Tool for making small balls of sticky food

by anol   Last Updated January 13, 2018 00:17 AM

There are several kinds of sticky food balls that I'd like to make, but the usual process consists in rolling them in your hand one by one. This process is tedious and time-consuming. I'd really like it to scale better. Such food usually tastes better when the balls are smaller, but this means even more time preparing it.

Examples of the kind of food I'm talking about: rice balls, meat balls, rum balls, ladoo, caramel balls, chocolate truffles, etc.

What they have in common (at least most of them):

  • The material is sticky, so this requires rubbing butter on the hand, or something similar, with periodic repeats to ensure non-stickiness;

  • The material is not very hard, which compounded with the stickiness, makes it hard to improvise with similar tools, such as spoons: it will stick a bit and deform easily;

  • After the ball is done, it is often rolled in some other material (sugar, chocolate, bread crumbs, etc) which coats it.

After looking for several related words ("food baller", "ball scoop", etc.), I only managed to find a few tools that might be useful:

Ice cream scoop These ice cream scoops have a mechanism to help release the material. I'm not entirely convinced this would work, since the food I'm talking about is usually stickier and less solid than ice cream, but still; the main issue is that the smallest one I found is about 3.5 cm in diameter, and I'd need them to be more like 1.5-2 cm.

Melon baller

Melon ballers have the appropriate size, but they are less "round" (as in, less than half a sphere) and designed for hard, non-sticky melon insides. Also, they do not have a release mechanism.

Non-stick, thin gloves might help speed up the rolling, but if they are cumbersome silicon gloves, they will prevent me from being able to properly ball the food. I did not find any thin, non-stick, food-grade gloves either.

Did I just miss something? Otherwise, how do professional chefs manage to produce these kinds of balled food at scale?

Tags : equipment

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