Hydrocolloid Printing: A Novel Platform for Customized Food Production
Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) of food has the potential to drastically impact both culinary professionals and laypeople; the technology will fundamentally change the ways we produce and experience food. Several imposing barriers to food-SFF have been overcome by recent open-source printing projects. Now, materials issues present the greatest challenge. While the culinary field of molecular gastronomy can solve many of these challenges, careful attention must be given to contain materials-set bloat. Using a novel combination of hydrocolloids (xanthium gum and gelatin) and flavor agents, texture and flavor can be independently tuned to produce printing materials that simulate a broad range of foods, with only a minimal number of materials. In addition to extensively exploring future applications of food-SFF, we also present a rigorous proof-of-concept investigation of hydrocolloids for food-SFF. A two-dimensional mouthfeel rating system was created (stiffness vs. granularity) and various hydrocolloid mixtures were characterized via an expert panel of taste testers.