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물성 ≫ 증점제 ≫ 증점제 역할
플루이드 겔 (Fluid gel)
- 응고, 겔화, 강직
- 다당류의 겔화 : 알긴산 겔화
- Gelled emulsion
플루이드겔(Fluid gels)은 액체와 고체의 2가지 모습을 동시에 가지고 있는 겔이다. 겉보기에는 겔 같으나 입에 넣은 식감은 액체 같다. 가만히 두면 겔의 특성을 가지고 있어서 알로에 같은 큰 입자도 가라않지 하고 코코아음료에서 코코아 분말도 가라않지 않게 한다. 케첩이 대표적인 경우이다. 케첩은 병에 가만히 두면 겔처럼 보인다. 그런데 충분히 힘을 가하면 갑자기 액체처럼 흐른다. 이것은 많은 토마토 퓨레 덕분이고, 맛이나 사용성에 장점이 많지만 이런 물성을 흉내내기는 쉽지 않다.
플루이드 겔은 증점제로 점도를 높인 액체와는 다음과 같이 확연히 다른 특징을 보여 준다.
Thicker Liquids : Unlike many thickeners, such as xanthan gum, fluid gels can be made very thick without developing bad textures. This helps create sauces with the consistency of ketchup or even pudding without developing unfavorable mouthfeel. If you tried to use xanthan gum to thicken the same amount it would develop an unappealing mucus-like texture.
Stays in Place : Because fluid gels act like a gel when they are stationary they tend to stay put on the plate better. This is nice if you have different sauces for different items, or if the sauces are a separate, decorative element. Also, unlike thickened liquids, they thin out when eaten, so the texture in the mouth can be different than the texture on the plate.
Particle Suspension : The suspension of particles can be accomplished both with a fluid gel and a thickened liquid. However, a thickened liquid will feel thick in the mouth while the fluid gel will feel thin and fluid. This is why many beverages with particles in them, such as fruit juices and flavored milks, use fluid gels instead of thickened liquids, they are more palatable.
Fluid Gel Process : Fluid gels are very easy to create. You first make a standard gel using one of a subset of the above gelling agents. You can adjust the initial thickness of the fluid gel by changing the concentration of the gelling ingredient. Once the gel sets you puree it in a standing blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. You can change the thickness of the pureed gel by adding xanthan gum to thicken it or liquid to thin it out.
Fluid Gel Containers : I try to use a container that works well with my immersion blender so I can blend it directly in the container, but any container will work. If you need it to gel more quickly, try to use a container that is wide and flat, so the gel will not be as thick and will set faster.
Fluid Gel Ingredients : A few of the gelling agents work well for the creation of fluid gels. I've found best results for cold gels with agar, iota and kappa carrageenan, and gelatin. For hot gels, agar is really the only ingredient in this information that can hold up to the heat. Gellan, which we don't cover in depth, is also commonly used.
Pre-Made Fluid Gel : If you find yourself making fluid gels on a regular basis or want to gel raw ingredients, you can sacrifice some flavor by using premade fluid gels. Simply make a gel with water and 1% agar and let it set. It will last covered in the refrigerator for a week or two.
When you want to turn a liquid into a fluid gel you puree it with some of the pre-made fluid gel. Start with a small amount and continue adding more until the liquid is the texture you prefer. Because of the water content it will dilute the liquid some but the convenience can be worth it.