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{"activity_order":null,"activity_type":["Science"],"assignment_recipes":null,"author_notes":null,"cooked_this":0,"created_at":"2013-05-17T19:20:10Z","creator":null,"currently_editing_user":null,"description":"The idea of exploiting spherification-like techniques for food production was first patented in Britain in 1942 by William Peschardt, a food scientist working for the firm Unilever. Since then, the technique\u2014using ions to trigger a gelling process\u2013has found a variety of uses in the food industry. One common use is to stuff pitted olives with what appears to be a sliver of pimento but is in fact pimento juice that's inserted into the pitted olive and gelled by calcium already present in the olives.\n\nIt was Sergi Estragues and Joachim Vives, representatives of a Spanish food company, who initially demonstrated the technique to Ferran Adri\u00e0. He put it to far more creative and surprising uses at his restaurant el Bulli. It seems simple enough, but, as many chefs have discovered, mastering the art of spherification requires a deeper understanding of how technical ingredients like sodium alginate interact with the other ingredients in a recipe. \n\nHere we explain some of the most important principles to keep in mind when creating your own spherification recipes.","difficulty":"intermediate","featured_image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/sjn12a2eT5KjHaehuzaA\",\"filename\":\"Spherification Course_17.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":179590,\"key\":\"GoWWrOxR2WQf0qkfA9Qh_Spherification Course_17.jpg\",\"isWriteable\":true}","forks":[],"id":316,"image_id":"","include_in_gallery":true,"last_edited_by_id":16465,"likes_count":66,"published":true,"published_at":"2013-05-17T19:20:10Z","show_only_in_course":false,"slug":"the-science-of-spherification","source_activity_id":null,"source_type":0,"summary_tweet":null,"timing":"","title":"The Science of Spherification","transcript":"","updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","upload_count":1,"used_in":[],"yield":"","youtube_id":"","tags":[{"id":141,"name":"modernist"},{"id":219,"name":"Spherification"},{"id":222,"name":"Ferran"},{"id":224,"name":"el Bulli"},{"id":225,"name":"Adri\u00e0"},{"id":228,"name":"Alginate"},{"id":229,"name":"calcium"},{"id":243,"name":"pH"},{"id":296,"name":"sequesterant"},{"id":319,"name":"sequestrant"}],"equipment":[],"ingredients":[],"steps":[{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"Alginate is a molecule found in seaweed. Technically, it is a carbohydrate known to chemists as a polysaccharide. \r\n\r\nThis molecule is also called a hydrocolloid, or a gum, because it has the ability to thicken or gel water. But unlike other hydrocolloids, such as gelatin or starch, alginate will only thicken or gel a water-based liquid in the presence of ions such as calcium. \r\n\r\nSodium alginate is the sodium salt of alginate.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38205,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":0,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"What is sodium alginate?","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"Before alginate can thicken or gel a liquid, it needs to be evenly dispersed into that liquid (no lumps) and hydrated (each molecule surrounded by water). It sounds simple, but it sometimes can prove difficult. \r\n\r\nDispersing alginate into hot liquid tends to cause it to hydrate and gel before the powder has been dispersed. The resulting lumps are unpleasant and cause inconsistent results. For this reason, it's always best to blend alginate into a very cold liquid, or to first dry-blend it with an ingredient like sugar. \r\n\r\nSphere Magic, a prehydrated product intended to make spherification easier, is already dry-blended with maltodextrin. It's best to add it to tepid liquid so that the maltodextrin quickly dissolves. Sphere Magic can also be whisked or blended into cold liquid.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38206,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":4194304,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Dispersion and hydration","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"With [direct spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/direct-spherification), the pH of the flavorful liquid is important. Below a pH of 3.6, alginate tends to convert into insoluble algenic acid, which inhibits hydration. It also thickens the solution, which makes it difficult to form attractive droplets. \n\nThe fix is to add an alkaline ingredient\u2014sometimes called a buffering salt\u2014to elevate the pH of the flavorful liquid above 3.6 before adding the sodium alginate or Sphere Magic. Sodium citrate or sodium hexametaphosphate is often used to raise the pH of a liquid.\n\nAdd small amounts of these alkaline salts until the pH is more appropriate. Measure the pH using cheap <a href=\"http://www.modernistpantry.com/ph-test-strips.html\" target=blankl>litmus paper</a> or a relatively inexpensive <a href=\"http://www.modernistpantry.com/ph-meters.html\" target=blank>handheld pH meter</a>. Or you can trust in your palate to detect reduced tartness.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38207,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":6291456,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Getting the pH right","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"Spherification relies on the ability of calcium to cause alginate to gel. Excess calcium can prevent hydration and cause the liquid to gel prematurely. So it can be problematic if a liquid already contains calcium before you add Sphere Magic or alginate. \r\n\r\nFor [reverse spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/reverse-spherification) and [frozen-reverse spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/frozen-reverse-spherification), the solution is to avoid using hard water when preparing the setting bath. Simply use distilled water instead. \r\n\r\nFor [direct spherification](http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/direct-spherification), calcium is often naturally present in flavorful liquids. The solution is to add a sequestrant.\r\n\r\nWhat is a sequestrant? It's a compound that mops up excess calcium ions by binding them so that they cannot interact with other molecules. The two most common sequestrants are sodium citrate and sodium hexametaphosphate. Unfortunately, sodium citrate loses its ability to bind calcium below a pH of 4.5. Therefore, if you need to both elevate the pH and sequester calcium, it is best to use sodium hexametaphosphate, fondly called \"hex\" or \"shmp.\" ","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38208,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":7340032,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Avoiding excess calcium","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"There are many salts, but calcium salts are used for spherification. A salt is a crystalline solid, and once it dissolves, it dissociates into positively and negatively charged ions. \r\n\r\nGram for gram, different salts contain different amounts of calcium. That means, to get an equal concentration of calcium in a solution, we need different weights of various calcium salts. \r\n\r\nThe following are some common calcium salts, and the percentage of each that is comprised of a calcium ion. \r\n\r\n* Calcium chloride, 36.1%\r\n* Calcium sulfate, 29.4%\r\n* Calcium lacate, 18.4%\r\n* Calcium gluconate lactate, 9.3%\r\n\r\nSo if you prepare a 1% calcium chloride solution, by weight it will be a 0.36% calcium solution. To prepare an equal calcium solution from calcium gluconate lactate, you need to use about four times more of that salt, since it only contains a quarter of the calcium. \r\n\r\nCalcium chloride tastes bitter, but it can be rinsed off spheres created using direct spherification. Calcium gluconate lactate, with its neutral flavor, is best for reverse and frozen-reverse spherification.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38209,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":7864320,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Choosing a calcium salt","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":316,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","directions":"The gelled alginate skin of a sphere is permeable to small molecules. If you store the spheres in water, water will flow into the spheres, while diffusion will cause taste and aroma molecules to flow out of the spheres, thus diluting the flavor. But if you store the spheres in the same liquid that they are made from, except without adding alginate or calcium salt to that liquid, then the flavor won't be diluted over time.\n\nAnother option is to hold spheres in an oil bath. Because oil and water don't mix, there is no risk of osmotic flow diluting the flavor. Whether this is a good approach will depend on the flavor of your spheres and how you intend to serve them.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":38210,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":8126464,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Preserving the flavor of spheres","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-01-20T05:20:07Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]}]}

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