Anyone who knows me will testify to my impatience. Nothing happens fast enough. It is a wonder that I enjoy sous vide cooking because it often takes forever. At least once the ingredients are cooking I can do something else and maximize productivity.
Speed is a form of functionality. Time is really expensive. Refinement is essential. There is only so much burrata on grilled bread that one man can eat. (Perhaps if we rethought burrata we would change the game. That is another discussion.)
The process of clarification, particularly gelatin clarification is mind blowingly simple and yet it is not being used in every kitchen across the country because of the supposed labor, really time, involved in the process. Like sous vide, gelatin clarification takes time, though not active participation. There have been discussions about the use of agar agar in the clarifying process of broths to make them more efficient because agar allows the bases to thaw at room temperature, as opposed to in the refrigerator with temperature sensitive gelatin. It speeds up the operation although thawing anything still takes time.
Understanding the process of gelatin clarification and its subset agar agar clarificaton is important. The technique relies on controlled syneresis. Now the question is how to expedite the process. Using the freeze thaw approach, small ice crystals cut into the three dimensional matrix formed by either the gelatin or agar, which then allows for the clear liquid to be released upon thawing, while the impurities are contained within the delicate gel structure. This process is like a beautiful symphony, producing results which we could only dream of in the past. The Achille's heel is the time it takes to wait for a solid block to gently thaw. In looking more closely at agar agar we note that it is prone to syneresis. So the question we pose tonight is what if we add pressure to the process? Instead of freezing and thawing we vacuum sealed a delicate agar gel to see if it would release it's clear liquids. The answer is yes it will, in far less time than any previous methods that we have employed.