agar: flake v. powder


Lesson learned: When you’re in the middle of a recipe and a question pops up, get thee to the Internet and find the answer. Don’t guess and muddle through.

Super-jonesing lemon bars (odd for not having them in maybe a decade), I whipped up a batch from Veganomicon. When it came to agar, though—which I had never used—the recipe called for flake and I had powder. Assuming the powder would take up less space than flake, I put in around 75% of the called-for amount. Bets laid yet? Yeah, it was still way too much. After getting the bars into the fridge I went online and found opinions of powder-flake ratios of 3:1 and 5:1. Not 1.25:1 as I probably used.

Then I scanned Veganomicon for flake v. powder notes. While no ratio is mentioned in the agar “Baking Basics” entry (says powder is “considerably more concentrated”) or in the recipe I used, they do use a 3:1 ratio in the Lost coconut custard pie—although it’s referred to as “agar power.” Open invitation for Isa and Terry to send me their cookbooks before they go to press. I’ve found typos and inconsistent terminology in all of them and it makes me sad.

So my bars were like gummy bears on shortbread. Still perfectly edible and yummy, just very, very firm. I can’t wait to try this again and get it right.

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