Molecular gastronomy adds flavor to your home-cooked meals using modern molecular cooking techniques. It disrupts traditional cuisine.

Smoke cannons can add an enticing aroma and flavor to a chocolate chili mousse. For the production of raspberry caviar, gelling agents and fresh raspberries are used. The modern kitchen is only limited by the imagination.

Before you start, you need to learn some basic cooking science. This beginner’s guide is a good place to start. By the end of this page, you will understand the popular tools and techniques used to prepare modernist cuisine.

What is molecular gastronomy?

Molecular gastronomy is a branch of food science that applies scientific principles to the preparation of food. The creative use of physical and chemical processes in cooking can produce flavors and textures that could never be achieved with traditional cooking methods.

Molecular gastronomy is about creativity, not about following recipes. It is the marriage of art and science in food production.

Molecular gastronomy tools

The tools used in molecular gastronomy can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. If you are new to this culinary discipline, we recommend using an inexpensive technique like spherification as a good starting point. You may already have some devices, such as. B. Appliances in your kitchen.

Blender

Puree the ingredients until smooth. The blender is an indispensable tool for making raspberry pearls, which can be dosed in cocktails or used to decorate desserts.

They are portable and offer excellent control during mixing. They are ideal for the production of foam and the incorporation of gelling agents into the liquid.

Stand mixer

The stand mixer is ideal if you want to make emulsions in a hands-free manner. They are also useful when, for example, you need a lot of time to mix ingredients. B. for meringues.

Measuring cup

They are not only useful for measurements, but can also be used during spherification.

iSi Whippers (aka Siphon)

Make a wide range of foams and creams from liquids, gels and even solids. You can connect a N2O or CO2 cartridge, which will allow your mixture to bubble or aerate.

Smoking Gun

Smoking the food gives extra depth to the flavor of the dish. Choose from a wide range of smoking woods, all of which produce a different taste and aroma.

Tip: See our article on liquid smoke substitutes.

Food dryer

The dehydrator allows food to be dried at a low temperature for several hours. The dehydrator can dry strawberries for use as a crisp topping, or dry citrus peels for coating with chocolate.

Spraying

Make perfect little balls of liquid with a syringe.

Ice cube tray

The ice cube tray can make amazing ice cubes with flowers, herbs and other ingredients in them. They are essential for the preparation of cocktails.

Dry ice

Dry ice has many applications in the modern kitchen. Make ice in seconds, cool a salad, create a visual effect in a cocktail, or add aromatic smoke to a dish to amaze guests.

Spherical spoon

Useful but not necessary in spherification. They make it easier to collect the caviar in the liquid bowl.

Hot Infusion Siphon

Hot drip siphon theatrically. It was originally intended for the preparation of coffee, but can also be used for the preparation of hot cocktails with other flavors.

Gastrowatz

The Gastrovac cooks food at low pressure, without oxygen, thanks to the vacuum. This allows the cook to preserve the texture and color of the food. It also absorbs the liquid around it, creating a multitude of flavor possibilities.

Welding torch

You’ve probably heard of grilled crème brûlée, but what about crispy salmon skin or crispy pork? Flashlights have a surprising number of uses.

Pervasive

Calcium lactate, agar-agar and sodium alginate are three good options to start with. They are used for spherification and manufacture of hot gels, foams and other products.

Other instruments to consider

Water bath: Cook the food on low heat for a long time. The results can be amazing.

Tweezers: Another non-essential tool, but it can make plating easier and more accurate.

Vacuum packing machine: Seal and dry foods like salmon or beef for moist, tender proteins.

10 Molecular gastronomic techniques to master

Learn these skills to open up a whole new world of cooking, full of flavor and good taste.

1st Sun Video

The complexity factor: Very simple

Sous-vide dishes for tender foods that retain their flavor.

In traditional cooking methods, such as. B. By deep frying them, you lose some of the flavor because it is leached out. The vacuum process is the solution for leaching aromatics.

What is Sous-Vide?

When you choose to vacuum pack food, you place it in a sealed bag that has been submerged in a thermostatically controlled liquid bath. Cooking temperatures are generally lower and slower than with traditional cooking. Be sure to check out our review of the best sous vide cookbooks for some great recipes.

Advantages of vacuum cooking

  • Improved taste and greater tenderness.
  • Cook slowly and reheat if necessary.
  • Set it and forget about cooking – no need to check the food.
  • Longer shelf life after cooking.
  • The meat remains tender and the vegetables crunchy.
  • The nutrients are retained in the food.

How to make a vacuum device

Required material: Vacuum sealer and water bath

  1. Turn on the water bath and wait for the temperature to reach the desired level.
  2. Place the meat or vegetables in a vacuum bag with the oil or broth and seal the bag.
  3. Place the food bag in the water and set the timer.

You will notice that the meat and fish will not have that nice dark exterior that you get with frying. To remedy this, sear the meat briefly on both sides over high heat.

Quick tip: Experiment by adding different liquids, such as juice, wine or beer, to the sealed bag.

2. Sphering

The complexity factor: Intermediary

The balls are an explosion of flavor.

Spherification changes the liquid into solid balls resembling caviar. They are visually stunning and go great with a variety of savory dishes, sweet desserts and cocktails.

The balls are not only beautiful. They burst with flavor and add an element of surprise to the dish. Like Willy Wonka’s eternal factory cap, your guests will never know what flavor will explode in their mouths when they bite into the outer shell.

Benefits of Sphere

  • Capture the rich flavor in each spoonful.
  • Gives the coating application an attractive appearance.
  • It’s a lot of fun.

Did you know that? A mojito cocktail is delicious when it’s round.

What you have to do to make balls

Let’s start with basic spherification, also known as direct spherification. In this process, a liquid is poured into a calcium bath to make spheres.

Simple bulb formation produces globules with a thin membrane that falls off when eaten. These balls must be served immediately after making them, otherwise the membrane will continue to thicken until the ball is hard.

Spherical shape tool

To make forming spheres easier, use the liquid you want to turn into spheres. It can be anything, but fruit juice is a good start.

The usual spherical tools.

You’ll need it too:

  • Sodium alginate
  • Calcium chloride
  • Digital balance
  • Spray
  • hand blender
  • Spoon (optional)

Basic fermentation procedure

1. Mix ingredients
Add 0,5 g sodium alginate per 100 ml liquid and mix with an immersion blender. It is best to first mix the sodium with a little sugar and then slowly add it to the liquid.

2. Check the acidity of the liquid
Use a pH meter to check the acidity of the liquid. The PH must be higher than 3.6, otherwise the sodium alginate will turn into alginic acid.

3. Allow the solution to cool
Allow the liquid to stand in the refrigerator until all bubbles have disappeared. This can take up to a day, but it is usually shorter. To speed up the process, strain the liquid through a sieve several times.

4. Making Calcium Baths
Make calcium baths by adding calcium chloride to a bowl of water. Add 0.5 g of calcium per 100 g of water. Calcium is easy to mix with water and requires no special treatment.

5. Pouring drops into the bathUse a syringe to carefully pour drops of the scented liquid into the lime bath. After adding a few balls, stir the water slowly to prevent the balls from sinking to the bottom of the bowl and losing their shape.

6. Put the balls over
Wait about 5 minutes and then remove the balls from the bowl with a spoon. Carefully lower them into a bowl of cool water. Make sure the ball diaphragm is thick enough to support the ball before passing the rest.

Notes:

  • Make sure the liquid is cold before adding the sodium alginate.
  • If the liquid contains alcohol, disperse the sodium alginate in water or other flavored liquid before adding it to the alcohol.
  • Add sugar to the lime bath to help the balls hold their shape as they rest on the bottom of the bowl.

3. Foam

The complexity factor: Very simple

The mousse brings fun and liveliness to the plate.

If you’ve ever had a cappuccino, you know the foam. It is a popular product in restaurants because it has a pristine taste and a luxurious texture. Mousse can be used in sweet or savory dishes, and almost any ingredient can be turned into mousse.

What is foam?

In molecular gastronomy, foam can be any solid or liquid containing a gas in suspension. According to this definition, mousse includes ice cream, mousse, bread or meringue. We focus on the modern foams that you may have seen at restaurants like Fat Duck and El Bulli.

What you need to make foam

  • Stabilizers such as agar-agar, lecithin, gelatin or xanthan gum.
  • Whisk handle, hand blender, mixer or milk frother.

How to make foam easily without tools

Lightweight foams can be used without special equipment, e.g. B. Make a siphon easily. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Combine the liquid of your choice with a stabilizing agent such as. B. Lecithin.
  2. Add air to the liquid with a hand blender. Make sure some of the blades are outside the liquid to increase the amount of air they contain.

You must use a light foam for an hour or it will begin to lose its shape.

4. Fermentation

The complexity factor: Very simple

The fermentation is very simple.

Fermentation has been around for over 10,000 years, so it’s not a new technique. Online, however, it has gained popularity in recent years.

What is fermentation?

Fermentation is an anaerobic chemical process that breaks down molecules such as glucose. It is used to make foods such as kimchi, yogurt, cheese, salami, beer and sauerkraut. Fermented foods are useful for preserving ingredients, developing new flavors, and improving gut health.

How to prepare kimchi

Local Koreans make kimchi.

Kimchi is very popular in Korea and is also becoming more popular in countries like the United States. It can be eaten alone or added to other dishes. Making a homemade version is very easy:

Special features: 2-litre pots.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage (Napa or Chinese cabbage)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1″ g g gingin r grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Sterling sugar
  • 4 Esslöffel Reisweinessig
  • 2 carrots (grated)
  • 4 green onions
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 3 Tbr Sriracha Sauce
  • 6 ounces radishes (grated)

Method

  1. Cut the cabbage into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root, and place the cabbage in a large bowl with the salt. Mix with your hands, then pour the water into a bowl until the cabbage is covered. Cover the bowl and let it stand overnight at room temperature.
  2. Drain the water from the cabbage with a sieve, then pour cold water over it to remove the salt.
  3. Using your hands, mix the kale with all other ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Fill the kale into a jar and wrap in a tight-fitting lid. Put the jar in a cool place for 3 days and then open it to let all the gas escape.
  5. Place the jar with the lid on in the refrigerator for 2 to 7 days before eating. The longer you’re gone, the more the flavor develops.

Kimchi can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 weeks.

5. Dehydration

The complexity factor: Very simple

Dehydrated food has an excellent crunchy texture.

Dehydration is another cooking technique that has always existed. Modern cuisine uses this method to give traditional dishes a new texture and flavor.

Modern methods of dewatering

Dry foam : Take a liquid like. B. Fruit juices and combine them with xanthan gum and methyl cellulose. Let the mixture dry out until it becomes a crisp mousse.

Ground: Grind vegetables or dried fruit into a coarse powder for a great visual effect.

Slow cooker technique: This method, developed by chef Ferran Adria, consists of dehydrating fruits, vegetables or yogurt at low temperatures for long periods of time to create crunchy elements that retain their flavor. They are often made in geometric shapes for visual appeal.

How to make raspberry chips

Ingredients
Method
  1. Spread the raspberry puree on baking paper. The thickness should be about ¼ inch. Use a template to make perfect shapes.
  2. Place in dehydrator at 130°F for 10 hours or until raspberries are crisp.

6. Liquid nitrogen

The complexity factor: Intermediary

At -346°F, liquid nitrogen is very cold and offers unique possibilities in the kitchen. It was made famous by chef Heston Blumenthal, who used it in several dishes in the 2000s.

Liquid nitrogen allows you to freeze ice in seconds, not half an hour or longer. Freezing the mixture as quickly as possible will reduce the size of the ice crystals, resulting in a creamier texture.

Better use of liquid nitrogen in the kitchen

  • Production of ice cream and sorbets.
  • to freeze the milk and grind it into snow.
  • Freeze the berries and then gently break them into pebbles.

What you need.

  • Liquid nitrogen
  • Dewar or similar holder for transport
  • Gloves and safety goggles

Security Notice: Always leave a window or door open to let air into the room. Liquid nitrogen can be deadly in confined spaces by displacing oxygen. Never let liquid nitrogen come into contact with the skin.

7. Smoking

The complexity factor: Very simple

Culinary smoke ovens give dishes a surprisingly smoky taste. As with most molecular cooking methods, smoking creates a visual element that traditional cuisine has trouble competing with.

To create an aroma-rich smoke, you need a smoking gun. With this device you can burn wood chips such as maple, hickory or apple. They add a smoky flavor to any meal of your choice.

Tips for improving smoked foods

  • If you are coating them, cover each bowl with a lid or pot and pipe some smoke under each lid. When the lid is removed, the smoke veil rises and the food becomes visible.
  • If possible, avoid smoking just before serving, as it loses its intensity over time.
  • Limit the use of liquid smoke, as it has a strong taste.
  • Try it with smoked chocolate, ice cream, milkshakes or butter for an exciting twist.
  • Use tea or herbs in your smoker to vary the flavors.
  • For a richer flavor, put the food in a ziplock bag and add smoke; seal the bag until ready to serve.

8. Rapid infusion

The complexity factor: Very simple

A quick brew turns the process of chemistry into a triumph of food technology. In the fast brew method, ingredients such as spices or coffee are poured into the liquid. As the name suggests, this is a quick process that only takes a few minutes.

Fast infusion: Method 1 (using iSi-bit)

You will need an iSi mixer and a fine sieve.

  1. Pour liquids such as water or oil into the iSi agitator. The liquid must be at room temperature for this method to work.
  2. Add an ingredient like mint or coffee.
  3. Seal the dough, load the gas and gently turn for a minute before letting it rest for a minute.
  4. Carefully drain the gas from the iSi and then open the jerry can. Pour the liquid through a sieve into a bowl.

Fast infusion: Method 2 (using a hot brew syringe)

The infusion siphon is a device that you would expect to find in a laboratory rather than in a kitchen.

The liquid heats up in the lower tank, creating pressure. The steam begins to pump the liquid into the upper chamber, which is filled with the flavors of the ingredients in the upper chamber.

After a few minutes, turn off the appliance and the liquid will flow back into the lower container. There is a final jet of liquid that signals the end of the process.

The hot brew siphon can be used for making coffee and tea, aromatic dashi broths and cocktails.

9. Coverage

The complexity factor: From light to heavy.

Add your signature when you apply the coating.

No treatise on molecular cooking can avoid electroplating. For most of us, our eyesight is the strongest, and we often judge foods only by their appearance.

There is more than one way to present a dish. What are you trying to achieve? Rustic, minimalist, geeky, retro? Be creative and express your personality on the table.

The choice of plate is important. Choose the right size and shape for your dishes.

Balance the proportions of each element on the board. You don’t want a huge amount of pea puree because you made too many. Think of the hero of the court and put him in the spotlight.

Bright colors are always welcome. When choosing ingredients, they should match, both in taste and appearance. Choose colours that complement or contrast with each other.

Texture is essential to the success of a meal. Try combining different textures – pasty, crunchy, creamy, thin, crumbly, grainy. Food can be boring if it’s just soft foods.

Other methods to try

Edible paper : Use ingredients like soy or potato starch to make an edible paper that adds flavor to your plate. You can use additional ingredients like fruit juice, vanilla or cinnamon to give your paper more flavor.

The binding of the meat: Meat glue, or transglutaminase, binds foods such as chicken, meat or fish together. This adhesive allows the chef to create creative food samples with a variety of products.

frequently asked questions

Who invented molecular gastronomy?

The term molecular gastronomy was coined by Hungarian physicist Nicolas Curti and French chemist Hervé Titus. They became interested in the large-scale food industry and proposed the study of cooking as a discipline of food science.

Is molecular gastronomy safe?

Most ingredients used in molecular gastronomy are considered safe. Some methods use additives like calcium salts and xanthan gum, which can have side effects like bloating and other digestive problems. People with allergies should always check the ingredients used when they are in a restaurant.

What is a molecular gastronomy package?

The Molecular Gastronomy Kit is a practical introduction to experimenting with new cooking techniques. The kit usually contains recipes, some basic tools and ingredients commonly used in molecular gastronomy, such as agar-agar and calcium lactate.

Concluding remarks

Molecular gastronomy is extremely useful. What’s not to love about creating dishes with unique methods, strange tools and extravagant ingredients? Modern cooking techniques will open your world to new flavors, textures, colors and aromas. Food that fills all our senses at once.

Molecular cuisine is not just for gourmets. Although the movement began in trendy restaurants, this area of cuisine has evolved. Today, it has become a fun pastime for home cooks who like to explore new boundaries. Ten years ago, vacuum packing was almost unknown, but it is now widely used.

Some of the equipment needed can be expensive, so don’t hesitate to jump in. Choose and master one of the techniques, for example. B. Atomization or fermentation. These are great options because they are not very expensive to begin with.

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