A chef's guide to gelling, thickening, and emulsifying by Toni Massanés

By Toni Massanés

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2 Elaborations that can be made with the various types of gelling agents. 22 A Chef's Guide to Gelling, Thickening Textures* Gelling Agents 23 Properties of Gelling Agents Gelling agents can be classified into the following categories, based on the comparison of results produced in a gel with equal concentrations of the different gelling agents: • Hard gelling agents: those that produce firm, rigid, and brittle gels • Soft gelling agents: those that produce gels with a smoother texture, are less resistant to chewing, and are in some cases more elastic Hardness One of the fundamental parameters for the culinary use of gelling agents is the texture that the gel produces in the final product, that is, the gel’s resistance to chewing.

Remove from heat and immediately pour over the shellfish. Gelling Agents 37 Place the pan with the shellfish and escabeche in the refrigerator and chill for at least 6 hours before serving. The mixture can be refrigerated at 3°C for up to 48 hours before serving. Oyster Gelatin Ingredients 50 g of the reserved oyster liquid 50 g Cava 1½ gelatin sheets (3 g) Preparation Mix the reserved oyster water with the Cava in a pan. Soak the gelatin in cold water until well hydrated. Add the hydrated gelatin to the pan.

Agar-agar is used as a gelling agent. • Agar-agar disperses in cold water and hydrates in hot water. It does not dissolve in oil. • The resulting gels do not melt in the mouth (at body temperature). • The resulting gels are fragile and brittle, with little elasticity. Historical Notes The first documented use of agar-agar was in 1658 in Japan: its gelling effect was discovered by accident when boiling red algae. Its use spread throughout the East in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but did not reach the West until 1859, with the arrival of Chinese food.

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