How Is Ice Cream Made?


Quick Answer

Ice cream is made by combining milk-based dairy ingredients with sweeteners, flavorings and stabilizers, and then pasteurizing the mixture. Once pasteurized, it goes into a machine to be simultaneously agitated and frozen. Solid mix-ins, such as candy pieces or nuts, are added once the ice cream reaches a semi-frozen state.

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Full Answer

Ice cream can be prepared from a pre-packaged commercial mix that is usually made from milk, cream, flavorings and sugar. The individual ingredients can also be purchased separately and combined. Once placed in the ice cream machine, dashers incorporate air bubbles into the mixture while scraping ice crystals off of the walls of the machine to prevent them from accumulating. Smaller air bubbles and ice crystals make better ice cream.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires ice cream to have at least 10 percent milkfat. Higher milkfat content delivers more ice cream flavor, richness, smoothness and creaminess in the finished product. Premium or gourmet ice creams contain from 12 to 16 percent milkfat.

True ice cream differs from frozen custard and soft serve. Frozen custard contains a minimum of 1.4 percent egg yolk solids, and soft serve contains less milkfat than ice cream and has a greater volume of air.

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