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Cream Whipper Story

My Father, George Stanford, and Carl Sollmann were in the business of manufacturing pressure cream whippers (“whippers”) as early as 1954. The equipment which was used to make the requisite N20 filled gas cartridges for whippers was also used to fulfill defense department contracts for ammunition during WWII. Whippers were already known but the benefits were being discovered but the real interest of the design came later only when the supply of the gas cartridges stabilized in the early 1960’s.

Whippers are a significant improvement over the butter churns of yesteryear. While one takes cream in an attempt to make butter, the butter churn was actually the original whipper. The cream became frothy on it its way to become what we know as butter. We often show children how to air whip cream in a bowl into whipped cream by beating the cream with a wire whisk. Those kids who are ambitious may go from whipped cream to butter in just a few moments.

The inherent problem with hand whipping cream is bacteria. One actually whips the bacteria laden air right into the cream thus causing spoilage in short order. In food service, they needed an answer to the rapid spoilage (i.e. waste) and that was to find a preservative that did not change the flavor or texture; a difficult task considering the delicate nature of whipped cream.
The food industry in the 1950’s was studying methods of how to preserve foods and identified a gas which imparted a slightly sweet taste due to its alkalinity, Nitrous Oxide (N20). The US Dairy council at the time endorsed putting a slightly pressurized blanket of N20 gas in the void over milk and cream actually allowed several more days before the calculated spoilage date.
Subsequently, employees at a dairy applying N20 gas over cream went a bit far and applied too much pressure causing it to ‘foam up’ and out of the container. What actually happened was that the fat globules in the cream exploded like popcorn kernels. And that is how pressure whippers make the cream whipped, by applying pressure to the fat.

The result has been beneficial to the food service and coffee industry as pressure whipped cream has several important benefits which are not readily apparent. Pressure whipping produces a 4:1 overrun meaning that for every pint of cream you put in, you get 4 pints of whipped cream out. Hand whipping only produces a 2:1 overrun. The induction of N20 into the sealed container of the pressure cream whipper preserves the cream for several weeks. With the sealed container, you only need to dispense what you need with no waste.
We often see coffee establishments flavoring the whipped cream with hazelnut and other aromatic temptations. Ice cream shops traditionally boasted ‘pure’ whipped cream which is something you can’t get out of aerosol can style dispensers. The typical aerosol can needs a significant amount of chemical preservatives to allow the product to be shelf worthy for the 10 or so days in the market. It is the aerosol can style of whipped cream which so many of us have grown to dislike due to the wet slimy texture, a direct result of the chemical additives used for preservation.

More Cream Whipper Story

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