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Frozen Reverse Spherification

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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!

  • Edd

    Would these last longer in air before drying than when using the frozen versus the non-frozen reverse spherical method?
    I was thinking if you encapsulate a more watery solution then that could keep the agarose more hydrated and make them last longer (I’m hoping I don’t need more than 3-4hrs). Would a thin coat of oil (say truffle oil) prevent evapouration?
    Thank you

    • QuantumChef

      They produce the same results. Yes, oil or sauce will keep them better. Good luck!

  • Bryant

    Im having a hard time freezing the spheres with alcohol in them as they tend to slush, im only doing about 1/3 ratio. Would a rinse bath of alcohol help add a flavor aspect if i have to just freeze the liquid minus alcohol then rinse in like a rum for a mojito sphere?? Or just put less alcohol, I’m not trying to make it s shot or anything just wanting a consistent flavor,

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, that’s why we don’t recommend using frozen reverse spherification with alcohol. Using traditional reverse spherificaton would be a better option in this case. You can try reducing the alcohol level until it freezes or you can inject with a syringe the alcohol into the sphere after it is formed and dip it for a few seconds in the bath again to close the needle hole. Now this is more complicated than just doing reverse spherification so I would just do that.

  • Sam

    So I’m having a hard time freezing the spheres in the mold. All that is in the sphere is boisen berry jam, salt, pepper and calicum lactate and it is quite viscous. Help!!

    • QuantumChef

      Hi Sam, the problem is you have almost no water in your preparation. Salt could also be adding to the problem as it reduces the freezing temperature. You should probably replace the jam with some juice and thicken it if necessary with xanthan gum.

  • Rodney

    Is it possible to use this method to create spheres slightly larger than the average caviar size? But still smaller than the spheres in the video.

    • QuantumChef

      With the same mold you can try filling it half way but the final sphere may be too flat.

  • Tim

    Is it possible to prepare the spheres with reversed spherification and serve them 2 hours later?

  • Juliet

    hello guys, i want to know if we can make spheres out of sauces, say creme anglaise and chocolate sauce?

  • Στέλιος

    Hello! I’ve seen several recipees like for frozen mojito spheres, so containing alcohol, spherified with frozen reverse spherification working well…i ve never prepared them myself but they are posted from several other masters in spherification on there maybe an acceptable level of alcohol than can be used with this technique without severe adverse effects like freezing process, evaporation etc? Thank you in advance!

    • QuantumChef

      Great question! I don’t have an exact answer but I think that you are going to have trouble freezing anything with more than 10-15% alcohol. And even at this level, you may get slush unless you have a very cold freezer and keep it there for a long time. Also, keep in mind that the freezing point of water will be lowered when adding sugar so don’t make it too sweet or it will be even harder to freeze.

      • MermaidChef

        I’ve been having some success with pure alcohol spheres. Currently using vodka (started with dark rum) and adding xantham gum to help it thicken. I’m not using an exact science to measure but I’ve been aiming for a consistency somewhere between a syrup and a gravy before freezing (around 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per 100ml of liquid depending on the alcohol). Still trial and error but I think it can be done.

    • Jonas Ehrendata

      Actually, the celsius freezing point of an alcoholic beverage pretty much mirrors the alcohol proof of the beverage. 5 % beer will freeze solid at circa – 5 degrees celsius. So just make sure that the freezer has a “higher” negative numeric value in temperature celsius than the liquid has alcohol proof, and you will be able to get past slush.

  • Στέλιος

    Why is frozen spherification meant to be used only with calcium-containing spheres and alginate bath? why we can’t freeze the liquid of interest with alginate and then use a calcium bath? thanks for the response.

    • QuantumChef

      I think you can but because we mostly use basic spherification to make caviar and reverse spherification to make large spheres it is more common to use reverse spherification when freezing.

      • Στέλιος

        Ok thanks! but it works both ways..i tried it. I was just trying to find a way to avoid the thick membrane of reverse spherification which sometimes is not so easily chewable..are there maybe tricks to avoid this with frozen reverse spherification? such as leaving it much less time in alginate bath (e.g. 30 sec) or maybe use less calcium in the sphere? according to the manufacturer I use the recommended (10 g/L)

  • hui

    Is it able to hold the gel with solid particle like mushroom soup ?