September 04, 2023 4 min read
Hi friends, science doesn’t always have to be boring, especially if ice cream is involved, we’ve thought of a lesson that is bound to catch your sweet interest. If you haven't guessed by now. We’re talking about the Science Behind Ice Cream Making.
You’ve probably wondered what goes into making rich, creamy, and delicious homemade ice cream? We didn't go to Penn State's Ice Cream Short Course for nothing, so we have the answer for you!
When you create ice cream, what actually happens is the delicate balance of fat, air, and ice crystals. This is supported by things like stabilizers (commonly known as gums) and emulsifiers (like eggs) that prevent crystal formation and maintain quality. Bring this up next time you share a delicious treat with your friends, they'll be impressed for sure!
Let's dive into some chemistry (eek - don't be scared!) basics behind ice cream and explore the unique properties that make it such a beloved treat.
In 2015, when we entered our first class in ice cream at Penn State University. We learned that ice cream is a unique composition of several different elements, each playing a crucial role in creating its smooth and creamy texture.
The primary components of ice cream include:
Additional items like cocoa powder, fruit, spices, or cookies will add flavor and texture to the ice cream, but again - it has to balance out the overall equation so your scoops come out perfect.
Mixing all of the different elements together can lead to crystal formation, resulting in a gritty and icy texture. To prevent this, stabilizers and emulsifiers, such as milk proteins and cellulose gum, are added to maintain smoothness and prevent crystal formation. Emulsifiers help prevent ice cream from separating, while stabilizers allow air to be incorporated smoothly into the ice cream.
The process of making ice cream follows a series of well-established steps. These steps include:
After 15 years of combined ice cream making experience, we’ve learned to respect the chemistry that goes into mixing together ice cream. As you’ve learned today, the science behind ice cream making is incredibly complex, requiring a delicate balance of ingredients and processes to create the perfect frozen treat.
From the precise balance of ice crystals, fats, and sweeteners, to the importance of emulsifiers and stabilizers in preventing crystal formation, every step is crucial. Additionally, temperature, time, and the use of certain ingredients play a role in the final product's quality and shelf life. Understanding how these factors work together can help you appreciate the science behind frozen dessert, and perhaps even inspire you to try making our ice cream mix at home!
Good news, we have taken all the ice cream chemistry and all of our ice cream successes and failures and made an easy-to-make ice cream mix called True Scoops for you to make at home without an ice cream maker! It's a "Betty Crocker" style shortcut mix that requires only half & half and takes 5 minutes to prepare with an electric mixer. Customize it with flavors and mix-ins to create the ice cream pint of your dreams. The base mixes come in Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, and Strawberry! All gluten-free certified, Kosher, and peanut-free.
And then go ahead and brag to all your friends that you made it from scratch, we won't tell.
Shelly & Kelly