Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gel Sheets and Veils

I have seen and made quite a variety of different types of gel sheets/veils in the pastry kitchen. The actual technique of making most gel sheets is relatively straight forward. You are basically making a very thin sheet of a gel which you will use as a base, wrapper, or veil (a gel sheet that is draped over other ingredients) . Now when you are contemplating which ingredient you wish to gel you have to decide what type of texture, temperature, and application you will be using your gel sheet for. By doing so you can then decipher which hydrocolloid/s if any you are going to use for the specific finished dish. There are a lot of different combinations of gelling agents that can be used to achieve different results. If you want to make really elastic and malleable sheets you can use: straight gelatin, combinations of agar and kappa carageenan, and combinations of high and low acyl gellans. If you wish to make more brittle gels: you can use straight agar, straight low acyl gellan, locust bean gum and kappa carageenan, and agar and low acyl gellan. If you are using products that contain calcium you can use the combination of iota carageenan and gelatin, low methoxy pectins, and low acyl gellan. If you want to make cold sheets you can use: straight gelatin, agar, agar locust bean gum and xanthan, low methoxy pectin and a calcium suppliment such as calcium lactate or calcium gluconate, or I have even heard of chefs using aloe vera. If you want to make hot sheets you can use: high acyl gellan and sodium hexametaphosphate (a sequestrant used to improve stability), agar and locust bean gum, locust bean gum and xanthan gum, agar locust bean gum and sorbitol (a sugar alcohol) Basically a gel sheet or veil can be made from any type of gel that you wish to spread thin and set. By using this technique you can imbue a lot of your food with very delicate flavors, aromas, and textures. The picture above the post is of a past dish at Alinea using tropical fruits and a coconut gel sheet.


  1. Choosing the appropriate hydrocolloids is easy. Leveling the table, and finding a perfectly flat sheet pan, those are the tough parts.

  2. Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.Kind regard Calcium Lactate Gluconate#