcium bath where it sat for 3-5 minutes; stirring occasionally. When finished dropping, I strained the, now apple spheres, in to a sieve and rinsed with cool water. It is now ready for consumption, and should look like little balls
Next time I will add food coloring and see if I can alter the appearance. All in all though, they turned out pretty good..
To make the spaghetti, I first extracted 8 ounces of juice from the apples, placed it in a small pot, and added 1/3 cup of water and 2 grams of Agar-Agar. Stirring constantly, I brought the mixture up to a boil and immediately removed it from the heat as to not burn the bottom. I let this mixture cool to a safe handling temperature before piping it in to the syringe, and filling my plastic tubing. To allow it to set, I placed each tube in an ice water bath for approx. 2-3 minutes and used the empty syringe to blow air through the tubes, thus forcing out the spaghetti-like apple strings.
Next time I will work with the mixture while it is still warm. I will also add a tablespoon of brown sugar before heating, to add a sweeter punch. I can also add a little bit of food coloring before placing it in the tubes to acquire different colored strands.
I extracted 2/3 cup of juice from the apples, added 2/3 cup of water, and 2 grams of Soy Lecitin. I mixed this with an immersion blender until foam appeared on top, then let it sit for a minute to allow the juices to sink and settle at the bottom.
Next time I’ll try adding whole milk to a foam using a different base.