Methocel, also known as “Methylcellulose” is a family of a variety of hydrocolloids. It’s best known for its ability to form gels when hot and melt in the mouth once consumed.
What is Methylcellulose?
To understand this ingredient a little better, it’s best to break down the term. Cellulose is one of the most commonly occurring carbohydrates that can be found in plants. While cellulose in indigestible on its own, non-toxic types can be used in a highly processed form to thicken food products.
Methocel is named as it is because it has been treated with methyl chloride. When the methyl group attaches itself to the cellulose, it takes on a new form and develops unique properties. While it has many other applications, methylcellulose is most famously known for melting when cool and forming a gel when hot.
Methocel or Methylcellulose acts as a thickener and forms a gel when hydrated.
One recipe where Methocel is often used is in hot ice cream. When Methylcellulose is added it gives a jelly-like look but still with the mouth feel of ice cream. It also will not melt, Even in the oven or set on fire (yes we’ve tried it).
Try adding a small amount to your ice cream recipes for functions to give you a lot longer to finish all of the plates before the first one starts melting.
Methocel can be used in a variety of modern cuisines. It’s a great ingredient to create foams and can be added to liquids too. Once the Methocel is added to the liquid, it can be dried to form a film or baked into crisp, brittle sheets.
In fact, the properties of Methocel make it a good replacement for egg whites in a few recipes as well. All you need to do is to whip it with purees to soft peaks and it will be pipe able for vegan meringues
Methylcellulose can also be added in deep-fried foods. Coat the food in the ingredient, and it will form an impermeable film as soon as it hits the oil.Another benefit of adding Methocel to fried foods is that it reduces the amount of moisture that escapes from the ingredients that are coated and also cuts the oil absorption. This, as a result, will help you get fried foods that are crispier, and lighter on the plate.
Methylcellulose is a recommended ingredient for vegans since it is synthesised from natural, non-toxic ingredients. The typical concentration for the ingredient ranges from 0.5 to 2%, depending on the use.
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