The term "Versawhip" usually refers to VersawhipTM 600K, a proprietary modified soy protein used to replace egg whites or gelatin in foam recipes. Versawhip is desirable because it has no egg taste and can withstand conditions that egg foams would not be stable in. Versawhip provides double the aerating capability of egg whites, it has great flavor release, has greater acid tolerance, results in a much more stable foam, cannot be overwhipped, can be used in hot or cold foams and has reduced microbial risk. Versawhip can be used to make vegan meringues, macaroons and foams.
We know relatively little about Versawhip because it is a proprietary formulation created by the Kerry Group. Although the powder is sold under several brand names, it appears that all the various suppliers source the ingredient from Kerry.
What we do know is that Versawhip is composed of soy proteins that have been enzymatically treated to give them properties similar to those of egg whites. This approach appears similar to what is done with soy lecithin, which is used as a substitute for the lecithin found in egg yolks. Specifically, Versawhip 600K is a soy protein hydrolysate.
Today's Versawhip 600K seems to come from the Versa-whip line of additives that were used as early as the 1950s to fortify non-dairy creamer and whipped creams. You might also see various versions of the Versawhip 500 series. These can also be used for foaming and emulsion, though modern molecular gastronomy recipes generally call for Versawhip 600K and this is what we use as well.
Versawhip 600K is almost always used in modern molecular gastronomy to create foams. The soy protein in Versawhip is specifically modified to simulate the behavior of egg proteins. Since there are many different types of protein in eggs with different functions, it's hard for us to comment on exactly how Versawhip simulates their behavior without additional information from the manufacturer.
Versawhip is generally used to make foams. It can be modified with other ingredients to create different textures.
In this simple yet elegant recipe for Coconut Bubbles, Gruyere and Candied Apricot, we combine Versawhip with xanthan gum and sugar to create a light, airy foam that's stable enough to be spooned.
In this recipe for Pavlova with Caribbean Citrus Flavors by Executive Pastry Chef Angel Ramirez Betancourt, Versawhip gives a stable foundation to a foam thickened with xanthan, fruit purees, and sugar.
In our final recipe, Parkside restaurant in Austin, TX takes Versawhip foams one step further by creating a Yuzu meringue to accompany Goat Cheese Mousse, Grape Jelly, and Basil Ice Cream. After creating the foam, the chefs dehydrate it for eight hours before using it in the final dish.
Temperature: Disperses readily in cold and hot water, though we have not tested the maximum possible temperature and could find no resources that listed a maximum temperature.
Texture: By itself, Versawhip will create an airy foam in low concentrations and a creamier, but still airy foam in higher concentrations. To make the foam more springy and dense, use xanthan. To make the foam creamier and more dense, add sugar.
Taste: By itself, Versawhip has a bitter and metallic taste. Recipes should contain enough strong-flavored ingredients to mask the taste. Versawhip is also usually used in small enough concentrations that the flavor is not noticeable.
Appearance: Sold as a white powder. Forms an opaque white foam.
Flavor release: Excellent.
Mouthfeel: Light by itself (lighter than an equivalent egg foam), thickens with xanthan or sugar.
Freeze / Thaw stable: No, foam will break.
Syneresis (weeping): Very little, compared to an egg foam.
Interactions and Tolerance of Versawhip
PH Tolerance: Can be used with very acidic ingredients, such as lime juice.
Inhibitors: do not use with liquids containing fat.
Other Tolerances: Will foam in the presence of alcohol, but the foam weakens as alcohol concentration increases.
Synergies with other ingredients: synergies with other foaming ingredients, such as egg whites or gelatin.
How to use Versawhip
Concentration Range: 0.5-2% for most applications. Foams usually stabilized with 0.1-0.2% Xanthan Gum. For a thick , fine textured foam, use 1% Versawhip with 0.15% Xanthan Gum.
Dispersion: Disperses readily in any temperature water.
Hydration: Hydrates easily in any temperature water.