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What is Methylcellulose?

Methylcellulose, also known as methyl cellulose is a chemical compound taken from vegetable cellulose through heating with a caustic solution and treatment with methyl chloride. The end product is a white odorless powdery substance that swells up in the presence of liquid.

This has a wide range of applications and is used in many industries. In cooking, it is often used as a thickener and emulsifier. Sauces, dressings and ice creams are often produced with this added in.

Methylcellulose is an effective agent in preventing the formation of ice crystals in foods which need frequent refrigeration, keeping food fresher. In molecular gastronomy it is often used as a gelling agent.

Unlike many other gelling agents in molecular gastronomy, methylcellulose must be heated to create a gel since gelification occurs with heat and not upon cooling.

To use methylcellulose, it must first be hydrated in cold liquid with a dosage of about 1g to 20g per liter, depending on the desired outcome. The solution must then be stirred or shaken and left to rest.

Heat can then be applied to begin gelification. Temperatures may range from 38°C / 100.4°F to 68°C / 154.4°F depending on the type of methylcellulose being used in the preparation. As a heat reversible hydrocolloid, gels made with methylcellulose become liquid when sufficiently cooled.

Related Methylcellulose Articles

Methocel A4C Instant Mushroom Noodles

Methocel A4C Instant Mushroom Noodles image These instant noodles make for an awesome presentation. They are created in the bowl of soup in front of the diner, or the diner can even make the noodles themselves. They are based off of Wylie Dufresne's instant tofu noodles.
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Methocel A4C

Methocel A4C gels at a lower temperature and is good in batters and coatings.
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Methylcellulose image Methylcellulose is one of the most interesting modernist ingredients. It has the unusual property of gelling when it is heated and melting as it cools. One of the most dramatic uses of this is "instant noodles" when the diner has a squeeze bottle full of liquid that when squeezed into a soup instantly turns into noodles. It has also been used to make "hot ice cream" that melts as it cools.
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Cherry Whipped Methocel Foam Recipe

Cherry Whipped Methocel Foam Recipe image Modernist foams come in many varieties. They can be made by blending, in a whipping siphon, or even using an aquarium bubbler. This recipe focuses on a different type: whipped foams, specifically whipped Methocel foams.
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Methocel F50

Methocel F50 image Methocel is a type of methylcellulose. Methylcellulose is made from cellulose pulp, which is taken from plants' cell walls. There are about 20 kinds of methylcellulose and while similar, they all have different properties. Methocel F50 is commonly used to stabilize foams, especially whipped foams.
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