What are some of the methods used in German cuisine

Molecular cuisine

Molecular cuisine - what does that mean?

The representatives of the molecular kitchen ask themselves what happens to food on a biochemical level when it is prepared. Why do water and oil combine in the production of mayonnaise - when everyone knows that fat and water repel each other?

Scientists have studied these processes. In mayonnaise, for example, the lecithin from the egg yolk, which is also used, represents an emulsifier (i.e. a connection) between water and oil.

Cooks willing to experiment could use this knowledge in the inference process. Why not combine other substances with concentrated lecithin? And what else can be conjured up with the help of other biochemical substances?

From the laboratory to the kitchen

It all started with Hervé This, a French chemist, and Thomas A. Vilgis from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. Together with their teams, they researched the processes that take place in food during cooking and preparation.

In 1990 This coined the term "molecular gastronomy". In doing so, he laid the scientific foundation.

Probably the best-known chef who experiments with these findings is Ferran Adrià. In his restaurant "El Bulli" on the Spanish Costa Brava, for years he did not offer any classic dishes, only those that were spectacularly modified with natural additives.

His cuisine was so popular with gourmets that the restaurant was fully booked years in advance. In 2011 "El Bulli" was then closed.

But molecular cooking is becoming more and more popular. It is now also possible for amateur cooks to work with lecithin, the gelling agent agar-agar and other biochemical substances.

"Starter kits" are helpful here. These sets are offered by various manufacturers and contain the first tools and means of molecular cuisine for the home.

What is possible?

If you don't feel like experimenting in your own small kitchen, you can also do so in cooking courses. The necessary utensils are made available here and a professional shows the layperson how to do it.

Fruit caviar is one of the more well-known specialties of molecular cuisine. To do this, juice is mixed with a gelling agent such as sodium alginate and then dripped into a calcium solution.

The substances react with one another in such a way that a solid layer is formed around the juice droplets. This creates small balls that look like caviar. If you bite these balls while eating, the juice will flow into your mouth.

In technical jargon the whole thing is of course not called a sphere, but "sphere". It should deliver a very special taste experience by flowing out the juice (or another liquid).

Molecular kitchen sauces become a very loose foam if you mix them with so-called gelespuma and beat until it resembles bath foam. The whole thing is made possible by the substances contained in Gelespuma: emulsifiers, fillers and firming agents, known from every packet of soup with additives.

The enjoyment of molecular gastronomy specialties should therefore not pose a greater risk to health than any ready-made meal in a bag.

Changing classic foods

Of course, it is also much less complicated to start with: You can stir in a gelling agent under any type of liquid and then refrigerate it. The liquid will solidify. If you cut the mass into small cubes, you have an extraordinary alternative to the classic cocktail, for example.

Everyone has to decide for themselves whether these alternatives are better than the classic variants. Individual methods of molecular gastronomy are now used - in addition to classic cooking - in some star kitchens.

So if you want to try it, you can just do so - as long as you have the change.