Honestly, I was surprised that I haven’t written about this topic yet. I love fluid gels, and they are one of the easiest modern techniques. You may be asking “what is a fluid gel” and that’s exactly why we are here. A deep dive into the basic science of fluid gels. How they work and why would you need to make them. With anything cooking technique there are tips and tricks to help you along the way. But this still begs the question, What is a fluid gel?
“What is a fluid gel?”
A fluid gel is a very simple and forgiving technique. A flavorful liquid is the first and most important part of this recipe. Without a flavorful liquid this will just be a dull flavored gel. We suggest taking this to the brink of being over seasoned to your liking. This will help the flavors shine through the gel. Gels have a tendency to dull flavors, so do your best to make this liquid as flavorful as it can be. Now you want to choose a gelling agent that resists heat, super agar or gellan gum F are your best choices. This is all you really need, ingredient wise to create a fluid gel. Once the flavorful liquid and gelling agent have been blended together they will need to be heated. After the liquid has been brought to a boil, leave to cool and set as a gel. The gel should be firm enough to cut with a rubber spatula. Now comes the interesting part. Place the gel into a blender and begin blending. The blending will not melt the gel since we used a high temperature gelling agent. It will, however, shred the gel into extremely small pieces. And the blending continues. The gel pieces will become smaller and smaller until they resemble a liquid. This mixture should be sieved to remove any large pieces that may have been missed. How the fluid gel can be used to garnish plates or fill warmed pastries.
How and why does a fluid gel work? A fluid gel is known as thixotropic.This is a fancy word for a liquid that is solid until force is applied and at that time it turns into a liquid. The best example of this is ketchup – ketchup is not runny and will stay put when you place it on a burger. Envision the ketchup that is seemingly frozen inside the bottle until it is tapped loose and begins to pour out. A fluid gel can be used to decorate plates without the worry of the strategically placed dots running all over the plate. But as we said before once they are eaten they become a fluid sauce.
Finally I will leave you with two solid tips to make your fluid gels last longer. First, adding a small amount of xanthan gum to a fluid gel will help prevent any liquids from weeping out and keep the fluid gel the same consistency for over a week. And secondly adding sodium citrate and sodium hexametaphosphate to fluid gels that are dairy based will prevent the proteins from clumping during the heating. These melting salts allow you to create a smooth sauce out of any diary. So get out there and make some great fluid gels for any dish and see how easy it is or try out some of our recipes below.
Ready to get Cooking?
Tzatkiki Fluid Gel with Homemade Pita Bread: This recipe distills the essence of the bold and bright flavors of tzatziki sauce into a smooth fluid gel. Elevate your plating with a sauce that won’t weep or break in this Modern Greek classic.
Irish Cream Filled Marshmallows: Sandwich this tasty marshmallow treat between some graham crackers and you’ve got yourself an adult s’more. We mold our marshmallows and pipe in the Irish cream fluid gel for a delightful dessert that’s both familiar and utterly unexpected.
Fruit Fluid Gel Kouign-Amann: Kouign-Amann is a decadent puff pastry that serves up buttery flaky enjoyment. Add a generous dollop of the fruit-based fluid gel of your choice to the center to complement the richness of the pastry with just the right touch of berry, citrus and acidity.