Working with Modern Thickeners

Fina Puigdevall and Pere Planagumà (Les Cols), with Paco Perez (Miramar)
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Public Lecture 05 (2012)
Key Lesson: Gelation: One way to turn a liquid into a solid by causing really long molecules, called polymers, to stick togther.
Elasticity, the science concept from the previous week, describes only solid foods. To descibe liquids, we need to use the concept of viscosity. Fina Puigdevall and Pere Planagumà, from Les Cols, demonstrate how to use buckwheat flour as a thickener in their cuisine, then Paco Perez, from Miramar, shows a range of technqiues that he uses to manipulate the texture of food.

Overview of this Week's Science

In addition to agar, mentioned in the first lecture, there are numerous other gelling agents, sometimes called hydrocolloids.

Below is a photo of gels made with several different gelling agents, as shown in this photo from the Alicia Foundation:

When the polymers in the liquid form connections to each other, called cross-links, a solid gel is formed.

Equation of the Week

Coming soon...

Beyond the Lecture

The Khymos website is a great resource of information about hydrocolloids. Below is a summary of the main ypes of hydrocolloids (see the Khymos Hydrocolloid Recipe Collection for more infrmation):

Gelling agent Origin Mechanism
Agar seaweed heat
Gelatin animal heat
Gellan (low-acyl) microbes heat
Gellan (high-acyl) microbes heat
Methylcellulose microbes heat
Pectin (low methoxyl) plan heat
Pectin (high methoxyl) plant heat
Sodium alginate (low methoxyl) seaweed heat
Xanthan gum microbial **

** = with locust bean gum