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[Edited 9-17-2020 to adjust ice cream cooking time/temperature]   Welcome to the first post that focusses on a single flavor. We’re starting with coffee, not because it’s simple—it’s maybe the most complex flavor we’ll have the pleasure of disecting. We’re going to take on this complexity because coffee flavor illustrates so many principles, and because there’s a mountain of high …

  Easier…   Earlier in this blog series I suggested that good texture was easier for industrial ice cream manufacturers, but that good flavor was easier for the home or pastry cook. This is because some of the tools that promote the finest texture—high-pressure homogenizers, high-end ice cream and gelato machines that can freeze the mix in mere minutes, blast …

  Scanning electron micrograph of ice crystals This post is addendum to the post on How To Build a Recipe, and the post on Sugars. I want to clarify the importance of solids—which is really a reflection of the importance of water. These are key ideas—if you master them, you will be well on your way to texture Ninjahood.   …

        Electron micrograph of a milk fat globule. Here’s where the action is. [Updated 2-1-2023] This has so far been the most challenging post to research and write; there’s a lot of arcane and incomplete knowledge on the topic, much of it of questionable relevance to the mission of artisanal ice cream making. If you favor recipes …

  Locust bean pods Shunned and embraced, demonized and defended, shouted and mispronounced, these ingredients are the most widely missunderstood, proving equally befuddling to ice cream lovers on all sides of the never-ending, stupid lively arguments. I’m hoping to shed some light here.   [significant updates 2-1-2023]   What Are They?   Stabilizers are any ingredients used to thicken the water …

      [This article was substantially revised in February 2023, April 2019, and June 2019. Thanks to experience and advances in our software analytics, we’ve updated our approaches to sugars since this first went live in 2016.]   Sugars: they’re sweet, and they keep the ice cream soft. If you’ve had homemade ice cream with the consistency of concrete, …

So you have a formula. You have great ingredients. You have a digital scale1. You’ve measured everything. What next? Where’s the wand that turns these ungainly liquids and powders into magic?   Every Ice cream process includes, at least, mixing, cooking, aging (in the fridge), and spinning (in an ice cream machine or some substitute). We’re going to expand on …

Ice Cream Series: Part 3 As with pizza, music, politics, deities, and whiskey, opinions on ice cream styles range wide. There are aficionados of rich, French custard-based ice creams, with up to eight egg yolks per quart; of the lean, eggless Philadelphia-style that disappears on your tongue and has to be eaten straight from the machine; of the dense, bright, …