What Is Ice Cream?

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Since it’s National Ice Cream Month we’ve decided to go to the roots of our favorite treat and discover the real definition of ice cream. As it turns out, a lot of people have their own definition of what “ice cream” really is, so we’re going to try and stay as official as we can. According to the FDA “Ice cream is a food produced by freezing, while stirring, a pasteurized mix….” But with all the ice cream types out there, how do we know which is the best? Apparently the best ice cream is classified as “premium” ice cream, so this blog post is dedicated to the definition of premium, out of this world ice cream.

After much research, we discovered that the secret to premium ice cream is a matter of the most fundamental element of human life…air. Incorporating air into cream during the freezing process is known as “air whip” or “overrun” to everyone in the ice cream business. The amount of air whip determines the creaminess, texture and overall flavor in each serving of ice cream. According to federal standards, the maximum overrun percentage is 100 percent. This means that for every gallon of ice cream mix you get two gallons of finished ice cream.

“Premium” ice cream requires a lower overrun and less stirring in the freezing process. A company such as Haagen Dazs will have an air whip of around 60 percent. Since most ice HAAGEN-DAZS-DESSERTS-400ccream takes hours to freeze while constantly stirring, it is difficult to have a very low air whip percentage, no matter how high quality the ingredients are. So, to create the richest, creamiest and most dense ice cream on the market, the freezing process would have to be instantaneous with very limited stirring or mixing.

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Since flash-freezing technology creates less stirring, liquid nitrogen ice cream companies can obtain an air whip of 15 to 30 percent and yield a dense, creamy concoction instantly. The only difference is how dense and rich each company can get their ice cream. At Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt, our air whip is around 15 percent due entirely to our mixing process. By hand mixing each serving of ice cream, the creams and flavors are combined effectively without use of machinery that whips unnecessary air into the product. Thus by definition, Sub Zero ice cream qualifies as premium ice cream and the taste proves just that.

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