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How is Ice Cream Made?
Ice cream contains as much protein as milk and three times as much fat.
However, a serving of ice cream contains only about one-third as much
vitamin A, calcium, and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin as an
equal amount of milk.
Commercial ice cream is prepared from butterfat, nonfat milk solids, sugar stabilizers, and flavoring agents. Butterfat gives ice cream its creamy flavor and texture. The nonfat milk solids give it body and make it smooth. The stabilizers, such as gelatin or gum, are added to give the blend a smooth texture by preventing large ice crystals from forming during the freezing process. Sugar and various kinds of flavoring provide sweetness and add to the taste of ice cream. Natural flavorings, such as chopped or whole fruits or nuts, also add a variety of different textures.
After being mixed, the ingredients are pasteurized, usually at 155° F (68° C) for about 30 minutes. They are then thoroughly blended before being cooled in a freezer. In the freezer the mixture is whipped and becomes filled with air. This air, called overrun or swell, gives additional smoothness and lightness tt the blend. It also serves as an insulator so that ice cream can be easily eaten even though it is very cold. While still in semiliquid form, the mixture is removed from the freezer and poured into packages. The packages are stored in refrigerated rooms at -25° F (-32° C) where the ice cream hardens.
Products similar to ice cream include sorbet, ice milk, frozen custard, and tortoni. Sorbet is usually made with fruits or fruit juices, sweeteners, and small amounts of egg white or milk. Ice milk contains more nonfat milk solids and less butterfat than ice cream. Frozen custard contains all of the ingredients of ice cream with extra amounts of eggs or egg yolks. Tortoni, an ice cream made with heavy cream, sometimes contains minced almonds, chopped cherries, or other fruits. Spumoni consists of layers of ice cream that differ in flavor, color, and texture. Like tortoni, it often contains fruits and nuts.
The first ice dessert was probably prepared for the
Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar during the 1st century A.D. It was
made from snow and fruit juices and other flavorings. After the decline
of Rome the technique for making ice desserts seems to have been lost.
In the 13th century, Marco Polo brought to Europe from the Far East a recipe for an ice dessert made with milk. The dish rapidly became very popular among the nobility, and recipes were gradually improved by royal chefs. Although kept secret for many years, the recipes eventually became known to the common people.
Ice cream was introduced to the American colonies in the late 1600's, and by the end of the 18th century the first ice cream parlors were established in New York City. In 1846 a portable hand-cranked freezer was invented, and many people began making ice cream at home. Ice cream was not made on a large scale until the late 19th century, when new methods of refrigeration were developed. As the industry grew, ice cream became available to more people. Its popularity was further increased with the introduction of the ice cream cone at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which was held in St. Louis, in 1904.