Gummy Water Drop Test

I’ve been wondering for some time if I could make nice, round ropes of gummy by running a stream of it into cold water. Today I gave it a shot, and the short answer is nope, it doesn’t work.

The longer answer is this:

I used water chilled and filtered by my fridge, placed atop two ice packs. You can see from the photo below that it was chilled, but far from frozen:

Gummy Water Drop Experiment - 01

If the gummy had held together but simply not hardened quickly enough at this temperature, I'd have tried colder water.

I decided to start with this because it was easy and readily available. Our freezer’s so full right now that there’s no room to run the ice maker. I figured if this got close, I’d do another test later with ice water.

But as soon as I started actually running the gummy (which I let cool as much as possible without starting to become solid) into the water, I realized the fatal flaw in this plan: much as it seems like it’s coming out in a stream when I work with it, it’s really not, or not for long. It breaks up into drops which then amass together in molds. Even a running stream held close to a mold is actually fluctuating. This is why the Mythbusters were able to show that you can’t electrocute yourself urinating on an electric fence or third rail of a subway: there isn’t a solid, continuous line of fluid far from the source.

So the gummy hit the water in drops, which made it float around in individual amorphous blobs. Even when I put pressure on the flow to make it more continuous, the line still broke into drops upon hitting the water’s surface. And even when I could almost sort of get a line going, it folded over itself so readily that it formed lumpy piles, not a nice single rope.

Gummy Water Drop Experiment - 02

The gummy has broken up in the water and then puddled in lumps at the bottom, which are now soaking up more water as they sit there.

Gummy Water Drop Experiment - Detail

This is a close-up of the gummy on one side where I did manage to almost get it flowing down into the water in a steady stream. But it simply piled up on itself and formed a solid chunk around the bottom edge of the bowl.

Gummy Water Drop Experiment - 03

A side-view of the bowl. There are lots of wispy strands of gummy slowly sinking into the water, but they're about the thickness of sewing thread for the most part, and break at the slightest touch.

Here you can see the delicate lumps I was able to fish out of the bowl. Sure, there are a couple of strings hanging off, but they’re super-fragile and inconsistent in diameter.

Gummy Water Drop Experiment - 04

Despite the hanging threads, these are not coils that can be teased apart. They are fused lumps, and very wet. They could possibly be dried out, but would shrink substantially in doing so. Also, these are very delicate and fall into smaller chunks easily.

I don’t think colder water would have much effect, because the gummy liquid is simply insufficiently viscous to hold its shape in the fluid. If I make it thicker with more gelatin, it would pull more water into itself quickly and still end up weak and breaking apart.

So nope, I don’t think you can use a cold water bath to form extruded ropes of gummy. Oh well…a negative result is still good information!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in Experimental Techniques, Gummy. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Gummy Water Drop Test

  1. creativelyobsessed says:

    Just found your site, and added you to my favorites bar! You have so many fun creations! I was wondering if you have ever made a EL gummy bear, if you have tried metal cake molds when making gummies, and what you results were? Thanks so much!

    • Not sure what an EL gummy bear is, sorry. But as for metal, I've only tried very basic stuff. The best molds are flexible so you can pop it out, but you can make gummy on any surface that it won't stick to. So it probably would work in a non-stick pan, but rough surfaces make it less likely.

      When casting gummy into any inflexible mold, be sure to remove it as soon as possible, so wait for it to firm up but then get it out of there, or it'll stick more as time goes on.

  2. creativelyobsessed says:

    Oops, I meant XL. Thanks for the advise!

  3. Sue-on-the-farm says:

    What if you ran firmed gummy through an extruder?

    • Extruding doesn't work because gummy has almost no viscous state…it's either a runny liquid or a semi-solid. It won't extrude when solid (it breaks into chunks), and while a liquid it just runs out and then puddles.

      That's why you need to use a baster, because you need the upward pull of the bulb to keep it from just pouring out.

  4. EmX says:

    Perhaps using techniques used in the molecular gastronomy world may yield the effects you are wanting? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.