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30Sep/1417

Port Fluid Gel

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A solid and a liquid at the same time? A gel that behaves like a thickened liquid? Fluid gels are a great modernist way to add a new texture to your dishes and present them beautifully. Hot or cold, fluid gels can be made from fruit or vegetable juices, stocks, beverages and practically any flavorful liquid you want.

Fluid gels allow you to incorporate flavorful liquids in dishes that wouldn't work well with liquid ingredients. On a flat plate or to coat other ingredients, fluid gels could be more adequate than liquids.

Port fluid gel with agar agar

Port fluid gel dollops

A fluid gel also adds a smooth and creamy texture to the liquid, allowing you to present a liquid ingredient with a different mouthfeel and play with different textures such as a carrot fluid gel and a carrot foam for example.

If you've taken our Gels Course, you probably already know what fluid gels are. Fluid gels have both the properties of solids and liquids. Gels are usually solidified liquids that hold its shape thanks to their molecular structure. On the other hand, liquids are fluid and do not hold their shape given their weak molecular structure. But fluid gels can hold their shape while they are also fluid and can be spread or reshaped into various forms.

Some hydrocolloids display a unique characteristic when blended or stirred and create a fluid gel. If you were to blend a gel made with gelatin or carrageenan, the force of the blades (called shear) would turn the solid gel into a liquid. If the temperatures were right, that liquid would slowly convert back into a gel. This shear thinning property is called thixotropy. Under static conditions, these hydrocolloids produce solid gels (or thick viscous fluids) that will start flowing and become less viscous when agitated, stirred, shaken or blended. If let to rest, these fluids would return to their original solid state or thick viscosity. The time it takes for this transformation depends on the hydrocolloid. It could be instant or it could take a few hours.

Other hydrocolloids such as agar agar, become fluid when blended but do not return back to their original solid gel state. When blending an agar agar gel, it breaks down into tiny pieces but will not revert back into a solid. We refer to this by saying that agar agar forms a fluid gel under shear. A fluid gel is still a gel, but because of the smaller particle size, it behaves in many ways like a thickened fluid. Agar agar and gellan gum are the most common hydrocolloids used to make fluid gels.

Let's learn how to make a simple fluid gel with Port wine and agar agar.

Port fluid gel made with agar - top

Port fluid gel in squeeze bottle - dollops top

Ingredients

- 250 g (8.8 oz) Port wine

- 4 g (1.6%) agar agar

Preparation

1- In a small pan over medium heat, bring to boil the Port wine and agar agar. Whisk occasionally to make sure the agar agar is dispersed and fully hydrated.

2- Pour the liquid in a container and let it set.

3- Cut the agar gel in small cubes.

4- Blend the gel cubes thoroughly using an immersion blender until smooth.

5- Pass the fluid gel through a fine sieve.

6- Store in a sealed container or squeeze bottle in the fridge until ready to use.

 

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  • Chocletz

    Can this recipe be used with alcohol?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can.

  • Jesse Risiott

    Hi what is the best way to store this for service? I made it and after blending it was awesome but when i put it in a syringe in the fridge while i prepared other things, it turned to a Jelly like texture again and came out of the syringe in little tiny particles of gel as opposed to the nice smooth liquid gel before. Should it be kept at room temp or will it still solidify. Would re-Shearing before service work again or should i just make the gel early and let it set and then just shear and use straight away? Thanks

    • QuantumChef

      Hi Jesse, we usually store it in a squeeze bottle. You shouldn’t have to re-shear it again but you can do so if needed. It should get smooth again. You can also add more liquid if you want to make it smoother and softer.

    • john

      I have the same problem happened to me

  • Domenic Abitino

    Would this work also with a clear gelatin?

  • brendan

    would this recipe be fine if i was to use root vegetables like purple carrots?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes. I assume you mean the juice of root vegetables.

  • Jack Lavalette

    How long will this last in the fridge?

    • QuantumChef

      2 or 3 days

  • Maarten America

    Very new to this site, and loving it! Just read about the consome of e.g. mushroom.
    Would this also work on consome in the same way?

  • SaucySnoop

    Would an agar fluid gel like this one freeze? I am looking for a way to have a fluid gel as the liquid center of a frozen mousse. I don’t need it to be liquid but it can’t be frozen solid.

    • QuantumChef

      Probably not a good idea. Agar suffers from syneresis caused by freezing. You can try it but as it thaws the liquid may separate from the gel.

      • SaucySnoop

        Thanks for the reply. Maybe I’ll try another gelling agent.