Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, October 21, 2011


Best Blog Tips

I fnally posted my in-progress recipe for a low-fat, fluffy, light vegan "whipped creme" made with the product Versawhip 600K™ almost a week ago.  Please go to that blog post to read more about the product and the story behind this recipe and its development (as well as where to buy Versawhip 600K™).

I was thinking about that recipe all week because the main failing of the recipe is that it won't hold it's fluffy texture for very long. The air seem to go out of it. Mind you, you can beat the air into it again and it's good as new.  But this bothers me anyway and I was looking for an improvement, if not a solution.

Look at what happened when I left the batch from that last post in the refrigerator for about 5 days, which I did on purpose just to see if it would whip up again after so long. It went from this:

To this in 5 days of refrigeration:

I whipped it up again with a hand-held beater and it got right back in shape!

But I got to thinking about something I had read when I was researching xanthan gum in relation to gluten-free baking.  I read in one article: "Xanthan gum can be used to thicken or stabilize liquids, suspensions or emulsions...Xanthan gum is a hydrocolloid (link) which means it works by controlling the structure of water within foods and liquids. Its long, chain-like, molecules increase the thickness and viscosity of liquids."

Pondering this gem of information, I wondered if a tiny bit of xanthan gum, in addition to the slightly larger amount of agar I had used in the last batch, might be able to provide enough structure to hold in the air that is beaten into the mixture. I also thought a tiny bit more sugar might help because Versawhip 600K™ seems to react well with sugar. It was worth a try, and the recipe below is the result, which is still not perfect, but IS improved.  (The little bit of extra powdered sugar did not make it overly sweet, by the way-- it actually improved the flavor.)

Yield: 3 cups
IMPORTANT NOTES— Fresh or canned coconut milk [even the "lite" type], or homemade full-fat nut milks do not work with this mixture. Versawhip 600K™ does not seem to do well with fat (it deflates the mixture), and coconut or nut milk is too high in fat. However, commercial soy milks or nut milks (such as Silk Almond or Almond Breeze) and So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage work because they are quite low in fat. Tofu also makes it refuse to whip up—even as little as 3 tablespoons!

Please follow the steps, timing and combinations as outlined in the recipe.

Mixture A:
1/4 cup soymilk (homemade or commercial) or other nondairy milk (Please read Notes above.)
1/2 teaspoon agar powder
Mixture B:
1/4 cup original or unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk (Please read Notes above.)
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon organic grated lemon zest
Mixture C: (have this measured out ahead of time)
2 teaspoons Versawhip 600K
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 pinch table salt

Mixture A:
Mix the 1/4 cup soymilk and the agar powder together in a deep 2 cup heat-proof bowl (the size is important because the mixture boils up). Mix with a small whisk or fork. Let stand while you proceed.

Mixture B:
Place Mixture B ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer with a whip attachment that touches the bottom of the bowl, or in a bowl that you can use with an electric hand-held mixer (do NOT use an immersion/stick blender).

Combining A, B and C:
Whisk Mixture A again and then microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds. Whisk and repeat once. (IF YOU HAVE NO MICROWAVE, place the bowl in a small to medium saucepan which will accommodate it [use a canning jar ring or something similar to rest the bowl on] and which contains enough simmering water to come about halfway up the sides of the bowl. Stir the mixture constantly with a small whisk until the agar is dissolved and thickened and feel silky when rubbed between your fingertips, not grainy.)

WORKING QUICKLY, scoop the cooked agar mixture into Mixture B in the mixer bowl, using a small spatula to get all of it out of the bowl or pan. Dump in Mixture C and immediately (this is important!) start beating at medium speed for a few seconds. Stop and quickly scrape the sides of the bowl downward so that all of the powder gets incorporated into the liquids. Quickly turn the machine on again and beat on high speed for 4 minutes.

The creme will increase in volume by about 5 times, and should be white and fluffy and hold a peak. You can use it immediately or scoop it into a bowl or container, cover and refrigerate. If you serve it immediately it will not be cold, but it will be the consistency of whipped crème. If you refrigerate it first, it will lose some of the air that was beaten into it, so you will need to beat it in a stand mixer or with a hand-held electric mixer (NOT an immersion/stick blender) back to its original fluffy condition. But it will be cold—it’s up to you.

It will look more airy after a time in the fridge.

Whip again until the volume increases again and it is creamy and smooth. Use immediately.

This was analyzed using soy milk; it will be lower in fat and calories using some other non-dairy milks.
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 55.8 calories; 3% calories from fat; 0.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 80.6mg sodium; 37.4mg potassium; 10.4g carbohydrates; 0.1g fiber; 9.9g sugar; 10.3g net carbs; 1.3g protein; 1.1 points.

To finish off this particular experiment, topped a couple of pumpkin cupcakes with some of the Versawhipped Creme and left one in the refrigerator overnight.

This is a freshly iced one:

This is after spending a night in the refrigerator:

It actually spent all day in the fridge as well (we just split it) and looked pretty much the same as when I took this photo.  And the stored  second batch of Versawhipped Creme?  This is what it looked like after a day and a half  in the refrigerator:

Compare it to the first batch:

There is quite an improvement, even if it isn't perfect (yet!).  It's tricky stuff, that Versawhip.



cv said...

Bryanna, have you tried lecithin? There's even sunflower lecithin available now for those who need soy-free (obviously in conjuction with a soy-free non-dairy milk).

I love reading your progress reports. I learn so much about recipe development. Thanks so much!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

CV, thanks for the tip about sunflower lecethin-- didn't know it existed! I doubt it would work in this because it actually IS a fat. Also, it's an emulsifier, and I don't think we need that here-- the versawhip seems to do a good job of that. Anywya, thanks for the tip!

Vegiegail said...

Thank you, Bryanna! I cannot wait to try this!!!!!

Sunday Driver said...

Xanthan gum(Go Louis Pasteur!) I could write a blog post or two on this; I'll try to be brief. From my understanding, agar isn't ideal in recipes like this. As it sets, it's said to from linear bonds (similar to ice crystals) which grow stronger with time. Shearing (like whipping) destroys these temporarily, but they reform on standing. On the wikipedia entry for carrageenan you can see the chemical structure is helical, agar is linear. With shear, carrageenan breaks bonds but these reform quickly allowing it to be dispensed without ruining it's gel structure. Both require heat for dissolution in water. Some carrageenans require certain minerals to form bonds. Some tend to weep. There remains health questions over carrageenan (even so, alot of commercial soymilks contain them).
Cool whip comes whipped and frozen. Have you tried freezing and thawing your whip? Guar gum should prevent ice crystal growth and is stable during freeze-thaw cycles. Temps higher than 50C will cause it to break down. It works in synergy with xanthan gum. Modified tapioca starch (pre-cooked) also dissolves and thickens at low temps (see
Looking at whipped products at the store, some are vegan. Some contain soy protein isolate or modified milk products. Most contain fats > 20% (as does whipping cream (35%M.F.)). Does this fat give the melt and mouthfeel associated with cream products? Some contain modified cornstarch (instant clearjel?). Would a thick, stable syrup like brown rice/corn give a more stable result than cane sugar?
Lecithin does foam (molecular gastronomy sites), dissolves in water, and can emulsify fats. My tests on the granules confirm dissolution and foaming. The liquid can be bleached, but I've only found the tar colored one in the store.
Other things beside Versawhip may produce foams; some have a "taste". Is Versawhip a neutral flavor?
Given the health concerns about modified fats and highly processed foodstuffs, should we do like we do for gluten and accept that it is never going to be exactly like what we are trying to replace?
I could type more about my experiments, but I'd better stop for now.
Father Flatus

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Whoa-- that's alot to take in! I will have to digest all this and experiment some more. To your last question: there is a bit of a bitter aftertaste, hence the amount of sugar used. Oh, and about carageenan, you might want to read this: