Creating faux caviar spheres using sodium alginate and calcium lactate gluconate is known as reverse spherification. It is a fascinating culinary technique that can add a touch of elegance and creativity to various dishes. The process involves creating small spheres that resemble real caviar in appearance but can be made with a wide range of flavors and textures. Below are detailed directions on how to make faux caviar spheres and the benefits and uses of doing so:
Regular spherification and reverse spherification are two different techniques used in molecular gastronomy to create unique textures and presentations of food. Both methods involve the use of sodium alginate and a calcium solution, but they differ in the way they interact with the food being prepared.
Regular Spherification: Regular spherification is the more traditional and commonly used technique. It involves creating gel-like spheres with a liquid interior and a thin, jelly-like membrane on the outside. The basic process for regular spherification is as follows:
A liquid mixture that you want to turn into spheres (e.g., fruit juice, flavored liquid) is mixed with sodium alginate, which is derived from seaweed and acts as a gelling agent.
The alginate mixture is carefully dripped or dropped into a bath containing a solution of a calcium solution which is usually calcium chloride.
When the alginate mixture encounters the calcium chloride solution, a chemical reaction occurs. The calcium ions in the calcium chloride cause the alginate molecules to cross-link and form a gel-like membrane around the liquid center, creating small spheres or "caviar."
Reverse Spherification: Reverse spherification is a more advanced technique that is particularly useful for foods that cannot be directly exposed to calcium chloride without losing their desired properties. In reverse spherification, the process is, as the name suggests, reversed compared to regular spherification. The basic process for reverse spherification is as follows:
The liquid mixture that you want to turn into spheres is mixed with a calcium solution. This forms small droplets or spheres of the liquid with a thin gel-like membrane around them.
As the calcium-treated droplets sit in the alginate bath, a similar chemical reaction occurs. The calcium ions are exchanged with the alginate in the solution, causing the gel-like membrane to form and encapsulate the liquid center.
The main difference between regular spherification and reverse spherification is the order in which the calcium solution and sodium alginate are introduced to the process. In regular spherification, the alginate is in the liquid mixture, while the calcium chloride is in the bath. In reverse spherification, the calcium chloride is in the liquid mixture, and the alginate is in the bath.
The choice between regular and reverse spherification depends on the specific culinary application and the properties of the ingredients being used. Both techniques offer chefs and food enthusiasts a creative way to present liquids in solid, spherical forms, adding an element of surprise and texture to dishes.
Creating faux caviar using reverse spherification techniques.
Prepare the Sodium Alginate Bath:
Prepare the Flavored Liquid:
Create the Caviar Spheres:
Set the Caviar:
Prepare the Calcium Chloride Bath:
Transfer the Caviar Spheres:
Rinse the Caviar Spheres:
Overall, making faux caviar spheres using sodium alginate and calcium lactate gluconate is an enjoyable and innovative culinary technique that can impress guests and spark creativity in the kitchen.
Cape Crystal Brands on its website offers two types of spherification kits on its website using the ingredients described. The first is its Direct Spherification Value Kit which contains sodium alginate combined with calcium chloride. These two ingredients are all you need to practice molecular gastronomy and to make decorative faux caviar. The second kit is its Reverse Spherification Value Kit containing sodium alginate combined with calcium lactate gluconate. Both kit’s ingredients are vegan, non-GMO and Kosher Certified.
Have you tried creating faux caviar yet? Please share with us in the comments section below!