Spherification Troubleshooting

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Table Of Contents

1. Direct Spherification Troubleshooting
1a. Dissolved Spheres/Spheres Not Forming
1b. Flat Spheres or Trapped Air Bubbles
1c. Clumpy or Solid Flavorful Liquid
1d. Noodling
2. Reverse Spherification Troubleshooting
2a. Spheres Not Forming in Reverse Spherification
3. More Spherification Course Content

Direct Spherification Troubleshooting

Dissolved Spheres/Spheres Not Forming

If the spheres dissipate when they enter the calcium bath, the flavorful liquid most likely is too acidic. sodium alginate requires a pH of 4.0 and above.

If this is the case, it is best to start over with another batch of flavorful liquid. Adding 0.8% of sodium citrate by weight to a flavorful liquid will buffer the pH to 4.0. Then add the sodium alginate and continue the recipe.


Flat Spheres or Trapped Air Bubbles

If the spheres you are becoming flat like discs or have air bubbles as they drop into the calcium bath, then they are being dropped from too high.

A corrective action is to drop the spheres from no higher than 1 to 2 inches above from the setting bath.


Clumpy or Solid Flavorful Liquid

If the flavorful liquid contains calcium it will begin linking the sodium alginate immediately as it is added.

There are two options, use this liquid for reverse spherification only or add a sequestrant to remove the calcium before adding sodium alginate.

Add 0.5% sodium hexametaphosphate by weight to remove any calcium from the flavorful liquid.



If the spheres are more like little noodles then the flavorful liquid is being dispensed too quickly.

A corrective action is to press the plunger as slowly as possible until the right pressure is found to create individual drops for perfect spheres.


Reverse Spherification Troubleshooting

Spheres Not Forming in Reverse Spherification

When making reverse spherificaton, one may find that the spheres do not sink into the sodium alginate setting bath.

A corrective action is to slightly thicken this liquid using 0.1 – 0.3% Perfected xanthan gum.

Perfected xanthan gum is easy to use as it is easily whisked in. Allow 5 – 10 minutes to fully hydrate.


More Spherification Course Content