The title may sound dry and theoretical at first, but at least I think it’s great that you can calculate the composition for a proper consistency of the ice cream mixture!
Of course, this does not say anything about whether the ice cream tastes good. You could also omit all flavor carriers and then get a correctly balanced, but neutral tasting sweet base ice cream. However, it is good if you can at least guarantee that the ice can be stored well, portioned and licked away, and you do not always have to get your ice cream out of the vat with a hammer and chisel. Nevertheless, even such an ice cream at -30°C from the freezer will be quite hard, because that is not the right temperature for eating ice cream. Due to the specifications during balancing, the properties of the ice are optimized at the normal storage temperature of the ice cream parlors of about -14°C. So you still have to leave the ice for a few minutes after taking it out of the fridge. But then you get a delicate melting ice experience!
Basics: Ingredients in handcrafted ice cream:
First of all, as a basis: self-made ice cream contains not only water and flavor carriers, but also sugars and fats, which together with the other non-aqueous components make up the dry matter of the ice cream. Fats and oils are not really dry, but no water and therefore do not freeze like this. The fat is mainly used to enhance and transport the flavor carriers, because many aromas are more fat-soluble than water-soluble, and produces a “rich” taste, e.B. the creaminess of cream ice cream.
In addition to its obvious function of sweetening the ice, the sugar also serves to reduce the freezing temperature of the ice mixture and to prevent the formation of large ice crystals. There are different types of sugar:
- Table sugar (sucrose):well, you know it. A double sugar consisting of a molecule of dextrose and a molecule of fructose. For practical application, its sweetening power is normalized to 100%, and its reduction of the freezing temperature in water-sugar solutions is also 100%.
- Glucose: (glucose, formerly also called dextrose): a simple sugar with about 70% of the sweetening power of sucrose and 130% freezing point reduction. You can (and should) replace a part of the sugar with dextrose in ice masses, but not more than 1/4, because unlike sucrose it has an aftertaste and otherwise the ice would also be very soft because of the freezing point reduction. How to supplement glucose does not really matter. The most practical for ice cream production is dried and powdered glucose syrup or directly glucose powder. Glucose syrup powder is often a little less sweet than pure dextrose, as it has a certain proportion of long-chain starch molecules.
- Fructose : is as the name suggests contained in fruits, but actually always together with glucose. Its sweetening power is about 120%, so it is sweeter than table sugar. That’s why it usually plays no role as an ice cream ingredient, because with the sugar content normally necessary for the suppleness of the ice cream, the sweetness of the mixture is already very high anyway. But it is, of course, in the fruits used and must therefore be taken into account.
In addition, other ingredientssuch as the emulsifiers lecitin in egg yolk or carob gum / guar gum play a role, because they increase not only their binding effect but also the dry matter of the ice mixture. This also includes milk powder, which increases the protein and sugar content of the ice cream mixture, as well as the much-used inulin, a natural fiber from chicory roots, which increases the dry matter advantageously, especially in fruit ice, without applying taste. A final important ingredient is air,which is stirred under the ice mass in the ice machine. The air provides a smaller size of the ice crystals and is also important for the taste and consistency of the ice cream.
So what is ice balancing all about? Over the years, experience has been gained as to which proportion of water, sugar, fat and remaining dry matter is particularly advantageous for the consistency of the ice. This is of course different for fruit ice cream / sorbet and milk ice cream. The following table gives an overview of the optimal range, from a Central European point of view:
However, these are not absolutely nailed-down sizes, but guideline values that would also be regionally different. In the USA, for example, an even higher fat content is more common, while in southern countries one would rather use more sugar. The advantage of balancing, however, is that you can see at a glance where your own ice cream is located in the taste and consistency range. The following example of balancing a strawberry fruit ice cream on the basis of a recipe from Koch’s ice cream school and with changes by us may explain this:
All ingredients are listed and their water, sugar, fat and dry matter proportions are indicated. From this, the total share, i.e. the balance sheet, is calculated. Since we have reduced the sugar content compared to the original recipe, the water content is already rather high, sugar content and dry matter rather low, but everything is still good in the green area. We have tied with Fruchtbase 30 from Koch’s Ice Cream School, which contains carob gum / guar gum and also dextrose. The proportion of dry glucose and dextrose together with about 50g to 192g total sugar content is about 25% – so it fits. If you wanted to bring up the dry content a bit, then this would only make sense by adding inulin. In the case of milk ice cream also by milk powder.
There are various commercial solutions for such accounting. In all cases, however, this costs money that I am not prepared to spend on it. Therefore, I wrote my own software based on Excel. You can find them for free download under the following link. However, as a precaution, it should be noted that the ice balancing software is still under copyright and should not be passed on. If you want it, please download it directly from this page instead, because then you always have the latest version. I don’t want to provide great support for this, but comments and suggestions for further development are of course always welcome. I’ll also update them regularly when I try new ice cream recipes:
Download (as of July 2020):
(The file is virus-checked by me, but I exclude any liability for damages caused by the use of the software and the recipes contained therein.) For use: for a new balancing, it is best to copy an existing complete ice cream recipe and insert it again at the bottom. Then you choose your ingredients and their quantity, whereby the name must correspond to exactly one entry on the page “Ice balancing”. New ingredients are also entered on the ice balancing page with their predetermined columns. If you are only a little familiar with Excel, you will already have it after a short use.