• sanskritibist

Hello Ice Cream!

I’m very obsessive. When Kitchenif gifted me an ice cream maker the first thing I did was read as much as I can about the subject and on the science of making ice cream. If I wanted it perfect I needed to understand it to the molecule. So I spent the weekend understand the different components of making ice cream, the different texturing agents and how all these factor into making the perfect ice cream.

Firs attempt in making a chocolate ice cream with an ice cream maker

Five Components of Ice cream

Ice: Ice is the most essential part of the ice cream, not that any recipe you will come across has water or ice as an ingredient. Water is already there in some percentages in milk and heavy cream. When you churn your ice cream mixture in the ice cream maker, the temperature drops and the mixture turns into ice. Churning it is important because it breaks the ice into smaller ice-crystals causing smooth ice cream. Without the churning process, ice cream turns into coarse and crunchy ice cream this is called perceived iciness. What makes the ice stick together, is something that’s called polarity. The negative and positive ions inside water molecules tend to attract and join forces, which is something we want in tiny sizes so that the ice doesn’t perceive. That’s when the ice cream churner comes in handy because it breaks up the water molecules and causes small ice crystals instead of big ones.

Sugar: Sugar is important for the physical structure of the ice cream. It acts as bond between the water and the ice cream base and prevents the ice cream from freezing. This makes sure it is scoop-able and soft.

Fat: Fat gives the ice cream the texture, if there is too much fat in the ice cream it’s harder to scoop and becomes crumbly (it’s also harder for it to melt). Fat gives flavour, a lot of the richness of ice cream comes from the fat this is because fat has the tendency to absorb flavour from other ingredients. If there is more fat in your ice cream, the taste of the ice cream lingers in your mouth more than compared to one with less amount of fat, such as an sorbet. The fat also helps in trapping air inside the ice cream and giving it shape.

Protein: Protein is important in ice-cream because it has the binding capacity to pull everything together and also helps with the texture of the ice cream. Milk itself has two types of proteins, casein and whey. It’s important therefore to heat the milk before putting making ice cream to break proteins (or denature them) and evaporate the milk so they can form some sort of structure (an example of milk having structure is while make deuce de leech, where milk proteins have formed bonds with each other and become a solid). When you heat the milk, you are making the ice cream less icy and and more smoother. You can add things like milk powder to add another form of proteins to ensure tiny ice crystals.

Air: If we didn’t have air in our ice cream, it would be a popsicle. The air in the ice-cream is called “overrun”. We can actually measure the air in the ice cream by the volume of the churned ice cream by comparing to the weight of the ice cream.

What helps sticking the components together?

Stabilisers: A stabiliser functions to keep the five components of ice cream stable. It does this by helping lock water into place, preventing it from shifting around and forming big ice crystals, so that the ice cream is smooth. They’re also good because they control the meltdown and control the body and shape of the ice cream. Some of these are: cornstarch, cream cheese, pectin, gelatine etc.

Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers bind the water and fat to each other and helps the ice cream have no butter flakes or ice crystals. They bring more air into the mixture and they disperse the fat evenly. Some examples are, milk powder, egg yolk.

Basic steps in making Ice cream

  1. Prepping the ice cream base.

  2. Heating the ice cream base, so that bacteria and proteins (raw egg) can break down.

  3. Homogenisation or breaking up with the fat into the ice cream base by bringing the mixture to a cool temperature by making an ice bath.

  4. Maturing the ice cream base so it can cool down at fridge temperature mostly between 4-24 hours.

  5. Using the ice cream maker and churning it so that air is whipped into it.

  6. Freezing the ice cream between 4-12 hours before eating in the freezer.

  7. Remove the ice cream 20 minutes from the freezer and into the fridge before serving

Keeping all of this science in mind, I follow David Lebowitz Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe, even though I might have have gone through multiple different cookbooks and might have texted a variety of friends on what to make first with my new ice cream maker. This was such a good recipe, and beyond anything I have ever tasted from the markets here.

I referred to Hello my name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Perfect Scoop by Dana Cree and The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz in writing this article.

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