iSi Rapid Infusion: Performance Under Pressure
For many decades, Vodka-loving nations such as Russia and Poland have experimented with infusions – made at home, in bars & taverns. Their infusions were simple – similar to the “soaking” infusion method widely used by bars today: flavorful (often pungent or spicy) solid ingredients are combined with Vodka (or another neutral spirit) in a sealed container for several days until the flavors eventually transfer over time.
Our understanding of culinary science has come a long way, veering significantly off the beaten path, and further away from traditional techniques. We’re the next generation. We’re experimenting. We’re creating. We’re inspiring. We’re pushing the boundaries of creativity in the kitchen and developing new tools, technology, and techniques. We don’t settle for something “great”, we want more … something brilliant, fascinating, functional and alluring – all at once. Voilà – Rapid Infusion is all of this and so much more.
Infusing glorious flavors of fresh herbs, fruits & spices into the solids, oils or spirits of your preference has never been considered a quick or easy process – until now. iSi’s Rapid Infusion technique is a brilliant way to experiment with your own personal taste preferences and discover magnificent new flavor combinations. For instance, who knew that Jalapeño and Watermelon infused with Vodka could be so crisp, refreshing and tasty? Or, that strong flavors like fresh lemon slices or cinnamon sticks transfer flavor very quickly, while less pungent ingredients (for instance, an apple) takes more time for its subtle flavor to develop? We do, because we’ve tried it hundreds (actually, thousands) of times with the iSi Gourmet Whip, and now you can too!
It All Began with an Experiment…
The “Father” of Rapid Infusion (and renowned culinary prodigy) Dave Arnold of Booker + Dax and MOFAD (Museum of Food & Drink) first discovered the Rapid Infusion technique by experimenting with his iSi Gourmet Whip in 2010 to see “what else it could do”, and posted the results of his experiment on his blog, Cooking Issues, calling it “Game Changing”. Since then, we’ve worked very closely with Dave Arnold, and some of the world’s best & brightest chefs and bartenders from Leo Robitschek to Don Lee and John Pomeroy – to perfect the Rapid Infusion technique using the iSi Gourmet Whip. After years of research, and an abundance of expert advice from our outstanding friends in the bar industry, we’ve gotten it just right
Rapid Infusion, Simplified
Rapid Infusion makes it possible to infuse the flavors of solids and liquids with one another in the shortest possible amount of time by releasing the pressure contained in an iSi cream charger into a sealed vessel (the iSi Gourmet Whip).
Once under pressure, the flavors of the solids become infused (on a molecular level) into the liquid (ie: lemon-rosemary olive oil). Through this process, the flavors of the liquid also become infused into the solid. Vodka-infused cherries, anyone?
Rapid Infusion is like a limitless treasure trove of unique, interesting and undiscovered flavor combinations, right at your fingertips!
Benefits of Rapid Infusion vs Traditional Infusions
— Experiment with infinite flavor combinations in less time – let’s say didn’t prefer the taste of your chocolate, bergamot and gin infusion? No problem, you can whip up another infusion with completely different ingredients in minutes!
— Fresh ingredients = fresh taste. Fresh ingredients also mean that *you* choose where your ingredients come from (ie: farmer’s market, a specific local grower, etc) without having to rely on an artificial flavoring or syrup for flavor.
— Less bitter taste – the slight “sweetness” of the N2O in an iSi cream charger balances the bitterness of ingredients like cacao nibs or coffee beans.
— More hygienic than leaving unattended or uncovered ingredient mixtures out for days to infuse on their own.
— Limitless possibilities: you can infuse liquids into solids, too – think marinades, fruits, or even ceviche! Create your own artisan flavored bitters in no time – a popular trend amongst many of our favorite bartenders. And last but not least … Pickle anything in just a few minutes!
I’m Ready! Where Do I Start?
With your iSi Gourmet Whip in hand, follow these basic instructions and start your culinary engine: Ready, Set, Go!
1) Place fresh, aromatic solid ingredients of your choice into the iSi Gourmet Whip
2) Fill the iSi Gourmet Whip with your liquid of choice to the maximum fill line marked on the bottle
3) Screw on the head of the Whipper – make sure it is screwed on securely
4) Charge the iSi Gourmet Whip with 1 iSi Cream Charger (or, 2 iSi Cream Chargers if you are using a Quart/Liter size Whipper)
5) Shave vigorously a few times, swirl it around a bit, and let the charged mixture sit for 5-10 minutes (depending on the potency of the ingredients, some will take a bit longer to infuse)
6) Place a cup over the decorator tip of the Whipper (There will be some “spray” when you first begin releasing the gas) and in an upright position, dispense the gas from the Whipper until it has been fully released. This ensures that there is no pressure in the Whipper, and it is now safe to unscrew the Whipper head.
7) Unscrew the head of the Whipper. Notice that there may be a bubbling or “fizzy” appearance to the mixture inside. This is infusion, happening right before your eyes!
8) Strain the solid and liquid ingredients through an iSi Sieve (or fine chinois) to separate.
9) Enjoy the flavors, aromas, and colors of your new creation!
Seattle-based ChefSteps has developed an online Whipping Siphon course using iSi products to demonstrate Rapid Infusion (and so much more), in 33 short, fun and inspiring videos. The cost for enrollment is just $39, and you participate in the course at your own pace, with the option to revisit any section at your leisure. ChefSteps also offers a fully engaged online community forum with home & professional chefs. Ask questions, exchange advice on equipment, ingredients and techniques. If you are interested in learning the many techniques you can apply using your iSi Gourmet Whip, we give the ChefSteps course a triple thumbs-up.
iSi Rapid Infusion: Best Practices
— Rapid Infusion works best when your liquid ingredients are at room temperature. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with infusing spicy flavors into hot chocolate!
— Don’t use chilled/cold liquid for your infusion – the molecules in any cold liquid are bound more tightly, providing less room for the solid flavoring agent(s) to “share” its own flavor molecules.
— The iSi Gourmet Whip’s professional-grade, sturdy construction makes it ideal for any type of infusion – hot or cold. For this reason, iSi only endorses the use of the Rapid Infusion technique with an iSi Gourmet Whip.
— Stronger flavor profiles take less time to develop (5-10 minutes), so be patient with softer, more delicate flavors of peach, grape, etc. They may take longer to develop (20-30 minutes).
— ALWAYS use iSi cream chargers with iSi equipment. They are made to work together as a system, extremely food-safe, made of the highest quality, guarantee a consistent level of pressure & filling volume (remember: an 8g cream charger is an “ingredient” in your recipe, too!) – plus, the use of any other brand of chargers in iSi equipment is neither recommended for optimal results nor covered by warranty.
The world is your iSi oyster! Experiment with an herb + fruit infusion, a marinade + protein infusion, quick-pickling, make your own bitters, infuse your own coffee, vodka-infused strawberries (and strawberry-infused vodka) – the possibilities are only limited by the borders of your own creativity!
Please share your comments, experiments and favorite flavor combinations with us – we always love to hear from you! Visit us on Facebook, chat with us on Twitter, or just send us an old-fashioned email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll share some Rapid Infusion Recipes in the next post, but in the meantime, grab your iSi Gourmet Whip, a bottle of olive oil or Vodka, and experiment with what’s in your pantry right now!