Ice Cream

Welcome to our second deep-dive into flavor. I’ve had more requests for chocolate than for all others put together, and I’m not surprised. Who doesn’t love it? And who hasn’t had problems with it? Chocolate’s up there with coffee when it comes to technical challenges, but it presents its own unique vexations.   Chocolate also resembles coffee in that it’s …

  Farmland in Banga, Burundi. Photo by Christine Vaufrey. From dailycoffeenews.com The coffee ice cream method described in the previous post has been so successful at preserving the origin character of coffee that it’s turned into a minor fetish. I can’t stop making batches with different coffees, and eating them, which is getting me into some trouble with my girlfriend, …

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 quality research already available, at least with regards to …

  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. 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 with one or more egg …

  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.     What Are They?     Stabilizers are any ingredients used to thicken the water in ice …

  Sugarcane   They’re sweet, and they keep the ice cream soft. If you’ve had homemade ice cream with the consistency of concrete, it’s because the level of solids—especially sugars—was too low.    Some bloggers and cookbook authors tell you to soften the ice cream by adding alcohol. This works, but you can do better. While alcohol depresses the freezing …

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 …