Archive for the ‘Carrageenan’ Category

Molecular gastronomy – oil and viscosity

January 21, 2011 6 comments

Hello everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted material here on molecular gastronomy. I’m happy to announce that my absence was based on my recent trip to visit Molecular Chefs Jose Andres and Masterchef Ferran Adria!!!

I learned way too much and can’t wait to share with you ALL!

Another great piece of news I’ve got is my new molecular kitchen device.

Here is my new Toy: The Thermomix

Now to bore you with the MAD food science I learned while away. FYI, there are some great recipes past the science if you want to just scroll down. Enjoy!

Oil and viscosity

Molecular viscosity : v = l x c

elasticity: E = kBT/l³


When talking about the elasticity you got to imagine a spring. Imagine how the spring stretches and you will obverse its elastic constant. What makes foods soft, squishy or flow easily is critical to all aspects cooking. It is for this reason that we must examine the properties of elasticity and viscosity when dealing with food.


Here is an example of the elasticity of a raw thaw steak:

Elastic constant of a steak

E = F ⁄ A L ⁄ ΔL

E= 8,000 Pa

The amazing formula is as follows:

E =kT ⁄ l³


Elasticity                                            /                           / (volume)

Before Cooking (RAW) 8×10³ Before 8.1 nm        Before 8.1 nm

After Cooking (Cooked) 5×10⁴ After   4.4 nm        After 6.8 nm

The stiffness of a material depends on the length between bonds .

Energy of bonds times their density

Stretching bonds to deform the solid

Units – Energy density



A material is a liquid if the molecules can move around each other

The fundamental quantity that governs this is the time that it takes for molecules to move around their neighbors.

If it takes a long time to move by each other, the material is very viscous.

If it takes a short time, the material is less viscous.

Example: Olive Oil

Olive oil and viscosity

















It takes longer for the molecules to move through olive oil than water because it has a higher viscosity.


Molecular viscosity

length²/time           v = l x c

where v = length

c = length ⁄ time

Very important Equations:

Molecular viscosity: v = l x c

elasticity: E = kBT ⁄ l³

Let’s look at the viscosity of hot oil

Hot oil flows faster than cold oil

Viscosity decreases with increasing temperature

Molecules move around each other more easily


Let’s look at how using a thickener helps make liquids thicker

Xanthan Gum makes liquids thicker

Xanthan Gum (E415): makes food thick and creamy; also stabilizes foods to help solids and liquids stay together

You could see Xanthan Gum is sauces, low fat or non-dairy, and dressings.

The reason thickeners works?

Thickener is a polymer

Polymer forms network in the water

This forms a solid gel

Note: The bonds in gels are not permanent

Molecules can move

Molecules must disentangle to move

This is important because it means if you form a gel you could easily manipulate it by shredding it in a thermomix or blender.

doing this will change the viscosity by either a small percentage or a large one.

Let’s get into some recipes with some molecular ingredients:

Soft Creamy Jelly

You will need:

100g of water, fruit juice, or wine.

2.5g iota

100g of olive oil (extra virgin)


You will need to bring water to boil and stir in iota, whisking constantly. Take the saucepan out of the warmer and slowly add the olive oil, stirring constantly.

Pour mixture into molds and allow to cool.

Once it has set you could slowly remove the olive oil jelly from the mold

Finally, serve on bread with tomato and jamon iberico.


For the next recipe you will make Olive oil gummie bears

You will need:

150 g extra virgin olive oil

7.5g xanthan gum

7.5g locust bean gum

310g glucose

160g sugar

10g water

For the procedure you will need to use your thermomix at speed 3, veroma 100 C for 5min. Mix all ingredients.

Once the mixture is complete transfer to piping bag and pipe little goblets over cornstarch.

Completely cover with a thin layer of cornstarch.






Molecular Gastronomy – Carrageenan Kappa and Iota

I’m back with some awesome molecular gastronomy adventures. Today I want to take you into the world of the Carrageenan. What are carrageenans? They are composed of a linear polysaccharide made up of galactose units with sulfur side groups. The origin of carrageenans are red seaweeds. There are several types of carrageenans such as, kappa, iota, and lambda. I’m going to focus on Kappa and Iota carrageenan for this post and share an awesome molecular gastronomy recipe.

A short introduction to Carrageenans:

Natural Carrageenans occur in a mixture of kappa, iota, and lambda types. Note that manufactures desperately try to separate the various types as best as they could, nevertheless; total separation is impossible. Carrageenans also vary from mixture to mixture, therefore; they are standardized for a particular application. Note: when specifying for a carrageenan make sure to tell the manufacture whether you will be using it for water based system or milk based system. Carrageenans are most often used in milk based applications due to the fact that are effective at very low concentrations. For example, gels can form at .3% in milk.

The Kappa and iota carrageenan can be mixed to obtain intermediate textures. Kappa carrageenan shows a great combination with the thickener locust bean gum. By combining these two together you get a stronger, less brittle, more cohesive, and less prone to break. I’ve found that the strongest and best ration is 6 parts kappa carrageenan to 4 parts LBG. Kappa-LBG mixes are often used to substitute for gelatin and make for a great vegan friendly dish.

You use Kappa carrageenan by dispersing it in water or milkl under shear and heat until completely dissolved (usually above 60C). Kappa-LBG mixes need to be brought almost to boil to become fully functional, but will set and re-melt at lower temperatures. Solutions up to 3% can be made using cold water dispersion. Solutions up to 8% can be made if the carregeenan is dissolved directly into very hot water under high shear.

Typical usage is .75% to 1% in water, and .35% to .5% in milk.

Kappa Carrageenan is used mostly to gel mixtures – it is the most like agar in behavior. The gel type is thermo-reversible with a texture that is firm, strong, and brittle. Gel temperature increases with ion concentration, with values ranging from 40C – 70C. The setting factor is very fast with a PH tolerance down to pH 3.6 if boiled, lower is not over heated. Moreover, the kappa carrageenan is not freezer stable and has an ion sensitivity when potassium salts are not present. Kappa also forms gels at very low concentrations with milk and the flavor release is good.

Iota Carrageenan is used mostly to gel mixtures – it is more rubbery in texture. The gel type is thermo-reversible with an elastic and cohesive texture. The gel temperature increases with ion concentration, with values ranging from 40C – 70C, and has a fast setting time. Iota is freezer stable and has an ion sensitivity in the presence of calcium or potassium. Once you shear Iota a gel will form and be loaded with a flavorful release. Moreover, iota forms gels at very low concentrations with milk.

Carregeenan Recipe

Vegetarian Marshmallow

27.5 g Cornsyrup

275g Fine Sugar

2.5g Lactose (milk sugar)

12.95g Water

.5g Versawhip

28g Hi Fructose Corn Syrup

1g Genutine x-9303 Carrageenan

Combine in mixer with mixing attachment and mix until you get fluff. Next pour into marshmallow molds (or ice molds) and allow to set. Once set, powder in confectioners sugar and serve.


Enjoy your explorations with the Carrageenan and look for more molecular gastronomy recipe posts coming soon.