Monday, September 12, 2011
Fast Company reports: [edited]
Typically, 3-D printers are discussed in light of the efficiencies they bring to industrial design and fabrication. They will soon help chefs create foods that can’t be made by hand if Cornell Creative Machines Lab, or their peers in the industry, can make them accessible.
The newest 3-D food printer, now being honed at CCML, can produce: tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets (image above); and cakes or cookies that, when you slice into them, reveal a special message buried within, like a wedding date, initials (image below) or a corporate logo. They can also make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.
The CCML food printers require edible inks and electronic blueprints called FabApps. This machine prints food using multiple cartridges, going line by line until the desired shape is extruded. "The electronic blueprint specifies exactly which materials go where - it is essentially a blueprint of the food item," says Hod Lipson, the head of the lab.
The head of the project at CCML, Jeffrey Ian Lipton, has developed a new printing technique that allows the printer to change the texture of the food being printed. Called stochastic printing or squiggle printing, the food buckles and coils as it comes out of the syringe instead of falling in a straight line. This results in very porous structures whose absorbent quality can be completely controlled.
Using corn masa dough, the lab team along with Chef David Arnold printed a new form of corn chip in the shape of a flower that could be deep fried evenly. "If it were solid you would burn the outside before the inside was fried," says Lipton. "By making it porous we can deep fry the whole thing at the same time. Therefore we can make much larger objects to deep fry."