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Ask Jason: What Type of Whipping Siphon Should I Buy
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I get a lot of great questions from my readers. In order to help out everyone else I'm answering some of the most popular ones here on the blog. Have something you need help with? You can
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Hey Jason, which size of whipping siphon should I get? I'm looking at either the .5 liter or the 1 liter, what do you think is best? Do I need to get the iSi Thermo siphon? I'll normally be cooking for 4-10 people, if that matters.
Hi Dan, that's a great question! Because I just got done writing my book
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: The Whipping Siphon so I'm pretty up to speed on siphons and how they're used in different applications and group sizes. Here's what I've found.
Whipping Siphon Type
When it comes to the type of siphon, there are 3 main ones to look at: insulated thermos-style, heat-resistant, and standard. For all my testing I used the iSi Gourmet Whip and I never missed the thermo function. I always have either a refrigerator or hot water bath (or just a pot with hot water in it) around so I didn't need it to stay insulated.
I also like how I can change the temperature quickly with the Gourmet Whip. For instance, fill a siphon the day before, refrigerate it overnight until 30 minutes before dinner, then put it in a water bath to serve it hot. The Thermo one can't do that as quickly or easily. If you're going to be away from a fridge or water bath then the Thermo function might be more valuable.
I do highly recommend getting a heat-resistant whipping siphon. From pouring in hot liquids to cool or heating up the siphon to serve soups or sauces is something I use a lot.
Whipping Siphon Size
Siphons come in a few different sizes ¼ liter, ½ liter, 1 liter (½ pint, 1 pint, 1 Quart). When trying to determine what size to buy, the best answer is "It depends".
For my testing, I used both the .5 liter and 1 liter versions and they both were perfect at different times. I typically cooked for 2-4 people, with a few parties of 8-10 or larger. I could manage most dishes with either siphon, but each one had it's strengths.
For accents like froths, sauce-like foams, infused alcohols, and other things served in small portions the ½ liter was more than enough for all sized groups, while the 1 liter could be too big for the smaller groups.
For mousse, aerated soups, carbonated beverages, carbonated fruit, marinated vegetables, and other large portions the 1 liter was the better one for all group sizes since it held more.
I didn't use the smaller siphon, but I rarely found myself wanting something smaller than the ½ liter siphon. If you are planning on doing a lot of small infusions, or other very small servings then this size might be good for you.
So I'd just look at what applications you plan on using it for most of the time and start with the size that matches that. For accents and alcohols go smaller, for full dishes / carbonation go larger. And if you end up buying a second bottle, I'd probably get the other size, then you can get a real good feel for which one you're using more.
I hope that helps some. Whipping siphons are awesome, there's so much you can do with them so enjoy!
Interested in more information like this?
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: The Whipping Siphon
provides all the information you need to get to get started with modernist cooking using the whipping siphon.
It is all presented in an easy to understand format, along with more than 50 recipes, that can be applied immediately in your kitchen.
If you want to master the whipping siphon, delight your taste buds, and amaze your friends, then this is the book for you!
Ask Jason, Sous Vide
Info: This Ask Jason article answers how to sous vide two steaks to different temperatures with only one sous vide machine.
How Do I Sous Vide Steaks to Two Different Temperatures - Ask Jason
Ask Jason, Sous Vide
Info: The latest Ask Jason articles answers "How does the amount of food I add to sous vide affect the cook time?" and "How many chicken breasts can I put in one sous vide bag?". Click through to find out the answers!
How Much Food Can I Put Into a Sous Vide Bag? - Ask Jason
Ask Jason, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Safety
Some sous vide recipes say you should boil your meat before you seal it, what is that about? I thought the point of sous viding it was to keep it at a lower temperature, definitely not boiling it. I heard it has something to do with killing bacteria, but doesn't sous vide do that anyway?
Thanks - Jackson
Thanks for the question! There's a few different things going on here and I'll try to address them all.
First off, the boiling is usually done to kill "lactobacillus", a type of bacteria that actually thrives in the lower temperature range of sous vide cooking. This bacteria isn't harmful to you, it's actually the same kind that is used a lot when making cheese and yogurt. However, it does tend to smell bad, so your food can have a funky or "bad cheese" smell to it. It can also cause your bag to puff up which can affect the transfer of heat.
Why Do You Boil Meat Before Sous Viding It? - Ask Jason
Agar Agar, Agar Gel Noodle Recipes, Ask Jason, Gel Noodles, Gelling, Locust Bean Gum
In Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started the recipe for mango noodles (and other recipes) includes locust bean gum, but the Modernist Pantry kit I bought does not include it. How can I substitute it? The recipe asks for locust bean gum and agar. Can I use xanthan gum or carrageenan?
Hi Alejo, that's a good question. In general, agar gels are brittle (they fall apart) while locust bean gum adds elasticity (makes them chewier and stay together). For gels that are being shaped, especially the gel noodles, the elasticity is critical, otherwise they tend to fall apart. For things like cubes or softer gels, you don't have to have the locust bean gum, the gels will just be less chewy.
Locust Bean Gum Substitute - Ask Jason
Ask Jason, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Fish
Info: To me, fish is already very tender, so why would I spend all that time on sous vide fish?? Am I missing something??
Great question Judy!
There are several advantages to using sous vide to cook fish but to me the biggest advantage to sous vide is the convenience. Fish only takes 15 to 45 minutes to cook, so I typically toss it into the bag and get it into the water bath right away. Then I get started cooking the side dish(es). By the time the sides are done, the fish is perfectly cooked (with no attention needed from me) so I can take it out and eat the whole meal at the same time.
Why Sous Vide Fish? - Ask Jason
Fruit, Party Foods, Soup, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Xanthan Gum Foams, Xanthan Gum Foam, Xanthan Gum Thickening
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strawberries, and is light and refreshing. Xanthan gum helps hold it together and traps the bubbles created from pureeing it, keeping it a little frothy.
Chilled Strawberry Soup Recipe
Chocolate, Dessert, Foam, Fruit, Party Foods, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Cream Foams, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: Like this chocolate whipped cream with berries dessert, sometimes the most impressive dishes to my guests are the easiest ones to make. In addition this combination is unforgettable when served warm on cake, brownies or ice cream!
Chocolate Whipped Cream with Berries Recipe
Beef, Chuck Roast, Dish, Foam, Party Foods, Pressure Cooker, Roast, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Foam
Info: This recipe uses the pressure cooker to turn an inexpensive chuck roast into a moist,flavor-packed beef entree and the whipping siphon to prepare a spicy tangerine froth topping. It's a fun and simple meal that will impress your family and dinner guests alike.
Shredded Beef with Spicy Tangerine Froth Recipe
Foam, Milk, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Milk, Sous Vide Recipes, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: This yogurt recipe uses the sous vide machine to easily maintain a consistently desired temperatures during the incubation period. For a fun twist use the whipping siphon to make a carbonated yogurt foam!
Sous Vide Yogurt
Fish, Foam, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Fish , Sous Vide Recipes, Sous Vide Salad , Sous Vide Tuna, Tuna, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Cream Foams, Whipping Siphon Foams
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Sous Vide Sesame Crusted Tuna with Avocado Salad
Appetizer, Foam, Party Foods, Vegetable, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Xanthan Gum Foams, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Foam
Info: Roasting parsnips gives it an almost nutty taste, which holds up well to a topping of chipotle-carrot froth. The modernist ingredient of xanthan gum is used in the froth to help it retain the bubbles generated in the whipping siphon. This is a fun dish to serve as an appetizer or starter plate.
Roasted Parsnips with Carrot Froth Recipe
Agar Agar, Agar Gel, Agar Gel Noodle Recipes, Agar Gel Recipes, Appetizer, Cheese, Crostini, Fish, Gel Noodles, Gelification, Gelling, Gels, Hors d'oeuvres, Locust Bean Gum, Noodles, Party Foods, Pickling, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infused Food
Info: This crostini recipe moves the traditional deli food of lox and cream cheese on a bagel into fancy modernist bites. The cream cheese is turned into gelled noodles that are served on toasted bagel rounds with pickled red onion. An easy to pick up and deliciously flavorful party food!
Homemade Lox and Cream Cheese Noodles Recipe
Agar Agar, Agar Foam Recipes, Foam, Gelling, Party Foods, Soup, Vegetable, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Agar Foams, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: Roasted red peppers are a classic Italian offering and this recipe uses the whipping siphon to aerate them into a light, smooth soup. The amount of agar can be adjusted to
easily control the thickness of the soup. In addition to serving it as a soup, this foam can be used in many
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Roasted Red Pepper Soup Recipe
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Dessert, Foam, Fruit, Garnishes, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Getting Started, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams
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Dessert, Foam, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Getting Started, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
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Fish, Foam, Infusions, Mono and Diglycerides, Mono and Diglycerides Oil Foam Recipes, Recipe, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Fish , Sous Vide Recipes, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: Sea bass is a light and flavorful fish whose taste can be easily overpowered. This recipe pairs it with a pungent mustard oil that really shines on a micro-greens salad with basil, radish, and tomato.
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Info: This recipe tops sous vided chicken with a modernist froth to make a favorite dish that even pickier eaters tend to gobble up! By using xanthan gum in the teriyaki sauce you can turn it into a flavorful froth in a whipping siphon. Even a "basic" food can be the talk of the party!
Chicken with Teriyaki Froth Recipe
Flavored Oil, Glycerin Flakes, Infusions, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Flavored Oils, Sous Vide Infusions, Sous Vide Recipes, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Infusions
Info: This recipe focuses on the subtle flavors of the rosemary and sage by using a neutral base oil. With a sous vide machine, the infusion process is simple: combine the ingredients, heat, cool and store! What a great flavor enhancing finishing oil for fish dishes!
Sous Vide Rosemary and Sage Infused Oil
Appetizer, Dish, Foam, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Mussels, Party Foods, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
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Mussels with Curry Foam Recipe
Appetizer, Crostini, Flavored Oil, Foam, Infusions, Mono and Diglycerides, Mono and Diglycerides Oil Foam Recipes, Party Foods, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Infusions
Info: This crostini recipe infuses the heat, smokiness and flavor of dried chiles into canola oil, which is then thickened into a foam. It is also a good topping for grilled meats or as a spicy spread for fresh bread. The process of infusing oil with flavors before thickening it leads to countless variations you can adapt to any dish.
Chile Foam Crostini Recipe
Carrageenan, Carrageenan Gel, Dessert, Gelling, Infusions, Iota and Kappa Carrageenan Gel Recipes, Iota Carrageenan, Kappa Carrageenan, Milk, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infused Food
Info: This recipe infuses milk with the great flavor of maple and pecan then turns it into a tender panna cotta dessert. The common modernist gelling ingredients of iota carrageean and kappa carrageenan are used to make the panna cotta portion; an immersion blender and a whipping siphon are both modernist equipment used to make this delicate ending to your meal.
Maple-Pecan Panna Cotta Recipe
Alcohol, Cocktails, Drink, Infusions, Liqueurs, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infusions, Whipping Siphon Infusions
Info: Limoncello is a classic Italian digestif from Southern Italy made by macerating lemon peels in alcohol for up to a month. In this recipe I use the modernist equipment power of the whipping siphon to reduce the process down to only 5 minutes. This end product is added to sugar and water; now it's ready to use.
Quick Limoncello Recipe
Chocolate, Dessert, Foam, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
Info: White chocolate foam dispensed over ripe berries, it does not get much better than that! This recipe will wow your guests.
White Chocolate Clouds Gelatin Foam Recipe
Beef, Party Foods, Pickling, Recipe, Steak, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infused Food
Info: It took me awhile to develop a taste for steak tartare but now that I have I can't get enough of it. There's something about the lightly seasoned, slightly chewy beef that I just love.
Steak Tartare with Sour Apples Recipe
Alcohol, Cocktails, Drink, Foam, Fruit, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelling, Gels, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
Info: Cosmos are becoming a more and more popular drink and I mix it up by making different flavors of cosmo and by adding some flair in the form of a fruit gelatin foam from a whipping siphon.
Foamed Fruit Cosmos Recipe
Alcohol, Cocktails, Drink, Foam, Fruit, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Gels, Infusions, Recipe, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Drink , Sous Vide Infusions, Sous Vide Recipes, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
Info: Using sous vide infused vanilla-orange vodka makes this modernist cocktail extra flavorful and the half and half adds a richness that cannot be beat.
Creamsicle with Sous Vide Infused Orange-Vanilla Vodka Recipe
Beef, Cheese, Dish, Foam, Recipe, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Beef , Sous Vide Filet Mignon, Sous Vide Recipes, Sous Vide Steak , Steak, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: Sous vide filet mignon, or beef tenderloin, is a super tender, lean cut of beef that is often served as a fancy steak and works great with the low temperature precision cooking.
Sous Vide Filet Mignon Recipe with Blue Cheese Mousse
Appetizer, Cheese, Foam, Infusions, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Infused Food
Info: Honey goat cheese is already light and airy but in this recipe it gets a modernist cooking twist by using a whipping siphon to turn it into creamy clouds. I serve it on small flatbreads with port-infused figs for a fun texture and taste combination!
Honey Goat Cheese Recipe with Port-Infused Figs
Appetizer, Fruit, Party Foods, Pickling, Recipe, Tuna, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infused Food, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Thickening
Info: By using the basic modernist ingredient of xanthan gum this recipe turns tuna into an upscale party favorite for any gathering. I serve the tuna squares with a pickled pear relish and an Asian accent sauce for a pop of flavor.
Seared Tuna Squares Recipe
Agar Gel Cube Recipes, Equipment Collection, Foam, Modernist Gifts, Whipping Siphon
Info: Perhaps the most versatile tool in the modernist cook's arsenal is the whipping siphon. It allows cooks to make hot or cold foams as well as carbonated beverages, spheres, or even fruits. It also makes preparing a batch of homemade whipped cream incredibly easy.
Whipping Siphon Collection
Alcohol, Cocktails, Drink, Foam, Fruit, Gelatin, Gelatin Foam Recipes, Gelification, Gelling, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Gelatin Foams
Info: Tequila has a bad reputation as a party drink but you can tame it if you replace the shots with this sophisticated cocktail. The paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail and is much more common than a margarita south of the border. It is usually made with tequila and a grapefruit soda, such as squirt, served over ice, and is both easy to make and delicious.
Paloma Recipe with Grapefruit Foam
Carbonation, Fruit, Party Foods, Pickling, Recipe, Soup, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Carbonation, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Thickening
Info: When watermelon is in season it's hard to resist. For some parties you need nothing more than to slice it and hand it out with paper towels for people to scarf down. However, sometimes you want something a little more refined and that's where this recipe comes in.
Watermelon Soup Recipe With Pickled Rind
Ask Jason, Sous Vide
Info: There are so many different things you can do with a sous vide machine that it can be hard to figure out what you want to try first. I think there's two categories of sous vide foods, things you can use sous vide to cook better, and things you can only do with sous vide. Here's some of my favorite things to do sous vide.
Ask Jason: What Should I Sous Vide First?
Ask Jason, Sous Vide, Sous Vide Sealing
Info: While a chambered vacuum sealer is the best way to do sous vide, they are several hundred dollars and overkill for many home kitchens. Many people turn to FoodSaver-type sealers, which can be convenient but they are expensive to buy bags for and can't really be used with liquids. So what is a home cook to do?
Ask Jason: How to Use Ziploc Bags for Sous Vide
Carbonation, Fruit, Party Foods, Recipe, Soup, Thickener, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Carbonation, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Puree, Xanthan Gum Thickening
Info: Sweet green grapes are another favorite snack of mine and they're a great party food because most people really like them. For this more upscale dish I turn them into a sweet, fizzy soup. The xanthan gum helps hold the particles in suspension and the carbonation effect adds a pleasant tingle and tang to it.
Sparkling Grape Gazpacho Recipe
Agar Agar, Agar Gel, Agar Gel Cube Recipes, Agar Gel Recipes, Alcohol, Cubes, Dehydrating, Fruit, Gel Cubes, Gelification, Gelling, Gels, Infusions, Locust Bean Gum, Party Foods, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infusions
Info: These cocktail cubes are a fun way to entertain your guests. They are rum infused strawberries encased in a daiquiri cube. When you bite into them the cube starts off with a sweet and tart flavor followed up by the kick of the rum-infused strawberries.
Strawberry Daiquiri Agar Gel Cubes Recipe
Ask Jason, Foam
Info: There's a few different ways to make vegetable bubbles and foams but there are basically two components to master: extracting the flavor from the vegetables and creating the foam itself.
Ask Jason: Guide to Vegetable Foams
Info: In the latest Ask Jason, Leif asks "I am interested to know the shelf-life after opening these products, and how best to store them" so I take a look at it with help from Modernist Pantry.
Ask Jason: How to Store Modernist Ingredients
Dips, Foam, Party Foods, Potato, Recipe, Soup, Vegetable, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: My mother-in-law always cooks great meals for us when we come to visit. She recently cooked a wonderful sweet potato soup that I thought would be great in a modernist preparation. I've roasted the sweet potatoes and added some molasses, ginger, and thyme for extra depth of flavor.
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup Foam
Alcohol, Bourbon, Cocktails, Drink, Infusions, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Infusions
Info: My favorite end-of-day drink has to be bourbon. Most days I'll stick to my favorite brands on the rocks or I'll make a Manhattan, but sometimes I'm up for trying something different. In this case, an orange-cinnamon infused bourbon made with my whipping siphon.
Orange-Cinnamon Infused Bourbon
Drink, Foam, Fruit, Recipe, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Foams, Whipping Siphon Xanthan Gum Foams, Xanthan Gum, Xanthan Gum Foam
Info: This modernist recipe is a refreshing take on blueberry lemonade that changes the ubiquitous summer drink into a modernist creation your friends will love. It is a light blueberry froth dispensed on top of a glass of lemonade. The blueberry foam slowly filters into the drink, changing the flavor of the lemonade the longer you drink it. It is a quick recipe to make and is a great way to elevate a common drink.
Lemonade Recipe with Blueberry Froth
Info: Whipping siphon problems are pretty common but can usually be fixed with a few different methods. Here's my guide to troubleshooting your whipping siphon!
Troubleshooting Your Whipping Siphon
Carbonation, Fruit, Infusions, Recipe, Salad, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Carbonation, Whipping Siphon Infused Food
Info: While the most common and well-known use of a whipping siphon is to create foams you can also use it to infuse liquids and to carbonate liquids. In this modernist recipe, I carbonate the water in watermelon to make a fizzy salad. It's a unique way to present an easy summer dish.
Carbonated Watermelon Salad
Agar Agar, Agar Gel, Agar Gel Recipes, Dessert, Foam, Fruit, Gelification, Gelling, Gels, Milk, Party Foods, Recipe, Whipped Cream, Whipped Foam, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Cream Foams, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.
Shortcakes with Agar Fruit Gels and Siphon Whipped Cream
Info: A whipping siphon is basically a reusable whip cream container. You can pour some cream in it, add some powdered sugar, charge it with N2O and it will instantly dispense whipped cream.
It can be used in a similar manner with many fluid gels to create foams of different thicknesses. The heat resistant ones can also be used for hot foams and sauces.
Dessert, Foam, Garnishes, Milk, Recipe, Whipped Cream, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Cream Foams, Whipping Siphon Foams
Info: For my father-in-law's birthday we were going to be having mud pie for dessert so I decided to make a key lime whipped cream to go on it. I decided to use my iSi whipping siphon so I could show it off. The process of making traditional whip cream with it is very easy.
Key Lime Siphon Whipped Cream Recipe
Dessert, Foam, Whipped Cream, Whipping Siphon, Whipping Siphon Cream Foams
Info: I recently purchased an iSi whipping siphon for easier creation of foams and also to carbonate various liquids. One of the first things I used it for was to create whipped cream (how can you not start there!).
How to Make Whipped Cream with a Whipping Siphon
Ask Jason, Sous Vide
Info: One of the most common questions we get asked about our sous vide recipes is some variation of "the recipe says to cook it for 3 to 6 hours, but when is it actually done".
The short answer is that anytime within the given range the food is "done". As long as the food has been in the waterbath for more than the minimum time and less than the maximum time, then it is done. There isn't a specific magical moment of true doneness that can be generalized.
For those that want more information, here's the explanation why.
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