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Dec 27, 2008 08:57 PM

Local source for unusual cooking chemicals?

I just got the Alinea cookbook and am excited to try some of the recipes, but it calls for some pretty strange ingredients -- see for a list. I particularly want to find tapioca maltodextrin. This stuff can be found online, but does anybody know of a local source?

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  1. sorry my friend, no local sources for much of the products you are looking to find... check All In on Bakery for different gelatins and glucose, or isomalt. otherwise, you may (and i mean may) find some agar arar whole foods or central market. you can find the powdered 'telephone" agar agar at MT market. if you want to get some more of the gums and stabilizers, try or will powder for some other products. hope this is some help. if you are curious about any other specific products, let me know and i will send you i the right direction to find them.

    1. I got it too! I haven't yet gone out with this book in mind, but I know that most of these ingredients are also sold as nutritional supplements, so I would check with the health food stores (including Whole Foods, but also Sun Harvest and supplement stores). You might need to free them from their capsules, of course.

      You can definitely get sheet and powdered agar agar at Whole Foods and Central Market, and you can find many of the gums at Whole Foods in the baking section. Look for the shelf that is devoted to gluten free baking, and you'll finding xanthan gum and many of its brethren eg., guar gum. I think you'll also see sorbitol there but not sure. Xanthan gum is actually widely available because it is very common for gluten free baking.

      Glucose is also around in many places, including Hobby Lobby and Walmart, in the cake decorating section (which is not with the food, but with the crafts), along with glycerin. You can also hit All in One Bakeshop as Brian rec'd and support a local shop. There you will also find various invert sugars and acetate sheets.

      As for Ultra-Tex 3 and its ilk, I am assuming that will require online purchase.

      1 Reply
      1. re: renz

        The agar agar at Whole Foods is in at least 2 different places: powdered form in the bulk spice section, sheet form with the Asian pantry ingredients.

      2. A rep. stopped into austin from Koerner a few months ago and said that she would be making usual trips to Austin to expand there sales area.(They are from NOLA) if they are still making the trips maybe you could buy something from them and she would deliver it. They carried alot of the Adria line, but some fun off the wall stuff also.

        1. The gums are available at CM, Bob's Red Mill brand, IIRC. Agar Agar in the bulk spice sections of WF and probably CM as well. Glycerin at a drug store. Knox Gelatin and Pectin at any grocery or drug store. Cirtic acid in the supplements section of Whole Foods and CM.

          1. Anyone have suggestions on where I could get some 'mother' vinegar? I would like to try making my own vinegar from wine and from what I understand, I will need a mother to kick things off. I have no idea where to go to get some. Does anyone else?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wendella

              Austin Homebrew Supply on Burnet used to have it; haven't been in lately, but they probably still do. It would be worth giving them a call.