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Spuma Canister, How Do I Use It?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Chef BV

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 10:22 AM

So, my CDC just bought me a spuma canister thingy to use for making amuse and no one in the kitchen is really experience with using one, so I was wondering about all the little things I should know about using one and what I can do with it. So far all I've made have been cream based foams from root veg purees or cheeses. What else can I do with this thing?

A few specific questions:

- Can I make water/fruit based foams from purees? Would that require an emulsifier/stabilizer such as an oil, gelatin or lecithin?

- What are some proper ratios for the question above?

- Is there a way to change the amount of air injected into the foam? Would that be affected by how many chargers I use?

- How smooth does a mixture have to be to pass through the spuma nozzle without clogging?

- How full can I fill the canister for use?

- When I charge the canister, does the charger foam up everything inside at that moment, or does it only add air to the mixture as it's being dispensed?



Thanks for taking time to read this and I appreciate any insight to this device.

Edited by Chef BV, 26 January 2008 - 10:33 AM.


#2 Blamo

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:06 AM

Use the search function with the key word hydrocolloids. You should get several threads. I'm sure something will apply to what you need. Additionally, here is a link to a hydrocolloid recipe collection: http://khymos.org/re...-collection.php

#3 mkayahara

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:52 AM

Before I get to your specific questions, I should note that there are lots of other threads on the site that address the question of espumas/foams and the tools used to make them. For example, here and here, and that's just for starters.

So, my CDC just bought me a spuma canister thingy to use for making amuse and no one in the kitchen is really experience with using one, so I was wondering about all the little things I should know about using one and what I can do with it. So far all I've made have been cream based foams from root veg purees or cheeses. What else can I do with this thing?

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It depends on the specific model you have, but you can make lots of different types of foams. If you speak any Spanish, you'll find a great PDF file explaining lots of different types of foams here: http://www.cookingco...mas_elBulli.pdf (though, as I write this, I can't get the link to work).

You may also be able to use the canister to make carbonated fruit by using the CO2 capsules instead of the N2O ones, though this usage may not be condoned by the manufacturer.

A few specific questions:

- Can I make water/fruit based foams from purees? Would that require an emulsifier/stabilizer such as an oil, gelatin or lecithin?

Yes and yes. Gelatin seems to be the easiest and most common stabilizer. If you want to make any hot foams, you'll need a heat-resistant stabilizer; agar and egg white seem to be the most common for that application.

- What are some proper ratios for the question above?

It depends on the starting consistency of the puree and the desired consistency of the end product. Experimentation here is the key. I'm sure I'm not giving away any trade secrets to say that the PDF I mentioned above contains a recipe using 300g sweetened raspberry puree + 100g water and 2 sheets (at 2g each) of gelatin. That might give you a good starting point.

- Is there a way to change the amount of air injected into the foam? Would that be affected by how many chargers I use?

Exactly! Consult your product manual, though. I don't know what make or model you're using, but I have a pint-sized iSi Thermo Whip and the manual clearly states never to use more than 2 chargers.

- How smooth does a mixture have to be to pass through the spuma nozzle without clogging?

Every foam recipe I've ever read has you pass the foam base through a chinois at least once, and sometimes more.

- How full can I fill the canister for use?

Again, this should be indicated in the manual. The Thermo Whip has a maximum fill line indicated on the inside of the bottle. In general, though, the iSi products appear to come in one-pint and one-quart versions.

- When I charge the canister, does the charger foam up everything inside at that moment, or does it only add air to the mixture as it's being dispensed?

The way I understand it, the gas dissolves into the liquid, and when you release it from the pressurized canister, it comes out of solution, thereby foaming as it's being dispensed. But don't quote me on that. :wink:
Matthew Kayahara
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#4 TheSwede

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 05:41 PM

"The Cooks Book" has a chapter written by Ferran Adria on foams. It is probably the most comprehensive source in english on the subject if you don't have the El Bulli cookbooks. But we are only talking twenty or so pages, so you could probably get the same information from this forum if you are willing to dig around a bit and do some experimentation on your own.

The link above in spanish has probably at least the same information as the Cooks Book, if not more. PM me if the link still doesn't work and you want a copy.

#5 Chef BV

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 10:31 AM

Thanks everyone for the help, especially mkayahara for your specific answers. I can't get the link to work to Ferran's PDF, but I've collected a decent amount of base information to get some fun stuff rolling. Thanks again!

#6 petrus

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:32 AM

"The Cooks Book" has a chapter written by Ferran Adria on foams. It is probably the most comprehensive source in english on the subject if you don't have the El Bulli cookbooks.


Hi

I am looking at the Adria chapter in The Cooks Book, and trying to understand some of the general principles, before I use up too many cartridges :smile:

Starting with a very basic foam (e.g. the one using coconut milk), does the chilling of the machine aid the aearation or simply cool the mixture? Is it important to shake the machine several times before use?

I have experimented with a double (heavy) cream mixture with not very satisfactory results. If I were to first whip it, it would be difficult to get the mixture into the ISI machine.

I am sorry if these questions sound daft, but I would like to understand the basics before using gelatine and agar-agra.
Regards

Petrus

#7 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:12 AM

Chilling a mixture that is thickened with fat like coconut cream or heavy cream or avocado puree (which also has starch acting as a thickener) or butter will give it more body, certainly, and will make it stiffer.

You do need to shake it to dissolve the nitrous oxide gas in the mixture, but how much depends on what you're making, and you can get more gas into the solution by using more than one charger (useful for things like pancake batter). You don't want to undershake, or the gas won't dissolve, and you don't want to overshake, or it might overwhip and clog the nozzle, or it might not have a good texture. Also, if you let the canister sit for a while or overnight after charging, you might need to shake it again to redissolve the gas in the mixture to get good loft.

You most certainly do not need to whip air into anything beforehand when using a whipper--that's the whole idea of the thing.

So start just with whipped cream. Put maybe a half cup of heavy cream in the canister, close it, charge with one nitrous oxide charger, give it maybe two or three good shakes, turn it upside down (the canister must point straight down, and sometimes it's helpful to give it one shake in that position, to get the cream down to the nozzle) and press the trigger slowly so you get a feel for how fast it shoots out. When I first got my Thermo-Whip, I realized that there was a little technique to controlling the flow from the nozzle, but you should be able to get the hang of it in just working with it for a half hour or so.

With plain heavy cream you should get about five times the original volume of cream with the whipper.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 01 August 2010 - 11:14 AM.


#8 dougal

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:32 AM


"The Cooks Book" has a chapter written by Ferran Adria on foams. It is probably the most comprehensive source in english on the subject if you don't have the El Bulli cookbooks.


Hi

I am looking at the Adria chapter in The Cooks Book, and trying to understand some of the general principles, before I use up too many cartridges :smile:

... does the chilling of the machine aid the aearation or simply cool the mixture? Is it important to shake the machine several times before use? ...





You are trying to get the gas to dissolve in the liquid.

There's a general physical principle about gases dissolving in liquids.
And its the opposite of the common experience with dissolving solids in liquids.

Gas solubility INCREASES with COOLING (not warming) the liquid. So more gas will dissolve if the mix is cold. More dissolved gas means a 'lighter' product being dispensed.
So, you are (usually) trying to keep the payload (rather than the machine) cool, to maximise 'lightness'.

Hence warm foams may need more gas pressure (more charge) to get sufficient gas to dissolve.



And shaking, just like stirring a liquid/solid mix, will encourage/speed the process of dissolving.

Quite apart from initially getting the gas to dissolve (once the liquid is cold and saturated with gas, its saturated and more shaking won't help), there's the potentially important consideration that the occasional shake will help keep the payload uniformly mixed.

But I'm not so sure that shaking immediately (seconds) before using is always a good idea. There's the potential for entrapping actual bubbles in what goes through the nozzle. Those bubbles would then expand to be much bigger than the bubbles from the gas coming out of solution (which is what gives you lots of tiny bubbles - foam) -- releasing actual bubbles of gas would lead to either 'spluttering' or a non-uniform foam.




Incidentally, it is in the foams chapter in The Cooks Book that Adria apparently believes that Gelatine is "suitable for vegetarians" ... ooops!
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#9 petrus

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 12:11 PM

Thanks for these replies, and apologies for the delay in responding to them (I think I have now enabled "watch this topic" :smile: ),

I will experiment further in three weeks, when I am back in the UK.

Regards

Petrus

#10 BPBNY

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 12:41 PM

a few things that i have found that are steps to making good foams that are not written in many manuals are always when doing a cold foam it is best to chill the canister first.

When using gelatin it is usually best to chill for two hours before adding the mixture and then let sit overnight.

You usually never need more than two sheets of gelatin for a quart of mixture.

Rick Tramanto's Amuse Bouche book has a whole chapter on isi canister foams from potato to anchovy.

My favorite was one i found here on egullet for watermelon.

500 ml Watermelon blended and strained
50ml lemon juice
50ml orange juice
2 gelatin sheets softened in water

sit over night


I use it to top my watermelon-strawberry soup with feta sorbet. It comes out best 2-3 days into resting. Not sure why.

For hot foams use agar.

Lecithin in an isi container has never crossed my mind. Lecithin produces a very differnet foam/bubbles/air

You can freeze cold foams from an isi container in liquid nitrogen and get a really cool spongey texture.