Lab Cat

14 Jan 2008

Perfect Ice Cream

Filed under: Food Science or Molecular Gastronomy — Cat @ 12:59 am

Uh, I don’t think so.

Commercially prepared ice cream faces the challenge of being thawed and refrozen. From distribution muck ups to the consumer just leaving it out on the counter, thawing and refreezing causes the formation of larger ice crystals. Ice cream with these larger crystals has a gritty and/or sandy texture. Typically, to prevent this, ice cream producers use gums such as xantham gum. These allow the ice cream to go through a number of freeze-thaw cycles – 18 is a number I claim in class as I either read it or heard it somewhere, but the number is a bit of a food chemistry myth which I cannot confirm.

So a researcher, Damodaran, has developed a new ice cream antifreeze protein which gives the perfect mouth feel. The only problem, for vegetarians and others avoiding animal products, is that it is made from gelatin. Which is made from the bones and hooves of animals and fish. Another food label to check or perhaps I shall just make my own ice cream?

Fortunately the article ends up with this:

“It will be some years before these [proteins] reach the market,” says Damodaran. “But hopefully they will bring benefits and better ice cream to everyone.”

I can personally wait years and years for this “better” ice cream.

As reported in New Scientist

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