How a Simple Siphon Is Raising the Bar –
Everyone has experienced the modern whipped cream can: the smallish, bottle-shaped figure always lingering around the fridge, waiting to make a triumphant appearance for holiday dinners and parties.
But have you ever taken the time to really think about how everything works to make the fuzzy topping we all know and love?
And an even more important question: Is the supermarket version really the best we have to offer or is there something more?
Surprisingly, there is a growing, alternative world of whipped cream to explore outside of the traditional can that will take us far beyond pies and hot cocoa.
Come and we’ll go on a journey from basics to the complex world of the whipping siphon and its many new creative possibilities.
There will be a future article to deep dive into the history behind this story soon, but for now, a brief synopsis:
During the 1930s a number of small companies began experimenting with pressurizing canisters filled with different substances. These became the archaic predecessors of the modern whipped cream can.
Unfortunately, the canisters were heavy and sometimes dangerous to use due to pressure and being made from unsafe materials. The best of these originals were used for industrial purposes and the military.
Although this idea was innovative, the original models were not extremely popular with consumers and many companies went out of business long before the whipped cream revolution arrived two decades later.
In the 1950s the public was ready for a change, and when modern disposable cans began appearing on shelves in the local supermarket, the ease, sweetness, and price made them an instant hit with home cooks tired of whipping by hand.
These lightweight cans were filled with cream and sweeteners and pressurized with nitrous oxide, which fluffs the cream through the penetration of tiny bubbles. The N2O then acts as an aerosol to push the “whipped” cream out when a valve is triggered with the tip.
These cans were nice and convenient, but all good things eventually come to an end. Recently a new kid on the block showed up who doesn’t just want to change the game but the whole neighborhood with it.
The idea of siphons goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, and it has appeared in history as innovations that include ancient aqueducts, town fountains, and even the modern espresso machine.
One of the newest adaptations to this family is the culinary siphon, which is opening doors to all kinds of novelties in the food and beverage world.
The culinary siphon (AKA the whipped cream dispenser) is a reusable canister that has been designed with various valves to capture gas under pressure and release it through a specially designed tip.
The basic design uses the same principles as the whipped cream can, but because of a more complex and rugged build, which includes a removable head with gaskets, the culinary siphon can be reused again and again.
Whatever is placed in the closed siphon (oils, herbs, fruit, alcohol, etc.) changes at the molecular level through the penetration of gas bubbles, intense pressure, and chemical reactions.
In a nutshell, the culinary siphon is a game-changing froth factory with seemingly endless possibilities.
So, what can a whipped cream dispenser and N2O do?
The modern culinary siphon can readily produce a surprising number of results, all efficiently and quickly: from rapidly infusing both liquids and solids, to creating fresh soda or seltzer, or making a foam espuma or whipped cream for a topping, and much more.
With beverages the siphon is most used to create rapid infusions, whipped creams and foams, and quick carbonation.
The most common gasses used are nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrogen (N2), and carbon dioxide (CO2). Some siphons have valves that can accept the different types of gas, while others only accept nitrous oxide.
Our studies have shown that because of the bubble size and makeup, N2O has the best results with most recipes because it doesn’t add flavor, just a sweetness and soft texture that is very appealing.
Because the culinary siphon is so versatile and new products continue to push the envelope of creative recipes, although it’s been around for several decades, it’s still very much growing in popularity and possibilities.
One of the best things to do is experiment. Start with a pint siphon and some nitrous oxide to try out basic whipped cream, an easy infusion. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even make a pastry or marinate lunch.
Please visit our recipe section. It has many choices from beginner to advanced.