Texturization is the technology of systematically modifying, restructuring or refining the physical properties of a food product and is discernible either via sensory, rheological or texture analyses. Typically, food formulators and culinary chefs modify foods’ physical properties to enhance sensorial properties such as flavour release profile (taste) and mouthfeel (texture). Sensory properties can be correlated to the foods’ physical properties of flowability, mucoadhesion, crispiness, fracturability and disintegration. These are precisely measured and controlled by food scientists through their selection of ingredients and/or processing methods.
Texturization enables formulators to achieve a wide range of mouthfeels in liquid products such as creams, sauces, dressings, puddings and protein shakes. The role of hydrocolloids in texturization is related to viscosity creation and tenability. Hydrocolloids are excellent viscosity builders that perform without masking the foods’ original flavours. The viscosity can be induced cold or via cook-up and can be tuned to various degrees of pseudoplasticity (shear-thinning) so a product can maintain stability at low shear or at rest while being pumpable at high shear.
Some hydrocolloids are also gelling agents, i.e., they turn liquids into solids via hydrogen bonding, electrostatic interactions or covalent bonding. The gels can be induced cold or via cook-up, and created to be thermally-reversible or thermally-irreversible. Examples of applications include the solidification of a liquid (as in a jelly or a flan), the trapping of air after gel-set (as in chocolate mousse), and the trapping of air in a liquid (as in whipped cream).
Gelling/Solidifying of Fruit Jellies
Carrageenan gels are an advancement over traditional gelatin gels. Gelatin takes longer to set and begins to break down in room temperature. Carrageenan products remain stable at higher temperatures and are more durable.
Thickening of Dairy-Based Sauces
Because of its strong milk reactivity, the addition of carrageenan allows chefs or food formulators to achieve a full-bodied to semi-solid sauce without the high fat or high cost of using heavy cream.