What makes a perfect ice cream?

25 sep, 2020

As you run your tongue over perfectly creamy ice cream, the sugars hit the sweet tastebuds and immediately tell your brain that a high-calorie food is on its way.

The fats in the ice cream, aerated perfectly between really tiny ice crystals, evenly coat the mouth, further indicating to the brain that nine calories per gram of fat are coming in.

Ice cream is, at its basic component level, just four things: milk, cream, sugar and flavouring. It is also an emulsion of fat and water, a foam of air bubbles

inside water and is also simultaneously solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (air bubbles) in an uneasy state of coexistence. Too many things have to go right for ice cream to work.

25 sep, 2020

Let’s start with temperature. If the temperature is not low enough, the ice crystals in ice cream will be too large and spoil its texture and mouthfeel. 

25 sep, 2020

The amount of sugar in ice cream is another crucial factor. Sugar has the property of lowering water’s freezing point. 

As sugary water freezes, ice crystals form, and the remaining water is now more concentrated, depressing its freezing point further. What this does is ensure that the size of ice crystals remains small—this is crucial for a creamy mouthfeel. 

Too little sugar and you will get ice cream that turns rock hard in the freezer. Too much sugar and it will melt into an unappetising and cloyingly sweet liquid straight out of the freezer.

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Great ice cream also uses eggs to improve texture. The fats in the yolk add to the creaminess and also prevent the ice cream from melting unevenly when it comes out of the freezer.

Commercial ice cream also uses a few other ingredients. Starch binders like carrageenan, a seaweed extract, also prevent water molecules from moving around too easily and forming large ice crystals. 

This is particularly important because home freezers are simply not cold enough and large ice crystals tend to form while your ice cream is sitting around waiting for you to eat it.

the creamy consistency lasts longer. And by the way, Indian “vegetarian” ice creams simply use more sugar, extra starch binders, and skimmed milk powder to replace eggs.

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