About this Article
Written by: Stephanie Ego
Written on: March 1st, 2017
Tags: health & medicine, food & drink, water, lifestyle, material science, chemical engineering
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About the Author
Stephanie Ego is a senior studying chemical engineering at the University of Southern California.
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Volume XVIII Issue I > Engineering Ice Cream

Step 1: The basic ingredients – cream, sweeteners, and stabilizers – of the ice cream are mixed together

When a food chemist or ordinary cook is formulating an ice cream recipe, they must take into account the pros and cons of each ingredient and determine the perfect combinations to achieve the desired properties for the right price. For example, milk contains varying levels of fats that enhance richness and make the ice cream palatable by lubricating and insulating your mouth. On the downside, the cook must consider the high cost and calories of milk-fats. Milk-fats also inhibit whipping, which make the texture more solid and ice-like [1].
When considering sweeteners, cooks often use sugar or corn syrup solids. Sugar causes a freezing point depression, or lowering of the temperature needed for ice cream to freeze and harden. This can result in a softer ice cream product and increases the potential for recrystallization. As shown in Fig. 2, recrystallization occurs when ice cream melts and refreezes, forming larger ice crystals that make ice cream coarse [3]. On the other hand, corn syrup solids cost less than sugar, increase stability, and improve texture. But the cook must be cautious of using too much corn syrup solids, which can result in chewy texture and off flavors.​
Figure 2: Ice crystals suspended in ice cream.