Baby’s first fluid gel! Fluid gels are an entire category of sauces that are ubiquitous in contemporary cuisine. I avoided them for years, another example of my old disdain for things I considered “modernist”.
Flipping through the Eleven Madison Park cookbook I saw several dishes in which yogurt was drawn across the plate in perfectly smooth lines. I had recently used yogurt on a lamb dish, and not only did it not look smooth, it also tended to weep a bit of moisture when put on a warm plate. I finally discovered that the yogurt component in these EMP dishes were actually dairy fluid gels made with agar agar. While the yogurt has to be somewhat diluted with milk or water in order to hydrate the agar agar, there are two benefits to making a gel. One it has great smooth texture for plating. Two it stabilizes the yogurt thermally so that it can be heated without splitting.
My Yogurt Fluid Gel is adapted from the Sheep’s Milk Gel in the EMP cookbook.
Yogurt Fluid Gel
- 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup water
- 7 g (~1 tbsp) agar agar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Gently warm the yogurt in a small pot. Do not bring to a simmer.
- In a second pot, combine the water and agar agar and bring to a boil, whisking frequently to hydrate the agar agar.
- Whisk the warm yogurt and salt into the agar agar mixture. Pour through a chinois into a hotel pan and refrigerate until set firm, about 1 hour.
- Cut the gel into small pieces. Transfer to Vitamix and purée until very smooth. Pass through a fine tamis.
- Transfer to storage container or squeeze bottle. Label, date, and refrigerate.
Yield: ~2 cups Yogurt Fluid Gel