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What is Brittle Gels?
Gelling agents are often associated with jelly like textures which may range from soft to firm. However, certain gels produced by specific agents may not fall under this description.
Rather than forming an elastic or pliable substance, brittle gels may also be formed. These are gels which are firm in nature yet fragile at the same time. This is caused by the formation of a gel network which is weak and susceptible to breaking.
This property allows brittle gels to crumble in the mouth and create a melt-in-the-mouth feeling. As a result, new sensations and textures are experienced while dining. At the same time, tastes within a dish are also enhanced due to the flavor release caused by the gel breakdown.
Brittle gels are made by diluting the gelling agent into a liquid substance such as water, milk or a stock. This is left to set to attain a gelled end product. It should be noted that the concentration of gelling agents used, as well as the amount of liquid will both affect gelation.
Agar is a common agent for the creation of brittle gels. However, when combined with sugar it tends to create a more elastic substance. Low acyl gellan, locust bean gum and Carageenan also create brittle gels.