How To

Stabilizers in Ice Cream

Most commercial ice creams contain things like guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, polysorbate 80, monoglycerides, and diglycerides. What are these scary-sounding things, and why are they in our ice cream?

In the ice cream business, these are all known as “stabilizers”, and they mainly help with two things: reducing iciness, and extending shelf life.  The first time I made strawberry ice cream it came out really icy and cold because of all the extra water in the fruit.  I tried it again with a packet of powdered gelatin and it made a huge improvement.  That’s when I realized that there might be something to this stabilizer business, even in homemade ice cream.  As for the part about extending shelf life, that’s especially true when you take a pint of ice cream out of the freezer and put it back after a few minutes.  Each time it warms up a little and then re-freezes, it re-freezes at a much slower rate than when you churned it in your ice cream machine.  When you freeze it quickly, you get smaller ice crystals that taste smooth.  But when it re-freezes slowly, you get larger crystals. Your home freezer probably cycles on and off and doesn’t keep the ice cream at a perfectly stable temperature, either.  Stabilizers help with that, as well as providing a smooth texture and slowing down the melting process of ice cream.

But what are they?

Many of these stabilizers are also known as “emulsifiers”, which are used to bring together things like oil and water that don’t normally want to mix.  One of the most common emulsifiers is egg yolk, which makes things like mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce possible.  In the case of ice cream, it’s the water (in the milk) and the fat (in the cream) that don’t want to mix together.  Most commercial ice cream mixes seem to use stabilizers instead of egg yolks — I’m not sure if that’s because of the cost, the fat content of the eggs, the risk of salmonella, or just because it’s a lot easier to deal with a scoop of guar gum powder than having to crack open all those eggs.

But what are they actually?

Ok, let’s look at each one of the scary ingredients:

  • Guar gum comes from guar beans, which are mainly grown in India. The beans are processed into a white powder and used as an emulsifier and as a thickener that’s eight times as powerful as cornstarch.
  • Locust bean gum comes from the seeds of the Carob tree, which anyone unfortunate enough to be allergic to chocolate will be familiar with, because carob is often used as a chocolate substitute (ehh, sort of, anyway).  It also has a nicer-sounding name: carob bean gum. The white powder is used as a thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier, and gelling agent. It’s also fairly expensive, as ice cream stabilizers go.
  • Carrageenan comes from seaweed (yep, that’s right) and is another type of thickener and stabilizer. It also helps keep milk from separating into water and solids.
  • Xanthan gum comes from glucose or sucrose that’s been fermented with a bacteria, and is then processed into a white powder and used as a thickener and stabilizer. It’s another relatively expensive stabilizer that’s not as widely used in ice cream.
  • Polysorbate 80 is derived from sorbitol, which comes from glucose, or corn sugar. It’s an emulsifier used in ice cream to provide a smooth texture and to help prevent melting.
  • Mono- and diglycerides come from vegetable fats such as soy bean, canola, and palm oils, and are another type of emulsifier.
  • Gelatin, which is found in homemade ice cream recipes more often than the ingredients above, comes from animal collagen.  I think that’s enough said on that topic.  ;-)  Moving on…

I’d been told that guar gum and xanthan gum were fairly common at health food stores, so I went to see what I could find.  I came away with a six-ounce packet of xanthan gum powder for $12, and ordered an eight-ounce packet of guar gum powder for $5.  Either one would probably last quite a while.

Time for some tests with xanthan gum.

After searching around the net a bit, I found a few articles saying a little bit of xanthan gum goes a long way.  I tried three small batches of vanilla ice cream, with 1/8 teaspoon, 2/8 teaspoon, and 3/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum powder added to one cup of ice cream mix.  The results were interesting.

First , all three ice creams were smooth, with no trace of gel blobs like I got the first time I tried gelatin (I later learned you can first add gelatin to cold water, and then heat it to dissolve it completely).  I’d read that the xanthan gum powder should be added to the ice cream mix in a blender to keep it from clumping, and that seemed to work really well.

When I made the batch with 1/8 teaspoon, I didn’t really see much difference in the thickness of the mix before churning it.  After churning it, there was a small but noticeable difference in taste compared to my normal ice cream with no stabilizers at all.  It tasted slightly less “cold”, and a little bit creamier.  It was subtle though.

When I made the batch with 2/8 teaspoon, I could see a visible difference in the thickness of the mix.  There was also a much more noticeable difference in the taste of the frozen ice cream.  It was starting to taste too creamy, like something wasn’t quite right.  It was starting to lose that fresh, homemade taste, but was much closer to what I’ve tasted at places like Marble Slab Creamery.

When I made the batch with 3/8 teaspoon, the mix was so thick it almost looked like pudding even before I churned it.  It was very sticky coming out of the machine, and the taste was almost chewy.  Interesting, but I didn’t want more than a spoonful.

Final thoughts.

I could happily eat the batch with 1/8 teaspoon per cup, although it’s hard to say if I actually prefer it to the version without stabilizers.  The batch with 2/8 teaspoon per cup would be ok too, especially if you like commercial ice creams that use a lot of stabilizers and taste fairly soft and sticky.  But the batch with 3/8 teaspoon per cup was clearly too much.  I’ll probably stay with one teaspoon or less in a full quart of ice cream.

The sweet cream base I use has a very high butterfat content, plus it has eggs, so adding stabilizers didn’t make a big difference — it was already smooth and creamy.  Next time I’ll try it in something more icy, like ice cream with a lot of fruit in it, or maybe even a sorbet, which is basically just fruit juice.  I think it could be especially interesting in Philadelphia style ice creams, which don’t contain eggs.  I also want to try experimenting with lowering the butterfat content of the base mix, and then compensating with stabilizers.  I think I finally understand now why commercial gelato doesn’t taste icy even though it has such a low butterfat content.

Watch this space for followup posts on the subject.  Clearly, more experimentation is needed.  :-)

If you’ve tried stabilizers in ice cream, feel free to post your comments below and let me know what you found.

See also: Stabilizers in Ice Cream Part 2: Strawberry Ice Cream


52 comments for “Stabilizers in Ice Cream”

  1. Wayne wrote:

    Gelatin makes delicious grape sorbet when you follow the instructions for heating 3/4 of the mix. The ice crystals are just the right size and it scoops easily after setting up.

    September 15, 2009, 9:53 am
  2. Kelvin wrote:

    Great article and website! Lots of good info :) Please do keep posting.

    I tried a combination of Guar gum and Xanthan, roughly 1/8 teaspoon each for a recipe that would yield 1 liter. It turns out okay even if I took out the eggs. It’s less rich/dense compared to my original recipe which uses 6 egg yolks. In my opinion the guar/xanthan recipe sans eggs is better since most people don’t want to have that heavy feeling after eating a few scoops of the very rich ice cream.

    I’d like to know if you can experiment with heavy cream substitutes :)

    December 9, 2009, 10:06 am
  3. nilesh wrote:

    i want to know about veg. origin stabilizer.
    would u like to help me know about that.
    how many veg. stabilizer are discovered?
    and guvar gum stabilizer how it works in ice cream?
    tell and give some details about all…….

    November 1, 2010, 2:42 am
  4. Jennifer wrote:

    After tiring of homemade ice cream that didn’t have the consistency of store bought, I tried adding a couple pinches of cream of tartar. Worked like a charm.

    November 24, 2010, 1:17 pm
  5. Anna wrote:

    How much Xanthan would you recommend in an eggless base mix? My base mix consists of milk, sugar, cream and cornflour; would I still use the cournflour with the Xanthan? Thanks

    January 16, 2011, 11:31 am
  6. amy wrote:

    i makes icecream with milk,cream,milk powder,sugar,GMS, CMC , cornflour and liquid gloocose in an icecream maker … but it has a little prob with ice crystals .. what can i do for eradicating the ice crystals from my icecream recipe … awaiting reply ..

    May 13, 2011, 6:02 am
  7. Rick Shultz wrote:

    My family has been in the ice cream business for nearly 100 years. I’m writing a book about it now. Most of our recipes are ‘custard’ based. We served over 100,000 ‘frozen desserts’ to Korean War troops, using mostly government surplus materials.

    We use a very small amount of cornstarch 1 tsp per quart in our recipes. The real issue is ‘shelf-life.’ Premium ice creams are meant to be created and consumed … not stored indefinitely in a freezer. I’ve never made or served a scoop made with anything ‘artificial,’ with one exception: I have a diabetic son. That’s a problem … custards made only with Splenda don’t thicken properly … substituting with gelatin powder changes the taste (and texture,) … blasphemy to a 4-generation family business!

    We found an accommodation … replacing 80% of natural sugar, and introducing a very small amount of gelatin works very well! We also learned that we can use small amounts of dry milk powder to replace about 20% of the whole cream … without affecting taste. In the end, we create an approx. 16% butter-fat, low sugar treat that diabetics can tolerate, and all can enjoy! But there will never be anything that includes the word ‘gum’ in our product.

    My grand-father did not invent the ice-cream ‘cup’ … but he improved on it, and received 2 patents for his work. The design one commonly sees is a take-off on ‘torsion-box’ design … an enabler in warm weather.

    I’m committed to advancing the art and science of frozen treats … thanks for your web-site. (Mine won’t be launched, until the ‘book circuit’ begins.)


    June 25, 2011, 1:27 am
  8. Colleen wrote:

    Please let me know when your book is published. Will buy!

    July 14, 2011, 7:48 pm
  9. Marcello wrote:

    Very informative post thanks! Getting that smoothness is something that’s quite hard to achieve i feel especially with dark chocolate ice-creams…think I’ll try gelatin…but glucose, and dextrose and the types of sugar can also make a big difference…

    July 31, 2011, 6:50 pm
  10. Ploi wrote:

    I am making a coconut ice cream, most of the ingredient base are coconut milk+ some heavy cream. But I had a problem of it being so icy and super hard!!! I try to sell it to the restaurant, but now I can’t. Do you know what is my “coconut ice cream “problem? Thanks,

    December 11, 2011, 8:22 am
  11. tom perry wrote:

    is it possible, to purchase in one order all of the ingredient’s that premium ice cream makers use and still make it at home.thanks

    July 14, 2012, 3:48 pm
  12. Todd S. wrote:

    What do you estimate the shelf life of ice cream that is made with liquid sugar, guar gum and carrageenan to ice cream?? All natural ice cream probably has shorter shelf life than normal commercially made ice cream?


    September 4, 2012, 5:42 pm
  13. ryan wrote:

    very informative, thanks to all. I’m trying to develop a decent rich low carb ice cream similar to haagan daas! I’ll let you know how i get on.

    September 25, 2012, 11:11 pm
  14. Tim wrote:

    do you know or have a real ice cream recipe using all the exact ingredients that say a ice cream manafacture would use, its driving me nuts im a diabetic to and are sick to death if rock hardice cream???? even using xanthan gum or gelatin ??????

    September 27, 2012, 11:24 pm
  15. Steph wrote:

    Fun read. I myself am in the midst of researching gelato… UGH!!!!

    Of the 6 gelaterias I have contacted, 5 out of 6 use the PreGel America bag of ingredients. One uses something similar.

    They ALL CLAIM TO USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS. Hmmmm last time I checked, mono/diglycerides were not natural!!!!! And yes many claim “no HFCS”. But then why all the dextrose??

    Once again, I return to a TRUSTED, DELICIOUS STANDBY OF Breyers Vanilla Bean, Coffee and Strawberry.

    As far as I am concerned, it’s all about $$. If you do Indeed locate a TRUE gelateria, without preservatives, please let us know!!!

    October 26, 2012, 9:30 am
  16. gretaG wrote:

    I make a very soft creamy ice cream in my food processor. I cut frozen mango puree in small pieces put them into the food processor with a generous amount of powdered skim milk and process to the desired consistency. The powdered milk and frozen mangoes do not need any sugar. I use a brand of milk from Ireland, but I imagine a local brand will work just as well. This is great to eat immediately, but when put into the freezer the consistency gets too hard. I plan to experiment with a very small amount of Xanthan gum and use a regular ice cream freezer.

    May 9, 2013, 10:33 pm
  17. Elena wrote:

    I make ice cream with 500ml milk (I use partially skimmed, I guess full fat is even better), 90g golden sugar, 2tsp powdered milk, 1.5tsp dextrose (which is glucose in powder form) and 1 heaped tsp of carob bean powder. I love pistachio, so I add 80/90g pistachio paste or ground pistachio. I heat the milk in a saucepan, add the sugar, dextrose, carob bean powder, powdered milk and whizz everything. Then I add the pistachio paste (it could be strawberries or 100g dark chocolate) and whizz again. The carob bean powder thickens after a few minutes in boiling milk. The result is like a thick custard, which I chill before placing in the ice cream churner.
    The original recipe is by an Italian ice cream maker. This is my version for home freezers, which have lower temperatures than those of ice cream parlours.

    June 10, 2013, 8:00 am
  18. Dick Sanders wrote:

    I see that people are concerned about creaminess and fat content. But the real concern should be sugar, since that’s the main culprit in all of the degenerative diseases. For this reason, I developed a very low sugar vanilla recipe that’s quite rich and creamy. I offer it here for those who might be interested in a healthy ice cream that’s rich, creamy and delicious.

    I use the Cuisinart Ice 21 Ice Cream and Sorbet maker, which uses a freezer bowl, available at Amazon and also Williams Sonoma (the latter providing two bowls).
    Start with 1 3/4 cup whole milk in a sauce pan and add 2 tablespoons and one teaspoon of sugar, plus about 1/8 teaspoon of Kal Pure Stevia Powder (must be this brand or it won’t work), and 1/2 teaspoon of gourmet sea salt (do not use table or Kosher salt). Heat this mixture until bubbles form around the edges, being careful not to boil. Turn off heat and transfer 1/2 cup to measuring cup and let all milk cool 10 minutes.

    Next, beat 3 extra large egg yolks (no whites) in stainless mixing bowl, and then slowly introduce the warm 1/2 cup milk while whisking. Next, add this egg/milk mix to the sauce pan of milk, while stirring. Turn on low heat and stir constantly until it thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not overheat or over thicken). This is your custard mix.
    Put this mix into a stainless mixing bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate from one to several hours (whatever is convenient for your schedule).

    Next, pour 1 3/4 cup cold regular whipping cream into second stainless mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Next, strain cold milk/custard mix into this whipping cream mix, pushing it through with a rubber spatula. Whisk thoroughly, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate in coldest spot in refrigerator for 3 hours or more.

    Next, make sure your freezer bowl from your Cuisinart 21 machine has been frozen for at least 24 hours in a very cold freezer. Turn on Cuisinart machine, pour in ice cream mixture, and churn for 18 to 20 minutes. If it takes longer, your bowl and or mix is not cold enough. When the ice cream is no longer moving around inside the machine, it’s done.

    This makes a delicious rich and creamy completely natural ice cream that’s also healthy because it has very little sugar in it. Again, it’s the sugar that you should be concerned about, not the fat. The Kal Pure Stevia powder is not only the best tasting stevia, but it’s the most potent, so it replaces a lot of sugar and does not hinder the flavor (no stevia bitterness). And of course it’s a natural healthy product.

    Now, because this machine makes a fairly small batch you can serve 2 to 4 people and eat the whole thing. If you save leftovers, it will turn into a delicious ice-milk product the next day. I actually like that, but if you insist on always having rich creamy ice cream, just eat the whole batch. And you can always make a slightly smaller batch, too. Or… if you need more, Williams Sonoma has a special on this machine with two bowls, so you can make two batches or two flavors, or make another batch before waiting a whole day for the freezer bowl to freeze again.

    Clean up is really easy with this machine, but wash out bowl with lukewarm water. Do not use hot water on freezer bowl, and never put in dishwasher, as you’ll weaken its gel freezing agent. Also, use a hard silicone spoon or spatula for digging the ice cream out of the bowl, never a metal tool will scratch and ruin the surface.

    Try this recipe; you’ll be surprised how well it works, and just how delicious the ice cream is! If your mix is really cold and your freezer bowl well frozen, you’ll get a thick, firm, soft-serve ice cream. If it’s too soft, or even soupy, then your bowl and mix aren’t cold enough. Turn the dials up on both refrigerator and freezer.

    Finally, if you like a sweeter ice cream, follow the same instructions, but use 3 tablespoons of sugar. Since most recipes this size call for 3/4 cup sugar, you’ll still be saving 9 tablespoons of sugar, which will save on calories and even more important, save your health. Good luck and enjoy!

    June 11, 2013, 5:14 pm
  19. Jason wrote:

    Hi Russell, thank you for this amazing blog, very informative. I have seen quite a few gelato recipes that use 2 to 3 types of stabilizer. Why the fuss? Are they all doing the same thing of emulsifying everything together?

    September 13, 2013, 2:23 am
  20. Anie wrote:

    I prefer Jeni’s recipe for ice cream as I try not to use egg in ice cream. But it so hard aft take out from freezer and it melt quickly. I want to know when in the process of ice cream making should I put the xantham gum? During, after the ice cream mix?

    October 23, 2013, 4:43 pm
  21. Alan wrote:

    Stabilizers are not required in real ice cream and in my opinion no commercial ice cream should be labeled as “premium” if it has carrageenan or any of the gums in it. Not surprisingly they make the ice cream “gummy” your mouth feel dry and cottony.

    It was a sad day when Breyer’s was sold and they started putting gum in it. It completely ruined the taste and texture. It is now pretty much indistinguishable from most store brands.

    I am still shocked at how many so call premium brands use these unnecessary short cuts. Haagen Dazs seems to somehow make one of the best ice creams in the world without these fillers and stabilizers. Unfortunately they are the last hold out. I hope they never change!

    October 29, 2013, 10:18 pm
  22. Arja wrote:

    I love this sight and info… I’m trying to make a rich ready ice cream that will not melt fast… I want an egg base and I want to know how to incorporate the “stabilizers”…. I will be doing desserts at a restaraunt and need help fast…
    What is the difference with an eggless base?

    November 12, 2013, 10:54 am
  23. Gerard Pinzone wrote:

    I’m reading “Ice Cream” by Goff and Hartel and here is what they say about xanthan gum:

    “While it is common in products like salad dressings where its pseudoplasticity characteristics are highly desirable, it is not used frequently in ice cream.”

    I might be tempted to buy Cremodan 30, which is a combination of gum based stabilizers. However, I’d prefer to use an unflavored gelatin instead. Does anyone know how much to use or any other tips?

    January 4, 2014, 9:51 pm
  24. Cristy wrote:

    Thanks so much for this very informative post. Can’t wait to try adding the carob gum. But I think I will try with the gelatin first.

    January 11, 2014, 4:23 pm
  25. Star Gum wrote:

    Guar Gum, xanthan gum and another alternative are known as stabilizer for the ice cream. These are reducing iciness and extending self life. Xanthan gum and guar gum are mixing with different another chemical in the ice-cream. This blog provides literally more information about Guar Gum, xanthan gum and carrageenan etc.

    May 26, 2014, 5:32 am
  26. Dave wrote:

    My Own Gelato Recipe with Guar and Xanthan – no eggs!

    375ml full cream milk
    40ml thickened cream
    40ml full cream milk powder
    60gms caster sugar
    10ml mild honey (you don’t want too much honey taste)
    1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract or vanilla bean
    1/4 teaspoon guar gum powder
    1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum powder

    Scale up as required for larger batches.

    Just mix all together apart from honey, guar and xanthan, if you are using a vanilla bean scrape the seeds into the mix. If you want to use the flavour in the pods as well chuck those in and fish them out before the mix goes to the ice cream maker.
    Very gently heat in microwave until just warm add honey and stir mix until sugar and honey dissolved. Now put into blender, now you want to keep the blending as short as possible so get your guar and xanthan ready. Start blender and slowly sprinkle guar into blend mix and then slowly sprinkle xanthan in then let it blend for about 30 seconds more at high speed. Allow to cool and then put in deepfreeze for about 45 minutes. Then add to ice cream maker – voila beautifully textured and tasty gelato!!

    You can tweak the recipe from here to your own personal likes. Please don’t ask me for conversions to cups or whatever – this is a precise recipe! Just Google or Bing for the conversions.

    August 16, 2014, 8:17 pm
  27. Surbhi wrote:

    Hey! I know it’s a bit off track but can Guar gum be used in chocolates too ?

    January 12, 2015, 7:50 am
  28. Tina wrote:

    Hi Russell,

    I can’t believe I stumbled upon your blog. I love it!

    Regarding stabilizers have you ever tried tapioca starch. I’ve seen it as an ingredient on some artisanal brands.

    January 13, 2015, 1:46 pm
  29. Nitesh Sethi wrote:

    Hi Russel,

    Nice article….I understand the purpose of stabilisers for reducing iciness and extending shelf life.
    The traditional Indian ice cream called ‘KULFI’ is made without stabilisers, by continued boiling of milk to remove all water and thus no iciness. But the negative aspects are that (a) shelf life is low (b) flavouring is difficult and (c) the texture is not soft.

    I would like to know if it is possible to make softer ice cream without stabilisers, emulsifiers and egg. Low shelf life is OK.

    April 6, 2015, 6:44 pm
  30. Josh Whitehead wrote:

    I am a part of a small group of people that have set up a hand crafted, artisanal ice cream company. we only use fresh ingredients, such as fresh strawberries, raspberries, bananas, caramels etc. So in our development stages we can run into the same problems that some of you guys have, the beauty of making homemade ice cream is that usually the person making it uses fresh fruit, amen to that. But perhaps the biggest problem with this is crystallising (going hard and icy) and this is due to the excess water in the fruits you are using and sometimes the natural acid in the fruit won’t bind to the molecules of fat in the dairy products you use.

    I find one of the best ways to tackle this is to replace some of the sugars, dextrose is a great ingredient because of its low freezing point, which in turn, lowers the freezing point of the ice cream making it smoother.

    The next thing is the acidity and like previously discussed, an alternative is to use gelatine. I have had some success with gelatine in the past for giving more structure to ice creams that are naturally hard to set, things that contain salt or naturally occurring inverted sugar, our golden syrup and lemon ice cream or smoked almond and salt sorbet. But I think that a couple of the best ingredients to use for emulsifying would be either, Xanthan gum, Locust bean gum or as we use quite a lot is lecithin. Lecithin comes in two types, soya lecithin, which comes from soya beans or normal lecithin which is extracted from egg yolks. is acts as a great emulsifier, which is why egg yolks are a fabulous ingredient to use in ice cream. I use fresh egg in richer ice creams such as our ginger caramel or chocolate and sea salt but not in fruit ice cream because I think the fat in the yolk coats the palate and dilutes the flavour.

    Never churn and ice cream hot, it takes time to cool down in the machine and when it churns it will be un even in a domestic machine. Also, you are pro-longing to freezing time so this makes it harder. Longer churning = Larger ice crystals.

    One more thing that can work is salt, salt also has a low freezing point so this can make your ice cream smoother, if you are using it for texture, rather than taste, around 1.5g per litre can do the trick. Also, salt can improve the flavour of nearly any ice cream, fruit, nut or otherwise so when making a recipe or doing your own, take this into consideration.

    I hope this helps some of you in your creations, I would also like to say that from reading this, the amount of people interested in ice cream and making ice cream at home fills me with pleasure. I think that ice cream has gained a bad reputation over the years as an easy option dessert or something bought and left to sit at the back of the freezer for months on end, packed with syrups and flavourings. It’s people like us that care about this amazing product that is going to make it great again, so for that, if you make ice cream at home, even once, or you care about ice cream more than one other thing, I thank you.

    Cheers guys

    May 1, 2015, 3:22 am
  31. Damony wrote:

    Hi I just stumbled on this forum as i was diligently searching the internet for instructions on making ice cream at home, I have seen a number of videos and tried a few of them but as i read your comments on the stabilizers used i got the thought that you are an individual who really knows what you are saying. So here am I , aI am asking if you can please send me some instructions as to making home make ice cream, i do not have an ice cream machine as yet ( I already ordered one) but still I will like to try until I get it perfect. I am from small Caribbean islands so a lot of the ingredients used in america are not easily available but my fiance wants to start her own ice cream parlor to help us out with the bills at home so I am researching to help her out she has no experience in this business.
    Will be grateful for any assistance rendered.

    Damony –

    May 31, 2015, 10:44 pm
  32. Patti malone wrote:

    I tried a Pinterest recipe using heavy cream and sw condensed milk. Whip the cream first, no churning..put in a loaf pan..after it was frozen I noticed it very creamy and scoopable. Does anyone think whipping the cream makes a difference?

    August 18, 2015, 11:43 am
  33. Robert wrote:

    Freezing a whipped cream gives you a product more similar to a semifredo

    August 20, 2015, 5:58 pm
  34. Paul R. wrote:

    I’m planning a series of blog posts on ice cream that will cover stabilizers in depth. The most important thing is not to demonize them. If you like French custard-based ice cream, you like stabilizers. The gelatinized egg yolk in the recipe is there primarily as a texture modifier and to slow the formation of big ice crystals. No different from locust bean gum or xanthan.

    I appreciate the author doing tests on xanthan, but would like to offer a few comments. Xanthan is only on OK stabilizer, and is very inefficient when used by itself. There’s going to be a fine line between when you start to see benefits from it, and when you start to get unpleasant textures. Gums are almost always used in combinations, because this allows them to work in much smaller quantities. It also allows you to get the benefits of each gum without the drawbacks.

    Locust bean gum (which is basically the ground up seeds of the carob tree) is usually considered the best of the traditional gums in ice cream, both for its texture and its ice crystal suppression. It’s rarely used alone. A bit of guar greatly amplifies the powers of the LBG, and a bit of carrageenan helps keep it from causing problems. Carrageenans also lend a wonderful, creamy texture … they substitute nicely for egg yolks.

    If you’re wondering why anyone would substitute this more exotic ingredients for the common egg, there are a few reasons. Many of us don’t want the flavor of egg yolks in ice cream. Sometimes it’s appropriate, but I agree with the pastry chefs who believe this is far from always. In addition, eggs have the property of masking many other flavors. They slow the release of more delicate flavors. The gums I’ve mentioned have essentially no flavor of their own, and offer fast, direct flavor release. There’s nothing between you and the vanilla, or the coffee, or the rosemary, or whatever else you put in there.

    Personally, I like to use a couple of yolks per quart. This isn’t enough to mask flavors, but it provides plenty of emulsifying power. There are ways to emulsify ice cream properly without eggs or artificial emulsifying ingredients, but they are quite technical and would require a lot of experimentation and careful technique. I find a couple of yolks to be a good solution.

    Regarding sugars, Josh Whitehead is exactly right. Combining different sugars (table sugar, dextrose, invert sugar) allows you to precisely control both the sweetness and the hardness. Separately. This is a great superpower for any passionate ice cream maker.

    September 23, 2015, 3:21 pm
  35. Michael Powell wrote:

    Good ice cream has very few ingredients; for example: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract. Gums of any kind injure the “palate” of the ice cream taste as it was originally concocted, for that distinctive taste: cream that has been “iced.”

    October 2, 2015, 6:17 pm
  36. Gelato Lover wrote:

    @Josh Whitehead, I’ve actually been playing with using a bit of dextrose and like what it can do!

    @Paul R, I’ve also been trying guar and skim milk powder here at home, but have struggled a bit with the proportions and timing. The guar certainly has a distinct flavor that i’ve been trying to get right. And being at home with a small ice cream machine, experimenting with 1/8 teaspoon rather than a 1/4 teaspoon here or there can get expensive and frustrating due to the time involved from start to final product the next day!

    So I was curious to see if anyone has a good base mix they’d like to share that excludes eggs? Or perhaps some good resources online that can shed some light? I’ve searched, and mostly just found articles discussing why to use them, rather than exactly how.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    October 6, 2015, 7:11 am
  37. Sharon wrote:

    I have been experimenting with making my own ice cream.
    I don’t have an ice cream maker.
    I finally settled on a great combination of ingredients that to my palate really taste great.
    Here goes…I am making approx. one quart of ice cream
    in my wonderful Cuisinart 600 watt blender.
    NO having to heat anything here at all!
    Into the blender goes….
    one 12 oz can of evaporated milk( NOT low fat)
    12 oz of whole milk.
    one whole packet of instant nonfat dry milk.
    3/4 cup to one cup of granulated sugar.
    now for the surprise flavorings, I add Orange Tang powder just up to the one quart level which you can see on the inner part of the cover
    AND 2 packets of the flavor strawberry/ watermelon put out by a company called Crystal light. This is a sugar free product.
    Next, put your blender on high for a 2 minute cycle, I like to repeat for another 2 minutes to make sure all is completely blended.
    Now I add this concoction to freezer safe plastic containers with covers. The freezing process will take a while, I think many hours, so just keep checking often to see how it’s progressing.
    This ice cream is sooooo smooth and creamy, and the powdered flavorings I told you to use impart a really wonderful and natural taste sensation enjoy!!!

    October 11, 2015, 11:54 pm
  38. Julian wrote:

    I think it’s stupid worrying about sugar when eating ice cream. It’s a dessert it shouldn’t be eaten everyday. I don’t eat grains and especially wheat! The most carbs I eat daily are in avocados or in capsicums, so I have no problem eating ice cream occasionally. Also if you don’t want to eat rich creamy ice cream you should make gelato,I sometimes make it for a change.

    I make super premium ice cream. 15 – 20 percent overrun, 20-25 percent fat. It lasts 1 to 2 weeks before I start seeing ice (but it never lasts that long). I don’t recommend using stabilizers unless you’re a commercial ice cream company. People would rather eat amazing ice cream that needs to be eaten with in a week or two, rather than ice cream with 75 – 100 percent overrun and full of stabilizers. But dextrose is a great sugar to help with making ice cream softer straight out of the freezer. I made white chocolate and yuzu ice cream yesterday.

    I don’t bother tempering eggs it’s a waste of time. I mix 6 egg yolks with 170 grams of sugar. Then mix in 500 grams of double cream. Then mix in 55 grams of skim milk powder (very important to creamy ice cream). Then mix in 350 grams of full cream milk. Optional 25 grams of dextrose. then put in 10 grams of sieved yuzu powder.

    Once mixed well I heat the base to 72c, then heat for a further 60 to 75 minutes at 72c to pasteurise and evaporate some of the water.

    Once I finish heating the base I pour it onto 275 grams of finely chopped white chocolate and mix until smooth. This recipe is better than anything from a supermarket.

    October 14, 2015, 8:38 am
  39. Debbie wrote:

    I have just started experimenting with making ice cream as we are dairy farming. I skim our milk each week and end up with an excess of heavy cream. I’m trying to stay away from the custard based ones as I want to use my excess cream without purchasing any more ingredients.

    The recipe I have uses cream, milk, sugar and vanilla and comes out of the ice cream maker with a lovely creamy consistency but it hardens in the freezer over the next couple of days, still delicious but no longer creamy and fluffy…

    I will try some of these stabilisers but of anyone has some recipes that would be great :)

    October 22, 2015, 4:48 pm
  40. Phil wrote:

    I own an ice lolly business making fruit purée and ice cream (with egg) base lollies. None have preservatives and didn’t need any….BUT now I want people to have them in their homes as multi packs and think guar gum will be important in this process.

    Should I remove the eggs and replace with gums or add gum and reduce amount of eggs?

    Any advice from people who genuinely know. It’s important that I get this right and not stab in the dark as I will be selling about 50,000 units next summer.

    Thanks! :)

    November 21, 2015, 11:42 am
  41. Paul R. wrote:

    Michael Powell says:
    “Gums of any kind injure the “palate” of the ice cream taste as it was originally concocted…”

    This is incorrect. Properly used gums interfere less with flavor than any of the more old fashioned ingredients do. They have wonderfully vibrant flavor release without introducing any flavor of their own. They mask favors much less than eggs do, or starches. If you taste something funny, it’s not the gums, unless someone has used way, way, way too much guar. Some versions of this gum have a beany flavor. Because it comes from a bean.

    Gelato Lover wrote:

    “The guar certainly has a distinct flavor that i’ve been trying to get right. And being at home with a small ice cream machine, experimenting with 1/8 teaspoon rather than a 1/4 teaspoon here or there can get expensive and frustrating due to the time involved from start to final product the next day!”

    Yes, it’s a complicated process, and there’s basically no information out there on how to do this. The following is based on my own recent experience.

    First, please spend $25 on a digital scale that reads to 0.01g. You’ll never get consistent results with these ingredients without one. My main recipe, for example, uses 0.2g of carrageenan. How can you measure that with a spoon?

    I suspect 1/8 teaspoon of guar is vaguely the right amount, but it will work better as a blend. My current formula is basically 4:2:1 locust bean gum, guar, and lambda carrageenan. This makes up 0.15% of the recipe by weight. Tiny! You need a blender to incorporate it, and the mix needs to reach at least 175°F for the LBG to hydrate.

    If you still get flavor from the guar, you can find versions that have been processed to be flavorless. If you call TIC gums of Kelco, they might send you a sample. The stuff works just as well as the regular stuff; it just costs a bit more. It’s used mostly in foods that have a very mild flavor.

    The tech reps at these ingredient companies really know what they’re talking about. Most of them seem like chemistry PhDs who are almost criminally underutilized, and are excited to help someone solve an interesting problem. They’ve always been happy to chat.

    May 14, 2016, 11:00 pm
  42. Roger Conner wrote:

    I bought some Cremodan, which is a mixture of stabilizers and emulsifiers. Have had trouble mixing it in . . . now I know to use a blender. I don’t have a mob of people to eat my experiments. So, has anyone tried substituting Cremodan for all other emulsifiers? Does it work?

    May 17, 2016, 6:08 pm
  43. Roger Conner wrote:

    By the way, Paul R, I did buy a scale on Amazon, but made a mistake. It said .01 oz and I thought that meant .01 grams. Only accurate to .1 grams. Not good enough if you are measuring xanthan gum, carrageenan, and other such thickeners and emulsifiers. So, buyer beware. These finer scales are not very expensive, btw.

    May 17, 2016, 6:10 pm
  44. Paul R wrote:

    I just wrote an extended essay on the hows and whys and whats of stabilizers, including how to formulate your own blend for the best quality ice creams:

    I hope this clears up some of the questions raised here.

    June 3, 2016, 12:55 pm
  45. Demi wrote:

    I went to a Marble Slab Creamery today and asked the person working there for an ingredients list. They gave me a very vague allergen list. When I pressed for a full ingredients list, they turned up with nothing and proceeded to try and say “it’s just what each flavour says, plus flavourings”, which obviously wasn’t what I wanted. So I asked directly if the ice cream contained guar gum and carrageenan, and they brought out a bag of cream for me to see. The bag had both these ingredients on the label, plus a bunch of other additives. That must explain why your ice cream tasted like something from Marble Slab.

    July 6, 2016, 9:10 pm
  46. G hayden wrote:

    Im genuinely surprised that no one has mentioned the use of Rennets Junket in ice cream. It might not be quite as easy to source at a store locally but with the use of the internet thats not much of a hurdle these days. Anyway its a great stabilizer with a long tradition of quality results specifically for ice creams and puddings and custards. Its what myrandparents always used and it never let you forget you were having fresh homemade ice cream by interferring with its flavor.

    February 13, 2017, 6:21 am
  47. Preciaus Henderson wrote:

    G. Hayden, I just read your post about using Rennets Junket. I make homemade no churn ice cream and I’m looking for a stabilizer. How long have you been using it?

    June 16, 2017, 3:22 pm
  48. Aidan Robson wrote:

    I’ve found it hard to find info on making non-dairy ice cream, popsicles or sorbets without a ton of sugar or booze that don’t freeze solid. I’m a home cook, I can’t have cow dairy anymore and am testing out other ways to make cold iced treats other than shave ice or frozen bananas.

    Loved this article and all the thoughts, bookmarked so I can continue reading and testing.

    June 20, 2017, 4:58 pm
  49. G. Hayden wrote:

    Preciaus Henderson,

    I’m 42 and from my earliest memories as a child I remember my grandparents and my parents using it Everytime we made ice cream. And judging by the packaging and typeset it’s still sold in I would say it’s been around for quite a few years longer than I have. One word of caution, my grandparents and my parents only ever made ice cream in the more traditional electric crank freezer that you packed with ice and rock salt. And I’ve only ever made it using my Cuisinart frozen bowl machine. I can’t vouch for how it may turn out without the use of an actual ice cream machine of some sort. I mention that because you said you aren’t using a machine. I imagine it would still improve it’s consistency over not using it, but again I don’t have experience with it without the use of a machine. Just fyi…

    June 22, 2017, 2:20 am
  50. Adele wrote:

    Hello, I am from an Italian family and we often make homemade ice cream.
    In Italy, we don’t use stabilisers for the homemade product.
    We use ‘crema’ which is an egg custard base. This works well for vanilla, chocolate, nut and flavours such as tiramisu’ etc.
    For fruit which has a high water content, what tends to be made at home is the ‘granita’, this is much icier than a gelato, but also very refreshing which allows the real taste of the fruit to come through.

    August 3, 2017, 3:37 pm
  51. Ryle Irwin wrote:

    I’ve never known anyone other than my grandmother to make ice cream using Rennet (brand name Junket) to create the custard like consistency. Google Junket and you can order directly from the manufacturer. My recipe makes a 3 batch base using a 1 1/2 – 2 QT freezer.

    4 Rennet Tablets – dissolve in 1 Tbsp cold water
    Combine 1/2 gallon whole milk, 1 pint table cream, 3 cups sugar and heat to lukewarm. Remove from heat pouring into 1 gallon pitcher. Add dissolved Rennet and stir in. Pour 1/3 of mix into freezing bowl and chill several hours. Pour remaining mix back into 1/2 gallon milk jug and store in refrigerator for future freezing.

    While mix is still warm, I add Ghirardelli cocoa (3-4 tsp per preference) to the freezing bowl and whisk until mixed. Right before freezing, add 1 tsp vanilla. Add any desired flavor or fruit right before or during freezing.

    You will see that the mix is completely gelled after a few hours and will result in a slightly textured but firm ice cream when frozen.

    August 14, 2019, 4:04 pm
  52. Martin wrote:

    Unfortunately, the gums (any of them) bother my stomach, so the only ice cream that doesn’t bother me is Haagen Dazs or homemade the old fashioned way (with none of the gums).

    September 17, 2019, 1:43 pm

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