Testing Food for 3d Food Printing





Introduction: Testing Food for 3d Food Printing

About: My name is Luis, I am from Barcelona and for the last years I've developed a curious obsession merging food and rapid prototyping. To have a unique and customized eating experience.

The goal of this instructable is to test food and evaluate their compatibility for 3d food printing. Experimenting with ingredients and packaged food from the supermarket.

This is a work in progress. Feel free to suggest new ones!

Step 1: Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a really nice material to print with. Its easy to source, and the consistency is good enough to hold a small 3d shape. Though not all the yogurts available have the same consistency,

I tried 4 different types. Most of them after 10 minutes started spreading and leaking whey. The best one I founded was the Fage with 0% fat, holding the shapes properly for hours! Probably 2% and normal would work too (maybe even better).

I think the difference compared to other brands is that is strained longer; so less whey more consistency. I got the tip to use Labneh that is similar to Greek yogurt but with longer straining times. Here you have a useful link to compare different types of yogurts.

Step 2: Jello Shots

I bought two different flavors of jell-o shots to see what would be the best way to turn it into and extruduble slurry.

I tested a fork and a vitamix (lowest speed). Definitely the blender is the way to go, unless you want to have a more chunky-like slurry. Notice too, that is better to have a higher amount of jello to blend, I used 4 cups12.5 oz (356gr) and I felt it was too small.

Probably longer "beating" with the fork would get a more controlled "chunkyness". Would not allow to make high 3d prints.

Step 3: Water and Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum (XG) is a food additive used as thickening agent. I wanted to learn how XG acts at higher concentrations. It is easy to get references at small XG ratios 0.1 to 1%. Here I started from 1% to 8%. Experiments are made mixing water with the corresponding XG ratio.

The first three ratios have obviously thicker consistency than water, but still they can flow. 3% has kind of thick syrup texture. From 4% to 8% It does not drip easily from the spoon and it has a more doughy appearance, even though it is still "wet" and far away from a flour dough texture. It is hard to described. That is why I decided to record a video to make it easier to understand.

Higher concentration could be used to print but not to get really high prints, the consistency is not enough. Also the mouthfeel is horrible. It looks like white mucus... but and interesting experiment. For flat decorations, low concentrations are interesting.

Step 4: Artichoke Spinach Hummus

It is spreadable, with a thin consistency. Has visual vegetables but when eat it, chunks are soft, so it is extrudable.

Step 5: Cream Cheese by Posh Bagel

The plain one works great, has a really thin texture. Little lox and spinachs are too thick and has too big chunks.

Step 6: Lucerne - Cream Cheese With Chive & Onions

It is kept in the fridge. It is spreadable, I am sure after a while out of the fridge gets easier to spread. It has cut chives some up to 5mm long but these are quite malleable.

Its hard to extrude through a 1.5 nozzle, this syringe extruder can not handle it.



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    12 Discussions

    could you try mashed up sushi?

    This is the printer that I used.

    Thank you,

    Interesting work. I would concentrate on stuff which undergoes a phase change. Chocolate is the most common for a reason. What about eggs or egg based batter which could be heated and solidified as it is cooked in the nozzle while being extruded?

    I would also look into the alginate/calcium reaction which is exploited by your countryman Ferran Adria's spherification process. Perhaps extruding a flavored alginate solution into a calcium bath.

    1 reply

    thanks for your words. Phase change materials is something that I am really interested in too. You are totally right adds new layers of control to create new dishes. Spherification are cool. I always get them wrong hehe
    Hopefully this year more experiments on that side will come. thank you,

    Instead of jello I would look at using agar agar. Jelly crystals are just that, crystals with a crystalline structure. Agar Agar once set and blended will form a smooth gel. I reckon it would yield good results for you.
    I'd also like to play around with some sort of frosting, it could change the cake world - No more fondant decorations!

    1 reply

    Thanks alot! I have never used agar agar for gels, I should try and see how it works. Great tip. Frosting yes! I will give it a try.
    Thanks you

    Thanks, long time ago I tried. It works, but hard to do 3d prints since the consistency is not strong enough.