Ingredient Tutorial

This is the big tutorial on how to add ingredients to the database.


Adding a new ingredient can look a bit intimidating at first with all the data to enter.
The calculator is quite flexible and how you work with ingredients will differ depending on your goals. If you just make ice cream at home and like to be able to balance your recipes there are just a few values you need to enter. On the other hand if you are a professional or if you want to have full control you have to fill in more data. And if you want to be able to create proper nutrient labels and ingredient lists you have to fill in most of the data.
So, it all depends on who you are and what you want to accomplish.
In a professional setting you should only use ingredients you have added yourself to have full control over nutrient info and ingredients.

Ingredient data

Here we will go through all the data in this dialog and explain what they mean and how they are connected and what they are used for.

Pretty straightforward. This is the amount of water in the ingredient. Water and Total solids are always connected so Water=100-Total solids and Total solids = 100-Water.
The only problem is that it is not always easy to know how much water an ingredient contains.
But if you know the water you know the total solids and if you know the total solids you know the water.

Total solids

Total solids is everything that is not water. So, if you change the total solids the water will change accordingly.
You can enter any value as TotalSolids. When you enter a value the Water will change as Water=100-TotalSolids.
Also, TotalSolids is calculated as
This means that if you manually change the TotalSolids some of the other values must change to match this. I use OtherSolids to balance out the equation.
So, if you increase TotalSolids by 10 then OtherSolids will increase by 10.
If you change any of the other values, TotalSolids is recalculated using the above formula.
If you for example increase TotalFat by 5 then TotalSolids will increase by 5 and Water will decrease by 5.
Water and TotalSolids are important when balancing your ice cream.

Other solids

Other solids are solids that can not be put in any other edit. It’s kind of a catch all variable to balance out the Water and TotalSolids. It’s also useful if you don’t want to specify Protein for example, then OtherSolids is used for any missing data.

Cocoa solids

Cocoa solids are the dry solids from cocoa beans.
Cocoa solids together with cocoa fat is used to calculate the Hardening Factor (more info below)

Quick chocolate info.
Cocoa beans are roasted and ground into a cocoa mass.
The Cocoa mass can then be heated into cocoa liquor.
From the cocoa liquor you can extract the cocoa butter and cocoa solids.
Chocolate is usually made using cocoa mass and cocoa butter and sometimes cocoa solids.
The manufacturer does this to be able to control the final distribution of fat and solids in the chocolate.
So, a 70% chocolate contains 70% chocolate (both cocoa fat and cocoa solids) and 30% sugar.
To know how much cocoa solids a chocolate contains you can extract the fat% from the chocolate%.
Example a 70% chocolate has 39% fat then you can assume the cocoa solids are 70-39=31%
For milk chocolate this is more complicated because you also have milk added so you usually don’t know the exact cocoa fat%. So if you don’t have a technical data sheet with the correct information you can set the cocoa solids=cocoa fat and cocoa solids+cocoa fat=chocolate%.
Example a Milk chocolate has 35% chocolate then you can set coco solids=17.5 and cocoa fat=17.5.


MSNF stands for Milk-Solids-Not-Fat also called serum solids. It is the lactose, caseins, whey proteins and ash content (minerals, salt) of milk or cream. It is an important property when balancing ice cream and you will see this in most (all) calculators for ice cream. Nowadays some people don’t use this and instead balance the ice cream using lactose and proteins separately for more control.
In the dialog there is a MSNF button that will sum up the lactose+protein+other solids and set this as the MSNF value. This is of course only correct if you have a pure milk or cream and not a combined ingredient. You can also use the Dairy button to add a generalized dairy product. In this case the MSNF is calculated like this.
MSNF = (100-Milk fat)*0.09, So, in the non-fat part of the dairy 9% is assumed to be MSNF
then Lactose and Protein is calculated from the MSNF as.
Lactose=0.545*MSNF, 54.5% of the MSNF is lactose
Protein=0.36*MSNF, 36% of the MSNF is protein
Other solids=0.095*MSNF, 9.5% of the MSNF is other solids

Total fat

The total fat content of the ingredient. This is the fat you can see on the nutrient label of an ingredient. Total fat is important when balancing ice cream.

Saturated fat

Saturated fat is the part of the total fat that is saturated. This value is only important if you want to make nutrient labels and is usually not used when balancing ice cream.

Trans fat

Trans fat fat is the part of the total fat that is trans fat. This value is only important if you want to make nutrient labels and is usually not used when balancing ice cream.

Milk fat

Milk fat is the fat from dairy products. It can be used when balancing your ice cream. Personally I don’t use it that much for balancing anymore but instead only use the total fat.

Cocoa fat

The fat from chocolate. See Cocoa solids for more chocolate info.
Cocoa fat is used to calculate the HF (Hardening Factor).
Not used that much for ice cream balancing but might be useful if you use the calculator for ganache and praline development.

Total Carbohydrate

Total carbs is only used for nutrient label info.
In the US total carbohydrates includes fiber and in the EU it does not.
The calculator uses the US definition so the value you enter should include dietary fiber.
Then in the calculator DATA there is a CarbohydratesEU that just subtracts the fiber to get the correct value.
When using the USDA button to add ingredients this will all be calculated automatically.
But if you use the Nutrient Label button and you use an EU nutrient label you should add the dietary fiber if it exists to the Carbohydrates.

Dietary fiber

The dietary fiber, see Total Carbohydrate for more info.
Fiber has quite a big impact on ice cream properties. It’s not used in the balancing at the moment but more work might be done with regards to fiber in ice cream.

Total Sugars

This is all the sugars in the ingredient including lactose from milk etc. I personally don’t use this that much when balancing, instead I look at the POD (relative sweetness). The Total Sugars don’t tell you that much about the ice cream properties.

Nutrient label sugar

This should almost always be identical to Total Sugars. This is the sugar used when creating nutrient labels.
The reason we need this is that some “sugars” don’t have to be declared as sugar on the nutrient labels. Most notably we have low DE Maltodextrin that might not have be counted as sugar in the nutrition labels. This is a bit complicated and you should refer to the rules that apply in your intended markets.

Added sugar

Added sugar is also only used for nutrient label creation and only in the US. So, if you want to produce nutrient labels for the US market you should set this value according to the FDA rules.


Lactose is the sugar in milk and cream. It is important to keep track of when balancing ice cream. The maximum recommended amount is approximately 9% of the water weight.
If the lactose is too high it can cause sandiness in the ice cream due to lactose crystallization.
This is the only specific sugar that the calculator tracks.

Sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a class of low molecular weight polyols.
You usually have to inform about sugar alcohols on the nutrient label, check the rules that applies in your intended markets.
Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, and isomalt are common sugar alcohols.


The protein content of the ingredient.
Can be used to balance your ice cream. Usually you balance using MSNF but you can balance using Protein and Lactose instead for more control.
Also important if you make non-dairy ice cream.


Salt has high freezing depression properties due to its low molar mass of 58,443 g/mol.
This gives salt a PAC of 585 almost 6 time that of sucrose.
Important! You should not modify the PAC for any salt in the ingredient. The PACsalt is calculated automatically by the program. This is also indicated in the dialog with the “PAC salt” edit that is read only and shown for information.


Alcohol (Ethanol) has a very high freezing point depression of 740. Unlike salt you should add the PAC from alcohol to the ingredients PAC value.
Alcohol is usually classified using Volume % or proof. The calculator needs Weight% so we have to convert the volume% to weight% when adding ingredients with alcohol.
The conversion is not a simple scale factor so to simplify this there is an Alcohol button that will calculate the correct Weight% from Volume% and it will also calculate the correct PAC.


You can set this to indicate an ingredient acts as a stabilizer or emulsifier.
In the main recipe dialog there are buttons to increase/decrease stabilizers and those buttons use this value. The reason an ingredient isn’t just flagged as a stabilizer for example is that the whole ingredient might not be a stabilizer if you for example create an ingredient from a recipe.
Usually quite important to keep track of the amount of stabilizers.


The energy of the ingredient in the unit kcal. kcal is the same as calories. Nowadays in EU you also have the unit kJ (kilo Joule) 1kJ=4.184kcal.
This value is optional and you can set it if you would like to keep track of the energy and you should of course set it if you create nutrient labels.
If the value is unknown you can use the Energy button to calculate it from the other parameters.
Energy is calculated as E=4*TotalSugars + 4*Protein + 4*OtherSolids.Val + 9*TotalFat + 7 *Alcohol


Cholesterol is needed for US nutrient labels


Sodium is needed for US nutrient labels.
If Sodium is unknown it can be approximated as 1000*Salt/2.54 (the 1000 is to get a mg unit)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for US nutrient labels.


Calcium is needed for US nutrient labels.


Iron is needed for US nutrient labels.


Potassium is needed for US nutrient labels.

Gram per mL

Ok, this value is currently not used anywhere. The intended use is to be able to convert the ingredient between Weight and Volume. If you know how many grams one ml weighs you can set this value and it might be used in future versions.

PAC salt

PAC salt is a read only information value showing the PAC from Salt in the ingredient.
The PAC from Salt should not be added to the normal PAC value but is calculated automatically and displayed in this parameter.


PAC is the freezing point depression factor of an ingredient.
PAC is one of the most important properties you have to fill in.
It is used when balancing, in freezing point calculations and to calculate the hardness of the ice cream.
It can be tricky to know the correct value to enter.
If you have a technical data sheet of the ingredient you should use that value.
If you don’t now the PAC it can be estimated using the PAC/POD tool.
In the PAC/POD tool you can specify the sugar composition or molecular weight of the ingredient.
Important to note is that the PAC is specified to the “full” ingredient and not just against the dry matter in the ingredient. So, for example. If you have sucrose the PAC is 100. But if you create an ingredient with 50% sucrose and 50% water the PAC should be 50.


This is the relative sweetness of the ingredient. If unknown you can use the PAC/POD tool and specify the sugar composition to calculate the POD.


The hardening factor can be viewed as a negative PAC value.
Some ingredients like chocolate and nuts makes your ice cream harder.
To account for this in the hardness calculations you can set this HF parameter.
The HF is calculated as HF=CocoaFat*0.9 + CocoaSolids * 1.8 + OtherFat * 1.4
This is taken from the Corvitto book but instead of changing the PAC we put this in a dedicated parameter.
IF you would like to use the Corvitto method with negative PAC values just go ahead and do that. The system can work with both methods. But, in case you use that method you have to add your own ingredients as all the standard database ingredients use the HF method.
Also, if using the Corvitto method there is a special data tag called “Serving temp Corvitto” that uses the PAC tables from the Corvitto book to calculate the serving temperature.


If you need to keep track of costs you should enter this value. There is also a button to the right of this edit to help calculating the cost.

Tools – Nutrients

This is a tool to create an ingredient using the nutrient label information of that ingredient.
EU nutrient labels are always specified per 100g (or 100ml). If specified per 100ml you have to assume that 100ml weighs 100g. If you know how much 100ml weighs you should use that as the Serving size. In the US the Serving size is usually not 100g so just set the Serving size indicated on the label.
After setting the correct serving size indicated on the label just enter as much data as possible from the label. Different countries have different rules and displays more or less data but just input as much as possible.
Total carbohydrates should include dietary fiber following the US rules. So if you copy an EU label you must add the dietary fiber to the Total carbohydrates.

After filling in the edits you select what type of ingredient it is. There are two special cases Dairy and Chocolate. The reason for this is that for dairy we have to estimate the MSNF and for chocolate we have to estimate the cocoa fat and cocoa solids.

Transfer label data to calculator data
There are some data in the calculator that is not present in a nutrient label. Like Other solids, MSNF, PAC, POD etc…
Other Solids is calculated as Total Carbohydrate – Total Sugars
MSNF is calculated if Dairy is checked.
PAC and POD is estimated from the Total Sugars and in the case of Dairy all sugar is assumed to be Lactose in all other cases all sugar is assumed to be Sucrose. So, if you know the exact sugar composition of your ingredient you should press the PAC/POD button after the ingredient has been created to update the PAC and POD.
Total Solids is calculated as Other Solids + Total Fat + Total Sugars + Protein
Water is then calculated as Serving Size – Total Solids.
This might not be the case in reality, so you might need to change the Water/Total solids after the ingredient has been created.
The problem with nutrient labels is that it wont show the Water content so we have to make some guesses here.

Example EU

Transfer the data to the dialog box.

Press OK to create the ingredient

Example US

Transfer the data to the dialog box.

Press OK to create the ingredient

Tools – USDA

The USDA tool lets you search the USDA food database and insert ingredients from there.

Just type in the Search edit and press the search button or press enter.
You can also filter by Brand.
Another way is to actually go to the USDA food data central webpage and search your ingredients there. Then copy the FDCID and enter it in the FDCID edit. The search possibilities is better using the webpage so this might be an option.
The USDA database is divided into a few different databases and the data received is a bit different. Branded ingredients are added and managed by the companies themselves and if this is the case you will see the Brand name and owner below the ingredient name at the top. Also if the ingredient is branded the Ingredients textbox will usually be filled in.
The radio buttons are just used to be able to set MSNF, Cocoa fat, Cocoa solids etc.
Before pressing OK look at the calculator data to the right and make sure it looks reasonable.
Some ingredients in the database report the sugar composition and some just reports total sugars. If only total sugars are reported I assume it is sucrose. For example if you search for “apples raw” and browse the list you will see that some ingredients have different sugars reported and some have not. In cases like this when you know that apple contains different sugars please select one of those ingredients to have better PAC and POD estimation.

Tools – Dairy

The Dairy tool just lets you enter the dairy fat content and everything else is automatically calculated.

Tools – MSNF

Calculates the MSNF as Lactose+Protein+Other solids

Tools – HF

Calculates the Hardening Factor HF as CocaFat * 0.9 + CocoaSolids * 1.8 + OtherFat * 1.4

Tools – PAC/POD

The PAC/POD tool lets you use any sugar combination to calculate the PAC and POD or to use the molar mass to calculate the PAC.

Tools – Energy

Calculates the Energy based on the data using this formula.
kcal = 4*TotalSugars + 4*Protein + 4*OtherSolids + 9*TotalFat + 7.0*Alcohol
If you know the Energy you don’t need to press this button but if you change an ingredient or don’t know the Energy this is a quick way to get an estimate.

Tools – Alcohol

Here you can calculate the correct Weight% from alcohol using the Volume%.
You can also add any sugar here so you don’t have to add this manually later. For example if you use a sugary alcohol.


The checkbox Verified is a way for the user to flag that an ingredient is correctly added and that it can be used to create nutrition labels.


If you want to use the calculator to create proper nutrient labels and ingredient lists you need to use this button to add any sub-ingredients in the correct amounts and any allergy information.

Creating nutrient labels will be the topic of another tutorial so I will not cover that in detail here.


The minimum you should enter are Total solids, Total fat, Total sugars, PAC and POD and if you have milk and/or cream you should also enter MSNF and Lactose. This will let you do most of the balancing and serving temp calculations.
All ingredients will not be easy to add correctly. For example foods that contain part milk but you don’t know how much will be hard to set the correct Lactose and MSNF. You will just have to make an educated guess. Other ingredients that might be hard are all the different kinds of syrups. The exact composition of many of these ingredients are not known so setting the correct PAC and POD will be difficult.

8 thoughts on “Ingredient Tutorial”

  1. Awesome. However I would really like to see a go back button when your entering weights in the recipe calculations. Its helpful when your entering numbers and when it puts the graph out of proportion you can just press the arrow and it will go back the original number.

  2. Impressive work! Very usefull!
    If you have time some day when working on a new revision, I noticed that the spelling of cocoa is wrong on the ”ingredience data” screen shot, the first picture in this post.

    1. Thank you.
      There were previously some spelling confusion on my side about cacao or cocoa and I just recently renamed all the cacao to cocoa.
      I will go through the calculator and see if this is fixed everywhere and I’ll update the images in the blog.
      Otherwise cacao and cocoa are the same thing in the calculator.

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