We always enjoy hearing about how customers use their Memmert products, but we have to admit we absolutely love hearing about the delicious food that’s being cooked up in Memmert equipment. Recently, we spoke with Shola at Studio Kitchen about how he’s using the Memmert HCP 153 to make black garlic.
What is black garlic?
Black garlic is a type of aged garlic which is browned by the Maillard reaction rather than caramelization. The Maillard reaction is a reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that happens over a relatively low heat, while caramelization is a process that happens over a higher heat and only involves the pyrolysis of certain sugars.
How is it made?
Black garlic is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. I use the Memmert HCP 153. Its very precise temperature and humidity control allows for the high volume production of black garlic.
The garlic is simply placed in flat trays in the humidity chamber. The temperature is set to about 85-95 F and about 80 % humidity. It is left in the environment for about 30 days and slowly the Maillard reaction transforms the cloves into a completely caramelized black consistency. The glass door also allows you to monitor progress without disrupting the climate within the chamber.
As a very expensive condiment almost 4 times the cost of regular garlic, chefs can now make their own at significantly reduced cost thus allowing expanded use and creativity.
How does black garlic taste?
The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or tamarind. The garlic flavor is softened such that it almost or entirely disappears depending on the length of time it was heated. Additionally, its flavor is dependent on that of the garlic that was used to make it. Garlic with a higher sugar content produces a milder, more caramel-like flavor, whereas garlic with a low sugar content produces a sharper, somewhat more acidic flavor, similar in character to tomato paste.
Burnt flavors may also be present if the garlic was heated for too long at too high a temperature or not long enough: during heating, the garlic turns black in colour well before the full extent of its sweetness is able to develop.
Black garlic was first used as an ingredient in Asian cuisine and popularity has spread to the United States. It’s become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine for sauces, glazes, condiments and dressings.
What else do you use your Memmert HCP 153 for?
With this piece of equipment, I’ve made things like koji which is used to create soy sauces, sake, and miso. I’ve also conducted a number of food experiments with the equipment.
If you live in the Philadelphia area and enjoy good food, you must get a taste at www.studiokitchen.com.