Though I’d share how I balance my ice creams for a few different types. Remember there is no absolute right way to do this as it depends on the properties you look for in your final ice cream. But this can be a starting point to get you going.
I almost always use egg yolks in my ice cream. This does not mean I consider all of them custard based. Sometimes I just add 2 egg yolks per Kg to get the emulsification from the eggs, and this I don’t consider a custard. With just two egg yolks you will not taste the eggs.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Flavors like vanilla or other spice based flavors where you add a comparably small amount are one of the easiest ice creams to balance. The flavor ingredient does not add a lot of solids or fat or water so you don’t have to take that into account.
Here you can also decide if you want a low egg yolk or a custard style ice cream.
There are a few decisions you have to make to decide the style you want to have.
1. How many eggs (1-6)
2. Total fat level (12%-18%)
3. Total solids level (40%-46%)
Depending on your choice you can have a very light clean ice cream or a heavy dense ice cream.
If you don’t use eggs at all you should consider adding some other emulsifier.
When balancing you should check the Fixed checkbox for the Egg Yolks and Stabilizer. This will keep these values fixed and they will not be changed by the balancing.
This is an example using four egg yolks.
I set the Total fat to 15%
Total solids to 42%
MSNF/Water to 15%
POD to 175
Serving temp to -15C/5F
I don’t worry so much about the butter fat anymore I usually only look at the total fat content. Total solids are 42% in this case, this will give the ice cream a good body but not too dense. With this style of ice cream I usually use the MSNF/Water parameter and I try to hit approx 15%. This works very good as this is a milk/cream based ice cream. If making ice cream not based on milk/cream you could experiment using TNSF/Water instead. TSNF are the Total Solids Not Fat. I set the POD to the sweetness I like, this changes a bit depending on flavor but usually in the 175-180 range. I know some people like less sweet ice cream and then you just adjust this to your liking. Finally I almost always balance for a specific serving temp these days. -15C/5F is my favorite right now.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate ice cream is much more challenging. The problem is that if you want a rich powerful chocolate flavor you need to add a lot of chocolate. The chocolate will add fat, sugar and other solids so you have to balance your ice cream to account for this.
The first we can do is to remove the egg yolks or use just one or two. Then we remove or reduce the Skim milk powder as we have plenty of solids from the chocolate already. I also add Fructose as well as Dextrose and Sucrose to be able to control the sweetness, serving temp and solids better. Fructose adds a lot of sweetness with lower solids compared to Sucrose.
Let’s look at an example.
We first have to select how much chocolate to use and what kind of chocolate. In this example I use both a 70% chocolate and cocoa powder.
We use 100g 70% chocolate and 40g coco powder.
Now, it’s important to note the following.
If we make this ice cream with only Milk we will have the lowest total solids and lowest fat content possible depending on the sweetness level and serving temp selected.
If we want to increase the total fat we will inevitably increase the total solids.
So, it’s important to understand that we can not balance the ice cream in any way we like as we are bound by the ingredients and the relationship between them.
First we check the Fixed checkbox for the chocolate, stabilizer, salt and eggs to remove them from the balancing. The salt will help reducing the freezing point and the bitterness of the cocoa. I’m using two egg yolks but you can also skip the eggs and use Lecithin for example.
We also remove the MSNF/Water from the balancing targets as we have a lot of solids from the chocolate we will never be able to reach the MSNF/Water target.
As you can see we don’t reach our targets exactly, the total solids are a bit higher but to reduce the total solids we would have to reduce the total fat as well. It’s a choice you have in this case and it’s hard to get both. Everything else if pretty close to our targets.
I have not made this exact recipe myself so I’m not sure how good it would be. Let me know if you try it!
Strawberry Ice Cream
Ice creams with fruit or berries or other flavors with a lot of water also needs to be adjusted and balanced correctly. We can of course boil or roast the fruit to remove some of it’s water. The downside is that most berries and fruit will loose some of it’s flavor when cooked. This can be compensated to some degree by adding acid in the form of malic acid or citric acid or lemon juice. But you can also avoid cooking the fruit and still balance the recipe to account for the extra water. In this example we will not cook the strawberries to show how to balance it correctly.
These recipes are generally easier to balance compared to for example chocolate. They basically just add water and that is easier to handle.
We also want to lower the total fat a little for this type of ice creams to avoid muting the strawberry flavor too much. To help with this I use Inulin, a dietary fiber, to be able to increase the solids without adding too much fat. This recipe has 300g of fresh strawberries and two egg yolks are used as emulsifier.
Check the Fixed checkbox for the strawberries, stabilizer and egg yolks to remove them from the balancing. We set the Total fat to 13% and the rest is the same as the vanilla recipe. As you can see we are pretty close on all parameters. I also want to tip you about Malic acid. Malic acid is the acid found in for example apples. It is very good to enhance the flavors in fruit and berry ice creams and make it fresh and bright. You can add just a little to taste.