Cream chargers are little metal canisters that contain pure food-grade nitrous oxide. Cream chargers are colloquially known as Nangs or whippits and are very popular for making whipped cream by commercial kitchens such as restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops. This is because nitrous oxide provides a quick way of making consistently high quality whipped cream. They have also become popular for home use as home-users prefer the benefits of the speed and easy of perfect whipped cream on cakes, desserts, coffee and other food that they make at home.
Whipped cream is a very widely used food product that is contained in a large variety of food products and dishes. One of the most commonly know cream whipper user is Starbucks which use whipped cream dispersers powered by nitrous oxide cream chargers to make whipped cream for their drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate.
What are the benefits of using a nitrous oxide powered cream whipper?
There is a range of benefits from using a nitrous oxide cream whipper.
The whipped cream can be produced virtually instantly with minimal expertise. This means that you don’t need to be a chef or be well trained to whip cream by hand. You also don’t need an expensive electric stand mixer, which does not always produce good whipped cream anyway.
Prior to using a cream whipper, it was very time consuming and laborious task to mix thickened cream, sugar and flavourings to make whipped cream. With a cream whipper dispenser powered by cream chargers, a novice can make perfect fluffy whipped cream every time just like a professional.
There are also other benefits to having nitrous oxide to whip cream. The nitrous oxide acts as an anti-bacterial so that the shelf life of the cream in the charged cream whipper is extended over normal whipped cream.
Because whipped cream is fluffy and less dense (as it contains gas), whipped cream can also help people with portion control. Whipped cream by hand can make it 2 to 3 times more volume than unwhipped cream, whipping cream using nitrous oxide can be up to 4 times as much volume as unwhipped cream. This means that you can feel like you have eaten more than you would with unwhipped or hand-whipped cream which could have to control your calorific intake.
What is a cream whipper?
A cream whipper (also called a whipped cream dispenser) is a kind of bottle with an unscrewable top called the head. On the head is a port for adding the cream chargers, a nozzle where the whipped cream comes out and a trigger that is pushed to allow the whipped cream to come out of the nozzle. The cream is put into the cream whipper, the head put back on and a cream charger used to add nitrous oxide gas to the cream whipper. The user then turns the cream whipper so that the nozzle is facing down and pulls the trigger and fluffy whipped cream comes out. If the nozzle is not pointing down the gas can escape instead of the whipped cream.
Cream whippers are made of metal, plastic (mostly it is the nozzles and or the head and cream charger holder that are made of plastic) and silicon (the gasket that seals the openings are generally made of flexible silicon). Cream whippers come in a range of sizes (0.25 litre, 0.5 litres and 1 litre) with the most common being 0.5 litres.
What a cream charger?
A cream charger is a little metal canister that contains nitrous oxide (N2O). When the nitrous oxide is added to the cream whipper it dissolves into the fat in the cream and also pressurises the cream whipper. When the trigger is pressed the pressure from the nitrogen oxide gas forces the cream out of the cream whipper. Because there is a change in pressure when the cream comes out the nitrous oxide gas expands whilst it is inside the cream fat and creates bubbles in the cream effectively whipping it (whipping cream means adding air or other gas (in the case of a cream charger, nitrous oxide gas into the cream making it light and fluffy).
Cream chargers typically come in stainless steel bulbs that are typically nickel plated to prevent rust. Each standard cream charger (that is used in a 0.5 litre cream whipper dispenser) contains 8 grams of nitrous oxide and is enough to whip half a litre of cream.
It is important to always use the correct size cream charger for the size of the cream whipper and to not overfill the cream whipper with cream (or other food). Overfilled cream whippers can spurt the cream out and make a mess rather than make nice fluffy whipped cream.
Can you make sweetened cream in a whipped cream dispenser?
Yes, you can make sweetened cream in a nitrous oxide powered cream whipper. Just put sugar with the cream and shake it up and then use the cream whipper as normal, it will produce sweet fluffy whipped cream. You can also use artificial sweetener to sweeten the whipped cream without the sugar.
Can you add flavouring to nitrous oxide whipped cream?
Yes, you can add flavouring to the cream prior to adding the nitrous oxide to the whipped cream dispenser. Popular options include vanilla flavour and strawberry flavoured whipped cream.