The future is here, and it’s . . . 3D milk products that look like adorable floofy little sofas.
If you’re in the right circles, 3D printing of many foods is commonplace. But the process requires foods to function both as “ink” and as solids that hold their new shape. By contrast, milk is, um, milk, and so the methods used with other foods, which often involve heat, degrade milk’s temperature-sensitive calcium and proteins.
A team at Singapore University of Technology and Design overcame these limitations and figured out how to print milk products at room temperature using a method called cold extrusion. Their magic ink: powdered milk. The stuff you keep in your pantry just in case. The best milk ink, they found, is 70 grams of powdered milk per 100 grams of water.
This discovery could lead to entirely new food concepts. “Given the versatility of the demonstrated method, we envision nutritious and visually appealing foods, with various needs for nutrition and material properties,” the researchers wrote.
Next up, look for applications such as providing nutrients to patients or children, as well as fantastical new, customized dairy products. The researchers created a 3D milk cone filled with chocolate syrup. Yum.