Kappa Carrageenan – a natural hydrocolloid used to make rigid elastic vegetarian gels
The term carrageenan originated from a coastal town in Southern Ireland, called Carragheen. In that town, many years ago, housewives simply boiled the seaweeds - Irish moss - to make jellies and puddings.
Today, carrageenan, a natural hydrocolloid, is a powder extracted from various species of red algae that are farmed and processed.
Applications: Firm ambient gels. Milk-based gels. Emulsions. Suspensions.
Rate of Hydration: Rapid
Comments: Bleeding of liquid can be controlled with the addition of Locust Bean Gum (LBG). Slightly opaque gel becomes clear with the addition of sugar. Gel is not heat stable. Forms gels most strongly with potassium salts, followed by calcium salts. (The reverse reactivities to Iota Carrageenan).
Gel Strength: Firm, elastic gels.
Colour: Cream powder
Ph Solubility: 4.5 - 10.
Dosage Rates: 0.2% - 2.0%
Remember you can always enhance the flavour of the final dish with our extensive range of Flavour Drops.
Kappa and Iota Carrageenan form gels with potassium and calcium salts. Aqueous solutions of both carrageenans must be heated above 60°C for the carrageenan to dissolve, and after addition of the salt, the gel forms as the solution cools. For kappa, as little as 0.5 percent in water and 0.2 percent in milk is sufficient to form gels.
Kappa forms gels most strongly with potassium salts, followed by calcium salts. Potassium gives a rigid, elastic gel while calcium produces a stiff, brittle gel. Kappa gives the strongest gels of all carrageenans, but they are also the ones most likely to bleed (most subject to synaeresis). This liability can be lessened in a couple of ways. If iota is blended in with the kappa, bleeding can be reduced, so will also the rigidity and brittleness of the gel; however, the gel strength may also be lowered. Synaeresis can also be reduced by adding locust bean gum. This gum also allows the amount of kappa to be reduced while still maintaining the same gel strength. The kappa can be reduced to one-third of the concentration that would be needed if locust bean gum were used. The resulting gels are more resilient than those with kappa alone.
A thixotropic behaviour is found with very low concentrations of kappa carrageenan in milk; a weak gel forms that is easily made to flow by shaking. The weak gel is strong enough to suspend fine particles in the milk, such as cocoa in chocolate milk.