National Ice Cream Month: July
The most significant ice cream ingredients come from milk, explaining the title of this blog post. These dairy elements are vital in defining the features of the final frozen product. Federal regulations require ice cream to have at least 10% milkfat, which is the single most crucial ingredient. The use of varying percentages of milkfat alters the smoothness, color, texture, and food value of the finished product. Gourmet ice creams contain at least 12% milkfat. Additionally, ice cream contains nonfat solids (the non-fat, protein part of the milk), which subsidize nutritional value (protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamins). Nonfat dry milk, skim milk, and whole milk are the usual sources of nonfat solids. Also, the sweeteners used in ice cream differ from sugarcane or beet sugar to corn sweeteners or honey. Stabilizers, such as plant derivatives, are frequently used in small amounts to prevent the formation of large ice crystals and to make a smoother ice cream. These basic ingredients are combined in a mixing tank. The mixture is then forced into a pasteurizer, where it is heated and held at a determined temperature. The hot mixture is then enforced through a homogenizer, where pressure of 2,000 to 2,500 pounds per square inch breaks the milkfat down into smaller particles, permitting the mixture to stay smooth and creamy. The mix is then quick-cooled to about 40°F and frozen via the “continuous freezer” method (the “batch freezer” method) that uses a steady flow of mix that freezes a set quantity of ice cream one batch at a time. The next step is the addition of immense flavorings, such as fruits, nuts, and chocolate chips. The ingredients are dropped into the semi-solid ice cream after it leaves the freezer.
After the flavorings are added, the ice cream can be packed in a variety of containers, cups, or molds. It is moved rapidly to a hardening room, where sub-zero temperatures freeze the product to its final state for storage and distribution. Then, you purchase this ice cream at your local grocery store to treat yourself!