How Whipped Cream Chargers Aka Nangs Work

Most coffee shops use whipped cream chargers to attain that perfect scoop of deliciousness when it comes to creating freshly whipped cream rather than hand-whisking the cream till the arms start to go numb.

Whip cream chargers do not only yield 2X the whipped cream as compared to a hand-whipped method produces, but also provide the fluffiest blob of cream one wouldn’t get by using a different way.

In order to take one’s whipping game to the next level, it’s important to know the rightful way of using a whipped cream dispenser if at all one requires getting that stiff peak that can stand for several hours and also maintain its shape all through.

To get a fluffy blob of cream, the required ingredients are put inside the bottle and the charger is placed into the holder. It is important also for the bottle to be well shaken and press in order to create a foamy material that comes out of the dispenser.

So the question here is; what is the mechanism at work with whipped cream chargers?

Understanding the exact concept at work with whipped cream chargers as well as knowing the full function of the nitrous oxide chargers provides a clear understanding regarding what is happening within each recipe. This will also give room for more sophisticated ideas and will also enable one to notice when something is wrong or not working as planned.

Compressed nitrous oxide is usually filled in small chargers. These small chargers filled with compressed nitrous oxide are used in whipped cream chargers so as to aerate any liquid choice, and also push it through a nozzle at the top. The nitrous oxide chargers are typically called nangs and are small metal cartridges that are required to be slipped into the sleeve of the canister. Then for the gas to be released, the sleeve is carefully screwed into the side of the canister. On pressing in the trigger or lever, foam is then produced as a result of the compressed gas mixing with the liquid. 

Basically, the process of using a gas whipped is almost the same as the process of injecting gas into a liquid. This implies that it is the same process applied in using a soda siphon. The only thing that differs among these two is the actual gas that is being used (a soda siphon cartridge is filled with compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) while a cream charger is a canister of pressurized Nitrous Oxide (N2O)). This difference in the properties of these two gasses is responsible for the entire differences in their culinary purposes.

Why N2O is more preferred to produce Whipped cream compared to CO

  1. The solubility of CO2 in water is higher than that of N2O. Hence, the use of CO2 in carbonated drinks makes it fizzy whereas, the product from a cream whipper is not.

2. N2O is neutral however CO2 is acidic. The acidic nature of CO2 makes fizzy drinks tangy. This is the reason why seltzer tastes significantly different from the water that it was produced from. Nitrous Oxide on the other hand does not add flavor to anything that it is passed through. This is the reason why NO2 can be used for sweets, savories, and drinks.

3. NO2 when held under pressure is soluble in fat. This provides liquids that have a fat content of approximately 27% the property of being whipped easily using a whipped cream charger. This could give a fat within whipping or result to double cream or some recipes which will require adding another type of fat (mostly butter).

 Hence, what is the actual mechanism involved when preparing some food or drinks using a cream whipped charger? Actually, the process is quite easy and straight forwards. Anything required to be produced is put into the bottle of the dispenser. The bottle is then made pressure-tight by screwing the head down. The liquid is then pressurized and also the N2O is forced to dissolve in it using the charger canister containing 8 grams of gas.

The recipe might determine if this is to be carried out while the contents are still warm so as to give the gas the opportunity to get into the substance at a molecular level. The content of the dispenser is usually propelled out as soon as the trigger is pulled. This will also result in the expansion of nitrous oxide simultaneously. Some form of fat or a gelling/thickening agent is all the recipes required to ensure that the gas does not basically bubble out and disappear into the thin air. 

In a nutshell, the whipped cream charger is basically a steel cartridge filled with Nitrous Oxide. Once the ingredients inside the cartridge mix with nitrous oxide gas, numerous tiny bubbles which give whipped cream texture are produced without much effort. Understanding the process above gives one the advantage of getting much more from the recipes.