10 x 3ml Pipettes
Although they may be more commonly seen in a laboratory, pipettes are useful tools to have around whenever you are doing anything that requires you to be precise with liquids. Trying to tip a single drop out of a jug or even a teaspoon can be surprisingly hard, and when you are dealing with such small quantities in recipes, it is important to be able to deal in miniature measures.
Using pipettes in molecular gastronomy
Most recipes are pretty forgiving and won’t be completely ruined if you accidentally add an extra splash of oil or a little less milk than is stated, but when you are working on a molecular level, the difference between one drop or two is vital.
One of the key techniques in molecular biology is creating emulsions and this is a scientific process that is much easier when you are able to add the emulsifying ingredients a single drop at a time. Mayonnaise is one of the most common food emulsions, but for dishes that use specialist or highly flavoured ingredients, small amounts of them may be added using a pipette.
Pipettes are also useful in the popular techniques of spherification and reverse spherification. You can fill a pipette with fruit juice, cordial, soy sauce or even soup and use the pipette to dispense even droplets into an alginate solution. The combination will cause the liquid to form an instant gel, resulting in small spheres of your chosen liquid. They are ideal for adding to a dish to create an interesting texture and add an eye-catching accent as well as intense bursts of flavour.
Other culinary uses for pipettes
There are a number of ways to use pipettes to make a difference to the presentation of your food. For some chefs, this means delicately dispensing individual drops of a sauce or seasoning onto the food with pinpoint precision. For others that means loading up a pipette with sauce and serving it as part of the dish to allow each person to add it to suit their tastes.
Sushi is sometimes served with a pipette of soy sauce and they are an ideal way to dispense dressings or sauces onto finger foods. They can also be used to deliver a sauce or filling into the centre of a dish, whether that’s injecting gravy into a bite-sized piece of fried chicken or a chocolate sauce into a miniature fondant pudding.
If you want to add a syrupy centre to a cake, but don’t want the sponge to go soggy, you can serve it with a pipette in place to squeeze the syrup in just before eating.
A pipette can also be useful when you are dealing with some particularly strong ingredients. The flavour of certain foods, such as truffles, vanilla and the sweet extract that can be made from candy cap mushrooms, can be overwhelming when used in large quantities. A pipette is the ideal instrument to ensure that only the tiniest amount of a strong flavouring is used in a recipe, particularly if you are trying a small or experimental batch.
Pipettes are also a great way to add colour to a recipe, whether that’s to a single ingredient or a whole dish. Some pigments and food dyes are very strong and can become too dark very easily if the colour is not added carefully.