The Spherification technique was introduced at el Bulli by Ferran Adria in 2003 marking an inflexion point in molecular gastronomy. As many other molecular gastronomy techniques, spherification was discovered by working together with a leading company in the food industry and, of course, the genius of a chef like Ferran Adria and the rest of el Bulli team.
In 2003, Ferran Adria and el Bulli team were visiting a company called Griffith España to see their installations when they came across a Mexican sauce that contained little balls in suspension which added acidity and spice when eaten.Their first spherification experiment was with water as the main ingredient and a syringe to form little drops of the alginate solution. Because they used water in a water bath they couldn’t see any spheres but when they strained the liquid they discovered that they had been able to create small balls with liquid inside (now called caviar). Right after that they tried with a spoon instead of a syringe to create a larger sphere and now the first “spherical ravioli” was created.
2005 el Bulli Creates Inverse or Reverse Spherification
While el Bulli was serving the first spheres, el Bulli Taller, the scientific department of the restaurant, was researching how to modify the spherification technique to be able to work with products that already contained calcium in them. With Basic Spherification this natural calcium would trigger the jellification process of the liquid inside the sphere, obviously an unwanted effect.
After multiple unsuccessful experiments to improve the spherification technique, el Bulli team realized that they could just try a reverse spherification by inverting the components and inserting a product that already contained calcium into an alginate bath. This discovery, now called Reversed Spherification, allowed el Bulli to create spheres with new ingredients like olives and dairy products for the first time ever. As an extra bonus (not minor), reverse spherification allowed el Bulli chef to detain the jellification of preparations, something they were unable to control in basic spherification.The Basic Spherification technique, also called Direct Spherification, consists of submerging a liquid with sodium alginate in a bath of calcium to form a sphere.This technique is ideal for obtaining spheres with a very, very thin membrane that is almost imperceptible in your mouth and easily «explodes» as if there is no solid substance between your palate and the liquid.Reverse Spherification is more versatile than Basic Spherification as it can make spheres with almost any product. It is best for liquids with high calcium content or alcohol content which makes them great for cocktails and dairy products like cheese, milk, cream and yoghurt.
Reverse Spherification, this technique consists of submerging a liquid with calcium content in a bath of sodium alginate. But instead of using a spoon to pour the main Hemispheric Silicone Moldingredient into the alginate bath, a hemispheric mold is used to freeze the calcium mixture and then the frozen hemispheres are popped into the bath. As the edge of the hemisphere starts to melt, the calcium in the mixture reacts with the alginate in the bath to produce the membrane. After removing the spheres from the alginate bath, they are rinsed in a clean water bath.
here is a video you show you the basic spherification: