The method of using a gas or (canned Nitrous Oxide) is simply a process of injecting gas into a liquid; it is no different from the process of using a soda siphon. The real difference lies in the actual gas that you are using
Soda Siphon cartridge - a pressurized canister of carbon dioxide (CO2)
Cream Charger - a canister of Nitrous Oxide (N2O).
It is the diverse properties of these two gasses that provide an entirely different culinary purpose.
Let's break down their differences.
1. CO2 is more soluble in water then N2O – exactly the reason why carbonated drinks are fizzy, the byproduct of cream whippers are not.
2. CO2 is acidic but N2o is neutral – the acidity is what produces fizzy drinks tangy. Nitrous Oxide, however leaves precisely no flavor to anything that it is passed through making it ideal for sweets, confectionaries and drinks.
3. N2o will dissolve in fat when held under pressure – precisely why liquids with a fat content of approximately 27% can easily be whipped using a whipped cream charger this could be fat within whipping or a double cream or for some recipes, the mixing of another type of fat (usually butter)
4. Another benefit of using a Cream Whipper is you can control the fat and sugar content, and more importantly the flavour, for example adding vanilla essence’
What happens when you use a cream charger to prepare food or drinks? The process is quite simple. Whatever you intend to foam (or froth) is placed into the bottle of the dispenser this is then made pressure-tight when the head is screwed down. The charger canister which contains 8 grams gas is used to pressurize the liquid and force the N2O to dissolve into it.
Depending upon the recipe that you are making, adjustments need to be done while the contents are still warm to give the gas a chance to penetrate the substance at a molecular level. When the trigger is pulled; then the contents of the dispenser will be propelled out and simultaneously the pressurized N2o will expand.
In preparing your recipes using a cream charger, make sure that it includes some form of fat or thickening agent to make sure that the gas does not bubble out and disappear into the atmosphere.
- Give the contents of the cream whipper time for the gas to infuse,
- Always shake the contents to ensure even gaseous distribution.
- Try to avoid any lumps, seeds, pips or bits in you mixture that might block the dispenser nozzle.