By Toni Massanés
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Additional resources for A chef's guide to gelling, thickening, and emulsifying agents
Air Foam produced with immersion blender, by incorporating air and forming large bubbles that produces an extremely airy texture. Large bubbles similar to soap foam. Collapse instantly in mouth. Soft Meringue A texture of stiffly beaten eggs whites with granulated sugar. Foam with small bubbles. Hard Meringue Texture of a soft meringue that is baked at a very low temperature (about 93°C/ 200°F) for as long as 2 hours, or until comCrunchy texture. pletely dry, or just until crisp on the outside and chewy inside.
Elasticity Elasticity is defined as a mechanical property of the gel. Gels have different degrees of elasticity: some are not elastic and break irreversibly 24 A Chef's Guide to Gelling, Thickening when subjected to a force, while others are elastic and can withstand distortion. In culinary use, nonelastic gels are defined as brittle. ABOUT GELLING AGENTS This chapter describes some of the gelling agents most commonly used in gastronomy and addresses their differences to provide a better understanding of them and allowing and facilitating their use.
The trapped water in the network formed gives texture to the liquid, as the gel is formed. There are two steps for the gelling process: 1. Dispersion: The gelling agent must be mixed into the liquid phase in a homogeneous manner. 2. Hydration: After the gelling agent disperses into the liquid, the hydrocolloid molecules must form a network with water. Most commonly this is achieved by the action of heat, although in some cases agitation is sufficient. Once these steps are achieved, the network of hydrocolloid molecules in solution bond together as the solution cools because the texturizing agent finds the necessary ions in the solution, such as calcium, to make the network and also due to interactions within molecules themselves like the proteins of gelatin.
A chef's guide to gelling, thickening, and emulsifying agents by Toni Massanés