How to 3D-print food

TOThe number of kitchen machines that allow you to 3D print sweets, pizza, biscuits, but also ravioli and gnocchi is increasing. pros and cons

That technology has entered the kitchen has long been known. Now, however, new frontiers are opening up, and above all, some goals that until recently seemed unattainable are now a reality: such as “Print” food in 3D. If for any food processors in which inserting the ingredients in the specified quantities and then letting them be cooked by the “machine” were already innovative, now is the time to turn the page.

How to 3D-print food

The operation is very simple and can be compared to a traditional printer, from which the sheets with the necessary documents come out, previously developed. Likewise with a food printer, first it is necessary to prepare the ingredients, then these are placed – in the amount the recipe anticipates – in special capsules which, like the printer cartridges, are assembled to obtain the necessary bowl. However, the foods are inserted only after having minimally processed them (both raw and cooked), for example by blending them so that they are soft and mushy. The food will actually come out of the machine through dispensing of “syringes”, which will alternate according to the selected recipe.

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How the 3D food printer is made

There are different models and sizes. One of the latest, also known for its small footprint (and price), is Foodini, a Spanish start-up that weighs just around ten kg. In general, however, it does not exceed 20 kg. The shape is like a microwave oven. The type of “creation” you want to achieve can be selected in advance, and then transfer the files via USB keys, SD card or choose from the options that the device itself provides with the reference app, as appropriate. The most popular 3D printers are designed for haute patisserie, but there are also some that allow you to get gnocchi, ravioli, pizzas, meatballs, burgers, quiches, biscuits and cheeses, as well as mashed potatoes, beans, caramel, honey, jam, biscuits that “print” WiibooxSweetin.

The benefits of 3D printing: Limit waste and time

The first benefit is the reduction of food waste, because only what is needed is used in a “portioned” way. The second – and not indifferent if one were to think of a home use – is that gets less dirtyor in fact almost nothing. Once the capsules are ready, simply insert them into the printer and let the machine work by itself. This is definitely a big advantage if you think about the amount of cutlery, containers and plates that are usually used to make complex dishes, such as cakes. Furthermore, the components of the printer that come in direct contact with the ingredients are few, so even washing takes a limited time.

You can also 3D print from the office with your smartphone

Last but not least, the “robot” printer also saves time: If it is true that in some cases the preparation of the dish can take up to two hours, do not forget that only the printer works! Making thin foods, such as biscuits or biscuits, plates or flat decorations, takes a few minutes, while the higher restrictions, such as “chocolate sculptures” can take up to two hours. But in these cases, it is also possible to remotely control the machine with the smartphone, paradoxically, even when you are away from home for an errand or to go to the office.

The disadvantages of the 3D printer

All in all, beautiful and fascinating, it was therefore not for one aspect: the cost. These printers are not really affordable for everyone. Just take a look online to discover that Foodini has a price tag of around 1,000 euros, but in general 3D printers cost around 4,000 euros, up to 9,000 eurosdepending on size and performance: “The professionals used by confectioners in star restaurants they can even exceed 30 thousand euros. It is certainly only these types of premises that can afford those who have the ability to amortize the cost, even in maintenance. It is clear that the results are incredible, ‘observes Giorgio Giorgetti, home chef and expert from the Italian Association of Professional Personal Chefs.

Food as a work of art

3D printers actually provide the opportunity to get dishes that are aesthetically very complex and in most cases are genuine works of art. In fact, candy (and more) can be created ranging from a minimum height of a few millimeters to over 10 centimeters, for a maximum diameter of 26 centimeters. The composition may therefore be ready for ingestion or may need to be prepared separately.

Better made by hand?

If the eye on the one hand wins, what will be on the other side of the original taste? Someone’s fear is that the taste will lose us if a machine makes sure to “gather” the ingredients instead of a person, a chef, in flesh and blood: “I would not demonize the use of machines in the kitchen. The issue has been debated since the 1970s, when a chef said that self-respecting mayonnaise can only be made with a hand whisk. I disagree, on the contrary: If a machine can help and save time in the kitchen, then so be it it is the man (or woman) who guides it. I believe that you can also get good products, the important thing is that the raw materials are of good quality », Giorgetti explains.

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