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The Ultimate Guide to Aquafaba in the Bar.

I know, that a lot of people in the industry are rolling their eyes, if you are using the moniker mixology or mixologist. However I totally see, that a lot of modern cocktail creation and especially the ingredients manipulation goes far beyond the classic methodology of a bartender.

I believe, one of the most clever new introduction in bartending in the last years has been the use of aquafaba as egg white substitute in the bar.

What is aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the cooking liquid of pulses - and in most cases it is based on chickpeas.

What to do with aquafaba?
Instead of using egg white in foams or as cocktail ingredient (as foaming agent and for a smoother mouth feeling), you can use aquafaba (1:1 ratio).

What are the advantages of aquafaba?
  • There is one significant advantage: aquafaba is vegetarian / vegan. More and more people are avoiding animal protein - hence it fits perfectly into these times
  • Aquafaba is a byproduct - and if "your kitchen" is using chickpeas, it is literally free - and it reduces the waste (carbon-neutral).
  • There is no risk of salmonella (oppose to handing eggs).
  • It is more consistent than egg white (egg white has different components - with different viscosities - aquafaba is just "one liquid".
  • It doesn't oxidize!!! This is the most significant point - I have written before a blog post, which put egg white as one of the last remaining mysteries of the world (at least in bartending). aquafaba is a good solution. Anyway egg white cocktails oxidize and will smell like wet dog (wet cardboard etc) - aquafaba though doesn't have this issue.
What are the disadvantages of aquafaba?
  •  I started to use aquafaba from chickpea cans. Unfortunately these chickpeas are slightly salted and most producers are using bicarbonate of soda. This affects the taste of the cocktail quite a lot.
  • Taste: the aquafaba is the byproduct of chickpeas - hence taste like chickpeas. In most cocktails, this isn't an issue - however cocktails which are very delicate, will taste differently. It is not an unpleasant taste - but it is a taste nonetheless.
  • Chickpeas (and other pulses) are a common allergen. Some people have allergies on chickpeas - hence aquafaba would be a disqualifying ingredient for them,
  • There are articles, which warn people due to oligosaccharides in aquafaba - the very same compound, which makes beans "gassy" - the same articles state, that the liquid (and beans) contain saponins.


It cannot be overstated that there is a lot of non-sense going on, when it comes to articles in the media, which reference science. Scientific papers are complex documents and the media is citing findings from those papers totally out of context. 
E.g. there are saponins in aquafaba - which are (in high concentrations toxic) - this has been used in some articles I read about the topic. However the article didn't mentioned, that saponins are bitter (in high concentrations) and that they can be found in reasonable quantities in everyday produce like spinach, quinoa and peanuts... Hence conclude, that aquafaba is toxic or unhealthy is totally taken out of thin air and hasn't got any evidence nor even a hint of scientific basis.

Here is the thing: before I cooked chickpeas in a pressure cooker for about 45 min - 1 hour and strained the chickpeas, to get the "valuable" aquafaba - which has been quite inconsistent in consistency. But yesterday I have left the chickpeas in the liquid overnight by accident and got a liquid, which is far thicker more opaque and more concentrated! Very alike the water you get out of chickpea cans (sans the salt or soda bicarbonate). 

I am using this pressure cooker - the only disadvantage is,
that it is cast aluminum  hence it cannot be used with induction
 burners.
This is here my improved recipe. Dried chickpeas are really inexpensive. You don't need to soak the chickpeas beforehand (when using a pressure cooker), but if you are concerned about too much of oligosaccharides or saponins soaking would help (as in most "traditional pulse recipes").



How to make aquafaba?

Ingredients:
  • 250 g Chickpeas
  • 750 ml Water (to soak up)
  • 500 ml Water (to cook) - additional water to rinse.
Wash chickpeas. Ensure, that there are no stones or other foreign objects in the chickpeas (honestly - this is what I always read in some recipes - personally I never came across a stone or other stuff in any dried pulses). Add the chickpeas into a container or a ziplock bag and add soaking water to it. Let it soak for 6 hours to overnight (it is not necessary - but commonly done like that).

Strain the chickpeas and add them to a pressure cooker. Add water and close the pressure cooker. Don't add any other ingredients (no bicarbonate, no salt) - as this would make your aquafaba taste "funny". Heat up the pressure cooker and as soon as pressure is built up, and lower the flame when the pressure is built up to the upper level (usually 15 psi). Cook for about 45 minutes.

Let the pressure cooker "normalize" naturally (just take from the flame and wait until the pressure built down). Add the pot to the fridge (ideally), when cold - or add chickpeas & water into a container / ziplock bag and refrigerate over night. This seems to be a crucial step - it appears, that the protein of the chickpeas "travels" into the liquid after it is cooked. Hence the liquid after cooking is already enriched, but by far thinner and less loaded with protein, than the liquid after a couple of hours!

Open and strain the chickpeas (you want the cooking water - not the chickpeas!). Rinse the chickpeas with little more water - also the rinsing water is "gold" - don't let it drain away.

Use the chickpeas for any other use (your lunch/dinner, crispy chickpeas as bar snacks, hummus etc). 
Add the still hot water to a container. You could can (or pressure-can / sous vide can) the container to pasteurize the liquid - and keep it for longer. 

It is really that simple. Truth to be told - mostly I don't even measure the water or the chickpeas!
And as said, with a pressure cooker, you don't even need to soak the chickpeas. Hence express way is:
  1. Wash chickpeas
  2. Add them to a pressure cooker
  3. Add water
  4. Pressure cooker for 45 min
  5. Let the pressure cooker come back to normal pressure.
  6. Refrigerate chickpeas in the cooking water over night.
  7. Strain and bottle the liquid.
  8. That's it - could barely be easier.
How to you use aquafaba?
You can use aquafaba exactly the same way as you would use egg white in a bar. You can even create meringue or espumas with aquafaba.

So - that's it. The ultimate guide about aquafaba in the bar.



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