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agar agar.....

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
i stopped by an asian market last night and i bought some agar agar. i was wondering how much agar agar to use in place of gelatin and is there any draw backs to agar agar.

thanks
Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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post #2 of 11
I posted the draw backs in the pectin thread. Use at least 2 - 3 times as much to replace gelatin. If you get that stuff to completely dissolve, please post your method here as I've tried everything! Still ended up with rebellious chunks.
post #3 of 11
Vegetarian Gelling Agents

Introduction -- Agar Agar -- Carrageen -- Gelozone


Introduction
Gelatine is an unacceptable product to vegetarians as it is a by-product of the slaughterhouse industry, being made of protein derived from animal bones, cartilage, tendons and other tissues such as pig skin. Isinglass, used in fining some alcoholic drinks, is a type of gelatine from the air bladders of certain kinds of fish. Aspic is also unsuitable, as it is made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stocks and gelatine.
However, there are various alternatives available, which do not contain any animal products whatsoever. These include agar agar, carrageen and a proprietary product called Gelozone.

Agar Agar (E406)
Probably best known to many as the culture growing medium used in petri dishes in school science laboratories! Also known by its Japanese name Kanten, agar agar is derived from the gelidium species of red sea vegetables.
For culinary purposes, it is available in different forms: bars, flaked or powdered, although in this country you are most likely to find it flaked or powdered only. Natural agar agar is unflavoured producing a firm, clear jelly and is rich in iodine and trace minerals and has mildly laxative properties.

The flakes are produced by a traditional method of cooking and pressing the sea vegetables and then naturally freeze-drying the residue to form bars which are then flaked for easier packing and transport. They are preferable to powdered agar agar which, although cheaper, may be chemically processed using sulphuric acid to dissolve the starches, and inorganic bleaches to neutralise the colour and flavour.

Agar agar has stronger setting properties and, unlike gelatine which requires refrigeration to set, it will set at room temperature after about an hour - although it is advisable to store dishes gelled with agar agar in the fridge as it is a high protein food.

The gelling ability of agar agar is affected by the acidity or alkalinity of the ingredients it is mixed with, also by factors such as the season of the seaweed harvest! More acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and strawberries, may require higher amounts of agar agar. Some ingredients will not set with it at all such as: kiwi fruit (too acidic), pineapple, fresh figs, paw paw /papaya, mango and peaches, which contain enzymes which break down the gelling ability (although cooked fruit seems to lose this effect), chocolate and spinach.

Flaked and powdered agar agar need to be used in different proportions, unfortunately many recipes do not specify which is being called for, but here are a few guidelines:

Powdered agar agar can be substituted for the same quantity of powdered gelatine in a recipe.

For every teaspoon of agar agar powder, you should substitute a tablespoon of agar agar flakes.

For a firm jelly you require approximately 2 teaspoons of powder or 2 tablespoons of flakes per 1 pint / 600ml of liquid.

Agar agar should be soaked in the liquid first for 10-15 minutes, then gently brought to the boil and simmered while stirring until it dissolves completely, this will take about 5 minutes for powder and 10-15 minutes for flakes. Unlike gelatine, agar agar can be boiled and can even be re-melted if necessary. If you are unsure as to the setting ability of your gel, test a small amount on a cold saucer - it should set in 20-30 seconds, if not you may need more agar agar, if too firm - add some more liquid.
post #4 of 11
I use the really long "threads" of agar and I go by weight. Agar will gel 100 to 150 times its own weight of liquid. I use more water when I want it softer and less when I want a "crunchy" texture. I have a hard time getting all of it to dissolve (compensate liquid amount accordingly), so I usually put the liquid through a strainer prior to allowing it to set. It's one of those things that just requires you to do it a couple of times until you get the ratios and procedures down pat.

I like working with agar when I need a quick and/or nearly foolproof dessert. The stuff gels at room temperature -- great for when I have no more room in the fridge. And as danno posted, you can re-melt the stuff and add more liquid if your end product was too firm.
post #5 of 11
1 tsp of gelatin = 1 tsp agar powder = 1 Tbsp agar flakes

When trying to dissolve flakes, sprinkle over liquid and let sit 10 min. then heat on med till flakes dissolve, usually takes about 15 minutes. Powdered agar, let sit in liquid for 10 min then heat for about 5 min. I use agar in my vegan lemon curd and fondant and it works great. I'm experimenting with it in frostings.
post #6 of 11
mb,
I've let flakes soak for up to an hour and simmered the heck out of it and it still refused to dissolve! I think I have bad agar karma! BOO!
post #7 of 11
You must light a candle and sacrifice tofu to the god of agar for 30 days and 30 nights and then you will find enlightenment....yada, yada, yada....actually the stuff is annoying and takes a while to figure out how to get it to work in a particular recipe. Oh I got an email from Hain about their pudding and it's totally vegan so start experimenting with it in your vegan cakes and lets see if it makes a difference. It might work better that the Nori(Mori, whatever) stuff.
post #8 of 11

Hi MB

 

I want to use the powder in marshmallow. Have you used it in marshmallow? 

 

The recipes I have call for 4 tbsp powdered gelatine. Would I substitute the same amount of Agar Agar?  I wondered if I would use less as it sets more firmly than gelatine?

 

This is my first use of Agar Agar and want to make marshmallows for christmas but want to practice now to get them right (from what I've read about AgAg it's going to be interesting getting this right!!).

 

Being vegetarian marshmallow all seems to be made the traditional way with gelatine so can't wait to try this - bliss in hot chocolate this winter!!!

 

Thanks for your help.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichB View Post

Hi MB

 

I want to use the powder in marshmallow. Have you used it in marshmallow? 

 

The recipes I have call for 4 tbsp powdered gelatine. Would I substitute the same amount of Agar Agar?  I wondered if I would use less as it sets more firmly than gelatine?

 

This is my first use of Agar Agar and want to make marshmallows for christmas but want to practice now to get them right (from what I've read about AgAg it's going to be interesting getting this right!!).

 

Being vegetarian marshmallow all seems to be made the traditional way with gelatine so can't wait to try this - bliss in hot chocolate this winter!!!

 

Thanks for your help.

Hi, I was wondering how it went for you.  I just tried making marshmallows myself, and also felt that maybe using agar spoon for spoon instead of gelatin may have been much, or maybe I should have dissolved it completely in warm water first instead of cold like recipe says, I am curious on your take, also because I use xylitol so it cost too much to be experimenting on.  Thanks.

mricoca

post #10 of 11

You didn't make it clear whether you were trying to dissolve it in cold water - that is what you need to do.

post #11 of 11

There are two steps to agar-agar...

 

First disperse the agar-agar in cold liquid; then

Hydrate the agar-agar by heating the liquid to a boil. (100C)

 

Generally you do the above in 25% of the total liquid that you will be using.

ie. disperse & hydrate in 100 grams of liquid and then add it to 300 grams of liquid.

 

The amount of agar-agar depends on your end result...  0.25% is a loose gelly.  Adjust up or down as desired.

 

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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