Kappa carrageenan is a natural powder extracted from seaweed, which is used to set liquids into a gel or jelly. Unlike iota carrageenan which creates elastic jellies, the gel created by using kappa carrageenan is firm and brittle – more like a gel made from agar agar. Kappa carrageenan gels and jellies are thermo-reversible, meaning that they can be frozen, reheated, re-cooled and re-moulded.
Try using kappa carrageenan to suspend ingredients in an aspic-like gel, such as the ‘cucumbers in bloom’ created by Norwegian molecular gastronomist, Martin Lersch. He also uses kappa carrageenan to make beer-flavoured gels and fruit-flavoured jellies. Kappa carrageenan is also a useful ingredient for pâtissier to create quick, flavoured jellies to top cakes, tarts and pastries; or cut the set gel into shapes to garnish cocktails. In very small amounts, kappa carrageenan can help to prevent dairy products from separating, e.g. in cheesemaking.
For a basic firm set gel:
- Disperse 1.5g kappa carrageenan powder in 100g of cold liquid. Mix using a hand blender.
- Heat to 70C – if adding sugar, dissolve it in the liquid at this point.
- Pour into a mould, onto a sheet, or on top of patisserie.
- Leave to set at room temperature.
Ingredients: Carrageenan (E407), sucrose added for standardisation, disodium phosphate (E339) added to facilitate storage.
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