General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why is store-bought ice cream a different consistency than homemade?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30553points) May 6th, 2014

Ice cream bought at the store is thicker than homemade. Why?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Ingredients in a high-quality home made vanilla ice cream.

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients in Ben and Jerry’s vanilla. (Extra ingredients are emulsifiers and thickening agents)

Ingredients & Nutrition Facts

thorninmud's avatar

Commercial ice cream contains stabilizers that thicken the base (in Gail’s example, it’s the guar gum and the carageenan). This binds up some of the free water in the frozen product to help prevent the formation of large ice crystals during storage, and it also makes the ice cream feel creamier in your mouth when it melts. These are both plant extracts, not chemical additives.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I always thought it was because commercial freezers are MUCH colder than household freezers, and the ice cream solidified more as a result of that.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My homemade ice cream is creamier than store-bought. I have never noticed it being less thick. Right out of the churn, it is just a little stiffer than soft-serve. If you want it harder, you have to put it in the freezer for a while.

thorninmud's avatar

Freshly-churned ice cream, both homemade and commercial, has an amazing “soft-serve” texture. The ice crystals are at their tiniest then. The difference becomes apparent after awhile in the freezer. With little swings in freezer temperature (as happens when you open and close the freezer, the ice cream partially melts and refreezes. Every time this happens, the ice crystals get bigger. This happens to a greater extent with homemade, because it lacks the stabilizers.

Some homemade recipes use the yolks to stabilize the base. This involves cooking the base until the yolks just begin to thicken the mix (this technique is what distinguishes traditional “French Vanilla”). The final effect is somewhat like commercial ice cream, with the yolks doing what the guar gum and carageenan do in the commercial stuff. It’s tricky to pull this off without curdling the mix, which is why most people don’t use this method (plus, you’ve got to cool down the hot mix before you can freeze it).

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@thorninmud Oh, no wonder I have never noticed that my homemade ice cream was less thick. I only make it for family barbeques, and it gets eaten right out of the churn. Never makes it to the freezer.

kritiper's avatar

@elbanditoroso Got it right for the most part. Commercially made ice cream is frozen very quickly thus producing ice cream that is smooth in texture. If it is frozen slowly, ice crystals are formed in the mix resulting in a not as smooth product. There is a plant here in town that has a cold room for ice cream that has fan circulated air that is -75 degrees for a fast freeze.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther