Let’s have some fun with weird science that you can apply to your cooking and create tasty recipes.
Methylcellulose, derived from plants, is a hydrocolloid. A hydrocolloid is the weird science name for a substance that turns into a gel when heated and melts back to a liquid as it gets colder.
This property is thermoreversible, which means that you can cycle back and forth between hot temperatures causing the cellulose to become more solid, and colder temperatures, causing it to melt.
Chefs in fancy restaurants use this ingredient to make hot ice cream and some fancy meringues.
If you want to try this ingredient in your recipes, you can find it for sale online. Be sure to buy the premium-quality food-grade type.
Liquid nitrogen is used for flash freezing. The advantage of freezing something very quickly is you avoid forming large ice crystals, which can degrade the taste and texture of the frozen food. Sushi restaurants use flash freezing to preserve fish in perfect condition until thawed, sliced, and served raw.
Use liquid nitrogen flash freezing if you want to make ice cream that is smoother and more creamy. Using liquid nitrogen will also avoid the grainy taste from unwanted large ice crystals in the ice cream milk mixture.
Vacuum-Packed Hot Water Bag
The French cooking technique used to heat food perfectly and evenly is called “sous vide.” Food packed in temperature-resistant plastic bags is placed in hot water.
You can cook food at the exact temperature you want by regulating the hot water temperature using a thermometer. This method is a fast and convenient way to heat or reheat food, and the results are also perfectly cooked and delicious.
Once you learn to cook food using this method, you will rarely use a microwave to reheat food. It is impossible to overcook food or dry it out using this method. Moreover, you avoid the taste-changing oxidation that may come from the exposure of the food to the air while cooking.
Bobo Tea Balls
Have you ever wondered how they make those wonderful gelatinous balls found in bobo tea and other similar drinks?
The process uses sodium alginate, a chemical found in seaweed that gives the plant its flexibility.
Use flavored liquid with the correct amount of sodium alginate. Drop it into a calcium salt bath, and voila! You have bobo tea balls through a process in weird science called spherification. A stable gel sphere forms around the flavored liquid to create a ball with a delicious taste and squishiness.
A foam is a liquid with bubbles of air trapped inside. To create a tasty culinary foam, you can use a water-based flavored liquid, a whisker to put air bubbles in it, and an emulsifier like soy lecithin to keep the bubbles from popping.
Soy lecithin added to the flavored liquid lowers the surface tension of the bubbles, so they will not pop as easily. This ingredient helps the foam stay foamy.
Let’s Get Cookin
You may think these techniques are only for fancy restaurants, but you can do them at home too. And what would a weird science topic be without a weird science name? When you learn these techniques, you will be an expert in molecular gastronomy.