How to Make a Soy Lecithin Foam
One of the most popular methods in molecular gastronomy is the creation of foams. While they are associated with modernist cuisine, foams have been used for centuries and range from meringues and whip cream to bread and quiche.
With some of the new molecular gastronomy ingredients such as soy lecithin you can now make culinary foams that are exceptionally light. There are several ways to make a soy lecithin foam including using iSi canisters. However, we will go low tech in this article and show you how to make soy lecithin foam with an immersion blender.
A foam is basically air whipped into a liquid until bubbles are created. If these bubbles are stabilized then it is considered a stable foam. There are three components to making a stable foam: a stabilizer, the liquid, and air.
Components of Soy Lecithin Foams
The role of the stabilizer is to help maintain the structure of the foam. This can be done in many different ways, from baking, where the foam is stabilized as the flour cooks, to meringues, where the foam is stabilized by the egg whites. In soy lecithin foams the stabilizer is always soy lecithin. It allows the foam to last longer without greatly changing the nature of it.
Soy lecithin is typically added by weight as 0.3% to 1% of the total weight of the liquid. The amount used will depend on the specific ingredient you are trying to foam, which is why it varies so much. However, lecithin foams do not require nearly as much precision as some other modernist techniques.
In soy lecithin foams the liquid can be almost any water-based liquid since lecithin works well with both acid and base ingredients. The liquid should be very strong since it will be diluted once the air is incorporated into it. Some typical liquids are citrus juices, soy sauce, teas, and other flavorful liquids.
Typically, "normal" air is used with the foams but if you use an iSi canister then the air will be nitrous oxide or whatever else you use to charge it. Unless you use an iSi canister you will usually incorporate the air into the liquid using a whisk, immersion blender, or other mixing device.
How to Make Soy Lecithin Foam
The first thing to do when making a soy lecithin foam is to dissolve the lecithin in the liquid using a whisk or hand blender. This can be done with the liquid at room temperature, or a slightly warmer temperature similar to the temperature of hot tap water. Once it is mixed it can stay in this state for several hours before being foamed.
The second thing to do is to make the actual foam. This involves whipping the liquid until it forms a foam, typically with a whisk or immersion blender but various kitchen appliances will work fine as long as they incorporate air into the container. Once the liquid has foamed you let the foam rest for a minute to stabilize, then you can spoon it out and use it. Depending on the liquid it should last anywhere from 30 minutes up to a few hours, but the sooner you use it the better.
Mixing Soy Lecithin Foam with an Immersion Blender
Pour the liquid and soy lecithin mixture into a wide, flat bottomed container. This helps keep the liquid shallow so when you use the immersion blender it will be mixing air into the liquid much more than if the whole blender was submerged.
Using the immersion blender, blend the liquid until it creates a large amount of foam. This process can take anywhere from 60 seconds up to a few minutes. Let the foam stabilize for a minute and then you can use it.
Soy Lecithin Articles
This modernist mustard soy lecithin air is a great way to add unique flavors and textures to dishes like pork or hot dogs. Airs are easy and quick to make and can be done at the last minute.
I love cooking sous vide pork tenderloin and this recipe combines it with fried snow peas, chanterelle mushrooms, and a light mustard-based lecithin air.
This recipe makes a fun party dish that combines turkey with a foamed gravy and a cranberry air for a great small plate treat. The cranberry air will last for 5 to 10 minutes after plating, so the quicker you serve this dish the better.
Chicken piccata is a light Italian dish that uses salty capers and acidic lemon to complement breaded and fried chicken. In this recipe I use sous vide to ensure the chicken is super moist and fully cooked. For a fun modernist take, I turn the lemon caper juice into a delicate air with an immersion blender.
Deviled eggs with bacon and chives are a common party food but this recipe takes it up a notch by using modernist cooking techniques to make it candied bacon and chive air! Your party guests will enjoy the crispy, sweet, spicy and smoky flavors of the candied bacon while the chive air adds a fresh onion flavor with a hint of sweetness. A fun treat for your family and friends.
This is a simple modernist vinaigrette to make and utilizes both xanthan gum and lecithin to strengthen and thicken it. I really like the sweet maple syrup with the tangy balsamic vinegar. This goes well on salads, especially ones with berries. You can also add a little more xanthan gum and use the vinaigrette as a sauce on fish or chicken.
Soy lecithin is a modernist ingredient used to stabilize emulsions and foams. It is commonly used to create "airs" and other light foams.
Within molecular gastronomy one of the easiest things to experiment with are foams. There are a lot of ingredients that can cause foams, and a lot of variety depending on what type of foam you are trying to make. For my preparation I wanted to make an "air", basically a really, really light foam, similar to the fizzy head you get when you pour soda or a light beer. For this type of foam soy lecithin is perfect.
My wife loves tequila, especially straight or in a margarita. I wanted to do a fun twist for her so I decided to make a cocktail with tequila that would resemble a beer. This frothy tequila with citrus air recipe is a fun play on a margarita, tequila shot, and beer combination. If you like tequila you'll love this!
Soy foams are an easy way to get started with molecular recipes and this soy sauce foam recipe is no exception. It's very easy to make and the only special tools are soy lecithin and an immersion blender.
This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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