If you’ve ever been in the frozen section of a grocery store, you’ve probably noticed that not all ice creams are created equal. And we’re not talking about flavors here! In the world of frozen desserts, there are different classifications that distinguish each type. For example, you might already know that sorbet is dairy free and that ice cream traditionally contains milk. But what else is different between these? And what separates, say, frozen yogurt from gelato? Keep reading to find out more!
But first! Thankfully, at Sub Zero Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, our frozen desserts are 100 customizable. In fact, we even serve liquid nitrogen ice cream that isn’t technically ice cream – you’ll soon learn why!
TYPES OF “ICE CREAM”
Ice cream, per the USDA standards, must contain at least 10 percent milkfat by weight. The total dairy makeup of ice cream should be around 20 percent cream and 10 percent milk. The high fat concentration comes from a large amount of cream, and more “luxurious” ice creams might have milk fat contents upwards of 15-20 percent of the total weight.
Gelato is similar to ice cream, but any purist will tell you they are not the same. Gelato uses less cream and more milk than ice cream, yet most agree that gelato tastes far creamier than its rival counterpart. While less cream means less fat (ice cream must contain at least 10 percent fat from milk to be considered “ice cream,” gelato typically contains 7-8 percent milkfat), gelato is churned more slowly than ice cream. This allows for a denser final product because less air is whipped in, making it feel creamier in your mouth. Gelato is often served at a slightly higher temperature than hard ice cream, which makes it melt as soon as it hits your tongue.
Sorbet is a dairy-free “ice cream” option that doesn’t contain any milk or lactose. Traditionally sorbet contains only fruit, sugar, and water. Sorbet is one of the oldest and most traditional frozen desserts, dating back to at least the 14th century.
Sherbet is the lovechild of ice cream and sorbet. In essence, sherbet is sorbet with just a little bit of milk but is almost always fruit flavored.
Frozen custard, like it’s non-frozen cousin, contains egg yolks. This helps to keep is dense and soft. You may have seen frozen custard labeled as “French Ice Cream.” The FDA requires frozen custard to contain at least 10 percent milk fat, like ice cream, but also must contain 1.4 percent egg yolks by weight. Frozen custard (when not made instantly with liquid nitrogen), is churned using a machine that prevents a lot of air from getting into it, which is another density-increasing factor.
True frozen yogurt includes milk that has been fermented with yogurt cultures. Because of the yogurt aspect of this frozen treat, it will contain probiotics which can aid in digestion and can even have a slightly sour taste. For a while, frozen yogurt was all the rage but Fro-Yo-Fever has died down a bit in recent years.
Soft Serve Ice Cream
Soft serve ice cream has the same ingredients as classic ice cream but is kept at a slightly warmer temperature and continuously churned to keep its soft texture.
LIQUID NITROGEN ICE CREAM
We’ve talked a lot about how the above frozen desserts are “churned” a certain way to create either more or less dense treats. Liquid nitrogen ice cream foregoes this time-consuming step. This allows for several benefits. First of all, the actual product is denser and creamier than ice cream. While “slow churning” might sound fancy, it actually allows for more ice crystals to form because of the long freezing time. This results in ice cream that is actually not very creamy at all and full of air due to the churning process. Secondly, when you come to Sub Zero, you have the ability to customize every aspect of your ice cream. While a normal ice cream shop might have one or two options for dairy-free ice cream or low-fat ice cream. Sub Zero can create any flavor you want with any base including vegan, non-dairy, low-fat, and custard bases. That makes us the perfect ice cream place for people with dietary restrictions, or just for those who want to try something completely original.