Photo Friday: Vanilla Ice Cream

You know what? I really don’t have time to blog. This is annoying, because I enjoy blogging so much more than many other activities (for example, work). 

I’ve been obsessed with the ice cream thing.

I made five versions of vanilla ice cream last weekend in the continuing quest for my perfect ice cream mix. This test was about eliminating egg yolks without sacrificing texture. The recipes I had been using all called for four to six egg yolks per quart. First of all, that’s a lot of eggs. Secondly, that shit is called custard (custard mix must be at least 1.4 percent egg yolk solids by weight, and that’s only about one egg yolk per quart of mix if my figures are right). I have nothing against frozen custard, but I’m anal and want to make ice cream. When I was testing my more strongly flavored brown sugar ice cream, the custard vs. ice cream thing seemed more a matter of semantics and texture, but plain vanilla custard with six egg yolks tastes like eggs, y’all.

So while I can see making a custard for some flavors (I’d like to make a nice creamy lemon custard, sort of like frozen lemon curd), I really want to develop most of my flavors using no egg yolks.

Here are the five vanillas I made this week. I’m irritated that this is the best shot because the bowl blocks the little tag I made to label ice cream #3 (hello, perfectionism!).

#1: custard mix made with 6 egg yolks

#2: same mix, no egg yolks

#3: same mix, no egg yolks, 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (the xanthan gum is a stabilizer that commercial ice cream makers use to combat iciness and improve shelf life. I hoped it would serve the same purpose as egg yolks, without the egg flavor and the wasted egg whites. I couldn’t get the powder to blend and ended up having to strain most of it out. But it still gave the ice cream a weird gummy texture and a slightly off flavor. I think I’m done with the xanthan gum).

#4: same mix as #2, made with organic heavy cream (it took me several weeks of ice cream testing before I realized the regular heavy cream I’d been using actually contained a stabilizer (carrageenan) already and I wanted to test whether that mattered. It didn’t seem to.) This one also replaced a tiny bit of the sugar with 1 tablespoon corn syrup (which I learned at Ice Cream 101 can help reduce iciness and improve shelf life). I actually haven’t found any of the ice creams to have an icy texture as of three days out. Also, I felt I could taste the corn syrup (in a bad way).

#5: same mix as #2, made with organic heavy cream, all regular sugar

These were all passable (except #3) but I wasn’t super thrilled, so it’s back to the drawing board this weekend. I’m already getting a little sick of vanilla.

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9 Responses to “Photo Friday: Vanilla Ice Cream”

  1. Susi (@no1susi)
    Friday, March 16, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    It looks yummy. But what’s in the custard mix (other than egg yolks)? I’m always interested to hear what new producers use and if they are aware of food intolerances. I was very disappointed that a high quality restaurant in Italy used wheat flour for their icecream, which made me unable to eat it.
    It sounds like so much fun to test different icecream mixes. And to taste them, LOL!

    • logyexpress
      Friday, March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Custard mix was whole milk, heavy cream, white sugar, and egg yolks (and vanilla extract…I want to use vanilla beans at some point, but can’t afford to when I’m testing 5 mixes in one weekend!). I’m going to experiment more this weekend with cream cheese, corn syrup (tapioca syrup if I can find it), and cornstarch (again tapioca if possible). I don’t think any of that stuff contains gluten…does it???

      • Susi (@no1susi)
        Friday, March 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        No, it doesn’t! Gluten is only in wheat, rye, barley and there’s trace of gluten in oats (unless they are pure gluten free oats). Hmm… you’re reminding me that I have chocolate icecream in the freezer…!

  2. cinquecentoproject
    Friday, March 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    OMG, I want to be your neighbor and help you with this project.

    I feel pretty qualified being that I grew up in Wisconsin where we used to get the ice cream from the local creamery and used that standard against all other ice creams as I grew up…which leads to why I RARELY eat ice cream anymore. I don’t like any ice creams at the grocery store because you can really taste that they all come from a similar base. Okay – I will still buy Haagen Daaz (sp?) if it is the “Five” line they have, and I will occasionally pick up a Ben & Jerry’s – which used to be my go-to, but they really lost something when they sold out…not sure if it is my sentimentality, a reduction in quality, or a combo.

    Also, I love local ice cream shops, especially ones that make small batch ice creams. Oh yea, my alma mater, University of Wisconsin, also sells yummy yummy ice cream, Babcock Ice Cream – now you have me wondering about their base.

    One more qualification – visiting the gelato competition in Cefalu last summer.

    Basically, I started drooling about 1/3 of the way through your ice cream descriptions and then saw the photo…oooh la la. I am also impressed that you fit so much into your day, and that you have taken such bold action on your passion and dream. You’re an inspiration!

    • logyexpress
      Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Somehow I didn’t see some old comments. I would love for you to be my neighbor! It would probably be more fun to be neighbors where you live…so maybe I should move.

      I’ll have to add the Wisconsin ice cream to my list of places to try. I’m trying to figure out how to justify a trip to Ohio to visit a couple of places on my list.

  3. curlygeek04
    Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Wow, making ice cream sounds like a lot of work! Although at least you get ice cream as a result. I’m not so picky and will gladly eat so-so ice cream, especially after it gets a little soft and melty and has some chocolate syrup on it. Congrats on the effort! I’m sure vanilla is the hardest flavor to get right because it’s so basic, you really taste it more than other flavors. I look forward to trying some of your experiments.

    I hear you on the no time for blogging, I’m envious about how often other people seem to post. I barely get one or two posts a week and I’m not making five different kinds of ice cream.

    • logyexpress
      Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      I used to the think my problem is that I had no “passion,” but I’ve realized my real problem is that there is TOO much I want to do and not enough time to do it.

      I’m still need to perfect a vanilla. I’m taking a break from that testing though because I find vanilla so boring that we need to have something else (hot fudge, brownies, etc…) too and we are getting fat.

  4. Chibi Jeebs
    Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    The perfectionist in me is cringing! I’d have to make ONE and leave it at that lest I want to try ALLLLLL THE RECIPES until I got it just right. >_< Still, worse things to have to taste-test. 😉

    • logyexpress
      Friday, April 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      The perfectionist in me makes this ice cream testing more stressful than it should be. I keep reminded myself this is my “fun work.” And it is more fun than work. But making good vanilla is hard. Still working on it.

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