dimanche 17 avril 2011

Second Seminar in Lebanon

Here is what was sent today by Reine Barbar, University of Kaslil :

Dear All,

The second Molecular Gastronomy Lebanese Seminar took place on the 11th of April at USEK.

You will find below the report and the theme for our next seminar.

I like to invite you all as planned for the Seminar N°3 that will take place Monday 9th of May from 4:00PM to 6:00 PM at the ground floor food laboratory of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences-USEK, Kaslik.

Please feel free to diffuse the invitation to whom is interested but we would appreciate an email confirmation before the 4th of May.

Hope to see you all in order to count you among our lebanese group of molecular gastronomy!


Report on seminar N° 2 of Molecular Gastronomy in Lebanon
11 April 2011, from 16h00 till 18h00
Food Science Laboratory- Faculty of Agricultural Sciences-USEK
I. Information on intervention of Prof Hervé This at HORECA:
Dr Reine Barbar communicated on the content of the intervention of Prof. Hervé This at
salon HORECA on the 29th of March 2011.
It was interesting to see the impact of the first seminar on molecular gastronomy in
Lebanon held on the 28th of April, on the elaboration of new ideas for the intervention of
Prof This at HORECA.
The program was changed according to the work done on Tahina, one day before at Sofil-
The “note by note cooking” was presented. "Note by Note Cooking" is a new way of cooking,
that will be next after Molecular Cooking. It was proposed by H. This in a Scientific
American issue in 1994. Up to now, it was achieved only by the French chef Pierre
Gagnaire, the 24 th of April 2008 in Hong-Kong, for one dish, by the Alsatian chefs Hubert
Maetz and Nadine Kuentz, in Strasbourg, for two dishes shown during the French-German-
Japanese Meeting of JSPS Alumini, by professors of the Cordon bleu School of Paris during
a private evening for students of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Gastronomy (HEG).
One detail: please remember that "chemicals", or "chemical compounds" do not exist. There
are compounds that can be synthesized or extracted: such are water, sucrose, ethanol, etc.
In many circumstances, it is probably a better choice to extract compounds from plant or
animal tissues, as one does not forget that the synthesis of vitamin B12 needed hundreds of
skilled chemists working for years.
Sometimes, compounds can be prepared using processes such as lyophilization, reverse
osmosis, drying, etc.
In one example presented at HORECA, “Tahina” was considered as a lipid base given that
it is mainly composed of lipid. So, with “the base lipid”, Prof This mixed “water base” (for
example tomato juice, herbs..) and could realize new tasty spheres with liquid nitrogen. The
texture of the product obtained is interesting as the surface is solid due to cold temperature
but the inner phase is still relatively liquid or gelified.

Also Prof This worked in the formulation of red wine, by adding the individual constituents
one by one: grape polyphenols, sugar, tartric acid....
The possibilities are infinite with the “note by note cooking” and could be interesting to
apply on our traditional Lebanese cuisine.
This moment at HORECA was particularly exciting and new for all the persons who were
there! So thank you again Prof This for the energetic, scientific yet human demonstration
you presented at HORECA.
II. Experiences on the onctuosity of Béchamel Sauce.
II.1. Protocols
Firstly, questions were asked regarding the preparation protocol of sauce Béchamel.
It was decided to follow the following recipe:
- 1L of half-skimmed milk
- 100 g of flour
- 100 g of butter
Protocol A:
Standard preparation protocol was used with the constitution of “roux” which is the result
of mixture of melted butter and flour. After this step, milk was slowly added in order to let
the mixture thicken.
Protocol B:
Milk is first heated alone to 80°C and then butter is added to heated milk and after the
Protocol C:
Cold “roux” (constituted of non heated butter and flour) is added to cold milk.
Protocol D:
Heated “roux” is added to milk heated aside at 80°C till the solution thickens.
Same materials and weights were used in all protocols.
Béchamel sauces from protocols A, B, C and D were studied for:
- Macroscopic observations
- Microscopic observations

- Viscosity measurements
II.2. Observations and results:
Béchamel sauces were described by all present in order to qualify their textures with eye
Optical microscopes were used with magnification “x 10” in order to notice the
microstructure of béchamel sauces and the presence or not of agglomerations.
The micrographs were taken after 5 minutes of cooling.
Viscosity measurements were done in controlled rate mode. The spindel used was R2 with a
cylindrical rotor and an rpm of 2.
Protocol Viscosity Macroscopic Microscopic Micrographs
(cP) observations observations
A 7250 Smooth Reduced
texture number of air
Presence of
B 15869 Presence of More air
granulations bubbles are
are more

C 36 Liquid Liquid
texture structure. No
(depending on
D 374137 Thick High number of
texture but small white
some agglomerations.
are present
It appears from the above table that the different protocols have great influence on
macroscopic and microscopic observations. These observations are consolidated by the
viscosity measurements that show that medium viscosity is obtained for sauce béchamel
“A”. The thickest béchamels appear to be samples “B” and “D”. Sample C is liquid as it is
evident from the viscosity value.
A discussion followed regarding the composition of flour. Flour is mainly constituted by
starch. Proteins in flour have the characteristics to form a viscoelastic network when
hydrated called gluten. Gluten is responsible of elasticity, extensibility, cohesion and gas
retention in paste. Gluten is insoluble in water and forms about 90% of flour proteins.
An experiment was done in order to understand the constituents of flour. Flour was mixed
to water and then knead with it. After the paste formation, water leaching resulted in the
separation of 2 fractions, gluten being at right in the following picture.

As for the texture of sauce bechamels, it seems that the order of mixture and heat have
both an impact.
Adding flour to melted butter and then milk resulted in the best onctuosity. So milk
(qualified as an aqueous phase) should have a supposed role on proteins hydratation and
starching. Heating together “roux” and milk could have an impact on gelatinization
especially that while cooling, the sauce thickens. This is due to starching cooling that leads
to a progressive solidification of starch.
III.3. Choice of Topic for next seminar:
All present expressed their suggestions for topics for next seminar.
The suggestions were as following:
Tomato role in taboule making
A vote was done in order to specify the majority and the majority decided to explore the
elaboration of mayonnaise and also Lebanese innovations with it.
Also, we should finish the exploration on arak preparation with “arak balabe” instead of
commercial arak to see if there is any difference noticed in comparison with results of
seminar N°1.
The next seminar was decided for the 9th of May from 4.00 PM to 6.00 PM at the Faculty of
Agricultural Sciences of USEK.

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