Plant based Egg yolks: From Impossible to Poppable?

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The Struggle:

The egg, a literal building block for life. Packed full of proteins and fats, this complex little package allows us to make so many amazing recipes. The egg seems like it would be one of the more difficult things to replicate when it comes to plant-based alternatives. Wildly enough people have found ways to make a yolk and white that work. Texturally these alternatives seem to be on point but what about that perfect presentation. How do you make an egg yolk that rests perfectly in a “bubble” just waiting to be popped. Thankfully one method has held true ensuring the plant based egg yolk, regardless of the recipe, is plump and poppable. That method is spherification. But what is spherification and how can it help you make your perfect plant based egg poppable?

“How can I make plant based egg yolk poppable?” 

No Joke Yolk

Whether you’re developing your own recipe, using one from the internet, or purchasing premade plant-based egg yolk. You can use this method to encapsulate the yolk for whatever presentation you wish. A plant based tartare or a table side plant based carbonara could all be elevated by the spherification technique. 

Spherification Is a technique made possible by two ingredients. The first being sodium alginate and the second being calcium. When making a plant-based egg yolk the technique you’ll need to use is reverse spherification. This method will be the easiest because you simply have to add calcium to your recipe. One percent of the total weight of the egg yolk will need to be calcium. The calcium that we suggest is either calcium lactate or calcium lactate gluconate. These are both flavorless calcium‘s that can be added to just about anything. The next ingredient sodium alginate will need to be mixed with distilled water. This can be done by gently sprinkling the sodium alginate into the distilled water while it is in a blender. The sodium alginate should be used in a ratio of 1.4% to the total weight of the distilled water. At this point you are ready to make spheres. 

Once the calcium has been added to the yolk, and the sodium alginate has been hydrated the spherification can begin. Dropping a tablespoon of the yolk mixture directly into the sodium alginate bath will instantly create a gel around the outside of the yolk. This happens because the calcium ions start bonding together with the sodium alginate. This creates a thin gel around the entire yolk. Allowing the yolk to set in the sodium alginate bath for two minutes is optimal. This way the gel is thin enough to not be noticed but thick enough to not pop prematurely. A quick rinse in fresh water takes off any excess sodium alginate on the outside of the yolks and they can be stored in a container of neutral flavored oil until needed. Commonly you would store the finished spheres in a container of the flavorful liquid it is made out of, in this case plant based egg yolk. But due to it being opaque and viscous we suggest the oil storage method. Also the oil will give a nice sheen to the outside of the yolks for a better presentation.

So, the next time that you ‘re craving a rich classic egg yolk try this method to make it plant based. And for a more in-depth look at its spherification check out our free online course. Until next time, keep cooking.