Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hydrocolloids- Dispersion vs Hydration

One must lead to the next. Lets first discuss the definitions of each term as they relate to hydrocolloids. Dispersion is a mixture of two components that are not alike. This usually relates to the chemical (hydrocolloid) that is being used and an aqueous solution (water). Hydration is the process when the chemical (hydrocolloid) binds with the aqueous solution (water) and becomes fully dissolved. Now that we have gotten the definitions out of the way I can explain some of the different methods in which to disperse and hydrate your hydrocolloid. There are a few different ways in which to disperse hydrocolloids. First and foremost not all hydrocolloids can be dispersed in the same manner. When adding your hydrocolloid it is important to know whether or not it can be dispersed using cold water or hot water. It is also important to know if the the said hydrocolloid should be mixed with another ingredient before being added to the water. In most cases the hydrocolloid can be dispersed easier if mixed with sugar, oil, and/or alcohol. Now that your gelling agent has been dispersed in your liquid it must be hydrated in order to achieve the desired set. To properly hydrate your gel there are a few different methods that you can take depending on what it is that you are gelling. Under most circumstances a strong sheer may be used. Either a hand mixer or even better the vortex of a vitaprep will work. You may also need to heat or cool your dispersion in order to achieve a fully hydrated gel. There are a few signs that you have aquired a properly hydrated mixture. The mix may appear to swell or become more viscous. This is a good indication that you have properly hydrated your gelling agent. You can now leave your gel to set. You disperse to hydrate.