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What is Glycerin Flakes?
Glycerin flakes are high stability emulsifiers composed of monoglyceride and diglyceride taken from the fats of glycerin and fatty acids. Despite the name, it does not actually contain any glycerin.
They are used primarily to emulsify water and oil, as well as thicken and stabilize these immiscible ingredients. Glycerin flakes are a common component in vinaigrettes and other foods which blend both oil and water. Molecular gastronomy recipes use this in a similar manner. It is also used in the creation of foams and caviar sized spheres.
As an emulsifier which is similar to oil, it cannot be added directly to water. Fatty acid esters contained in the glycerin flakes are not water soluble. Due to this, glycerin flakes must first be dissolved in oil before being added to water. The flakes must be about 2% of oil, by weight, or about 1g for 50g of oil. Temperature for the oil must be at least 60°C or 140°F or more to dissolve the glycerin flakes. The dissolved flakes can then be incorporated to the water or solution by slowly adding it, just like in the case of most emulsions.