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21May/1250

Perfect Spheres with Frozen Reverse Spherification

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LESSONS

Spherification Overview
El Bulli – Spherification History
Basic Spherification
Reverse Spherification
Frozen Reverse Spherification
10 Tips to Create a Perfect Sphere
7 Tips for Making Spherification Caviar
Getting Started with Spherification
Spherification Recipes

The spherification technique, created by molecular gastronomy Chef Ferran Adria in 2003, consists of a controlled jellification of a liquid which forms spheres when submerged in a bath. There are a few variations of the spherification process: Basic Spherification, Reverse Spherification and Frozen Reverse Spherification.

Frozen Reverse Spherification is pretty much the same process as Reverse Spherification but with an extra freezing step. Freezing the main ingredient in hemispheric silicone molds reduces the preparation time, does not require practice and results in perfectly shaped spheres of consistent size. The hemispheric silicone mold is included in the Molecular Gastronomy Essentials Kit, the Molecular Gastronomy Premium Kit and the Molecular Gastronomy Ultimate Kit.

Watch the video below to master the Frozen Spherification Technique!

Hemispheric Silicone MoldAs in Reverse Spherification, this technique consists of submerging a liquid with calcium content in a bath of sodium alginate. But instead of using a spoon to pour the main ingredient into the alginate bath, a hemispheric mold is used to freeze the calcium mixture and then the frozen hemispheres are popped into the bath. As the edge of the hemisphere starts to melt, the calcium in the mixture reacts with the alginate in the bath to produce the membrane. After removing the spheres from the alginate bath, they are rinsed in a clean water bath.

The length of time that you need to leave the sphere in the bath is a little longer than in Reverse Spherification and it depends on how fast the frozen hemisphere thaws. To speed up the process, you can use a warm bath. If you use a warm alginate bath it can take from 2 to 5 minutes for the membrane to form.

Creating a perfect sphere using a spoon is an art and it takes time and patience (read 10 Tips to Create a Perfect Sphere). With Frozen Reverse Spherification, all the spheres will be the same size and perfectly round. Preparation time is shorter but you need to be able to prepare the mix in advance and allow it to freeze in the mold for several hours. Another benefit is that it is not necessary to thicken the main ingredient to create the spheres thus having a better release of liquid in the mouth when the sphere breaks. You may still want to slightly increase the viscosity so they can hold the spherical shape better when plated. The hemispheric silicone molds are perfect for frozen reverse spherification (buy silicone mold).

The only limitation of this technique is that you can only use it with ingredients that can freeze or do not get spoiled by freezing. So this technique wouldn’t be appropriate for alcoholic preparations for example. And of course, you need a silicone mold of bite size hemispheres. You can collaborate by getting the hemispheric mold from our store  or one of our Molecular Gastronomy Kits so we can keep adding recipes and techniques. Thank you in advance!

Take The Next Lesson!

Spherification Overview
El Bulli – Spherification History
Basic Spherification
Reverse Spherification
Frozen Reverse Spherification
10 Tips to Create a Perfect Sphere
7 Tips for Making Spherification Caviar
Getting Started with Spherification
Spherification Recipes

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kaplan/739977436 Jonathan Kaplan

    Why do 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kaplan/739977436 Jonathan Kaplan

    Why do you need to use hemispherical molds?  If a hemisphere becomes a sphere when melted, wouldn’t a cube do the same thing?  

    • QuantumChef

      With a cube you will obtain something closer to a “pillow” and you may end up having some leaking in the corners. It works, but not as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kaplan/739977436 Jonathan Kaplan

         Interesting!  Do you achieve a true sphere w/ a hemispherical mold, then?  Why doesn’t the “edge” on top mess it up?

        • QuantumChef

          It results in a round shape which is a little flatter than a full sphere. But it looks almost the same on the plate / spoon because the full sphere also flattens a little when you place it on the plate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kaplan/739977436 Jonathan Kaplan

         Thanks!  Perhaps you can help me figure out why another freezing solution doesn’t seem to work.  I spent a while trying to make “stable” spheres using a variation on freezing w/ normal spherification.  My hope was that one could  freeze spheres of some liquid w/ LN2, then dunk them in a cold alginate bath, where a thin skin of frozen alginate would form, and then into a warm calcium bath.  It seemed like a clever idea, but I could never get it work even semi-reliably.  Thoughts?

  • Sinsee75

    Does this only work with reverse spherefication or with normal spherification as well?

    • QuantumChef

      I never tried it. I only use basic spherification to make caviar, not large spheres.

  • Sinsee75

    Does this only work with reverse spherefication or with normal spherification as well?

  • Bigislandcupcakes

    Will this work if I use it on top of buttercream or will it melt?

    • QuantumChef

      Should be ok.

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  • SFeater

    Could you make other shapes besides cubes and spheres 

    • QuantumChef

      Haven’t tried anything else yet.

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  • Marta

    How long can I keep the calcium/ alginate bath for and in what conditions? Can I use them with a similar recipe or are they for a ‘single use’ only?

    • QuantumChef

      Just keep them in the fridge for a few days. They can be reused but they may have absorbed some of the aromas of the previous preparation so just be careful with that. If you had some leakage when making the spheres you can just pass it through a fine sieve to remove the particles left.

  • Nite2332

    Is it possible to utilize this technique or traditional reverse spherification with a fat such as butter?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you want something liquid though such as cream for example.

  • George

    I want to make lime ‘balls’ this way, would pure lime juice work, or would I need to add calcium chloride to the juice?

    • Seth

      From what I understand since lime juice has high acidity you would need to add calcium lactate gluconate to the lime juice in order for it to form the membrane with the sodium alginate bath.

    • QuantumChef

      The acidity is not an issue if you use reverse spherification but you may need to add calcium lactate gluconate to increase the calcium content. Don’t use calcium chloride or it will taste salty.

  • Seth

    What is the temperature limit of the sodium alginate membrane that is formed? Once the sphere is formed can these be frozen again, or heated to a certain temperature warmed without affecting the integrity of the membrane?

    • QuantumChef

      Not sure what’s the maximum temperature but you can heat them in a bath to serve them hot without problems. Never tried freezing them but I believe it may not work. Let us know if you try it!

  • Hannah_in_noosa

    You say this technique isn’t reliable for alcoholic preparations but Grant Achatz at Alinea uses it for rum spheres. Admittedly it’s 10g rum to 100g sugar and 355g water but it has great flavour and is very consistent.

  • John Stemper

    How well would a 3/4″ sphere hold it’s spherical shape? I have an application where I would have a thin cookie formed into a cone about an inch across at the opening and I would like to put three spheres of different flavors in each cone. I am concerned that they would behave more like water balloons, deform and slip down into the cone.
    I will be using the frozen reverse method.

    • QuantumChef

      Hi John, the spheres are quite delicate and this may not work. You can make them with a thicker liquid and thicker membrane if you increase the time in the bath but then the experience is not going to be as pleasant. Also, to eat three spheres in one bite is probably too much. You can try filling the cone with a foam, whipped cream, etc as a base and placing just one sphere on top.
      I hope this helps!

      • John Stemper

        Thanks!

  • John Stemper

    How would I go about estimating quantities? I.e. I need to make about 100-120 3/4″ spheres using frozen reverse spherification. I understand that the calcium component is dependent on the calcium in the mixture. But how much Alginate would I need?

    • QuantumChef

      If you are using our silicone half sphere mold, you need about 5 ml for each sphere so you should prepare about 600 ml. The alginate bath is always the same, there is no need to change the concentration of sodium alginate. Good luck!

      • John Stemper

        I guess I was looking for a suggestion of how big the alginate bath should be. And should I be buying the 16oz or is the 3oz sufficient. I’m not sure what the shelf life is and I don’t want to waste, but also don’t want to run out. I am very much looking forward to this experiment/dessert and if it works out would love to share the experience/photos.

        • QuantumChef

          3 oz is sufficient and the bath size doesn’t matter because you’ll most likely be making the spheres in batches not all at once. It also depends on the container you are going to use for the bath.

  • Big Elf

    I’m using frozen reverse spherification to do a holiday dessert. I have the flavours that I want to feature, cinnamon, eggnog, peppermint, sugar cookie, nutmeg, anise, dark chocolate, etc. But I am at a lose as to a good carrier for the flavours. The eggnog would work by itself but the other flavours not so much. Any suggestions on a neutral base that would freeze well and give a nice flavour burst when eaten?

    • QuantumChef

      You can infuse the eggnog with those flavors and maybe keep out one or two that could be used to sprinkle the spheres or create a light syrup.

  • Luke

    How do I store my spheres I need to make them a day in advance as I’m doing a seven course molecular dinner party

    • QuantumChef

      Store them in the fridge in a bath of the same juice / ingredient you used to make them.

      • Michael

        Would the bath include the calcium or just the juice?

        • QuantumChef

          You mean the bath to store the spheres? Just the juice is fine but it doesn’t matter if it has the added calcium too.

  • Mary Likens-Chung

    Would it be possible to suspend small pieces of solid food in the spheres using this frozen process?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can do that.

  • arif

    i trying to make mojito in frozen reverse. after i made mojito cocktail and mix with gluco i put it in silicon mold and i put one mint leaf in each mold. then i froze them. after really frozen then i put them one by one in the warm algin bath for 3 minute. the result most of them are leak(broke)…. can explain why? the water i use is distillation water not tab water

    • QuantumChef

      Do they leak when you remove them from the bath or in the bath while you are waiting? If the first, you probably need to leave them in the bath a little longer until the membrane is thick enough.

    • arif

      it was leak when still in algin bath(i put them one by one in algin bath some of them leak) i tried many time but always got same result and i already tried to add more gluco to the mojito and algin to algin bath but always not got good result. i confuse right now….

      is the temperature really matter for freezing the main ingredient (mojito) can you give me the number please….

      • QuantumChef

        That’s weird. Temperature doesn’t matter. Do you have air bubbles in the sphere or the bath? Is the mint leaf in the center of the sphere or on the edge? Are you getting any gel forming around the sphere?

  • Grace

    I just made a whole silicone mold full of the Mojito spheres. I popped three out to test and they worked. Do you think its ok to keep the remaining spheres in the freezer for a few days until I need to make the rest?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, just keep them covered so they don’t absorb other aromas from the freezer.

  • sik

    I want to spherificate soy sauce since it has a high salt level it doesnt freeze. Any ideas?

    • QuantumChef

      You may have to use traditional reverse spherification using the spoon technique.

  • nitin

    Hi Nitin this side,

    would like to know the measure of calcium gluconate and calcium lactate for reverse sperification,and also the measure of xanthum gum,do we need to add all three or only one will do,please mention the measure in grams and liquid in ml.

    • QuantumChef

      If the ingredient has no calcium content, you need to add 2% (2g per 100g of liquid) of calcium lactate gluconate or 1% of calcium lactate. The amount of xanthan gum varies a lot by ingredient since it is just used to increase the viscosity to help keep the round shape.

  • Reece

    Would this be possible with a different shaped mold? to make say heart shapes?

    • QuantumChef

      It can be tricky but some basic shapes may work such as cubes. Keep in mind that the gel membrane is going to be thin so it may not hold its shape.