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Sheared Gel

What is Sheared Gel?

Sheared gel is another term for fluid gel. This is a culinary preparation which uses liquids mixed with gelling agents. This process allows the liquid to gel, preparing it to be reversed with the use of shear stress such as blending, mixing and other vigorous motions.

Gels used for this type of preparation have a shear reversible property that allow it to breakdown and become fluid like again with exposure to shear stress after setting. The parallel motion from the shear stress causes molecules to slide past each other instead of sticking together. Gel which breaks down and loses viscosity with stress has a shear thinning reaction.

Agar, locust bean gum, Xanathan gum and high acyl gellan are some gelling agents which have shear thinning reactions. Like other hydrocolloids, these are dissolved with water or other liquids to hydrate. Hot or cold liquid may be used depending on the type of gelling agent being dissolved.

As the gel is formed, shear is introduced to break it down. More often than not, intense shear stress is needed. The more shear there is the thinner and more fluid like the gel becomes.