How to Use Agar Agar Powder in Vegan Desserts?

How to Use Agar Agar Powder in Vegan Desserts

Agar Agar Powder 

Agar-agar powder is made from red algae derivatives and commonly used in almost modern kitchens, food, and beverage industries. It is because the adaptability and simplicity of its usage make it a mainstay in the world of food and beverage. So, agar-agar powder has become a typical ingredient for the desserts and become a plant-based option for gelatin substitution.

Agar Agar & Gelatin 

Agar-agar powder as a seaweed product is already popular among vegan and vegetarians who avoid the animal product. It is also considered as a halal product.  Agar-agar powder is mainly extracted from Gelidium sp. and Gracilaria sp. genus. In contrast, gelatin is a product of animal derivatives, such as skin, bone, and muscle membrane from pigs or cows.

There are several physical properties from agar-agar powder, such us have a bright white color and dry texture. Beside the powder type, agar-agar is also made into strips and bars type. Gelatin powder have a light yellow, glossy, and translucent appearance. It also has colorless, odorless, and transparent form when its dissolved in water.

Agar-agar and gelatin are soluble in hot water and their gel forming is determined by several factors, such as, pH, composition of the solution, temperature, and ionic strength.

Furthermore, agar-agar and gelatin have different gel texture and strength. Gel structure of agar-agar is firm and brittle. It can stand at temperatures as high as 65°C.  Compared to gelatin, it sets at a lower temperature and forms elastic and soft gel that can easily melt at body temperature. So, it can be useful for certain desserts.

Basic Method to Use Agar Agar Powder 

To begin with, it’s critical to understand the proper ratio of powder to liquid when using agar-agar powder in vegan desserts in order to create the correct consistency. Usually, one teaspoon of agar-agar powder gels around two cups of liquid, though this may depend on how solid you want your dessert to be.

The first step in utilizing agar-agar powder is to dissolve it in a liquid. You can use water or any flavored liquid, including almond milk, coconut milk, or fruit juice. When heating the mixture, it is important to constantly whisk or swirl the powder until it dissolves completely. After dissolving, boil the mixture, then let it simmer for a short while. The gelling capabilities of agar-agar are activated in this phase, which is essential to getting the correct texture. The key is timing: undercooking can produce a watery consistency, while overcooking can cause the agar-agar’s ability to gel to break down.

Vegan Dishes of Agar-agar Powder

The versatility of agar agar powder makes this ingredient can be used in a diverse way for many dishes. Here are some vegan dishes that you can try to make with agar agar powder:

  1. Sauces and Soups
    As a thickening agent, agar-agar powder can be used to make a smooth, thick, and soft texture for sauce or soup. Agar-agar powder can also help to disperse the whole ingredients within the liquid, so it can make an appealing visual.
  2. Puddings and Custards Cream
    Agar-agar powder is essential for attaining the right thickness and consistency in vegan custards and puddings without eggs. You can also add a plant-based milk, such as almond, soy, or coconut milk with agar-agar powder, sugar, and boiling the liquid until it thickens. Then, allow it to cool and solidify.
  3. Fruit Dishes and Gummies
    Agar-agar works well as a component in a variety of dishes, such as fruit dishes (fruit jelly drink) or gummies. Those of natural fruit taste can be added into the gummies and are easy to make. You can make it at home by mixing agar-agar powder, fruit purees, sweeteners, and a little acid (like lemon juice). After that, you can boil the mixture, pour it into molds, and let it set. The end product is a delightfully smooth, colorful, and delicious fruit jelly.
    Agar-agar powder has a bland flavor and adds a soft, solid texture without changing the flavor character. Agar agar powder can also work in a wide range of pH from 4.5-9.0, resistant to proteolytic enzymes (mostly found in pineapple, kiwi, peach), and have a high tolerance of alcohol (about 40%).
  4. Panna cotta
    Agar-agar powder can also be used to make vegan versions of traditional desserts like panna cotta, an Italian delicacy. Here is the method to make vegan panna cotta. Firstly, make a combination of coconut milk, almond milk (or another plant-based milk), sugar, vanilla essence, and agar-agar powder in a medium-heated pan. You can use 2 teaspoons of agar-agar powder (1-2 g). Then, stir the mixture continuously until its boils. After that, transfer the mixture into molds and chilled until it reaches a silky and smooth consistency.
  5. Marshmallow
    Marshmallow is one of the delicious dishes that everybody loves. So, this vegan marshmallow is a good choice and quite easy to make. You have to prepare simple ingredients, such as, white sugar, powdered sugar, agar agar powder, vanilla essence, salt, and cornstarch.

So, the first step is to mix the 2 tablespoons of agar-agar powder with half a cup of cold water. Then, add the sugar, mix all of it, and bring to a boil. Please avoid stirring the mixture when it begins to boil. Boil that mixture until 112°C. After that, you can pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool concisely. Blend the mixture with a mixer until it becomes thick and white, while you are also adding a pinch of salt and vanilla essence. Lastly, pour the mixture into a flat pan that is already spread by powdered sugar and cornstarch. Finally, let it set until its get firm for one hour.

During the marshmallow mixture is beaten by a mixer, agar-agar helps the air bubbles evenly disperse, and the agar-agar coagulates around the bubbles. That action of agar-agar can stabilize the form of marshmallow and make the texture softer and spongy-like.|

To sum up, agar-agar powder is a very useful and important ingredient when cooking vegan desserts. Its capacity to gel different liquids creates a plethora of opportunities for producing a variety of delicious delicacies without the use of ingredients originating from animals. Agar-agar powder, a sustainable and cruelty-free option for dessert lovers, is a monument to the inventiveness and originality of plant-based cookery, whether it is used in fruit jellies, custards, puddings, or gummy candies.

Tradeasia International can provide agar agar powder in large quantities for your food factory. For inquiries, feel free to contact us.

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