Methocel may be used as an emulsifier, thickener, gelling agent or a film former.
Methocel (methylcellulose) is a chemical compound derived from cellulose. It is a hydrophilic (blends with water) white powder and dissolves in cold (but not hot) liquid, forming a clear viscous solution or gel.
Applications: Foam formation & stabilisation. Film formation. Hot gels which melt upon cooling and in the mouth.
Thickener and emulsifier - Methocel can be used as a thickener in sauces and dressings, and also as a thickener and stabiliser in ice cream where it helps prevent ice crystals from forming during freezing.
Hot Gels - it has a unique ability to form hot gels when heated above 45ºC. As the solution is heated it will change to an opaque jellified state. When gradually cooled it will return to its original state. It is this function, which enables the production of hot jellies, noodles, deep fried mayonnaise and hot ice creams.
Film Forming - capable of producing a solid, flexible and transparent film. Films may be produced by allowing the Methocel solution to dry out, at low temperature (not above 60ºC) to prevent the solution from gelling. FIlms can be used as wrappers for petit fours or to add an extra dimension to dishes.
Rate of Hydration: Methocel dissolves in cold water. It is not soluble in hot water. However, preparing a solution of Methocel with just cold water is not possible as the Methocel will not disperse and lumps may form. To overcome this problem, the Methocel should first be dispersed in hot water (above 70ºC). The amount of water should equal and replace approximately one third of the amount of liquid specified in the recipe. At this point, the balance of the liquid in the recipe should be added to the warm solution. This will bring the temperature of the solution down and the Methocel will dissolve.
Gel Strength: Varied
Colour: White Powder
Ph Solubility: 3-11
Dosage Rates: 0.5% to 2.0%
Methocel dissolves in cold liquid and is not soluble in hot liquid; however preparing a solution of Methocel with cold liquid is difficult. As the powder comes in contact with the liquid, a gluey layer forms around it, and the inside remains dry.
A better way is to first mix the powder with a hot liquid, above 70ºC, (taken from the total amount of liquid in recipe, approx. one third) so that the Methocel particles are well dispersed in the liquid. At this point the remaining liquids can be added to the heated solution, this will lower the temperature to reach the optimum dissolution point.
The Methocel solution should then be refrigerated for at least 2hrs prior to use as this will ensure all particles are fully dissolved.
Hot gels formed using Methocel may be subject to a small amount of leeching of free water when the gels are heated, this can be controlled with the use of a water binding ingredient such as Xanthan Gum or Locust Bean Gum.
Methocel gels will soften on standing; the melt back point for methocel gels is about 15ºC.