Molecular Gastronomy of Carrageenan and Kappa Carrageenan

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Molecular Gastronomy of Carrageenan and Kappa Carrageenan

Carrageenan basically speaks about any linear sulfated polysaccharide obtained from the extracts of the red algae. The derivative of the seaweed is categorized as kappa, iota and lambda.  It is also a common ingredient found in many foods.

It also serves a number of purposes like thickening, binding, gelling, stabilizing and emulsifying. Carrageenan is also found in salad dressing, ice cream, pudding, cheese and many other food items.  Since it gels well with milk proteins, it is used with a lot of dairy products.

Apart from the above mentioned foods, it also interacts well with common ingredients found in your kitchen and gives a delicious taste and smooth texture and blends really well without affecting the flavour.

Also, it is available in powder form which is easily absorbed in liquid before it is used. Its powder form is sprinkled over cold liquid and mixed well to dissolve, though it melts easily with hot liquids too.

Once it gets blended properly, heat the cold solution to minimum 70 degree Celsius or 158 degree Fahrenheit to initiate the Carrageenan properties. The gelling will start once the solution cools down to 60 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. If the solution is using water .2% of Carrageenan is ideal for use, while solutions using milk require .5% of the extract of seaweed.

Kappa Carrageenan

This variety interacts well with milk and many other dairy products. As it is derived from seaweed, it is a vegan and serves the purpose of traditional gelling like gelatine.

Kappa is used in different cooking preparations like cold gels, jelly toppings, hot gels, breads, pastries and cakes. When it is used in preparations of molecular gastronomy and other recipes, it should be thoroughly dissolved in cold liquid with absorption ranging from

0.5% – soft gels

05%-2% for firm gels

It is thermo reversible and the gel stays stable only up to 70 degree Celsius and if the temperature exceeds this range the gel melts back to form liquid again.