Sunday, August 9, 2009

On the Cutting (Weeping) Edge

I've been fascinated by gelatin clarification, a relatively new 'molecular gastronomy' technique for a while, though I'm only now gearing up to try it. The method attracts me because it's not part of classical technique, works very well, and is totally accessible to the home cook. Gel clarification is at least 4 or 5 years old, which seemed new (and it is, relative to techniques in the classical repertoire) until last night, when I discovered another clarification technique that makes gel clarification look like a dinosaur: agar clarification.

Agar clarification was first written about on Ideas in Food less than a month ago and then explained and simplified on Cooking Issues and later applied there to alcohol. This method uses the same syneresis effect as the older gel clarification technique, but it works much faster because you don't need to freeze the gel; agar gels apparently do not 'melt' at room temperature.

It's really exciting to see these techniques being invented and refined in real time.

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