What is molecular gastronomy?
Molecular gastronomy is the alliance between gastronomy and science. It uses scientific processes and various chemical reactions to create dishes with an unusual and amusing aesthetic, flavor and texture. Innovative, it offers new techniques for original results: lemon clouds, pearls of balsamic vinegar, yoghurt raviolis and so many other possible and imaginable recipes. Want to know more about molecular gastronomy? Explore our website and discover our kits!
What exactly do your kits contain?
All you need to experience molecular gastronomy and impress your friends and family with its different techniques! Depending on the kit you choose, you will have: food additives, specialized tools and utensils (pipettes, slotted spoons, electric foamers, food syringes, etc.) and booklets with instructions and recipes. For the detailed content of each of our kits, go to our product pages.
I have never done molecular cooking, are your kits suitable for beginners?
Of course! They are as well suited to gastronomy professionals as beginners curious to discover molecular gastronomy! Each of our kits includes complete and detailed instruction booklets explaining each of the molecular techniques and introducing easy recipes with step-by-step explanations. Our YouTube channel is also the perfect source of information and inspiration for beginners! For more information on molecular gastronomy and its techniques, check out our books right here!
Where can I find your recipes? The explanatory DVD is not present in my kit, can I receive it or download its equivalent online?
Before, our kits included explanatory DVDs with various recipes and instructions. These DVDs are no longer included and are replaced by multiple instructions, tips and recipes that you can find on our youtube channel.
Are your products vegan?
Our kits do not contain any ingredients of animal origin and are therefore vegan!
How long can additives be stored? Do they have an expiration date?
Additives do not expire per say. These are dry ingredients that can be kept for many years if they are well preserved, at room temperature in a dry pantry, such as spices for example.
The additives do not dissolve properly and there are lumps in the solution.
Use a hand blender. An eggbeater is not powerful enough to mix the additives properly.
What is basic spherification?
The basic spherification technique consists of immersing a solution containing sodium alginate in a calcium bath to create medium-sized caviar or spheres whose liquid and tasty interior will burst in the mouth.
What are the key factors for a successful molecular recipe involving spherification?
Molecular cooking can sometimes require a lot of patience and multiple trials to achieve the desired results. To succeed a recipe using spherification, three important factors are to be monitored: the pH of the ingredients (too much acidity can prevent spherification, however the acidity can sometimes be calibrated), the calcium concentration in the ingredients (too much calcium in some ingredients can also stop the process) and finally the available water (ingredients with too little water cannot be spherified).
During dissolution of the sodium alginate in the preparation, the mixture gels. Why? How to avoid this?
The alginate molecules have already begun to interact with calcium ions and the gelation process has started prematurely. In the presence of a source of calcium, sodium alginate reacts and gels. Therefore, if the water used in the preparation contains even a small amount of calcium, sodium alginate will gel on contact. In this case, use distilled water. Note that this phenomenon can also occur with reverse spherification.
How long can the soaking bath be used?
The soaking bath containing calcium lactate (or sodium alginate in the case of reverse spherification) can be used repeatedly for several recipes. Just filter the bath from time to time to avoid any traces of previous preparations. The bath can then be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.
How do you make bigger caviar pearls?
Cut the tip of a pipette with a pair of scissors. This will widen the orifice of the pipette and thus allow larger droplets to flow!
The caviars are flat or oval instead of perfectly round.
To avoid getting flattened or oval caviar pearls, bring the tip of the pipette closer and let the preparation drop about 1 inch from the surface of the calcium bath. In order to have better control and to get a bigger caviar, you can also hold the pipette horizontally.
Spheres remain on the surface of the calcium bath during immersion.
The sodium alginate solution still contains air bubbles. Let it sit a little longer (about 30 minutes). If too much air bubbles still float the caviar, add a little water to the preparation to liquefy a little.
The spheres do not contain liquid inside / have become gel. What to do?
The more the spheres / beads remain in the bath, the thicker the gel membrane will form. Be careful: the gelling process will continue even after the spheres have been rinsed. To obtain a liquid interior, leave spheres / beads for a shorter time in the calcium bath or serve them within 15 minutes.
During their creations, the caviar beads dissolve in the calcium bath.
This problem may be caused by the fact that you use acidic ingredients. Acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice, will prevent spherification. We recommend that you use non-acidic ingredients. If this reaction is not due to the ingredients, heat the solution by stirring steadily until the sodium alginate is completely dissolved. Then let stand for 10 minutes to cool before use. The desired look of the mixture is more syrupy than juicy.
The air bubbles contained in the alginate solution did not come out even after letting it sit for a long time.
The alginate solution is too thick and the air cannot escape. Add water to the mixture.
When designing a medium sized sphere, it is difficult to give it a perfectly round shape.
This may be due to the texture of your spheres, in this case it's about finding the right viscosity. The ideal texture to get a sphere is the same as that of a custard or drinking yogurt. To improve the texture, dissolve the excessively thick ingredients with water or milk and add a little alginate to the aqueous ingredients to thicken them further. Use a spherical spoon / measure. These spoons usually have the right half-sphere shape.
How long in advance can the caviar be prepared?
For an optimal melt-in-the-mouth effect, serve the caviar beads within 15 minutes of being prepared. After that, since the gelling process of caviar walls never stops, its interior will not be liquid but the caviar will remain soft and tasty. For more flavor, let the caviar macerate for up to 24 hours in its juice.
What is reverse spherification?
Reverse spherification involves submerging a liquid that contains calcium in a bath of sodium alginate to create spheres of a size slightly larger than the basic spherification.
Spheres stick to each other in the alginate bath.
If the still unformed membranes of different spheres tend to stick to each other in the alginate bath, it is because they are still too fragile. If two spheres come into contact at that moment, they will stick together and the membranes may break. To avoid this, leave space between the spheres in the alginate bath and use a wide container with a flat bottom as a bath. Gently shake with a slotted spoon while making sure the spheres are not touching.
Spheres burst when handled and / or removed from the alginate bath.
Leave the spheres in the bath a little longer and gently brew with a slotted spoon to ensure the uniformity of the membrane. Indeed, the more the spheres remain in the bath, the more the gel membrane formed will be thick and strong. Usually, a fairly solid membrane without being too thick is formed in 3 minutes.
It’s difficult to dissolve calcium lactate in my preparation.
Calcium lactate is very soluble in water but its dissolution is rather slow in thicker preparations. In this case, you can pre-dissolve the calcium lactate in a small amount of water before adding it to the solution to be spherified. In a thick liquid such as yogurt, it is easier to mix the calcium enriched water than the still powdered calcium lactate.
Why are spheres not formed in the alginate bath?
The spherifying preparation must have a good viscosity, close to the texture of a drinking yogurt. To achieve this ideal texture, you can dissolve the thick ingredients with milk or water. Alternatively, you can freeze the liquid ingredients in round silicone molds and submerge the resulting ice cubes in the alginate bath.
How far in advance can I prepare the spheres?
The process of gelation of the membrane ends when the spheres are rinsed. Unlike the caviar obtained with the basic spherification, the interior of the sphere will remain liquid. So you can keep the spheres in their juice for up to 12 hours or you can macerate the spheres in any liquid to change the flavor or color.
What is frozen reverse spherification?
The basic principle behind this technique is the same as for reverse spherification but with an additional step: freezing. Freezing solutions allows greater precision in the final shape obtained and to overcome certain constraints related to spherification. This is indeed the only type of spherification that allows to work with liquids clearer and / or more acidic such as alcohols or lemon juice.
What is emulsification?
The emulsification technique allows to incorporate and stabilize air bubbles in a liquid mixture. In other words, this technique is used to turn any liquid into a tasty foam thanks to an emulsifier (starch, gelatin or soy lecithin or methylcellulose).
Why almost no foam is formed?
More air bubbles must be incorporated into the lecithin solution. In order to do so, it is recommended to use a flat bowl to beat the mixture since its shape will help to prevent the formation of vortices that would burst the air bubbles. It is also better to use a dipping blender since some egg beaters do not have the required power. Hold the mixer at an angle and avoid submerging the head. The air will thus enter the solution more easily. Fatty ingredients such as oil prevent lecithin from taking effect, choose non-fat ingredients. You can also use only a small amount of solution at a time. The rest of the solution can be added gradually while the level decreases because there is more and more foam.
How to get more foam?
The soy lecithin solutions can be repeatedly whipped to get more foam.
How long can the foam be kept? Can it be prepared in advance?
The foam will hold 15-30 minutes before starting to dry. However, the solution containing lecithin may be stored for a few days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The lecithin solution may be dulled as long as there is enough liquid for the blender.
What is gelification?
Gelification allows to convert a liquid into a gel that can take various forms such as pearls, leaves and spaghetti.
Does Agar-Agar change the taste of the ingredients?
Agar-Agar does not alter the taste of the preparations, in fact it would even facilitate the release of flavors in the mouth. Although the preparation should be heated above 85 ° C, boiling excessively may change the taste of certain ingredients. So avoid boiling your solution and remove from heat as soon as boiling bubbles appear.
AGAR-AGAR PEARLS AND SPAGHETTI
When making Agar-Agar beads, the droplets remain on the surface of the oil. How to fix it?
Wait a minute for the oil to become warmer. Indeed, a cold oil is thicker and thus prevents the beads from sinking. You can also ignore the problem and continue to put droplets that will warm the oil and eventually flow.
When making Agar-Agar beads, the droplets melt at the bottom of the glass.
The glass is probably too small, the droplets do not have time to gel before reaching the bottom of the glass. Use a deeper glass would then be the best option.
Why aren't the pearls round?
The drops must cool and be completely frozen before reaching the bottom of the oil glass otherwise the beads will be deformed. Use a deep glass to allow more time to cool the beads or use a very cold oil.
Why is it impossible to inject the preparation into the tube?
Small solid particles can block the tip of the syringe: filter the preparation to remove the larger solid particles.
Why does the spaghetti stay stuck in the tube?
Some pressure must be applied on the piston in order to extract the spaghetti from the tube: gradually increase the pressure applied on the piston until the spaghetti comes out. Hold the tube end firmly to prevent air loss.
Agar-Agar spaghetti is too fragile.
If the spaghetti is too fragile and / or brittle, reduce the amount of Agar-Agar at the base of the preparation or dilute the preparation with a little water. Heat again and try again. A good dosage of Agar-Agar will generate a gel that will be firm enough to maintain its spaghetti shape, but also flexible enough that it can be handled without breaking.
Agar-Agar spaghetti is too soft and does not retain its shape once extracted from the tube.
The Agar-Agar preparation must be well cooled in order to gel and maintain the cylindrical shape of the silicone tube. Submerge the filled tube of preparation in an ice-water bath for at least two minutes. If, despite a long cooling time, the spaghetti does not keep its shape, add a little agar-agar to the preparation to accentuate the gelling effect. Return the solution to a boil and try again.
How long in advance can pearls and spaghetti be created?
Agar-Agar gels have a long shelf life and can be prepared well in advance. You can keep the pearls and spaghetti in the fridge for a few days.
Is it possible to serve hot pearls and / or spaghetti?
Agar-Agar gels retain their shape and texture when heated to a temperature of 85 ° C, after which the gel will melt. To serve hot, heat the pearls or spaghetti Agar-Agar by dipping in hot water.
WITH COLD SOLUBLE GELATIN
The gelatin does not gel and the solution remains liquid.
Gelatin needs to be chilled in the refrigerator in order to jellify; the longer it is kept refrigerated, the firmer it will be. If nothing changes after refrigerating, add more gelatin to the solution. The more gelatin is added, the firmer the gel will be. 4 grams (1 sachet) of gelatin can gel 320ml of liquid.
I cannot dissolve the cold soluble gelatin in the cold preparation.
To facilitate the dissolution of the cold-soluble gelatin, it can be mixed with another powder (from sugar, for example) in proportion of 2 gr of powder to 1 gr of gelatin. It can also be sprinkled gradually in the preparation while mixing.
There are air bubbles in Xanthan's solution?
Use the 1 gram measure of Xanthan for 500-600ml of liquid. This is an optimal measure for your preparation. Xanthan gum thickens liquids a lot and it can take up to 24 hours for air bubbles to come out. Let stand longer.If air bubbles are still present, you can also add water to the preparation. Indeed, the thicker the solution, the longer it will take for the air bubbles to come out.