Sunday, September 13, 2015

Here's a Thing About Science

If you know how something's going to turn out, it's not an experiment.

You might have a pretty good idea about the outcome, you might even have some hope about the outcome, but if you attach to it you're not doing science anymore. No, I don't know what it is you might be doing, but I know it's not science.

I now officially declare the poprocks experiment to be a total and abject failure. I'm glad I only lost most of Saturday trying different ways to get different outcomes, but, I'm done.

I went as far as to call a chef I know who's all up into molecular gastronomy to see if she had any ideas about how to get the right kind of fizz into the right kind of consistency in the candy.

She had ideas, more than a few of them, but when she started talking about pressurized canisters of CO2, liquid nitrogen, and $200 pieces of glassware capable of withstanding high pressures and extreme cold I reminded myself:

Dude, this is a decoration. It was a great idea right up until the moment you learned what a pain in the ass it was.

Among the things I didn't like about my results was the hard taffy consistency to the rocks. They did maintain some fizz, but it really was minimal. The flavor was very good. Nice tartness, recognizable as lime. The consistency though, that was the big killer. It became hard, then under chewing became sticky. Not what I was looking for at all.

A thing chefs talk about a lot, especially when talking about things like fine chocolate is mouth feel. A big part of a very fine chocolate is the way that it feels in your mouth. It should go from solid to liquid quickly, with enough resistence to your teeth that you know you've bitten something, but it should also melt very quickly at body temperature. It should not leave a lasting residue. An aftertaste isn't a bad thing, it can even be desirable, but you shouldn't get the feeling of residue or things left behind in your mouth.

From here I am going to concentrate on taking the flavors I already have; the white chocolate ganache, the rum infused with vanilla, mint, and lime and getting the balance of those flavors right.

In the next few days I'm going to start with my first test batch. I'll divide that into fourths with one getting only the rum infusion, one getting an addition of lime zest, one getting a small amount of lime flavoring oil, one getting lime flavoring and zest.

We'll run them all up the flagpole and see which one, if any gets a salute..

Even when you learn a lesson you weren't hoping for, science is still cool.