How food spherification works


28 Responses to “How food spherification works”

  1. Relying on unsupported liquids’ tendency to form balls (achieving the minimum volume relative to surface area–works for bubbles, too), and then treating the balls to solidify them. Chemically, for the food mentioned, but by cooling for lead shot:

  2. chaopoiesis says:

    The exquisite irony being that with only minor textual adjustments the very same essay could be published under the title “The Horrific Practice of French Frying”.

    • THIS. thank you. that article bugged me so much… i basically read, “I HATE THINGS THAT ARE NEW GET OFF MY LAWN”

    • Pliny_the_Elder says:

      AND THEN in “The Horrific Practice of Making Pie”  the chef cuts the chilled, rendered fat of a pig into the finely ground endosperm of a wheat berry.

  3. daemonsquire says:

    She can act all “horrified” if she likes but it won’t make the “salmon eggs” in my candy sushi any less fun or delicious.

  4. JC C says:

    Food Pills!!ELEVENTY!! Must have some to keep in the glove box of my flying car!

  5. Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet says:

    Horrifying maybe, but also deeply compelling.  I have had well made spherical salad dressing, and sauce, and once even soup.  I love the weird texture and fish-egg like pop.

    While at Ikea recently I purchased seaweed “garnish” which appear to be little black seaweed balls to use in place of fish eggs for vegetarians.  I look forward to trying them.

  6. robuluz says:

    Wow! Don’t hate on food spherification around Boing Boing, mofo!

  7. Jorpho says:

    Then there’s just enough time to say, “Oh. You served me vegetable soup in cold, quivering ball form. How original,” and it’s down the reluctant hatch.

    They forgot the part about the subsequent $300 dinner bill.

    • Guest says:

      $300? Maybe? Not actually though.

      I’ve eaten roe which were actually an onion aspic in spheroid form, as part of an amazing, and not unaffordable ($<30 without wine) enormously filling and satisfying multicourse dining experience.

      It was at Nudel in Lenox, MA. I may have the details wrong. I will eat anything there.

      If you think that only ever  costs 300 dollars and therefore is inaccessible, you may be missing out on some great great possibilities because your refuse to see them, but not because they are out of reach.

      • Jorpho says:

        you may be missing out on some great great possibilities because your refuse to see them

        WTF?  The existence of affordable restaurants in Massachusetts does not preclude that of overpriced establishments that offer “molecular gastronomy”, and vice versa.

        • Guest says:

          “They forgot the part about the subsequent $300 dinner bill.”

          they also forgot the part about the potential for a $30 dollar dinner bill, is the fuck.

          Although, it could be you. Your call.

  8. Daemonworks says:

    When I was in Japan, one of my friends found a candy sushi making set, in which all of the sushi is made by mixing various powders and water to create gummy sushi.

    The process for making the fake salmon roe looks to be exactly what’s described here – and the results were impressive. Looked exactly right, and the people who’ve eaten the real thing described the texture as being identical, though the candy obviously tasted better.

  9. allybeag says:

    Wonder if Heston Blumenthal has tried this yet?

  10. tnmc says:

    I’ve been playing with this stuff at home.  It’s fun, tastes great and  - so long as you don’t fall into the trap of making technique the focus of your meal – not at all horrifying and rather delicious.

  11. caipirina says:

    I’d love to make my own faux Ikura that way (as it is not available where I live) … but sounds like a lot of work, i don’t have a centrifuge, and I wonder if / how I would need to adjust to high altitude … 

  12. Hubris Sonic says:

    This is quite interesting, just had a course at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong that did a entire pork & chinese red vinegar soup in a ball. Excellent flavors…

  13. Kevin Pierce says:

    How It’s Made did an episode on Kelp Caviar, using a similar process:
    Bomp-bomp-bomp-ba-bomp… (I hear the theme music just thinking about it)

  14. This makes me think of Prelude to Foundation and the spheres they made at the yeast farms. 

  15. OoerictoO says:

    don’t call it “molecular gastronomy”.  many chefs feel that term is prejudicial.   just call it experimental or modernist. 
    many techniques are extremely useful and produce flavors and textures unavailable otherwise. 

  16. AJE says:

    That’s actually a surprisingly terrible & confused job of describing spherification.  When the cations are put into alginate, this is typically referred to as ‘reverse speherification’, and author neglects to explain that the thickness of these shells can be precisely controlled and importantly are subsequently stable, while normal spherification (alginate into cation bath) is the only process where the drops once prepared must be rushed to serve, as the gelation process will continue (cations keep diffusing inward).
    Better choices are Texture: Harvard’s Science & Cooking class, which is available through itunes U for free, where you can have people with a modicum more knowledge like Ferran Adria and David Weitz explain it.

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