Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Transforming into Powders (Maltodextrin)

Tapioca maltodextrin is a great way to transform high fat liquids into a powder, which will turn back into a liquid form when it come in contract with water (or the saliva in your mouth).  The sensation is pretty cool.  The specific type of tapioca maltodextrin called N-Zorbit M, specifically designed to have a very low bulk density.  

Tapioca maltodextrin is used in the food industry to increase the volume of dry mixes and frozen foods. It is moderately sweet or almost flavorless. In molecular gastronomy, tapioca maltodextrin is used to stabilize high fat ingredients which can then be transformed into powders or flakes. This technique is very easy and will definitely surprise your guests. It is a great way of transforming regular ingredients from liquid or solid into powder to add a new dimension to your dish. 

On a more molecular level, tapioca maltodextrin is a dextrose (plant sugar) polysaccharide.  Polysaccharides are long carbohydrates made of monosaccharides (repeating units).  Thet are able to encapsulate the oil and hold it within the powder until it comes in contact with water and then it releases the fat/oil.  The polysaccharides form a three-dimensional network that entrap the oil droplets and don't let them move, hence stabilizing the emulsification. 

The process of converting a high-fat liquid into powder is very simple. The high fat ingredient should be liquefied first if it is solid, chilled and then mixed with tapioca maltodextrin using a starting ratio of 60% fat to 40% tapioca maltodextrin. More tapioca maltodextrin should be added if necessary. To make the powder fluffier, it is then usually passed through a tamis.

Some ideas for some powders you can easily create at home are: nutella, peanut butter, olive oil, sesame oil, butter, caramel, truffle oil, bacon, and white chocolate.  Anything with a very high fat content will work.

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