Forget turning water into wine. We wanted to turn a liquid into a solid. Without fundamentally altering its taste. Specifically, we’ve been working on a new lamb dish with a surprising element that in its standard form is sweet yet, with the late addition of something like a powder, could instead deliver a sweet and sour taste. In short, we needed vinegar powder.
Here in the UK you can buy something labelled as vinegar powder from Japanese food stores, but that stuff is supposed to be blended with liquid for use with sushi rice and lists vinegar as just one of several ingredients. Stateside, the other option is to buy one of several commercially-produced packets of powder made using little more than vinegar and maltodextrin. That’s more like it, but we’re not about to ship vinegar powder all the way across the Atlantic when we can make it ourselves and so control the process and final flavour.
More on that lamb dish soon. For now, here’s the vinegar powder recipe:
EQUIPMENT: Stick blender, dehydrator (or convection oven set to below 60C), Silpat or other non-stick sheet
INGREDIENTS: 200g Malt vinegar (you can substitute but will get less of an acetic kick from the final powder), 200g maltodextrin*, 2g agar
- Mix vinegar and agar. Heat above 90c to dissolve agar.
- Pour into a container and leave to cool until set into a gel.
- Blitz gel with a stick blender to obtain a fluid gel. Gradually add the maltodextrin.
- Spread very thinly onto a Silpat.
- Dehydrate until completely dry (24-48 hours).
- Blitz to a fine powder.
- Vinegar is highly hygroscopic, so use fresh or store until required in an airtight container with silica gel, or in a dehydrator. Re-blitz before use to obtain crumbs or a fine powder as required (pass through a fine sieve for a uniformly fine consistency).
*Corn or wheat maltodextrin is required for this recipe, rather than N-Zorbit Tapioca-based starch. SOSA produces a maltodextrin for the European market, while Grain Processing sells in the USA (look for the brandname Maltrin). Alternatively, check out bodybuilding websites, or protein specialists (we like My Protein) for a cheap source of maltodextrin powder.