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3D Printing with Hummus — New Extrusion Process and Basic Culinary Know-How

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Everyone’s favorite go-to party dip is now a 3D printing medium thanks to our friends at 3DigitalCooks (3DC), who recently introduced us to 3D printing with bananas. 3DC is a website that provides the latest news in digital gastronomy. 3D food innovators from around the world share new technologies and creative ideas and solutions relevant to the culinary branch of 3D printing. Now, 3DC’s founder, Luis Rodriguez Alcalde, who lives in Barcelona, Spain, is showcasing the second generation of the 3D food printer he designed, the Pinya2. It seems that the Pinya had some shortcomings and, with Pinya2, Rodriguez Alcalde has worked out the kinks and presents his Lucky Hummus.

color hummusThis colorful presentation of our favorite variation on the chick pea is actually pretty easy to produce. Of course, notes digital chef Rodriguez Alcalde, you’ll need a 3D printer “that works with syringes, cartridges, capsules or any similar container.” He used Pinya2 but you can also have a look at 3DC’s website and see what machines other digital culinary makers are using. Rodriguez Alcalde’s Instructables page also provides instructions for making this delectable digital dish and for creating other print patterns using colorful hummus.

You’ll need to make a batch of hummus and we think it’s probably a good idea to use his recipe, which calls for 150 grams (about 5 ¼ oz.) of chickpeas, 20 grams (3/4 ounce) of tahini, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. You’ll also want to make some avocado purée — it’s the green in the leaves of this lucky hummus four-leaf clover that you’ll fill in after you’ve 3D printed the hummus forms. We trust you can handle the purée without using a recipe.

You will need food coloring, a container for each color of hummus, a tablespoon, and a fork. Thin slices of a cherry tomato create the long petal-like garnishes seen in the photo. You don’t need much more than a kitchen blender to make the hummus and the avocado purée. Don’t go crazy with the blending, however; the hummus needs to be fairly thick so that it can be successfully extruded.

You’ll be printing your edible masterpiece on top of a piece of toast or a large cracker.

Here’s basically how the hummus printing works: After mixing the separate colors, you load a a large tablespoon full of hummus into the printing cartridge. Insert one color at a time, pressing one down on the next to create a kind of rainbow effect in the cartridge. Avoid creating any pockets of air in the mixture, as we are reminded that “air pockets are our enemies” when it comes to 3D printing food.hum2

Rodriguez Alcalde explained that Lucky Hummus was created to test out 3DC’s new air extrusion system that, basically, utilizes compressed air to force the material through the extruder.

A new design tool was also developed specifically for this project. 3DC used Roses, a Javascript tool that, says Rodriguez Alcalde, “uses rhodonea curves equation to generate printing paths for Pinya. The tool result,” he explained, “is a GCode file that works directly with the printer. Somehow it combines design (roses) and slicing (GCode generation).”

He shared a link to the download on the blog page for the Lucky Hummus project. Although creating a new tool like Roses might seem unnecessarily time-consuming, Rodriguez Alcalde explained that it actually allowed him to eliminate the excess. That is, to include only the parameters required specifically for the Lucky Hummus four-leaf clover pattern.

After several test prints, this pragmatic digital chef observed that lumpy hummus can be a serious impediment to the printing process and encourages those of you who want to try this at home to smooth out the lumps. Also, Rodriguez Alcalde, who emphasizes that he is not a chef, and evidently learned the hard way added: “For [the] avocado purée, keep in mind to balance lemon juice.” If you’ve made guacamole or anything else using avocados then you probably know that lemon or lime juice will keep the green from turning brown, which will definitely make for a more accurate four-leaf hummus clover.

Do try this at home and let us and the team at 3C know how it turns out!

Check out the video below to see the hummus be extruded onto the cracker. Will you be trying this one? It certainly looks appetizing! Let us know how your attempt goes, or what your thoughts are, in the 3D Print with Hummus forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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