Agar Agar – the strongest natural gelling agent available.
Agar Agar is a versatile vegetarian gelling agent used in place of gelatine, which is completely soluble in boiling water. It provides odourless, colourless superior quality gels even at very low concentrations and is in fact the strongest natural gelling agent available.
It can be melted and reset if desired.
Agar Agar solutions gel at temperatures from 35º – 43ºC and melt at temperatures from 85º – 95ºC. The only hydrocolloid that gives gels that can stand sterilization temperatures.
Applications: Bakery. Gelling Agent. Sweets
Rate of Hydration: Requires heating to 100 ºC
Gel Strength: Varied
Colour: Off white powder
Ph Solubility: 4.5 - 9.0
Dosage Rates: 0.5% - 2%
Temperature Range: Gel point 40 ºC. Melt back point is 85-100 ºC
For a firm jelly you will require approximately 8-10g of Agar Agar per pint/600ml of liquid. Agar gels have a much shorter texture then gels produced using gelatine and unlike gelatine gels, agar jellies do not require refrigeration to set.
To test the setting ability of the gel pour a small amount of liquid onto a cold saucer- it should set in 20-30 seconds. If the gel is too weak, add more Agar Agar. If too strong, add more liquid.
The gelling abilities of Agar Agar are affected by the acidity or alkalinity of the ingredients it is applied to.
Acidic fruits such as citrus fruits and strawberries require greater amounts of Agar Agar. Kiwi fruit is too acidic and prevents gelation. Pineapple, fresh figs, papaya, mango and peach will not set as they contain enzymes that break down gelling ability, however, cooking the fruit will negate this effect.
Adding a small amount of a buffer salt, such as sodium citrate will also help to regulate the acidity levels of a gel.
Chocolate and spinach also prevent gelation.