Methocel A4C is one of about 20 types of Methylcellulose and is made from cellulose pulp, which is taken from plants' cell walls.
It has the unusual property of gelling when it is heated and melting as it cools. One of the most dramatic uses of this is "instant noodles" when the diner has a squeeze bottle full of liquid that when squirted into a soup instantly turns into noodles.
Methocel A4C gels at a lower temperature than some Methylcellulose types and is good in batters and coatings.
Where to Buy Methocel A4C
There are several places to purchase methylcellulose. We highly recommend ModernistPantry.com, they have great service and are really good to work with (because of this, we do have an affiliate relationship with them) and have a wide selection of methylcellulose. You can also find it at WillPowder and get larger quantities and bundles at ForTheGourmet.com.
How Much Methocel A4C to Use
When creating gels with Methocel A4C you typically will use a 0.25% to 3.0% ratio, depending on how firm of a gel you desire.
Dispersion and Hydration of Methocel A4C
Methocel A4C has to be dispersed in a hot liquid.
Once the Methocel A4C has been dispersed, you need to cool the liquid and then refrigerate it. Hydration will begin once the temperature of the liquid reaches below about 15?C / 59?F with full hydration usually taking place in about 30 to 60 minutes. I typically let the liquid cool on the counter or in an ice bath and then refrigerate it for several hours to be on the safe side.
How to Create a Methocel A4C Gel
Most types of methylcellulose can create gels. The gels are thermo-reversible, meaning they can be set and unset multiple times. In contrast to most gels, the methylcellulose gel will set as it heats and then unset when it cools off. However, Methocel A4C has a lower setting and melting temperature then many other types, making it easier to work with for some preparations.
Methocel A4C has to be dispersed in a hot liquid so the first step is to bring the liquid you want to gel to a boil. Then whisk or blend in the Methocel A4C. You can also disperse the Methocel A4C in water first and blend that into another liquid if you don't want to heat it.
When the Methocel A4C is dispersed evenly you need to cool the liquid and then refrigerate it for the hydration to begin. Once the liquid has hydrated it can be gelled by raising the temperature above 50?C to 55?C / 122?F to 131?F. This can be done in a variety of ways, from deep frying to baking, or piping it directly into hot liquids.
Methocel A4C Recipes and Articles
These instant noodles make for an awesome presentation. They are created in the bowl of soup in front of the diner, or the diner can even make the noodles themselves. They are based off of Wylie Dufresne's instant tofu noodles.
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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