Archive for the ‘Emulsions’ 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 – Xanthan Gum

Welcome back to my Molecular gastronomy blog. I’m glad to say that I’m back with some great content for the molecular gastronome out there. Today, I’m going to write about the hydrocollid xanthan gum and introduce a recipe for your enjoyment.

Xanthan Gum:a brief description

Xanthan gum is a linear polysaccharide made of a cellulose backbone units with trisaccharide side chains. It is produced by fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. It is used as a thickener.

Xanthan gum is amazing because it’s very user friendly: Xanthan gum works on any temperature and can be added to sauces without weighing.  Pay attention to what amount works best for you.

How to use xanthan gum in your moelcular gastronomical kitchen is by simply dispersing it into hot or cold liquid under a shear. Typically you only want to use between .2% – 1%.

The solution type is shear  thinning, a pseudoplastic, that exhibits an effect where viscosity decreases with increasing rate of shear stress. In high levels, xanthan gum can give food a very thick, almost mucus-like, consistency. PH tolerance: high. Also, xanthan gum is highly stable when frozen and thawing. The best part is xanthan gum works well with other hydrocollids (Lotus bean gum, Kappa Carrageenan) and even versawhip!!!

Note: Combining xanthan gum with other hydrocollids creates a synergistic chemical reaction that will take your molecular gastro cuisine to a higher level.

RECIPE: Cupuacu Foam with Tonka Bean


Almond milk 100g

Cupuacu powder .7g

Sugar: 40g

Tonka Bean: .3g

Versawhip: 2g

Xantan Gum: .5g of Texturas Brand


Combine all ingredients except for the xanthan gum into the vita-mix. Mix on high until you get a nice funnel in the middle of the vita-mix. Slowly pour in xanthan gum into the funnel until mixture starts to thicken.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for when I break down the Carrageenans Kappa and Iota.

Molecular Gastronomy – Emulsions Shriek hemp butter

January 14, 2010 2 comments

By Chef Tali Clavijo

So today I decided I wanted to experiment with converting liquid oils into solids. How was I going to preform this experiment? Well, I decided to use the monoglyceride flakes from the ‘Texturas” line called Glice. These flakes are obtained from glycerin and fatty acids. Similar to oil, it must be broken down with a fatty element and then allowed to emulsify.

Hemp oil and glice - click to learn more or buy

The monoglyceride flakes look like this

Monoglyceride flakes - click to learn more

For this recipe I simply measured about 100ml of hemp oil and 6g of Glice

Hemp oil in lquid form - get it here

After I measure out my ingredients I simply combined them in a saucepan

Glice flakes into hemp oil - learn more buy clicking on pic

and warmed up the oil until the monoglyceride flakes completely dissolved into the oil. This happens at around 65ºC. Your new mixture should look like this

New hemp oil mixture

Next, I transferred my mixture to a different container and placed it in a bath with ice stirring constantly until the oil begins to take body.

Placing the new mixture into an ice bath

Once the oil began to take form, I stuck it in the fridge for about 12hours, or until it acquires a texture that can be worked with the spatula.

The final hemp butter could be used as a spread and tastes amazing!

hemp butter

look at how it spreads…totally transformational!

I cannot believe it's hemp butter

Feel free to ask me any questions at

Your friend,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Virgin olive oil foam

By Chef Tali Clavijo

Today I decided to test out my new iSi gourmet whipper. This device was made under the direction of Chef Ferran Adria and is a staple at the best restaurant in the world, el Bulli. So, I decided to see what a little bit of N2O will do to something simple like olive oil. Boy, was I surprised with these results!

iSi Gourmet Whip - Click link to order now

This recipe also called for a special emulsifier, one called glice. Glice is obtained from glycerin and fatty acids.  It is composed of monoglyceride flakes. It is a product with high stability as an emulsifier. Similar to oil, it must be broken down with a fatty element and then added to the watery element.

Moreover, monoglycerides and diglycerides are often used as emulsifying agents because of their contrasting components. They can interact with other lipids because of their hydrocarbon “tail” and yet remain soluble in water by virtue of the exposed hydroxyl (-OH) groups on the glycerol residue.

The product I used for this experiment is called ‘Glice’ and is sold under the texturas line of molecular gastronomy products.

Glice - click for more info

I set of to test whether the monoglycerides present in the glice will in fact act as an emulsifying agent when mixed with a fatty substance (the olive oil) and hold when exposed to N2O in the whipper.

For this experiment/recipe I used some virgin olive oil (200g) and some Glice flakes (16g). I also needed a gourmet whip and two loads of N2O.

For the virgin olive oil foam

Once I gathered all the necessary equipment, it was time to combine the virgin olive oil with Glice in a saucepan.

Heating the virgin olive oil with glice to 65°C

Next, I heated the oil and Glice mixture to 65 °C so that the Glice dissolves.

Glice dissolved in liquid oil

I mixed well and then transferred the new mixture to the gourmet whip siphon.

Transferring liquid oil to siphon

The next steps where to close the siphon and load with N2O

Loading the gourmet whip with N20 - Click on link to learn more

Once the gourmet whip is loaded with N2O it is time to dispense the virgin olive oil foam for presentation.

Click on link to see a video on the gourmet whip

Your final virgin olive oil foam should look like a creamy whipped cream. This was truly amazing!

Virgin olive oil foam

Some pairing suggestions:

I love to have the virgin olive oil foam with my poached eggs for breakfast. I like to sprinkle some chevril on the virgin olive oil foam and some pink clay salt on my poached eggs.

Some virgin olive oil foam to plate

Sprinkling some chevril onto the olive oil foam

Final presentation

Virgin olive oil foam with poached eggs

The results where quite surprising. It looks like the Glice (the monoglyceride flakes) did in fact preform as a high stability emulsifier when combined with the olive oil and the N2O. The Glice totally transformed the liquid oil into a foam that withstood its texture and shape throughout. The final taste is amazing! Simply breathtaking and worth the small time it takes to prep this virgin olive oil foam.

My next test will be to experiment with other oils and other ‘fatty elements.’ Until then enjoy, and check out my flickr photos on the bottom corner of my blog to see more photos.

Your friend,

Chef Tali Clavijo

Molecular gastronomy emulsions Cashew Milk Air

January 3, 2010 1 comment

For my first molecular gastronomy experiment I set off to test something rather simple yet effective. The main ingredient in this recipe is lecithin. The concept behind this molecular gastronomy test is to see if combining an emulsifier, such as  lecithin, to a fatty watery liquid (the cashew nut milk) will yield the light air (foam) that is common with this type of emulsion, and be able to stand the test of being suspended in the air.

"The best lecithin powder"

I use this brand because it is Non-Gmo

Lecithin is an emulsifier that allow fat and water to mix. [It has also been shown to support fat burning, healthy cholesterol, and triglycerides levels, cardiovascular health, liver function, nerve function, brain function and memory.] Together with the cashew milk I want to see if this combination will yield substantial air (foam) that will be combine the taste of the original mixture.

For this experiment I needed some fresh cashew nut milk, lecithin, and an immersion blender.

Let’s start with the Cashew Nut Milk:

For this recipe I soaked 1 cup of cashews.

"Pre-soaked cashews"

Raw pre-soaked cashews

Note: it is important that you use raw cashews and that you soak them to release the enzyme inhibitors. I usually soak my nuts in water for about 4-8 hours. You then, rinse and are ready to make the nut milk.

Once I got my cashews ready all I added was 3 cups of water, 1 tbsp of raw honey, and a pinch of pink sea salt. This is all you need to make the nut milk. You could also substitute dates for honey, but I wanted to use honey to see if I could still achieve the wonderful air (foam). I’ve heard from other chefs that using honey makes the air (foam) impossible to get. I set off to disprove this theory too.

"the basics for a nut milk"

These are your main ingredients for any nut milk

What you want to do is get yourself a powerful blender. I highly recommend the vita-mix 5200 series simply because of the straightforward functions and power. This blender has the most power of any blender on the market. I personally believe in having the very best kitchen equipment is just as important ans obtaining the best ingredients.

After I got all of my ingredients together for my nut milk, all I did was put it all in my vita-mix and blend. You want to make sure you blend long enough (for about 2min) and at a steady speed (about level5-6) so you could really get the best nut milk.

"the best blender on the planet"

Professional Series Vita-Mix

"the best blender"

After 2min of blending

Once I got my nut milk blended I sieved it through a superbag or some sort of other fine mesh cloth to remove the cashew pulp from the milk.

"the best bag for sieving"


The beauty of the superbag is that you get better results due to its highly technological advanced structure. These bags are the best to use in the kitchen and could be used over and over.

Once I got the  milk ready, I put it on the side and got ready for the combination of the lecithin powder. This process was very fun because it allowed me to get the gram scale out and get all scientific.

"measuring out for the test"

The gram scale and lecithin

I measured approx 3 g of lecithin powder and put it on the side. The next step was to measure out approx 600 g of the cashew milk and put that to side in a bowl that would be big enough to use an immersion blender. Note: I found it very important to use a big enough bowl while doing this test. The reason behind this must have to do with the overall volume capacity of the bowl used during the immersion blender part. you need more free room for the particles to completely transform to air (foam).

"the best environment for the emulsifing"

Bowl for immersion

Once I got the bowl ready, I lined it with plastic wrap so I wont get my kitchen all messy. I also added in the 3 g of lecithin and the 600 g of cashew milk in the bowl.

The step was the immersion of the blender and the chemical reaction of making air (foam). I got my trustee immersion blender and started to blend right at the surface of the mixture.

"blending some air"

Blending some air

The beauty of blending this was that I instantly started to see the air  foam up right in front of me. It was as if I turned the power button on and my cashew milk started to rise and do some interesting things with the texture. Imagine for a second a fluffly pillow made of air (foam), that is exactly the kind of feeling I got when I saw the cashew milk rise with the introduction of the immersion blender. It was really magic being produced right in from of me.

After a minute what I ended up with was a foamy cascade of beauty.

I must have blended the cashew milk for about 1 minute straight on level 4 on my immersion blender. I noticed that it would produce more air (foam) if I was blending along the surface of the cashew milk as opposed to the bottom of the mixture. The end result was something so spectacular that it made me want to shrink down and go for a swim in this stuff.

"Cashew Milk Air"

Cashew Milk Air

Once I got the air, it was ready to test and serve. Some questions that I wanted to test out were the following:

1) Will the air (foam) hold enough to be suspended in t

he air on an upside spoon?

2) Will using the honey effect my air in a negative way, and henceforth make the air to heavy to be suspended?

3) How will the overall taste come out? Will it melt in my mouth? Will it be crunchy? What texture is overall present?

"the beauty of air in a glass"

Pouring air into a glass

In order to test my first question, I had to run the spoon test. The spoon test was set up to test to see if the air will hold while being suspended upside down.

"A full glass of cashew milk air"

"A full glass of cashew milk air"

Spoon Test 1

For the upside down test I just inverted the spoon and observed.

Inverted Spoon Test

The results were amazing! The air actually held up and did not fall off the spoon whilst inverted. This proved that the cashew milk air was officially a air (foam) worth serving. This result also shattered another myth that using honey with lecithin will cause the air (foam) to be too heavy and thus effect the overall air. This was not the case, in fact the air was stronger and lighter than I would have imagined.

There was one last thing to do, I had to taste test the air (foam).

"Air on tounge"

Air taste test

Results: The air was delicious. The texture was so light yet crispy and melted on my tongue. The overall texture was very light, it really reminded me of eating snowflakes. These snowflakes were very tasty too. The taste came through in perfect time. It really tasted like cashew milk, except in an overall different texture that is both elegant and could stand the test of time.

One final conclusion to share is that the foam stayed foamy for a very long time (over an hour) while in the glass. This is good because it proves that the molecules are strong enough to hold its form for serving and other culinary adventures.

With that said, I do want to test freezing the foam and adapting it to other extremes to see how it could hold in different climates.

Enjoy, and remember to check out more pics in my flickr page on the bottom corner of my blog. Also, feel free to comment and ask questions, and please subscribe. Thanks.