The term molecular gastronomy started to be used to describe the more experimental cooking in the late 90s and early 2000s of chefs such as Ferran Adria of El Bulli, Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck and Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se. These were just a few of those exploring new possibilities in the kitchen by embracing techniques and ingredients previously used only in food manufacturing. These processes include the use of various natural gums and hydrocolloids produced by the commercial food processing industry.
Although these chefs prefer not to describe their style of cooking as ‘molecular gastronomy‘ , the term has stuck in common parlance.
Most frequently used molecular cooking techniques:
- Emulsification – using Lecithin as an emulsifier and non-stick agent
- Gelification – using Hydrocolloids such as starch, gelatin, agar agar, pectin and natural gums as thickening agents, gelling agents and stabilizers, sometimes needed for foams
- Spherification – the creation of liquid “bead” like solids which pop in the mouth to create an explosion of flavour. They can be served hot or cold, in a mound that reminds of caviar or dispersed in a cocktail. The process generally involves calcium in some form reacting with a sodium alginate, or similar.
Molecular gastronomy made easy
Heston Blumenthal particularly dislikes the term ‘molecular gastronomy’, believing it makes it sound too “complicated” and “elitist. And so, one website, newbymouth.com has put together a guide to some of the new techniques and molecular cooking ingredients to demonstrate that it need not be as difficult as you think to make. For example, you could start out by trying your hand at making: fruit juice caviar in spherification, chocolate jelly using gelification or even foamy cocktails using emulsification.
Where to buy molecular gastronomy ingredients
So, there’s nothing to stop you ‘having a go’ at home; but where do you buy molecular gastronomy ingredients like Agar Agar, Calcium gluconate, Citric Acid, Isomalt, Sodium Alginate, Sorbitol, Soy Lecithin and Xanthan gum?
There are quite a few suppliers selling small sachets of these molecular cooking ingredients but it is much harder to find bigger quantities. Newbymouth.com sell 180g tubs, each sure to last even the most enthusiastic home user months of usage.
What separates New By Mouth from our competitors is the value for money we offer on our range of additives. Molecular gastronomy ingredients are just one of the ranges of top quality ingredients more commonly found in the kitchens of top restaurants throughout the UK and Europe, now available from newbymouth.com.