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{"activity_order":null,"activity_type":["Technique","Recipe"],"assignment_recipes":null,"author_notes":null,"cooked_this":0,"created_at":"2013-05-20T18:43:28Z","creator":null,"currently_editing_user":null,"description":"Direct spherification is a way to create small, caviar-sized spheres that pop in the mouth with an intense burst of flavor. They\u2019re whimsical and fun. The technique was pioneered by Ferran Adri\u00e0 at el Bulli in 2003, who spherified melon juice to give it the appearance and texture of caviar.\r\n\r\nThe related techniques of [reverse](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/reverse-spherification) and [frozen-reverse](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/frozen-reverse-spherification) spherification were developed at el Bulli in subsequent years. All of these methods work because alginate gels upon contact with calcium ions. In direct spherification, alginate is added directly to a flavorful liquid. This solution is then added drop-by-drop to a setting bath that contains calcium. As the calcium ions interact with the alginate, a flexible skin forms around the drop. \r\n\r\nThe concept is simple, but there is an art to achieving good results with this technique.","difficulty":"intermediate","featured_image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/sCwhFd3XRMiH5HAm47ZG\",\"filename\":\"Spherification Course_10.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":268208,\"key\":\"RcVErtuSAChItM6Jtn9U_Spherification Course_10.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","forks":[],"id":317,"image_id":"","include_in_gallery":true,"last_edited_by_id":106,"likes_count":74,"published":true,"published_at":"2013-05-20T18:43:28Z","show_only_in_course":false,"slug":"direct-spherification","source_activity_id":null,"source_type":0,"summary_tweet":null,"timing":"","title":"Direct Spherification","transcript":"","updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","upload_count":0,"used_in":[],"yield":"","youtube_id":"6kp6qhxchdg","tags":[{"id":141,"name":"modernist"},{"id":219,"name":"Spherification"},{"id":220,"name":"Direct spherification"},{"id":222,"name":"Ferran"},{"id":224,"name":"el Bulli"},{"id":225,"name":"Adri\u00e0"},{"id":228,"name":"Alginate"},{"id":294,"name":"Calcium chloride"},{"id":295,"name":"caviar"},{"id":29,"name":"dinner"},{"id":152,"name":"gluten free"},{"id":246,"name":"winter"},{"id":306,"name":"condiment"},{"id":375,"name":"vegan"},{"id":377,"name":"vegetarian"},{"id":435,"name":"summer"},{"id":477,"name":"paleo"},{"id":479,"name":"lunch"},{"id":486,"name":"brunch"},{"id":547,"name":"holiday"},{"id":549,"name":"kid friendly"},{"id":551,"name":"appetizer"},{"id":552,"name":"amuse bouche"},{"id":785,"name":"spring"},{"id":870,"name":"fall"}],"equipment":[{"optional":false,"equipment":{"id":180,"product_url":"http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012LOQUQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0012LOQUQ&linkCode=as2&tag=delvkitc-20","title":"High-precision digital scale"}},{"optional":false,"equipment":{"id":184,"product_url":"http://chefsteps.com/courses/spherification#enthusiast","title":"Spherification syringe"}},{"optional":false,"equipment":{"id":181,"product_url":"http://chefsteps.com/courses/spherification#enthusiast","title":"Spherification straining spoon"}},{"optional":false,"equipment":{"id":186,"product_url":"http://chefsteps.com/courses/spherification#professional","title":"Spherification dosing tray"}}],"ingredients":[{"display_quantity":"100","note":"","quantity":"100.0","unit":"g","ingredient":{"for_sale":false,"id":786,"product_url":null,"slug":"flavorful-liquid","sub_activity_id":null,"title":"Flavorful liquid"}},{"display_quantity":"1","note":"","quantity":"1.0","unit":"g","ingredient":{"for_sale":true,"id":626,"product_url":"http://chefsteps.com/courses/spherification#enthusiast","slug":"sphere-magic","sub_activity_id":null,"title":"Sphere Magic"}},{"display_quantity":"1","note":"","quantity":"1.0","unit":"recipe","ingredient":{"for_sale":false,"id":631,"product_url":null,"slug":"calcium-bath","sub_activity_id":246,"title":"Calcium Spherification Bath"}}],"steps":[{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Begin with a flavorful liquid. It can be virtually anything, but the pH should not be below 3.6, nor should it contain large amounts of free calcium.\r\n\r\nA low pH will prevent the alginate from gelling, and too much calcium can cause the alginate to gel before spheres have a chance to form. \r\n\r\nSee [The Science of Spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/the-science-of-spherification) for more about how to measure and control pH, and how to sequester the calcium ions naturally present in many foods.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37291,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":0,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Prepare a flavorful liquid base","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Add either 0.5% of the liquid's weight in sodium alginate (make sure the liquid is very cold) or 1% of its weight in Sphere Magic (make sure the liquid is tepid). \r\n\r\nSphere Magic can be whisked in, but sodium alginate has a tendency to clump unless it's first dry-blended with other ingredients like sugar, or sheared in with a blender.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37292,"image_description":"Adding sodium alginate to a beet juice spherification base, used to make faux caviar.","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/J0m33EKSv6S3t1rxuY5f\",\"filename\":\"Spherification_Direct_01.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":270584,\"key\":\"PhU5OmnQGww4OHbIIDiQ_Spherification_Direct_01.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":4194304,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Disperse","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Once the gum is dispersed into the liquid, it needs to be hydrated to function. Sphere Magic is prehydrated and needs only to be fully dissolved. But sodium alginate needs time to hydrate. This usually takes only minutes, but for flavorful liquids that are very tart, it may take several hours.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37293,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":6291456,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Hydrate","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Let the flavorful liquid stand, allowing time for any trapped air bubbles to rise to the surface and pop. \r\n\r\nRemoving air is important because trapped air bubbles will prevent the spheres from sinking in the spherification bath, which can cause an uneven skin to form. Air bubbles can also create weak spots in the gelled skin.\r\n\r\nSee [Getting the Air Out](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/getting-the-air-out) for tips on expediting air removal.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37294,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":7340032,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Remove any air","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"The [calcium setting bath](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/calcium-spherification-bath) is simply calcium salt dissolved in water. We recommend using 1% to 2% calcium chloride relative to the weight of the water. \r\n\r\nUse a deep rather than shallow container.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37295,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":7864320,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Prepare a calcium setting bath","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Using a syringe, add the flavorful liquid to the setting bath drop by drop. \r\n\r\nTest the bath first, placing a small amount of the setting bath in a small bowl or cup, to make sure spheres will form.\r\n\r\nThe roundness of the spheres is affected by two things: the distance the drops fall to the surface of the setting bath, and the viscosity of the flavorful liquid. \r\n\r\nExperiment to find the ideal height from which to let the drops fall. A disc shape means you were too high, and the impact flattened the drop. An elongated shape means you were too low, and the drop did not have enough time to snap into a sphere.\r\n\r\nAs the spheres sink through the setting bath, they form a sturdy skin. The bath should be deep enough to allow the spheres to sink for a second or so before they hit bottom; working in a shallow bath will cause the spheres to flatten when they strike bottom too soon.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37296,"image_description":"Forming a direct sphere using the faux caviar technique developed by Ferran Adria at El Bulli.","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/Z5svFjsoQUKkdVSrkoxr\",\"filename\":\"Spherification_Direct_04.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":358198,\"key\":\"vDLkv7kQQ0u2YTZwwNU8_Spherification_Direct_04.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":8126464,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Form spheres","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Using a clean slotted spoon, stir the setting bath. Push the water, rather than the spheres, to get the spheres to swirl. \r\n\r\nThirty seconds is enough time for a durable membrane to form around the flavorful liquid. Stirring for less time forms a more delicate skin, but the spheres are more likely to burst during subsequent steps.\r\n\r\nStrain the spheres into a separate bowl. \r\n\r\nRinse them by pouring enough clean water into the bowl to cover the spheres.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37297,"image_description":"Rinsing faux caviar, a modernist cuisine cooking technique.","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/oC2cvZPSoCppVlr2CbHm\",\"filename\":\"Spherification_Direct_06.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":564195,\"key\":\"wBdJdv2MQr2ZrEll1Leg_Spherification_Direct_06.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":8257536,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Strain and rinse","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"Serve immediately.\r\n\r\nRinsing the spheres will not halt the gelling process. Within minutes, the spheres will turn solid and lose their pop. \r\n\r\nHowever, if solid spheres are acceptable, then they can be prepared and held until needed. Store the gelled spheres in the same flavorful liquid that they're made from, minus the alginate, to avoid diluting the flavor. Briefly rinse the spheres in clean water before serving.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":37298,"image_description":"Faux caviar, liquid centered spheres.","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/bFyIvVrQHCng4sWN5ptF\",\"filename\":\"Spherification_Direct_08.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":396251,\"key\":\"l0sN744qQcSzDa3E2hG3_Spherification_Direct_08.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":8323072,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Serve or store","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":317,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","directions":"If spheres do not form when dropped into the calcium bath, the alginate probably has not hydrated. Let it rest for an hour, and blend again. See [The Science of Spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/the-science-of-spherification) for more on hydration.\r\n\r\nKeep in mind that every sphere you prepare removes a small amount of calcium from the setting bath. Eventually, the bath may be depleted of the calcium ions needed to trigger gelling.\r\n\r\nA <a href=\"http://chefsteps.com/courses/spherification#professional\" target=blank>spherification dosing tray</a> is an invaluable tool for preparing a large quantity of spheres quickly.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":37299,"image_description":"Troubleshooting and help with spherification.","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/oUHCtmNQOa1FT0NXXiv9\",\"filename\":\"Spherification_Direct_02.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":297275,\"key\":\"cYhSo9FQ3eqILMKRU2pQ_Spherification_Direct_02.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":false}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":8355840,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Helpful tips","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-14T20:00:55Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]}]}