Spherification

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Spherification of tea
Spherification of apple juice

Spherification is a culinary process that employs sodium alginate and either calcium chloride or calcium glucate lactate to shape a liquid into squishy spheres, which visually and texturally resemble roe. The technique was documented by Unilever in the 1950s[1] and brought to the modernist cuisine by the creative team at El Bulli under the direction of executive chef Ferran Adrià.

Preparation[edit]

There are two main methods for creating such spheres, which differ based on the calcium content of the liquid product to be spherified.

Basic spherification[edit]

For flavored liquids (such as fruit juices) containing no calcium, the liquid is thoroughly mixed with a small quantity of powdered sodium alginate, then dripped into a bowl filled with a cold solution of calcium chloride, or other soluble calcium salt.

Just as a teaspoonful of water dropped into a bowl of vegetable oil forms a little bubble of water in the oil, each drop of the alginated liquid tends to form into a small sphere in the calcium solution. Then, during a reaction time of a few seconds to a few minutes, the calcium solution causes the outer layer of each alginated liquid sphere to form a thin, flexible skin. The resulting "popping boba" or artificial "caviar" balls are rinsed then in water and saved for later use in food or beverages.

Reverse spherification[edit]

Reverse spherification, for use with substances that contain calcium (e.g. milk) or have high acid/alcohol content, requires dripping the substance (containing calcium lactate or calcium lactate gluconate) into an alginate bath. A more recent technique is frozen reverse spherification, which involves pre-freezing spheres containing calcium lactate gluconate and then submerging them in a sodium alginate bath.

Basic and reverse spherification methods give the same result: a sphere of liquid held by a thin gel membrane, texturally similar to roe.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Potter, Jeff (2010). Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, page 305. O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 0-596-80588-8.