Methycellulose

Modernist Marshmallows (Vegan)

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Picture - My new marshmallow technique applied for Gin & Tonic Marshmallows (a dish which will be in my next book)

Probably once a month I get an email asking me for a good vegetarian marshmallow recipe and I have now finally gotten around to creating one. In fact in the end it turned out the way to make the best marshmallow possible was actually to make a vegan recipe - there are two big advantages to this -

1) Everyone can eat these (they are Vegetarian & Vegan, Gluten Free etc)

2) This technique for making marshmallows allows you to add flavours, alcohol etc into the marshmallow mixture itself (in fact I just finished a recipe for Gin and Tonic Marshmallows based on this technique).

So not only are these marshmallows vegan but they can be flavoured in ways that traditional marshmallows can not (including adding alcohol into the mixture).

The texture and taste of these marshmallows is genuinely identical to traditionally made marshmallows, in fact they can even be toasted like traditional marshmallows!

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These marshmallows can be toasted just like traditional marshmallows!

While the technique may appear to be a little complex if you are not familiar with some of the ingredients, it is worth the effort as it gives you incredible results. If you read the recipe well beforehand, measure out all your ingredients, and work in an organised way this recipes should be achievable for everyone.

The modern ingredients used in this recipe are available from -
www.Modernist-Chef.com

Other vegetarian marshmallow recipes often over simplify and call for agar, a gelling agent which is great for some things but does not set with the correct texture for making soft marshmallows. So here I use a combination of Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum, which when used in synergy create a gel with the same texture as a gelatine gel. This is perfect for texture we want in marshmallows.

Then in the place of egg whites this recipe uses Methylcellulose, which is a modern ingredient derived from plant cells that acts as a whipping agent - allowing us to whip the marshmallow base into a very stable foam (even more stable than egg whites would be). And using methylcellulose also means flavourful liquids can be whipped into the marshmallow base, opening up a huge range of potential creative flavour possibilities.

Its also possible to add freeze dried fruit, nuts, spices etc to the marshmallow base once it has been whipped, so it’s really easy to make some interesting, exciting, flavoured marshmallows.

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Strawberry Marshmallows with crushed freeze died strawberry folded through the marshmallow base

My Basic Modernist Marshmallow Recipe
This can be adapted for a range of flavours

Before you try making this recipe read it though well and measure out all your ingredients. The hydrated methycellulose slurry can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge or even frozen indefinitely (see the end of this post for detail on how to prepare the hydrated methylcellulose).

I Hope you enjoy the recipe

Before you begin lightly grease a small baking dish then dust it with 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour. Then set this dish to one side

Marshmellow Base

50g Hydrated Methylcellulose Slurry (See the bottom of this post)
100g Caster Sugar
60g Water (or flavourful liquid)
1g Xanthan Gum
2g Vanilla Essence (approximately a teaspoon)
0.2g Rose Water (a drop)

Combine all the above ingredients except the sugar in a bowl and begin whipping them (ideally in a a stand mixer).

Slowly add the sugar into this this mixture whilst whipping.

Continue to whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks (like an egg white meringue)

Syrup

200g Sugar
60ml Water

Combine the sugar and water in a pan and slowly heat until the mixture reaches 125°C.

Gelling

150g Water
3.5g Kappa Carageenan
2.2g Locus Bean Gum (or 4.5g Biozoon Brand Locuzoon)

Once the temperature reached syrup has hit 125°C slowly whisk in the the 150g Water (being careful as the mixture may spit and bubble).

Then adding a bit at a time whisk the Kappa Carageenan and Locus Bean Gum into the hot syrup.

Stir this mixture well for approximately two minutes (the mixture will be consistency of a thick syrup).

Now for the next stage you need to work quickly.

Gently but swiftly pour the hot syrup mixture into the whipped marshmallow base whilst whisking the marshmallow base.

Then as soon as the syrup mixture is mixed into the marshmallow base pour the whole mixture out into the prepared, dusted baking dish, smoothing out the top of the mixture if necessary (working quickly is important here)

Now chill the tray of marshmallow in the fridge for at least an hour.

Then carefully slice the marshmallows to the desired size and coat them well with a 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour.

The marshmallows should keep well for a couple of days.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and it helps people to make some creative dishes of their own.

Cheers

Eddie

Methylcellulose Preparation -

Top prepare the hydrated methyllcellulose slurry you will need
Methylcellulose f50 or the Texturas Brand ‘Methil’.
Available from
www.Modernist-Chef.com

6g Methylcellulose
400ml Water
 
Boil the water in the kettle then measure out 200ml of just boiled water.

Now blend the Methylcellulose into the hot water with a stick blender.

Next begin to cool this mixture over an ice bath while stirring intermittently until it is cool.

Allow this mix to sit for a couple of hours for the methyl cellulose to fully hydrate.

You can prepare this mixture in batches then keep it stored in the freeze indefinitely to defrost and use as needed.



Methylcellulose. An introduction and two recipes.

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(Savory Beetroot Meringue using Methylcellulose)

Methylcellulose

An Introduction and two recipes –
- Savory Meringue
- Super light and crispy Tempura

Available from www.Modernist-Chef.com

Methylcellulose is a popular hydrocolloid which can form a gel or act as a thickener when hydrated. Particular to methylcellulose is that it gels when its heated rather than once it cools. Because of this unique quality it’s often used to make mousses and gellees which are firm when they are hot but melt as they cool. Due to this many chefs have used methylcellulose in the pursuit of creating a ‘hot ice-cream’, the idea being to create something with the texture of ice-cream but served hot which then melts in the mouth as it cools (personally I haven’t come across a version of this yet which I think really works i.e. really gives an experience like eating ice-cream only hot –but I hope someone will crack it at some point).

Methylcellulose is used in various ways in modern cuisine. It can be used to great effect to create foams. Can be added to liquids which may then be dried to form films and baked into crisp brittle sheets. It can act a replacement for egg whites in some recipes as it can be whipped in a similar way to provide a similar structural element in a recipe (like with the beetroot meringue recipe bellow).

It’s also used in some deep fried foods, as when it comes into contact with the hot oil in a fryer it forms an oil impermeable film. Due to this using methylcellulose in deep fried products both reduces the amount of moisture which escapes from the coated ingredient and also reduces the about of oil absorbed into the coated item – this can help to achieve a crispier, lighter product with a great texture.

Methylcellulose is one of the very few modern ingredients I use which is not entirely ‘natural’ but synthesized from natural ingredients, namely cellulose - often from cotton. Its non-toxic and non-allergenic and a perfectly healthy and safe ingredient to use in food so don’t be scared off by the fact it’s synthesized. Bear in mind you most likely consume it fairly regularly already as it’s used in huge variety of products including foods and medicines (even vitamin tablets).

Typical use levels –

0.5% - 2% typical concentration for use in cooking

To replace egg whites use 2g Methylcellulose blended into 35g water to replace each egg white. Note – Methylcellulose prepared this way will whip to stiff peaks but you need to be persistent in your whipping to get it to nice stiff peaks.

You can buy Methylcellulose
here.

I will return to this post soon to add recipes and techniques for foams, hot gellees and mousses which melt as they cool, films, and brittle sheets - all using methylcellulose.

Savory Beetroot Meringue (vegan)

Methylcellulose here replaces egg white in giving the meringue its structure and texture. These meringues are then dried until crisp in a dehydrator. Here I’ve used isomalt to replace some of the sugar in order to create savory Meringue but sweet meringue could be made in the same way by simply upping the sweetness.

Here this is just a base recipe which you can flavour up, add acidity or other flavours to but its a really solid technqiue and then you can build in and play with the flavours you want.

The way I do this now is to first make a methylcellulose ‘slurry’. This hydrates the methycellulose before you use it in the recipe and makes it much easier to work with for this technique.

Methocel slurry
 
3g Methylcelulose
200ml Water
 
Boil the water in the kettle then measure out 200ml of just boiled water.

Now blend the Methylcellulose into the hot water with a stick blender.

Next begin to cool this mixture over an ice bath while stirring intermittently until cool.

Allow this mix to sit for at least a couple of hours but for best results sit in fridge overnight.

Beetroot Meringue
 
45g Methocellulose Slurry – (see above)
260g Beetroot Juice
1.2g
Xanthan Gum
40g
Isomalt – powdered
10g Caster Sugar
Seaonings to taste
 
First blend together the beetroot juice, methycellulose slurry and xanthan gum with a stick blender.

Then in bowl start whipping this mixture with an electric whisk and add in isomalt and caster sugar bit by bit.
Whip this mix to soft peaks, this will take a little time (more than whipping egg whites) but will go to stiff peaks eventually if you persist and want more control of the meringues finished shape.

Pipe into neat blobs on a non stick sheet or spread into a thin layer (or basically produce any shape you like)

Dehydrate at 57C for 10-12 hours till crispy.
 
This technique can be adapted for a wide variety of juices and a similar textured liquids.


Tempura - Super light and crispy tempura. (vegan)

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Using Methylcellulose in this tempura batter helps to create an incredibly light, crispy batter inside which the vegetables essentially steam whilst they’re cooked. It helps to keep moisture in the coated ingredients and also reduces the about of oil absorbed through the batter.

As well as using methylcellulose here I’ve also replaced some of the water in the batter mixture with vodka, which boils out very quickly during frying, giving you a fantastically crunchy, crisp texture.

Finally I also carbonate my tempura batter in a cream whipper to help get a beautifully light batter.

350g Vodka
450g Water
250g Plain Flour (or Rice Flour)
Pinch salt
Pinch chilli powder
8g
Methylcellulose
Plus your choice of ingredients to batter – ie shitake mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn, carrot batons, strips of peppers etc.

Blend the methylcellulose into 250g of the water using a hand blender.

Next whisk the vodka into the flour (seasoned with a pinch of salt and chilli powder).

Now add the methylcellulose mixture into the flour and finally whisk in the remaining 200g of water.

Whisk the batter until smooth then pour it through a sieve.

Take 500ml of the tempura batter and pour it into a cream whipper then charge this with two Co2 chargers (soda chargers).

Give the whipper a good shake and place it in the fridge to chill of around two hours or until your ready to it.

When your ready to make your tempura invert the cream whipper and dispense the batter into a large mixing bowl.

Dip your ingredients to be fried into a little flour then into the batter before gently placing them in a deep fat fryer (at 190C). Only fry a few tempuras at a time.

The tempura will cook very quickly (less than two minutes), take them out of the fryer when they are crisp and crunchy and serve up with a dipping sauce or with as part of a larger dish.